DHAKA: The nation on Thursday paid rich tributes to the Language Movement martyrs, who laid down their lives for the mother tongue - Bangla -- on February 21, 1952.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar one minute past the zero hour amid tight security to pay homage to the Language Movement heroes.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reached the Central Shaheed Minar before the zero hour, reports Banglanews.
Abdul Hamid and Sheikh Hasina proceeded to the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar together in slow pace as the immortal song on Amar Ekushey--"Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February"-- was playing.
The President was the first to lay the wreath at the Central Shaheed Minar. Just after the President, the Prime Minister placed the wreath at the Shaheed Minar. They stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the Language Heroes.
Ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, parliament members, chiefs of three services, diplomats, senior Awami League leaders, high civil and military officials were present on the occasion. Later, Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury placed wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar.
Later, thousands of barefooted people from all walks of life placed wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar to pay tributes to the Language Movement martyrs.
Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private TV channels aired live the midnight Ekushey ceremony while cultural personalities added extra flavour by reciting poems on immortal Ekushey February.
In observance of the day in a befitting manner, the Central Shaheed Minar premises have been redecorated with paintings, graffiti, buntings and selected verses on the mother language.
The day is a public holiday.
On the day, in respect to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement, the national flag has been hoisted half-mast in all educational institutions, government, semi-government and autonomous offices and private buildings across the country.
Different political-social-cultural-professional organisations have chalked out various programmes, including seminars and cultural functions, to observe the Amar (immortal) Ekushey and International Mother Language Day in a befitting manner.
Quran Khwani and offering Fateha were held at Azimpur graveyard in the city while prayers were arranged at all worship places across the country seeking salvation of the departed souls of the martyrs of the Language Movement.
Besides, all educational institutions, all local government institutions, city corporations, district and upazilla administrations and Bangladesh missions abroad have already taken measures to observe the day in a befitting manner.
Various organizations and institutes, including Bangla Academy, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Nazrul Institute, Jatiya Grantha Kendra, Islamic Foundation, National Museum, International Mother Language Institute, Directorate of Archives and Libraries and Shishu Academy, observed the day across the country through different programmes.
The ruling Awami League will organize a discussion at Krishibid Institution auditorium in the city at 3 pm on February 22 with its President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Like previous years, Dhaka University (DU) authorities organised the
programmes at the Central Shaheed Minar in coordination with other relevant agencies.
On this day in 1952, students and people from all strata of society took to the streets in Dhaka to protest the then Pakistan government's refusal to recognize Bangla as one of the state languages and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Shafiur, Jabbar and some other brave sons of the soil sacrificed their lives on this day to establish Bangla as the state language.
The Language Movement is indeed the most important turning point in the history of Bangalee as its spirit led to the Independence of Bangladesh through a bloody nine-month war in 1971.
The day is also being observed across the globe as the International Mother Language Day. On November 17, 1999, the UNESCO declared February 21 as the International Mother Language Day.
BDST: 1332 HRS, FEB 21, 2019