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Dhaka     Tuesday   16 April 2024

International Mother Language Day observed in Malaysia

S A Saurav, Malaysia || risingbd.com

Published: 12:31, 22 February 2024  
International Mother Language Day observed in Malaysia

Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur observed “National Martyrs’ Day and International Mother Language Day” in a befitting manner.

On the occasion, the Commission chalked out two-day long program on 20-21 February 2024.

On February 20, 2024, Bangladesh High Commission, in collaboration with the Center for Alternatives, Bangladesh and the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Taylor’s University, Malaysia, observed ‘International Mother Language Day’ with the theme ‘Promoting Multilingualism through Technology’.

The event, organized at the “Grand Hall” of the renowned educational institution, Taylor’s University, comprised high-level talks, Panel Discussions, Screening of Documentaries, Photo Exhibition and Multi-cultural event featuring performances by artists from nine (09) countries including Bangladesh.

On this special occasion, the recorded video message of Bangladesh Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud was displayed. In his speech, Foreign Minister appreciated Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur for organizing the cross-border multicultural program to commemorate the International Mother Language Day 2024.

He recalled with profound reverence, the greatest Bangalee of all times, Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who organized language movement and led the nation to freedom in 1971 through epic struggle and liberation war. He stated that it is through cultural connectivity, sustainable peace can be achieved in this turbulent world. 

Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia, Shameem Ahsan while delivering his welcome speech at the event, paid profound respect to the Father of the Nation and the language martyrs. He mentioned that International Mother Language Day has now become a day to celebrate linguistic diversity all over the world. In this context, he recalled the valiant sacrifice made by the language martyrs and recognized the critical role played by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the historical language movement.

In the High-level segment of the event, the recorded remarks by Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, Director, Center for Alternatives, Bangladesh and Maki Katsuno-Hashikawa, Country Director, UNESCO Regional Office, Jakarta were shown. The concluding remarks were delivered by Prof. Dr. Anindita Dasgupta, Head of Department - School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Taylor’s University. This segment of the event featured a documentary on this year’s theme of International Mother Language Day.

Professors Imtiaz Ahmed and Maki Katsuno-Hashikawa in their remarks emphasized on the importance of innovating technology and it’s use to protect and promote multilingualism.

Professor Dr. Anindita Dasgupta, in her concluding remarks, highlighted the importance of technology in language preservation and the use of mother tongue in education.

The Panel Discussion of the event was participated by Dr. Yang Hui, the Director of the Confucius Institute of Dhaka University, Dr Kalai Vaani Rajandram, Managing Editor, Asia Pacific Journal of Futures in Education and Society (APJFES), Hub Leader (Social Protection) Eradicating Poverty Impact Lab, Taylor’s University, Malaysia, and Mr. Goutham Kumar, M Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bangalore. The Panel Discussion was moderated by Judith Nesamalar, Lecturer, Centre for Languages and Liberal Studies, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Taylor’s University. During their deliberations, the discussants highlighted on the spirit of oneness in the celebration of the International Mother Language Day which they described as a powerful and inspirational manifestation of unity. They emphasized on the use of technology to promote multilingualism.

In the sideline of the celebration of International Mother Language Day, High Commissioner Md. Shameem Ahsan, along with distinguished dignitaries and foreign guests, inaugurated the Photo Exhibition organized on the occasion of National Martyrs’ Day and International Mother Language Day. This Photo exhibition featured the historic developments starting from the language movement of 1952, culminating into the War of Independence and final victory under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. At the venue, a Shaheed Minar (Language Monument) was temporarily installed.    

In the grand multicultural event, artists from nine different countries showcased cultural diversity through their magnificent performances. The fascinating cultural presentations by the artists of India, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Sudan, Tanzania, Bangladesh and the members of Bangladesh High Commission family enthralled the audience. Colorful performances by artists from different countries on the same stage, revealed a unique cultural harmony. High Commissioner’s spouse, High Commission officials and their families, Members of Diplomatic Corps, Representatives of social and cultural organizations, University students, journalists and representatives of Bangladeshi expatriate community and their families were present during the event. The guests were served with traditional Bangladeshi and Malaysian cuisine.

On 21 February 2024, Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur observed National Martyrs’ Day and International Mother Language Day with due solemnity and fervour. In the morning, the members of the High Commission family led by High Commissioner Shameem Ahsan placed floral wreaths at the altar of the High Commission’s Shaheed Minar (Language Monument) through Prabhat Feri (morning procession). Then, the members of visiting delegation of Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce, local community leaders and members of social and cultural organizations successively laid floral wreaths at the Shaheed Minar. Then, the national flag was hoisted at half-mast by the High Commissioner.

During the discussion event, a special prayer was offered for the salvation of the departed souls of those who laid down their lives during the language movement in 1952 and War of Independence in 1971 and also seeking divine blessings for the continued peace, progress and prosperity of the country. One minute silence was observed to pay deep respect to the martyrs. Then, the messages from the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister were read out. During the event, Tamil, Mandarin and Malay speaking officials at the High Commission delivered short speeches mentioning the significance of the International Mother Language Day.

A documentary on the language movement was screened on the occasion.