The nation is set to observe the ‘Shaheed Dibash’ (Language Martyrs Day) and the International Mother Language Day tomorrow (Sunday) with due respect maintaining health guidelines.
People from all walks of life will pay glowing tributes to the memories of language movement martyrs, the valiant sons of the soil who made supreme sacrifices to establish the rights of the mother tongue, Bangla, in 1952.
The day will also be observed around the world as the UNESCO recognised the ‘February 21 (Ekushey February)’ as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.
The government has already taken extensive programmes to observe the ‘Shaheed Dibash’ and the International Mother Language Day in a befitting manner, reports BSS.
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave seperate messages paying rice tributes to those who embraced martyrdom on the day. The day is a public holiday.
In observance of the day, the Central Shaheed Minar premises is being decorated with paintings, graffiti, buntings and selected verses on the mother language.
Tight security has been enforced around the main altar of the Shaheed Minar, its adjoining areas and Azimpur graveyard of the language martyrs.
Generally President and Prime Minister lead the nation to pay homage to the Language Movement heroes by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past zero hours.
But due to Covid-19 pandemic, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will not be at the Central Shaheed Minar to pay homage, instead of their military secretaries will place wreaths on their behalf at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past zero hours.
Different political-social-cultural-professional organisations, including the ruling Awami League, have taken various programmes such as seminars and cultural functions, to observe the Amar (immortal) Ekushey and International Mother Language Day in a befitting manner.
The Cultural Affairs Ministry has drawn up an elaborate programme to observe the ‘Shaheed Dibash’ (Language Martyrs Day) and the International Mother Language Day-2021 with solemn dignity.
The programme was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting on January 18 last with State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid in the chair.
Bangabandhu’s special contribution to the language movement will be presented in various programmes on Martyrs’ Day and International Mother Language Day in line with the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,
National flags will be kept half-mast in a proper manner having accurate size at all the government, semi-government, autonomous and private organisations and educational institutions.
In line with the national programmes, all educational institutions, local government bodies, district and upazila administration, Bangladeshi missions abroad will take proper measures considering the COVID-19 situation to observe the day.
Offering Fateha and Qurankhwani will be held at Azimpur graveyard and special prayers will be arranged at all worship places across the country seeking eternal peace of language martyrs.
Cultural Affairs Ministry and Dhaka University authorities have finalised concerned programmes at the Central Shaheed Minar maintaining proper health guidelines amid COVID-19 situation.
Stringent security measures have been taken in and around the Central Shaheed Minar and Dhaka University campus.
The Awami League has drawn up elaborate programmes to observe the Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day in a befitting manner.
To mark the day, national and party flags will be kept half-mast and black flags will be hoisted atop at the AL’s Bangabandhu Avenue central office and Bangabandhu Bhaban and other offices of the AL across the country at 6:30 am on Sunday.
Other programmes include wearing of black badges at 7am and later bringing out Provat Feri from south gate of New Market as a mark of respect to the Language Movement martyrs.
To mark the day, a discussion will be held at the AL’s Bangabandhu Avenue central office at 4pm on February 22. Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will chair the discussion through a videoconferencing from her official Ganabhaban residence.
Considering the prevailing COVID-19 situation and following the proper hygiene rules, a maximum of 5 delegates from each organization and a maximum of 2 persons at the individual level can lay wreaths at the Shaheed Minar.
Basin and liquid soap will be provided for hand washing purpose at all entrances of Shaheed Minar.
No one will be allowed to enter the Shaheed Minar premises without wearing a mask.
Key city points and crossings and intersections will be decorated with festoons with inscription of Bangla letters.
Public and private television channels and newspapers will take measures to publicize on consciousness raising programmes and reports to pronounce names of language martyrs properly, keep significance of the Shaheed Dibash, keep intact the dignity of Shaheed Minar and pay homage at Shaheed Minar in a disciplined manner.
The role of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Language Movement will be projected in a special way in supplements of newspapers.
Uninterrupted power and water supply will be ensured at the surroundings of the Central Shaheed Minar and necessary mobile toilets will be set up.
Streets will be kept neat and clean and water will be sprayed at streets to keep dust controlled and medical camp will also be operated in the Shaheed Minar areas.
In order to ensure emergency medical services, medical camps will be set up in the Shaheed Minar areas and a sufficient number of ambulances will be kept ready to this end.
The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society will arrange the ‘disinfection’ programme and set up a ‘first aid booth’ to combat COVID-19 through volunteers across the country, including Dhaka.
Pragmatic steps will be taken to ensure that everyone, including the head of state and the head of government maintains the tradition of the past and pays homage to the martyrs by attending the Shaheed Minar.
Mass Communication Department will stage mobile musical function on streets through trucks and on waterways at Dhaka city’s surrounding areas through water vessels, films and documentaries will be screened at district and upazila levels, Department of Films and Publications will print three types of posters.
Besides, Bangla Academy, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Kabi Nazrul Institute, National Book Centre, Islamic Foundation, Bangladesh National Museum, Department of Archaeology, Department of Public Libraries, International Mother Language Institute, Department of Archives and Library, Bangladesh Folk Art and Crafts Foundation, Bangladeshi Shishu Academy, Small Ethnic Groups Cultural Institute, three districts in hill tracts, Cox’s Bazar Cultural Centre and other organizations and institutions will arrange seminars, discussions, symposiums, poem recitation, drawing and essay competitions.
Besides, arrangements will be made to visit the National Museum and its affiliated branch museums and all the archeological sites and museums of the Department of Archaeology for children, youth, students, the elderly people and autistic children without tickets.
On February 21 in 1952, Salam, Rafique, Shafique, Jabbar and Barkat embraced martyrdom in police firing in front of the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) as they took to the street to intensify the campaign to establish Bangla as the state language of the then Pakistan, sowing the seeds of subsequent movements for the country’s independence.
They were killed as police opened fire on students, demonstrating under the All-Party Students Action Committee against conspiracies of Pakistani rulers to declare “Urdu” as the only state language.
The movement for Bangla, however, did not stop and Pakistan government on February 29, 1956 was compelled to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages besides Urdu.
The decision, however, could not stop the movement against repression and misrule of Pakistani government and subsequently led to the War of Independence and ultimately the emergence of Bangladesh.