The nation is remembering the martyrs of the historic Language Movement today for their supreme sacrifices in establishing Bangla as a state language in 1952 when it was part of Urdu-speaking Pakistan.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the nation in paying tribute to the martyred language heroes by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar memorials erected in memory of the martyrs of the 1952 language movement, at zero hour, marking Amar Ekushey and International Mother Language Day.Barefooted men, women and children were dressed in black and white, while many carried black badges as they paid their respects with due solemnity to the valiant sons of the soil. In 1952, Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan.
After the departure of the president, prime minister and other dignitaries, tens of thousands of people, paid tributes to the martyrs. They sang Ekushey song ‘Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February’.
General people, supporters of different political and members of socio-cultural organisations stood in queues in front of the Central Shaheed Minar before the clock struck 12:00am.
At one minute past the zero hour, President Abdul Hamid placed the wreath. The president was followed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Later, Sheikh Hasina along with her council of ministers and leaders of Awami League placed another wreath.
Subsequently, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury placed the wreath at the plinth of the monument.Later, Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah, Dhaka University Vice Chancellor Prof Prof Akhtaruzzaman, members of the diplomatic corps, members of various political, cultural and professional bodies paid tribute to the martyrs.
Allies of the ruling Awami League, including Workers’ Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal and Samyabadi Dal also placed wreaths.
Later, different political socio-cultural organisations and individuals paid homage to the martyrs with flowers.
Street paintings, festoons, banners, buntings and placards with popular inscriptions on the language movement featured the areas, adding to the solemnity of the event.
The day is a public holiday.
The national flag is hoisted at half mast and black flags flew atop government, autonomous and private offices.
State-run Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar and private TV channels air special programmes round the day while BTV telecast live the wreath laying from the Central Shaheed Minar.
Newspapers published special supplements highlighting the significance of the day.
On February 21, 1952, the Pakistani police fired on a peaceful procession in Dhaka and brutally killed many people, mostly students, including Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and Shafiur.
They demanded declaring Bangla as one of the two state languages of Pakistan.
Since then, the day is being observed as Amar Ekushey or the Language Martyrs’ Day.
In November 1999, Unesco recognised the cause and declared immortal Ekushey as the International Mother Language Day.