Ekushey February provides a soul-stirring occasion to reflect on the long road we have travelled since some of our brave young men died in defence of the mother tongue in 1952. On the one hand, we go back in time to recreate within our collective consciousness the circumstances that led to the struggle for ensuring a rightful place for the Bangla language. On the other, we fondly link to our umbilical cord our cultural heritage and self-identity. An important message which emerges from 21 February 1952 is that it heralded a new struggle for the achievement of our cultural and political rights. And as the subsequent years till the attainment of liberation demonstrate, we did the job remarkably well.
As we take the slow march to the Shaheed Minar this morning, or offer silent prayers for the martyrs of Ekushey at home, let us resolve that the dreams inherent in the struggle of 1952 -- one of democracy and human dignity -- will be realised soon for all of us to be able to make our humble contributions, individually as well as collectively, to the building of a happy, prosperous future for Bangladesh. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the young men, some known but many unknown, whose lives were cut short at their prime in 1952 in valiant defence of our culture, so that we would be able to laugh and cry and share our joys and sorrows in the very language that our mothers used to sing lullabies to us when we were children as did their mothers to them.