Bangladesh is the only nation in the world that fought for its language. Bangla is the official language of Bangladesh. It is also widely spoken in West Bengal(India). Its position is 6th based on the number of people talked in this language. It evolved mainly from Sanskrit. Bangla at the present day has two literary styles. One is called “Sadhu Bhasha” and the other “Chalit Bhasa”. On 21 March 1948, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Governor General of Pakistan, declared that Urdu would be the only official language for both West and East Pakistan (present Bangladesh). The people of East Pakistan started to protest against this. On 21 February 1952, students in the present day capital city of Dhaka called for a strike. The government invoked a limited curfew to prevent this and the protests were going on to break the curfew. The Pakistani police fired on the students despite these peaceful protests and Rafiq, Safiq, Salam, Barkat and many students were lost their life.
The UNESCO has declared 21st February as “The International Mother Language Day” to be observed globally in recognition of the sacrifices of the Bangla language martyrs who laid their lives for establishing the rightful place of Bangla. It is a great tribute and glowing homage paid by the international community to the language martyrs of Bangladesh. The UNESCO in its resolution said-the recognition was given bearing in mind that all moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness about linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.
Therefore, UN member countries around the world will observe 21st February as the International Mother Language Day. The historic 21st February has, thus, assumed new dimension. The sacrifices of martyrs as well as of those tortured and repressed by the government of Pakistan for championing the cause of their mother tongue have received now a glorious and new recognition by the November 1999 resolution of the UNESCO.