“Languages without borders”.
In the picture, H.E. Sheik Mohammed Belal, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and his wife, Dr Dilruba Nasrin.
By Roy Lie Atjam.
The Hague, 22 February 2020, the Embassy of Bangladesh celebrated “Mother Language Day 2020” with a program full of cultural performances. The Embassies of India, Indonesia, Nepal, Belarus, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Russian Federation made artistic contributions.
The Theme this year is “Languages without borders”. The theme focuses on cross-border languages and helps to preserve indigenous heritage. The main purpose of celebrating this day is to promulgate the awareness of language and cultural diversity in the world. Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened because several languages are disappearing, think of Garifuna, Creole-French, Tupi and many others.
According to UNESCO, a 40% population of the world does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Therefore, it is necessary to make progress in mother tongue-based multilingual education.
On the 22 February the Bangladesh Embassy in the Netherlands put up a grand Ekushe program involving Embassies of as many as seven other countries in The Hague and immersing them in the deeper renditions of Bangladeshi culture and traditions. The event was made to commemorate Immortal Ekushe and International Mother Language Day 2020 to disseminate multilingualism and culture of peace.
More than 200 guests comprising Ambassadors of India, Indonesia, and diplomatic representatives from the Embassies of Belarus, Afghanistan, Thailand, Brazil, Uruguay and Afghanistan, country head of IOM and former Deputy Mayor of The Hague, junior diplomats from Bangladesh, members of expatriate Bangladeshi community, students, Dutch nationals, media among many others joined the program.
The program of the day began with observing one-minute silence for the language martyrs of 1952. While recalling with deep reverence the language martyrs namely Shaheed Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, Shafiur and so many unknown and unsung language heroes of 1952 who laid down their lives for the cause of mother tongue, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Netherlands Sheikh Mohammed Belal in his welcome address highlighted the significance of International Mother Language Day for furthering culture of peace in the world and urged all to celebrate humanity in the spirit of International Mother Language Day.
The Ambassador encouraged spreading of linguistic diversity and cultural traditions to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue. He expressed profound gratitude to the Government of Bangladesh and to The Hague Municipal authority for extending necessary cooperation for the construction of the first-ever International Language Monument in Zuider Park of The Hague, which was inaugurated on 21 February 2019. The Ambassador also underscored the importance of being empathetic to the deaf and dumb people of the world who can’t express their good ideas and thoughts in their mother tongue.
The Ambassadors of India and Indonesia and their spouses, members of diplomatic corps and former Deputy Mayor of The Hague were made to participate in the event themed “Language of Peace” which was moderated by Dr Dilruba Nasrin, wife of Ambassador Belal. In this segment, participating Ambassadors and their spouses and diplomatic representatives reiterated the theme of peace in their own languages as well as in Bangla. The Indonesian Ambassador performed a popular Indonesian dance while the former Deputy Mayor of The Hague recited a poem of our rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.
On this occasion, a befitting cultural program was organized, where members of families of the officials and communities of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Russian Federation, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Vietnam as well as African Students groups put up songs, dances and poems commemorating the spirit of Shaheed Dibash and the International Mother Language Day and representing their rich cultural ethos and traditions.
The guests mesmerized with the performances and praised the initiative of Embassy of Bangladesh for organizing the program involving performers of other countries which showcases cultural integration and harmony.
The program ended with lunch where traditional Bangladeshi foods were served.
Earlier, on 21 February 2020, Embassy officials along with members of expatriate Bangladeshi community and students paid their tributes to the heroes of the Language Movement by placing floral wreaths at the first-ever Shaheed Minar built in The Hague in 2019. They stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the language heroes.