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.
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.