International Mother Language Day 2019: History, theme, and purpose!

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New Delhi | February 21, 2019 2:30 PM

International Mother Language Day is every year celebrated on February 21 since the year 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

Bangladesh observes a national holiday on International Mother Language Day. (Photo courtesy:

International Mother Language Day is celebrated every year on February 21 since the year 2000. It was first recognized in November 1999, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) brought the subject in the UN General Conference. Later, the resolution was welcomed by the UN General Assembly in 2002.

International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 Tweet:

The history behind Mother Language Day: A language movement was held by the people of Bangladesh (then Pakistan) in 1952 in Dhaka.

Post independence, Pakistan government declared Urdu as its national language. However, the idea was not approved by the people living in East Pakistan as their mother language was Bangla. They wanted Bangla to get acceptance as one of the official languages to be spoken and used in their country.

On February 21, 1952, students from the University of Dhaka held a massive protest against the decision.

In 1956, the government agreed to grant official status to Bangla. Although Bangladesh became independent in 1971, it still celebrates the International Mother Language Day on February 21, observing a national holiday.

Also Read: Taj Festival 2019: A celebration of Indian culture and history in Agra!

UN outlined the term – Mother Language Day

On 16th May 2007, the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution called upon member states to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.

UN’s Tweet:

International Mother Language Day 2019

This year, the United Nations is celebrating the International Mother Language Day by asking for a proverb from people across the globe on the following topics:

Conflict resolution/competence to deal with conflict

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