History of international mother language day

International Mother Language Day is celebrated every year on February 21st to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, and to raise awareness about the importance of preserving and protecting mother languages. The history of International Mother Language Day goes back to 1952 when a group of students in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, were shot dead by the Pakistani police while protesting for the recognition of Bengali as one of the two official languages of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

The Bengali Language Movement was a political and cultural movement that started in 1948 and continued until 1952. At the time, the government of Pakistan had declared Urdu as the only official language of the country, which was opposed by the people of East Pakistan who spoke Bengali. On February 21, 1952, students from the University of Dhaka and other educational institutions organized a demonstration to demand the recognition of Bengali as an official language.

The demonstration turned violent when police opened fire on the peaceful protestors, killing several of them. The event became known as the Language Martyrs Day or Shaheed Dibas in Bengali, and it galvanized the Bengali Language Movement, which ultimately led to the recognition of Bengali as an official language of Pakistan in 1956 and the establishment of Bangladesh as an independent country in 1971.

To honor the sacrifice of the Language Martyrs and to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, the UNESCO General Conference declared February 21st as International Mother Language Day in 1999. The resolution was proposed by Bangladesh and supported by other countries, and it was unanimously adopted by the General Conference. Since then, International Mother Language Day has been celebrated annually around the world to promote multilingualism, cultural diversity, and language rights.

Since its establishment in 1999, International Mother Language Day has been celebrated every year around the world with various activities and events. The theme of the day is different each year and focuses on various aspects of language and culture. Some of the themes in recent years have included "Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building, and reconciliation," "Inclusive education through and with language – Language matters," and "Languages without borders."

The celebration of International Mother Language Day has become an important event for promoting multilingualism, preserving and promoting endangered languages, and raising awareness about the importance of language rights. It provides an opportunity for people from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds to come together, share their experiences, and learn from each other.

In addition to celebrating International Mother Language Day, UNESCO also promotes language diversity through other initiatives such as the International Year of Languages (2008) and the Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger, which provides information about the world's endangered languages and the efforts being made to preserve them.
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