EDITOR'S NOTE | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 21, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:09 AM, April 16, 2017


Observing the day cannot be merely ritual

There are moments in a nation's life that define the course of its history. Ekushey was such a day. This day, 65 years ago, when our students accepted martyrdon for the right to speak in our mother tongue expresses our cultural, political and human ethos and inspires the collective psyche of the people of this country. It was the precursor of the movement for  statehood for a people that had aspired for independence for many centuries. 

It is a day to remember the martyrs whose sacrifice had not only established our cultural rights that the rulers of the day wanted to deny us, but has also accorded the Day a singular importance by having it recognised many years later by UNESCO, as the International Mother Language Day. 

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Regrettably, over the last several years observing the day has assumed a ritualistic tone, a day when many of us become Bangali for a day. Despite efforts by the government, and despite it being the official language, use of Bangla in all our official and private matters remains a far cry.  And as in the same manner that we want the use of Bangla in all spheres of our life so we would like to see the other languages of the many ethnic groups in the country flourish, and those moribund ones revived. In according equal importance to the languages of the ethnic groups we recognise them as equal citizens of this country. And that is what the true spirit of the Day means.

Mahfuz Anam

Editor and Publisher

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