Rushanara Ali MP on International Mother Language Day.

Today we commemorate International Mother Language Day. A day to celebrate Multilingualism and multiculturalism and raise awareness about the preservation of native languages.

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. These students sacrificed their lives to preserve the Bangla language and fight for linguistic freedom and expression. Their protests began the fight for Bangladesh’s independence.  


In 1999 UNESCO announced that the 21st February would mark International Mother Day to remember the sacrifice of the student protestors and to promote multilingualism.


Rushanara Ali MP said: 


“Today we remember those who paid the ultimate price for the freedom and preservation of language. They fought for the linguistic freedom that many of us now experience today. Their boldness and courage means that Bangla speakers can today speak freely. 


Today is also a day to celebrate linguistic diversity and reaffirm our commitment to fight for greater liberty of all languages. Currently, over 40% of the global population does not have access to education in their native language. We must continue to campaign protect and promote linguistic freedom and expression.”

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