February 21: International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day (Bhasha Divas) is being observed across the world on 21 February.
Importance of Day: Seeks to promote awareness of linguistic, multilingualism and cultural diversity. It also signifies importance of mother language as the greatest weapon to express one’s feeling. Mother Language of one country is the sign of independence of that country.
2016 Theme: Quality education, language(s) of instruction and learning outcomes”. The year 2016 is the 16th anniversary of International Mother Language Day.

Bangladesh Connection

The day assumes special significance in Bangladesh where scores of people (activists), mostly students and teachers of the Dhaka University, were mercilessly shot down by the Pakistani army in 1952 in erstwhile East Pakistan. The activists had protested against imposition of Urdu as the national language side-stepping Bengali – their mother tongue and the protest came to be known as Language Movement.

About International Mother Language Day

  • The Day is observed annually by UNESCO member states to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
  • First announced by UNESCO in 1999 and was formally established in 2007 by resolution 61/266 of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that had proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages.



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