Saturday March 24, 2018

Commemorating the International Mother Language Day- February 21


By Varnika Mahajan

“Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education, but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.” –UN

Promoting linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism is the core motive which calls for celebrating the International Mother Language Day.

The theme of the 2016 International Mother Language Day is “Quality education, language(s) of instruction, and learning outcomes.”

‘Mother languages in a multilingual approach are essential components of quality education, which is itself the foundation for empowering women and men and their societies. We must recognise and nurture this power, in order to leave no one behind, to craft a more just and sustainable future for all.’- This is UNESCO’s message on this day.


Proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999, the International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000.

The date represents the day in 1952 when students in the then Pakistan demanded recognition of their language ‘Bangla’, as one of the two national languages. The students were gunned down by the police in Dhaka, the capital of today’s Bangladesh.

While the day is celebrated all over the world, Bangladesh declared it a public holiday commemorating this unfortunate incident where it is also known as Shohid Dibôsh or Shaheed Day.


The International Mother Language Day witnesses robust efforts by UNESCO and other UN agencies in promoting cultural and linguistic diversity over the world. Apart from providing awareness among people about their language and culture in other countries, these agencies encourage peoples’ morale and appreciate those who acknowledge their mother language.

People visit the Shaheed Minar in Bangladesh on this day, in order to pay homage to the students martyred on February 21. People with their outstanding performance towards language and cultural diversity are lauded. Flowers are sprinkled and it is time for the cultural celebration of their Bengali national language.

The Linguapax Institute, in Barcelona, Spain presents the Linguapax Prize on International Mother Language Day each year for those who have made outstanding work in linguistic diversity or multilingual education.


The Shaheed Minar in Dhaka
The Shaheed Minar in Dhaka (Image source:

The Shaheed Minar in Dhaka pays respect to the four students who were shot down while demanding a national identity of their mother language.

An International Mother Language Day monument was constructed at Ashfield Park in Sydney, Australia. Images of Shaheed Minar and the globe on the face of the stone can be seen with the words “we will remember the martyr of 21st February” engraved in both Bengali and English languages.


We, at NewsGram, appreciate linguistic diversity and promote multilingual education. Apart from operating an online portal in the English language, a full-fledged Hindi language portal ‘’ is operated simultaneously, in order to create news pertaining to lingual awareness about our national language. (Image source:

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  • Bill Chapman

    I hope that Esperanto will not be forgotten today.

    Not many people know that the planned international language Esperanto has native speakers too. See:

    It was never planned that way, but it happened, and I have met about a dozen native speakers over the years. If it is possible for the speakers of a language launched into life in 1887 to transmit it to future generations, then surely the same should be true for more ancient community languages.

Next Story

Good education can curb childhood abuse effects: Study

Parent reports and self-reports of the team showed criminal and antisocial behaviour among the childhood abuse victims

Good education can reduce the impact of childhood abuse. Pixabay
Good education can reduce the impact of childhood abuse. Pixabay
  • A good education may help reduce effects of childhood abuse
  • Abuse which children suffer in young age can make them criminals
  • Poor grades can shift students towards crime too

Good grades and proper schooling may help in protecting victims of childhood abuse from indulging in criminal behaviour in adulthood, a study says.

The emotional and sexual abuse that some kids endure during their childhood can lead them to commit crimes later in life. But when they achieve good grades in childhood and complete their academics, the likelihood of indulging in criminal behaviour declines significantly.

By funding K-12 Public Schools, Qatar Foundation is promoting Arabic in American schools. Pixabay.
Bad education can lead to children moving towards committing crimes. Pixabay.

“Child abuse is a risk factor for later antisocial behaviour,” said Todd Herrenkohl, Professor at the University of Michigan in the US.

“Education and academic achievement can lessen the risk of crime for all youth, including those who have been abused (encountered stress and adversity),” Herrenkohl added.

However, for some children who are weak in academic performance and get suspended in grades seven to nine, the offending habits and antisocial behaviour tends to stay with them even later in life, the researchers said.

Also Read: Strong Relationships May Counter Health Effects of Childhood Abuses

The study, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, noted that the primary prevention of child abuse is a critical first step to reduce antisocial behaviour at the transition from adolescence into adulthood. Researchers followed 356 people from childhood (ages 18 months to 6 years), school-age (8 years), adolescent (18 years) and adulthood (36 years).

Child abuse can make children criminals. VOA

Parent-child interactions measured various types of abuse and neglect, and responses also factored educational experiences and criminal behaviour against others or property. Parent reports and self-reports of the team showed criminal and antisocial behaviour among the childhood abuse victims.

“Strategies focused on helping school professionals become aware of the impacts of child abuse and neglect are critical to building supportive environments that promote resilience and lessen the risk for antisocial behaviour,” Herrenkohl said. IANS