Monday, November 29

Today is Mother’s Day 21th February



President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina place wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital at 12:01am today to pay homage to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement.

Despite the government’s resolve to have Bangla declared one of the official of the United Nations, it appears that there is a long way to go before the goal is achieved, thanks to some practical difficulties. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her speech at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2009, raised Dhaka’s demand to designate Bangla one of the official languages of the UN.

She reiterated the demand at the UNGA in 2010 and 2011. At present, the official languages of the UN are English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic and Russian. According to foreign ministry officials, since the demand was raised by Sheikh Hasina, Dhaka has taken diplomatic initiatives to “materialise the country’s dream” to have Bangla designated an official language of the UN.

however, conceded that the process was a long and difficult one as political, institutional and financial hurdles were involved. It cannot be said when all the hurdles would be overcome, after which Bangla would be declared as an official language of the UN, they said on the eve of Shaheed Dibas and International Mother Language Day.

The nation is all set to pay homage to the martyrs of the language movement of 1952 a minute after midnight past today by placing wreaths at Shaheed Minars across the country amid beefed up security. The theme of the International Mother Language Day 2016 is “Quality education, language(s) of instruction and learning outcomes.” International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in November 1999.

Responding to a question, the officials said many rules would have to be followed to achieve the goal. The foreign ministry is making vigorous efforts to explain the logic behind Bangladesh’s demand, they said. “We are trying our best, but there has been little progress in this regard,” a senior foreign ministry official told The Independent yesterday.

“We are aware of the emotional attachment to the demand. But to be honest, there is still a long way to go,” he said. “We want to promote Bangla in the world as we are passionate about our language. But we will have to show the logic behind our demand.

To this end, we are working towards persuading other members to support our cause, and some countries are already on our side,” said another senior official. “We have already contacted the UN Secretariat in this regard. If we keep trying, I am sure Bangla will be declared an official language,” the official said.

However, another official said, “It will be a wonder if Bangla is declared a UN official language.” He pointed out, “Despite Japan being the second largest contributor to the UN budget, Japanese is not an official language.

India gave up after trying for a long time. Arabic was declared an official language only after hectic efforts for more than 20 years.” “The financial aspect is the main hurdle, as the process involves a lot of money. Besides, a country’s international influence is also a factor,” the official said, adding, “I would not say it is impossible, but it will take a long time before our demand is met.”