Big signboard of IMLD was raised in Cambridge, USA

BanglaPress Desk
February 27, 2023

Noman Sabit: To spread the message of International Mother Language Day (February 21) among Americans in the United States, a large signboard was erected in front of the city hall in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The signboard was put up on Tuesday (February 21) at the initiative of Cambridge City Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, said Badiuzzaman Nasim, poet and rhymer of the Cambridge diaspora and titleholder of Bhin-Golardho.
He said that the city of Cambridge in the United States is one of the most important cities in the world in many ways. The initiative taken by the city authorities to spread the message of International Mother Language Day (February 21) is truly commendable. We are very proud as Bengalis. The country and the nation will undoubtedly benefit if the Bangladeshi diaspora in the United States contact the city authorities individually and help spread the message of International Mother Language Day. He expressed sincere thanks to Cambridge City Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui on behalf of expatriate Bangladeshis.
Meanwhile, last Tuesday (February 21), Congresswoman Grace Meng again raised a bill in the US House of Representatives calling for a holiday. Congresswoman Meng, Democrat of New York’s Sixth Congressional District, urged the House of Representatives to enact a congressional resolution declaring February 21 a holiday supporting the goals and ideals of International Mother Language Day.

Note that February 21th is Martyrs’ Day and International Mother Language Day. On this day in 1952 (8 Falgun 1358), some young people were martyred in police firing on students who were agitating to make Bengali one of the national languages of Pakistan.
On January 9, 1998, a Bangladeshi freedom fighter living in Canada, Rafiqul Islam, wrote a letter to the then Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. In the letter, he also demanded to recognize February 21 as International Mother Language Day. On January 23, 1998, the United Nations replied that according to UN rules, the organization could not consider an individual’s application. Applications must come from any member state of the United Nations. In this context, Rafiqul Islam, along with another Bangladeshi citizen Abdus Salam living in Canada, formed an organization called The Mother Language Lover of the World with 10 members of seven different languages. On March 29, 1998, the organization again sent the same proposal to the United Nations with the signatures of 10 members. According to the UN Secretary General’s office, it has to be contacted with UNESCO in Paris.
On 4 April 1999, UNESCO faxed five countries the names and addresses of their UNESCO offices, requesting that the proposal be formally presented to the United Nations. The five countries are Canada, India, Finland, Hungary, and Bangladesh. Finally, the proposal was accepted at the 157th session of the Executive Council of UNESCO held on October 5-November 15, 1999. Then on the last day of the Biennial 30th General Meeting of UNESCO November 17, 1999, the proposal to recognize it as International Mother Language Day was raised. The proposal was unanimously approved that day. None of the 188 member states present opposed the proposal.

The General Assembly of UNESCO is held every two years. The first general meeting was held in 1946. On 17 November 1999, UNESCO recognized 21 February as International Mother Language Day.