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US recognizes International Mother Language Day

  • Published at 08:35 am February 21st, 2019
WEB- Mother Language Movement
Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The day was recognized by Unesco on November 17, 1999

The House of Representatives of the US has introduced a resolution recognizing International Mother Language Day on February 21 to commemorate the day when Bangladeshi students people sacrificed their lives for recognition of Bangla as state language of Pakistan in 1952.

The resolution supported the goals and ideals of International Mother Language Day and encouraged the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities.

On February 19, Representative Grace Meng, along with Jim McGovern, Raul Grijalva, and Deb Haaland introduced the resolution bringing attention to the importance of preserving linguistic and cultural heritage through education.

"Whereas the annual International Mother Language Day celebration date, February 21, was chosen to commemorate the day in 1952 in Bangladesh where students died demonstrating for recognition of Bengali as a national language of Pakistan," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoting the resolution text.

The day, observed as Language Martyrs' Day in Bangladesh, was recognized by Unesco on November 17, 1999 to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism.

The resolution noted that more than 200 languages have become extinct in the last three generations, with an additional 2,279 classified as "endangered."

Representative Meng has introduced this same resolution in the 115th, 114th, and 113th Congresses.

Each of the resolutions were referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where it remained until the end of the respective Congress.