The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh at the UNO in late 90s. It was approved at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference and has been observed throughout the world since 2000, on 21st Feb every year. UNESCO believes in the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity for sustainable societies. It’s within its mandate for peace that it works to preserve the differences in cultures and languages that foster tolerance and respect for others.
Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages disappear. Globally 40 per cent of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. The theme of the 2021 International Mother Language Day is “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society,”
21st Feb is also a national holiday of Bangladesh commemorating the Bengali language movement and its martyrs. On this day, people visit Shaheed Minar of Dhaka to pay homage to the movement's martyrs, and arrange seminars discussing and promoting Bengali as the state language of Bangladesh.
Shaheed Minar in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The monument established to commemorate those killed during the Bengali Language Movement demonstrations in 1952.
CELEBRATIONS IN MUMBAI
Dy High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Mr Lutfor Rahman decided to commemorate the occasion in Hotel President on the morning of 21st Feb 2021, and extended invitation to Cdr Vijay Vadhera President NFMC, a few Veterans and some civil dignitaries, with an appeal to recite a few Poems in our mother-tongue.
At this point of
time, it would be prudent for us to get acquainted with the impressive profile
that Mr Md Lutfor Rahman is blessed with.
Mr. Md. Lutfor Rahman was born in Thakurgaon, Bangladesh on 16 October, 1970. He graduated from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in 1995. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Bangladesh in February, 1998. He served in the Headquarters for 2 years as Assistant Secretary in different sections. He was posted to Bangladesh Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2000 and continued to serve till September, 2004. He then served as First Secretary for two years in Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Karachi, Pakistan. Mr. Rahman returned to the Headquarters and assumed the charge as Director in February, 2007. After serving for 02 years in Dhaka, Mr. Rahman joined Bangladesh Mission in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as Counsellor. After a rather short stint, he was posted to Bangladesh Embassy in Rabat, Morocco as Charge d’Affairs ad interim in 2010. Upon completion of his tenure of 04 years, he came back to Headquarters in September, 2014 and was promoted to the rank of Director General. He led the Consular and Welfare Wing and the External Publicity Wing respectively before being posted to Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Mumbai. His hobbies are reading books watching Sports & movies. He is primarily interested in literature, mythology and Development Economics. Mr. Rahman is married and blessed with two talented daughters.
It was a fine sunny morning when Meena and I left our Borivali home in our Tata Manza at about 0900 hrs for the International mother language Day and Language Martyrs Day celebration of our eastern Friend scheduled at 11 AM. After a comfortable long drive, we wheeled into Taj President, Cuff Parade. It was a coincidence that we affronted Cdr Rawat and Cdr Dinesh along with their good ladies Manju and Archana and Meena’s sister Kunj Bali at the entrance. As we stepped into the lounge Capt Rakesh Agrawala and Neera tip-toed behind. It was a pleasure to meet all amidst the Pandemic. Observing the social distancing norms our snapping session commenced here itself. At the Banquet lobby we were greeted and welcomed by Mr Lutfor Rahman and his beautiful lady Shehnaz and the staff of the Commissionerate. Cmde KN Bhagat, Cdr Vadhera, Cdr Shailendra Sharma, Cdr GC Rai, Cdr Anoop Varma and Meenakshi also joined in. We were escorted inside the Banquet hall, where elegant seating arrangement had been catered for.
The Ball room centre stage was adorned with a large backdrop of the theme of Language Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day. The sacred corner on the left of stage was dedicated to the large frames of Bangabandhu Mujib, PM Shaikh Hasina and President Mr Abdul Hamid. Next to this was the flag staff. The presentation screen and the acoustics corner was to the right.
After the distinguished guests were seated Ms Nafisa Monsur, the beautiful Mistress of Ceremony with a sweet voice, welcomed the gathering and requested Cdr V Vadhera, Cdr KK Sharma, Capt Rakesh Agrawala and the Egypt Consular to take to the VIP seating at the Dais along with Mr Lutfor Rahman, Dy HC. The proceedings commenced with hoisting of the Bangladesh flag to half mast on the occasion of Language Martyrs Day (Pics below). The “Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano” anthem was played. This was followed by a 2 mins silence as a mark of respect to the martyrs. Nafisa then called on stage the Dep High Commissioner, Mr Rahman to read out the messages from Bangladesh PM Mrs Shaikh Hasina, President Mr Abdul Hamid and the messages from the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Bengali and Marathi Poems were recited by students and teachers from Anam Prem - Nishigandha Thakur, Shama Khanolkar, Jyoti Padalkar, Bhavika Kale, Radha Nerkar, Prarthana Shinde and Shraddha Kinare. Capt Rakesh Agrawala narrated a hilarious Poem of Shail Chaturvedi and Cdr Raj Dutta narrated a Punjabi Poetry in the context of COVID-19.
After the Poetry recitation a Documentary on the significance of Language Martyrs Day was screened. The Dy High Commissioner after the Vote of Thanks felicitated the Chief Guests. After the Group photograph all guests were escorted in the lobby for a delectable exquisite 5 star Lunch and merriment. Later the NFMC Veterans regaled in a short Karaoke program appreciated by the Dy HC and his staff. Cdr Anoop Verma, Cdr Vadhera & Meenakshi sang Karaoke songs while Cdr Dinesh Rai narrated Dr Harivansh Rai’s Madhushala. Archana Rai recited a Poem on Mahabharata and Cdr Puran Rawat delivered some deep meaning intelligent Shayari.
It was a joyous gathering of Veterans after almost a year of lockdown due to Miss Pandemic, albeit amidst conscious precautions to keep the CV at bay.
Meena and I were the last few to thank and bid farewell to Mr Lutfor Rehman and his good lady Mrs Shehnaz. As we wheeled out of Taj, we smilingly recalled our our visit to this same Venue for the 50th Victory Day celebrations hosted by Dy High Commissioner of Bangladesh on 16 Dec 2020 with great elan. (Blog link below👇)
Sam No Varunah
URL LINK GOLDEN JUBILEE BANGLADESH