The grateful nation recalls today the memories of the language movement martyrs who made supreme sacrifices for the cause of establishing Bangla as the mother tongue in 1952.
People from all walks of life will pay glowing tributes to the valiant sons of the soil with deep gratitude.
On this day in 1952, Salam, Barkat, Rafique, Jabbar, Shafique and others embraced martyrdom in police firing outside Dhaka Medical College Hospital as they took to the streets to intensify the campaign to establish Bangla as the state language of the then Pakistan.
This sowed the seeds of subsequent movements for the country’s independence.
They were killed as police opened fire on students, demonstrating under 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.
The government has already taken extensive programmes to observe the ‘Shaheed Dibash’ and the International Mother Language Day on February 21 in a befitting manner.
The day will also be observed around the world as the UNESCO recognised the Ekushey February as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.
The day is a public holiday. In respect to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement, the national flag will be hoisted half-mast at all educational institutions and government, semi-government and autonomous offices.
In observance of the day in a befitting manner, the Central Shaheed Minar premises has been redecorated with paintings, graffiti, buntings and selected verses on the mother language as the nation awaits the clock to strike one-minute past zero hours (midnight) tonight to start paying homage to the martyrs of the great Language Movement.
Tight security has already been enforced around the main altar of Shaheed Minar and Azimpur graveyard of the language martyrs as streams of people are set to pour into these places to lay wreaths to express their heart-felt respect to the language martyrs.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will lead the nation in paying homage to the Language Movement heroes by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past zero hours (midnight tonight).
The President and the Prime Minister will also issue separate messages on the eve of the day, paying glowing tributes to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement of 1952.
Political leaders, Dhaka University teachers, diplomats and representatives of various organisations and general public as well will follow them in paying tributes to the 1952 heroes until the late morning tomorrow, singing the first four lines of the immortal song of the day, “Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February, Ami Ki Bhulite Paari”.
Later on, the Shaheed Minar would remain open to the public when thousands of people from all walks of life walked barefoot to it, with flowers in hands and humming “Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February” to recall the supreme sacrifice of the language heroes on this day in 1952.
Different political-social-cultural-professional organisations have chalked up programmes like seminars and cultural functions to observe the immortal Ekushey and International Mother Language Day in a befitting manner.
Qurankhwani, milad mehfil and special munajat will be offered at the graveyards of the martyrs.
Like previous years, Dhaka University authorities organised the programmes at the Central Shaheed Minar in coordination with other relevant agencies.
In line with the national programmes, the day will also be observed by all educational institutions, city corporations, pourasabhas, the district and upazila administrations and Bangladesh missions abroad.
Various organizations and institutes, including Bangla Academy, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Nazrul Institute, Jatiya Grantha Kendra, Islamic Foundation, National Museum, International Mother Language Institute and Shishu Academy will observe the day across the country through different programmes.
The day's programmes of the ruling Awami League include placing of wreaths at the central Shaheed Minar at one-minute past zero hours tonight, hoisting at half-mast the national and party flags at its offices across the country and Bangabandhu Bhaban and hoisting of black flag in the morning as a mark of respect to the Language Movement martyrs.
National dailies will publish special supplements marking the day and Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television and private radio stations and television channels will air special programmes on the occasion.