The nation yesterday observed Amar Ekushey and International Mother Language Day in a befitting manner, paying rich tribute to the Language Movement heroes for their supreme sacrifice for Bangla as state language.
Maintaining health guidelines, hundreds of people in bare-foot and wearing black thronged Central Shaheed Minar in the capital and placed floral wreaths at the monument.
They stood silent in remembrance of the heroes who embraced martyrdom in 1952.
The day was also observed across the globe as Unesco in 1999 recognised February 21 as International Mother Language Day.
Taking part in different programmes, including discussions and cultural sessions across the country and in Bangladesh missions abroad, people reminisced the sacrifice made by the Language Movement martyrs.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to the Language Movement heroes in the first minute of the day.
On behalf of the president, his military secretary Maj Gen SM Salahuddin Islam placed a floral wreath at the Shaheed Minar.
The PM's military secretary Maj Gen Naquib Ahmed Chowdhury placed a floral wreath on her behalf.
In his message, President Hamid said Ekushey is a unique remembrance in protecting mother tongue as well as own culture and heritage, reports UNB.
"I firmly believe that observing International Mother Language Day will play a positive role in the development and preservation of our own language as well as building a sustainable future through multilingual education," he said.
In her message, the prime minister said, "We've established the right to language and in the same spirit, we've achieved our independence. In the last 12 years, we've made tremendous progress in every area of the socio-economic sector of the country, embracing that particular ethos and the logos of the Father of the Nation. Bangladesh is a role model of development in the world today."
"InshaAllah, soon we'll establish developed, prosperous and non-communal 'Golden Bangladesh' as dreamt by the Father of the Nation," she added.
Senior Awami League leaders, including General Secretary Obaidul Quader, presidium members Matia Chowdhury and Lt Col (Rtd) Faruk Khan, Joint Secretary Hasan Mahmud, and Cultural Affairs Secretary Asim Kumar Ukil, also paid tributes on behalf of the party president -- Sheikh Hasina.
Sergeant at Arms Commodore Miah Mohammad Nayeem Rahman placed a wreath on behalf of Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury.
Also, members of the cabinet, chiefs of the armed forces, ambassadors and high commissioners of different countries and heads of international agencies, members of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee, members of Dhaka University Alumni Association, and wounded freedom fighters of Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust also placed floral wreaths.
BNP central leaders, led by party senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, went to the Central Shaheed Minar in the morning and placed a wreath.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the government this year requested people to follow health guidelines outlined by it while placing wreaths at the Shaheed Minar.
The government also took various programmes to observe the day.
Different political parties, public and private organisations, and educational institutions including Workers' Party of Bangladesh, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh, University Grants Commission, Bangla Academy, Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development, Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, Bangladesh Shishu Academy, North South University, Green University, and Begum Rokeya University paid homage to language heroes by organising discussions and webinars and offering floral tributes.
Bangladesh missions abroad including embassies in Washington DC, Tokyo, Rome, Athens, and Cairo and Deputy High Commission of Bangladesh in Mumbai observed the day through various events.
Besides, marking International Mother Language Day, several hundred people from both sides of the Bangladesh-India border gathered on no man's land near Benapole land port check post in Jashore to pay their tributes, reports our Benapole correspondent.
BANGABANDHU PLACED DEMAND TO MAKE BANGLA STATE LANGUAGE: INFO MINISTER
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud yesterday said Bangabandhu as a young student leader had raised the demand to make Bangla the state language.
"Bangabandhu's contribution to the Language Movement remains everlasting... the then young student leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, presented the
demand for making Bangla the state language," he said.
Hasan, also joint general secretary of Awami League, was talking to reporters after paying homage, along with AL leaders and activists, to the Language Movement martyrs at Central Shaheed Minar in the morning.
Hasan said the country's independence and the movement of self-governance were achieved following the path of the Language Movement.
Noting that the government is working for introduction of Bangla at all levels, he said Bangla is the sixth language of the world in terms of Bangla speaking population.
"Our government is moving forward with a goal of establishing Bangla as the official language of the United Nations," the AL joint general secretary said.
Earlier, at a rally in the month of the Language Movement, Hasan said Bangabandhu arranged a protest rally in Dhaka in 1948 immediately after Mohammad Ali Jinnah declared that "Urdu would be the only state language of Pakistan".
"He [Bangabandhu] also presided over the meeting and was arrested for this movement. In prison, he continued the movement for language through hunger strike," he said.
"We have a responsibility to history to highlight the remarkable contribution of Father of the Nation to the Language Movement," he added.