Rushanara Ali MP commemorates International Mother Language Day. On the 21st February 1952 students campaigned for Bangla to be preserved as an official language of Pakistan.
The student activists were killed by police as they protested for language freedom and expression. These students sacrificed their lives to preserve the Bangla language, and this ignited the struggle for Bangladesh’s independence.
In 1999 UNESCO announced that the 21st February would be observed as International Mother Day to commemorate the sacrifice of the student protestors and to promote linguistic diversity.
Rushanara Ali MP commemorated the day:
“Today we remember those who gave their lives to preserve our mother tongue and fought for our linguistic liberty. The bravery of those students means that Bangla speakers can today speak freely in their own language.
While we reflect on what those students achieved 71 years ago, today is also a day where we celebrate and continue to promote the importance of multilingualism and linguistic liberty for all languages, and particularly those that continue to be denied their linguistic freedom and identity.”