Millennium Post

No barriers no borders

With thousands of people from either side of the border gathering at colourful functions to commemorate the ‘language martyrs’, India and Bangladesh jointly organised the International Mother Language Day.

The day was first declared a special day for celebrating linguistic and cultural diversity by UNESCO in 1999. On 21 February each year, Bangladesh remembers the students who were killed when they demanded introduction of Bangla as state language while the country was still part of Pakistan, in 1952. Despite the two-day countrywide strike in India and scarcity of vehicles, intellectuals and lawmakers, men, women and young students of both nations joined the celebrations, breached borders and walked deep into the other country’s territory as artists from the two sides performed dances and sang songs.

Members of parliament participated in the International Mother Language Day programme held at the zero point of the Akhaurah checkpost, three kms from the heart of Tripura’s capital, Agartala. ‘For the past four years, the day has been jointly celebrated, and thousands gather from either side. Such joint celebrations would easily further ties between India and Bangladesh,’ Bangladesh MP Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury said, while addressing the function. The Sahitya Academy president of Brahmanbaria (in Bangladesh), Jaidul Hossain, said, ‘India-Bangladesh cultural diplomacy would definitely resolve many vague and unsettled issues, benefiting the people of the two neighbours.’ ‘The language movement in the then east Pakistan sowed the seeds of nine-month-long 1971 liberation war, which created a sovereign Bangladesh,’ Hossain said. Bangladesh observes 21 February as ‘Martyrs’ Day’ to commemorate the killing of Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and a few other brave men of that country killed in police firing on this day in 1952 when thousands of students moved in a procession from the Dhaka University campus, breaching police barriers, demanding recognition of Bangla as a state language of the then undivided Pakistan. ‘Though we are separated by the boundaries, we have a common culture, language and life style in both the nations,’ renowned poet and Tripura Cultural Minister Anil Sarkar said.

Border Security Force and troopers from Bangladesh Border Guard were silent onlookers as people from either side freely crossed the border barriers and mingled together. (IANS)
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