21th February is a glorious historical day of Bangladesh. This day is celebrated as 'International Mother Language Day' in the world wide. This day was celebrated as a "National Mourning Day (Shaheed Day)" in Bangladesh Up to 1999.
UNESCO took decision in 17 November 1999 to celebrate this day as International Mother Language Day from 21th February 2000. United Nation UN took decision in 21 October 2010 in to celebrate this day as "International Mother Language Day".
21th February is a historical day. Many people were sacrificed their life in 21 February 1952 to ensure the right of mother language. 21th February is government holiday in Bangladesh and may cultural events has been arranged all over the country. President, Prime Minister and all classes of people of Bangladesh come to the Shaheed Minar with flower at 12:00am to respect the Shaheed who were sacrificed their lives for their mother language.
In 1947, when Pakistan was created, it had two parts- East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan. But they had different in sense culture and language and even two parts are separated by India in between.
In 1948, Prime Minister of Pakistan was declared in a public meeting that "Urdu and only Urdu will be the state language of Pakistan" then East Pakistan protested it. Basically, most of west Pakistani people use Urdu as their mother language. In the other side about all of East Pakistani (Bangladeshi) people use Bengali and Bengali is the seventh largest language in the world. So East Pakistan demanded that the Bengali also be a state language beside Urdu.
From that time East and West Pakistan conflict were started for the question of the right of language. And finally, in 21 February 1952 it reached out of control. To stop this movement, Pakistan government outlawed public meeting and rallies. But the students of the Dhaka University and general public arranged a massive rallies and meeting. In that day police opened fire on public. Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, Shafiqur and more people died and several hundred people injured. It is one of the rare incidents in the world history where people sacrifice their lives for mother language.
In 22 February, the movement were spared everywhere and people arranged a Namaj-e-Janaza. In 23 February at night, the students placed a Monument in front of Dhaka Medical College hostel and later 26 February, Pakistan army and police broke it.
From the next year of this incident all Bengali peoples were celebrated 21th February as a "National Mourning Day" or "Language Shaheed Day"
In 1956, Pakistan government includes Bengali as state language when they prepare 1st constitution of Pakistan.
In 1954, New government established by general election under leading a Bengali leader A.K. Fazlul Haque and the anniversary of 21 February declared a holiday. In 1957, the government started to established a Shaheed Minar (Martyr Monument) beside the Dhaka Medical College, which place was the central point of language movement. Sculptor Hamidur Rahman created the design of Shaheed Minar under which construction was started in 1957. Later the design was re-formed.
Construction work was completed in 1963 and It was inaugurated on 21 February 1963, by the mother of Abul Barkat, Hasina Begum.
The Minar was severely damaged by the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The columns were destroyed on the night of the commencement of the genocide, 25 March 1971. After the independence war damaged part were reformed in 1972.
In every year Bangla Academy arrange a book fair "Ekushey Boi Mela" around the the month of February respecting the shaeed.
School, college, university, market, shoping mall, roads and everywhere in Bangladesh is sing a sad song which is given below in this day. "This is called "Ekhushey (twenty first's) song"
"My Brothers Blood Spattered 21 February
Can I forget the twenty-first of February
incarnadined by the love of my brother?
The twenty-first of February, built by the tears of a hundred mothers robbed of their sons,
Can I ever forget it?"
"Amar Vaiyer Rokete Ranganu Ekhshey February
Ami Ki Vulite pari
Chele Hara Shoto Mayer Oshru Jhora E February
Ami Ki Vulite Pari?
Amar Sunar Desher Rokte Ranganu Ekushe February
Ami Ki Vulite Pari?"
Artist: Altaf Mahmud
Featuring artist: Abdul Gaffar Choudhury
Also performed by: Abdul Latif