The International Mother Language Day (IMLD) was observed across the world on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic, multilingualism and cultural diversity. This year it is the 17th anniversary of IMLD.
The observance of this day signifies importance of mother language as the greatest weapon to express one’s feeling. Mother Language of one country is the sign of independence of that country.
2017 Theme: “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”.
The International Mother Language Day was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by passing resolution 61/266 in 2007. The resolution had called upon member states “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world. Since 2007, it is observed annually by member states to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The day was first proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
The IMLD assumes special significance in Bangladesh where scores of people (activists), mostly students and teachers of the Dhaka University, were mercilessly shot down by the Pakistani army in 1952 in erstwhile East Pakistan. The activists had protested against imposition of Urdu as the national language side-stepping Bengali – their mother tongue and the protest came to be known as Language Movement.