International Mother Language Day 🇧🇩

Ekushey February- 21st February

Bangladesh's biggest source of pride is that we as a nation cannot be suppressed. We always fight for what we believe, what we want and deserve.

We’re the only nation in the face of the earth that fought for their language. In 1952 when Bangladesh was a state of Pakistan, people, students from University of Dhaka with many others took the streets to protest the government's decision to make Urdu the ONLY official language of Pakistan even though Bengali speakers were more in numbers. Civilians took the streets to make Bangla, our mother language also the official language side by side with Urdu, but the govt didn’t like the movement. Bullets were fired, students were shot dead. UN recognized our struggle and declared 21st February as international mother language day in 1999.

On the 1971 25th March when Bangladesh was attacked by its own Pak army and killed all the intellectuals, started killing the member of a political party who won the election, burning hours, destroying all the harvest areas. The normal civilians stood against these atrocities. Normal people with no arms and weapons, no training, stood against a trained army with all the weapons in the world. We knew it won't be possible to fight against them but we will die trying.

In 1971 we got our Independence from Pakistan. What followed was a bloody war that lasted 9 months until the defeat of the Pak army. We take immense pride in that, that our civilians fought with thousands of trained military armies, died in mass, and eventually won. Even though both groups got the support of different world powers, in the end, we won.

After independence the country was a disaster, everything was destroyed, intellectuals were killed, no money, no infrastructures, millions of people were displaced. Everyone thought we will not last for long and fall. But look where we are now.

Bangladesh may be an overpopulated, chaotic country with the worst traffic in the world but the best thing about the country is its people. They are some of the nicest people you would ever meet and are often very smart. Bangladesh has done amazing things - sheltering well over 600,000 new Rohingya refugees in addition to those who were already there. Myanmar commits ethnic cleansing while Bangladesh steps up to protect the Rohingya. I am ashamed of Myanmar but feel proud of what Bangladesh did to help.

There are so many things that make me a proud Bangali:

- According to a UNESCO survey, Bangla has been voted the sweetest language in the world; positioning Spanish and Dutch as the second and third sweetest tongues.

- Bangla literature is very rich. Bangla is a diverse language, and about ~210 million people around the world speak this language. You can imagine the 6th or 7th most spoken language had to be rich in literature. Ekushey Book Fair is an example of how enthusiastic Bangali people are about their literature. Every year, about 4000 new books are published just in February, a month-long fair. There are also localized book fairs that take place in different corners of the country. You can find books on any genre - from poems to novels, from science fiction to non-fiction, from drama to original Bangla comics.

To emphasize the diversity of the literature - Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore got Nobel Prize for his work on Gitanjali in 1913. He was a poet, playwright, novelist, painter, essayist, and musician. Both Bangladeshi and Indian national anthems are written by him, and the Sri Lankan anthem was also inspired by his work. Another prominent figure is Kazi Nazrul Islam. He wrote more than 4000 songs along with short stories, novels, and essays.

There are a lot of Bangladeshi scientists and entrepreneurs. Some of their works are listed here:

1. Fazlur Rahman Khan - architect, one his work is to design the then tallest building of the world ( Sears tower, now: Willis Tower, Chicago)
2. Md. Ataul Karim - Electrical engineer, optical computation
3. Salman Khan - founder of Khan academy
4. Jawed Karim - co-founder of Youtube
5. Jamal Nazrul Islam - renowned mathematical physicist
6. Masudul Alam - renowned for his milestone achievements to discover jute, rubber plant, papaya genome sequence
7. Niaz Morshed - First Grand Master of Bangladesh (as well as South Asia)
8. (probably not listed in Wikipedia) Saif Ahmed - Poker champion
9. Brojen Das - Swimmer: first Asian to swim across the English Channel and the first person to cross it four times

I know a lot of other Bangladeshi researchers working in various fields with tons of achievements. I am sure we would keep seeing many of them in the world news headlines pretty soon.