The nation is observing Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day today, paying glowing tribute to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement of 1952.
On this day 66 years ago, valiant sons of the soil — Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, Shafiur and others — gave their blood to establish Bangla as a state language of then Pakistan.
The day is being observed as International Mother Language Day in 193 countries across the globe after UNESCO recognised Ekushey February on November 17 in 1999.
The day is a public holiday.
President Md Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Leader of the Opposition Raushan Ershad gave separate messages on the occasion of the day.
Different political parties, including ruling Awami League and BNP and socio-cultural organisations will pay respects to the martyred language heroes to mark the day.
Elaborate programmes have been chalked out at all levels to pay homage to the best sons of the soil who made supreme sacrifices for their mother tongue.
The programmes include hoisting of the national flag at half-mast and black flags atop public and private buildings, wearing black badges and placing wreaths and offering prayers at the graves of the martyrs.
Security has been beefed up in and around the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital with deployment of police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) personnel.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah told newsmen that a four-tier security measure has been taken around the venue.
As part of the security measures, checkpoints and monitoring cells have been set up at different strategic points in the capital, police sources said.
Huge contingents of police and Rab members are patrolling different areas. A bomb-defusing squad and a dog squad will remain deployed till tonight to ensure foolproof security.
DMP has imposed restrictions on movement of vehicles on the roads leading to the Central Shaheed Minar to pave the way for easy movement of the general people.
State-run Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar and private TV stations and FM radios are airing special programmes while newspapers published special supplements highlighting the significance of the day.
BTV will telecast live the day’s main programme from the Central Shaheed Minar.
In 1952, the autocratic Pakinstan government imposed Urdu, the language of less than 20 percent people, as the only official language of East Pakistan.
But students and people of the East Pakistan rose in revolt against the then Pakistan government’s decision to impose Urdu as the state language.
In the face of strong opposition in 1956, the Pakistan government was compelled to make Bangla alongside Urdu as state language of Pakistan.
The Language Movement was a watershed in history as it fortified Bangalee nationalism and its spirit which ultimately led to the country’s independence in 1971.