[lg policy] Bangladesh: International Mother Language Day

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 22 16:45:39 UTC 2010

International Mother Language Day
Asia, Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, United Nations | Posted by:
Govind Acharya, February 20, 2010 at 9:51 PM

The Shaheed Minar in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, commemorates the
Language Movement

The United Nations International Mother Language Day is celebrated
every February 21 on the anniversary of the Language Movement in
Bangladesh.  It is a time when we remember the power of language—to
tell us where we came from, to share our story, to debate, to educate,
and to preserve our cultures. In 1947, India was partitioned, creating
Pakistan.  Although sharing the same religion, Pakistan was split
geographically, culturally and linguistically.  In the western part of
Pakistan, they spoke Urdu or Punjabi, while in the eastern part of the
country they spoke Bengali.  In 1948, the Pakistani government
declared Urdu the national language naturally creating an uproar in
the east.  The protests culminated on February 21, 1952 when
protesters at the University of Dhaka were fired upon by the police,
leaving dozens dead.  This sparked an uprising that eventually led to
the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.

Why is this worth reading about?  Articles 19, 22, 26, and 27 of the
United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights would be a good start.  The
right to be able to express oneself is a cultural value that is part
of the full spectrum of human rights that everyone on the planet
enjoys. So, enjoy your ভাষা আন্দোলন দিবস (bhhasha andolan dibosh) no
matter what language you speak!


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