International Mother Language Day, 21 February

In 2000, UNESCO declared 21 February International Mother Language Day for the whole world to celebrate, in tribute to the Language Movement and the ethno-linguistic rights of people around the world. The date, 21 February,  represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.

Studying linguistics has taught me one important thing, especially in terms of human civilization, and that is the following: every language is a treasure in its own rights and every child should have the freedom to use their mother tongue, or at least be provided with such support to preserve their mother tongue, irrespective of their belief, caste, nationality, ethnicity, race, etc. The International Mother Language Day should therefore quite rightly not only appeal to linguists, but all humans.

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