With paying glowing tributes, people across the country remembered the great heroes who laid down their lives during the Language Movement in 1952 to protect their beloved mother tongue.
With flowers, thousands of people thronged barefoot the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka to pay homage to the martyrs. They hummed the immortal line - 'Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano Ekushey February, Ami Ki Bhulite Pari' (How can I forget the twenty-first of February/ incarnadined by the blood of my brother?).
On February 21, 1952, students and common people in Dhaka took to the streets protesting the then Pakistani government's denial of Bangla as the national language and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
Some brave sons of the soil including Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar were martyred in police firings on this day in 1952 when students came out in a procession from the Dhaka University campus breaching section 144 to press home their demand for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of then Pakistan.
The Language Movement was a sign of the intense alienation of the Bengalis of East Pakistan from its Western counterpart. These tensions would eventually boil over in the Liberation War of 1971.UNESCO in November 1999 declared February 21 as the International Mother Language Day.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tribute to the martyrs of the Language Movement at the start of day. On behalf of them, their military secretaries placed wreaths at the Central Shahid Minar in Dhaka at one minute past midnight.Different political, social and cultural organizations, people from all walks of life gathered at the Shaheed Minar with their children to pay respects to the language martyrs.