Language changes with time. It is like river, always changing the course. It is reported that as many as half of the world's 7000 languages are expected to be extinct by the end of this century. That means one language dies out in every 14 days. To cherish the cultural heritage and diversity and to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by the people of the world, "International Mother Language Day" day is celebrated every year on 21st February. The day was proclaimed by UNESCO in November, 1999. It represents the day in 1952 when the students demanding for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka (Capital of present Bangladesh).
This day has great significance to Bangladeshi culture and is remembered as Language Movement Day or Language Martyrs' Day. Shaheed Minar (Martyr Monument) is the national monument established to commemorate those killed during the language movement. People, wearing black badge, go to Shaheed Minar in bare foot with flowers in hand to pay homage to the martyrs early in the morning by singing song of 21st February. At present, all national, mourning, cultural and other activities have been centered on the Shaheed Minar.
Movement for equal status of Bengali language also took place in the Indian State of Assam. On May, 1961, number of people were killed in police firing while demanding state recognition of Bengali.
One of the most precious and at the same time most fragile treasures of mankind is language. Let it mark on the pages of human history. Let it flow. Let the children fall asleep listening to the bedtime stories in their mother tongue. Let them dream in their mother tongue. Happy mother language day.