On Ekushey, the nation stands as one to commemorate the martyrs of the language movement.
It is both a day of remembrance and an occasion to look forward.
Sixty-three years after “Amar Ekushey,” we still need to do much more to ensure full adult literacy. As a society that prides itself on its linguistic heritage, we must also keep in mind that the importance of helping our culture flourish by interacting more with and expressing itself on the global stage.
We must also remember that language struggles have a universal dimension. Today is the 15th anniversary of Unesco adopting February 21st as International Mother Language Day.
Unesco has set the theme for this year as “Inclusion in and through education: Language counts,” which acknowledges the fact that linguistic minorities are still the most marginalised people around the globe.
Although small as a percentage of the total population, Bangladesh’s linguistic minorities are highly diverse, and deserve help in protecting and promoting their culture. Non-Bangali communities in particular face enormous pressures in keeping their heritage alive and vibrant.
Indigenous peoples living in CHT deserve more support in their calls to see more primary education in their native languages.
Recognition of and support for minority languages is important, not just for the cultural heritage and rights of indigenous and minority communities, but to enrich Bangladeshi culture as a whole. Supporting this is another way to uphold the call for recognition of people’s basic rights made by the Language Movement martyrs.