New Delhi, Feb. 21: – Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi today remembered the supreme sacrifices of the nation’s language martyrs in solemn observance of Shaheed Dibash and International Mother Language Day.

High Commissioner Syed Muazzem Ali moderated a panel discussion that focused on the role of mother language in globalizing world. Hironmoy Karlekar, consultant editor of The Pioneer newspaper, Shiguru Aoyagi, director of UNESCO, Delhi-based academics Prof. Nandita Basu and Prof. Purushottma Bilimale spoke at the session highlighting the significance of the day when Bengalee youths laid down their lives for the rights of mother language in 1952.

What started as Language Martyrs Day only in Bangladesh is now observed worldwide as International Mother Language Day every year on 21st February at the call of UNESCO.

The UNESCO says the main purpose of celebrating this day is to promote the awareness of language and cultural diversity all across the world. It was first announced by UNESCO on November 17, 1999 after years of lobbying by Bangladesh.

The speakers praised Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for taking the initiatives leading to the UNESCO adopting a resolution in 1999 to declare 21st February as the International Mother Language Day.

The UNESCO official underlined the importance of mother language in education and sustainable development.

In the morning Bangladesh’s red-and-green national flag was hoisted at half-mast by the High Commissioner at the chancery premises in the presence of the mission’s officers and officials.

Messages from President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam were read out. Special prayer in memory of the language martyrs was offered.

The mission’s staff, spouses and children presented the elegy, Amar Bhaiyer Rake Rangano Ekushey February in chorus before a New Delhi-based cultural group, SAPTAK, presented a musical soiree at the mission’s Maitree Hall in the evening.

Three Bangladeshi children recited poet Mahbubul Alam Chowdhury’s poem on ekushey, Ami Kadte Asini