Call for building inclusive and multicultural societies is growing strong globally as International Mother Language Day, which was proclaimed by Unesco in 1999 in recognition of Bangladesh's 1952 Language Movement, was observed yesterday.
As observed by people of all walks of life in Bangladesh, the day was celebrated across the globe with vigour by Bangladesh embassies, Bangla-speaking people, and at foreign missions in Bangladesh.
The day this year bears special significance given the Covid-19 pandemic that has largely affected education, and the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh's independence, the seed of which was planted through the 1952 Language Movement.
"This year's observance is a call on policymakers, educators and teachers, parents and families to scale up their commitment to multilingual education, and inclusion in education to advance education recovery in the context of Covid-19," says Unesco.
Members of Diplomatic Core, including Vatican Ambassador Archbishop George Kocherry, US Ambassador Earl Miller and Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami laid floral wreaths at Central Shaheed Minar in the early hours of yesterday.
"Honoured to pay tribute from India, with representative of the Diplomatic Community, at midnight on #IMLD2021 at Central Shahid Minar, to the language martyrs who lit the torch of freedom for Bangladesh," Doraiswami said in a tweet yesterday.
Italian Ambassador Enrico Nunziata tweeted, "Preserving multilingualism is key to protect cultural diversity and building more inclusive and equal societies."
Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki said it is important not only to appreciate one's own mother language, but also to respect other languages and identities.
"In that sense, I believe observing this special day has significant meaning for mutual understanding and promoting peace in both global and local context," he said.
Bangladesh missions abroad also celebrated the day with due fervour, singing amar bhai er rokte rangano and placing wreaths at their temporary Shaheed Minar monuments.
Bangladesh Ambassador to China, Mahbub Uz Zaman, other staff and representatives from diplomatic missions and Chinese government, businessmen and investors from China, and Bangladesh Community members held a rally, discussion and a cultural event at the embassy premises.
Australian dignitaries, including the Australian Capital Territory Environment and Heritage Minister Rebecca Vassarotti; MLA Alister Coe, many ambassadors, Bangladesh community members joined the Bangladesh High Commission in observing the day in Canberra.
Bangladesh missions in Rome and Brunei and elsewhere also observed the day.