International Mother Language Day

From a local event to a global scale.
In 1999 UNESCO proclaimed 21 February to be International Mother Language Day (IMLD), sometimes also called International Mother Tongue Day, to raise awareness of linguistic rights and to promote the maintenance, preservation and protection of all languages. UNESCO chose this date in recognition of what happened in East Pakistan in 1952 and is today commemorated in Bangladesh as Language Martyrs’ Day.

So for some Sylheti speakers with ties to Bangladesh, this day has double significance.

images thanks to Mukter Ahmed


And let us also remember that while we largely accept that discrimination based on such things as a person’s ethnicity, race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability or national origin is reprehensible, too often discriminaiton based on a person’s language and accent is deemed acceptable. A person’s language is as dear to their identity as all the other aspects.

Article 13 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.

Nagri 'article 13'-01 - Mukter Ahmed

translated by Mukter Ahmed


And, we’ve made available a new digital version of the storybook, an ebook in only Nagri with no other scripts: storybook-Nagri_only.

Getting feedback on the storybook…

Some comments are coming in!  Please add yours.


“…its great! … love the quality of the pictures and the transcription reads very well. – a Sylheti-speaking Londoner interested in learning to read Siloti Nagri (14 Feb. 2018)


A Londoner father told us that his 24-year-old, medical student son who never learned Bengali could read the stories and enjoyed them! (20 Dec. 2017)


The Youtuber ‘She Learns’ reviews the storybook at 4:00. (11 April 2019)
“I love this book. It’s very pleasing to look at. And it’s very entertaining, very useful, especially for practicing the Nagri reading.”

Storybook distribution – Getting it out there!

Distribution of the storybook ‘fuTae sillaito bag aise, aro duiTa kicca siloTi bashae’ / ‘The Boy Who Cried Tiger, and two other stories told in the Sylheti language’ is continuing as we get to the end of our first print run. Thank you once again crowdfund supporters!

All nine public libraries in Camden, London, as well as the prestigious British Library, have copies. You should also be able to consult copies at the Camden Council offices too. Shantir Boi, off Brick Lane, has copies that you can consult. And copies will soon be in the eight libraries and Idea stores of Tower Hamlets. Some copies have made their way to ‘Mulitlingual Manchester’ at the University of Manchester. Goldsmiths University of London has also requested copies.

And as always, digital copies are available to distribute and print freely.

If you know of any interested organisations – libraries, schools, after-school programmes, please contact us at Stroybook Poster-page-001

ISBN-13 : 9780728604100 (print edition)