The mooring of our cultural identity
As the country steps into the 62nd year since the fateful day of February 21, 1952, we take a moment to reflect on what motivated those who came before us to defend the mother tongue with their lives. Indeed, their struggle went beyond the defence of the Bengali language. In essence, it was a movement encapsulating the struggle against imposition of a foreign culture that began with an attack on our language. Those who were martyred in 1952 paved the way for larger struggles for economic and political freedoms that the Bengali nation would aspire to and participate in the subsequent years. In many respects, the language movement laid the foundations for the Liberation War of 1971.
Through their supreme sacrifice, those martyrs were the first to show us the road we needed to take if we were to hold our heads high with dignity, to live free as a society and ultimately as a nation. Thus, 1952 remains the hallmark for national inspiration for generations to come. To Jabbar, Barkat, Rafiq, Salam and everyone else gunned down on the streets of Dhaka on 21 February 1952, we say in deep sadness blended with profound pride: You switched on a dream in the warmth of your blood, enough to have it carried to fulfillment in the glory of liberty. Today, we remember; and remembering, we draw on the groundswell of inspiration to forge ahead shoulder to shoulder with high achieving countries.