International Mother Language Day at Indian Consulate

February 21

International Mother Language Day and Bhutan’s Losar celebrated at Indian Consulate.
Consulate of India hosted an event to celebrate Bhutan’s Losar, and International Mother Language Day. Bhutanese community, and Bangla speaking people from Bangladesh and India besides Indian community turned out in large numbers at the Consulate premises to participate in the event. Speaking on the occasion Consul Krishna Chaitanya greeted the Bhutanese community in the Bhutanese New Year. Talking about the historical significance of February 21, he paid tribute to the Sikh martyrs who laid down their lives on 20-21 February 1921 at Nankana Sahib to free the Sikh holy shrines from the colonial regime backed rogue elements. He also paid tributes to the student martyrs who were shot dead on “Ekushey February” (Feb 21) in 1952 when students of the University of Dhaka launched a nationwide protest against forceful imposition of Urdu on the Bangla speaking population disregarding their demand to recognize Bangla language. It was a pivotal moment in the ‘Bhasha Andolon’ (Bengali Language Movement), which laid the foundations of linguistic nationalism and led to the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. He pointed out that following a proposal by Bangladesh, firstly the UNESCO in 1999 and then the United Nations General Assembly in 2002 declared February 21 to be observed as International Mother Language Day. He also referred to the linguistic diversity of India and cited that there are 22 languages, including Urdu and Nepali, recognised as Official Languages in the Constitution of India. He also talked about the New Education Policy of India, which seeks to promote education in mother languages and also encourages school students to learn a foreign languages. He added that the languages offered include Thai.
Bibaswan Palchaudhary, poupularly known as Swan recited the poem ‘February 21’ writtten in memory of the student martyrs of Dhaka University. He also sang three Bangla songs popular in both India and Bangladesh and also one from his first Album. Karma from Bhutan talked about the importance of Losar and how it is observed in Bhutan while Rinchen Dema talked about Bhutan’s national language Dzongkha. She also involved the audience in reciting a few basic sentences in Dzongkha. Karma, Rinchen and Sneha sang a medley of 14 Hindi songs. Advisor of India Studies Centre, Chiang Mai University, Ranjeet Singh involving Thai, Burmese, Nepali, Persian, Russian, Multani, Gujarati, Kachchi, Garhwali, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Bengali, Malayalam, Bhojpuri, and Bazzika speakers in reciting popular Bollywood dialogues in their respective languages. The programme concluded with the traditional Bhutanese dance to wish for the well-being of everyone in which everybody participated. Chai N Thai provided the catering and the servings included typical Bangla fares like ‘Machher Jhol’ (Fish curry in mustard) and ‘Rasogulla’ .

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