DHAKA, Feb. 21 (PTI) — Bangladeshi senior ministers on Tuesday urged the United Nations to officially adopt Bengali as one of its official languages, as the country celebrated Language Martyrs Day to honor the pioneers of the Bengali language movement.
The United Nations has six official languages - English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Arabic.
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At the 76th UN General Assembly held last year, it adopted Bengali, Hindi and Urdu as non-official languages under a resolution sponsored by India.
“We once again demand that Bengali be given the status of an official language of the United Nations,” said Obaidur Quadr, general secretary and senior government minister of the ruling Awami League.
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The minister made the comments after paying tribute to the martyrs of the historic language movement at the Central Shahid Minaret, where a wreath bearing the name “Amar Ekushey” was placed.
“Let the spirit of Amar Ekushey inspire the struggle against anti-liberation forces,” Quader asserted.
Ekushey February or Ekushey, which means 21 in Bengali, commemorates the day in 1952 when students at Dhaka University staged a protest against the imposition of Urdu in what was then East Pakistan.
This movement turned out to be a larger movement to liberate Pakistan from Pakistan and create Bangladesh nearly two decades later in 1971.
“After the 1952 language campaign, the foundations of Pakistani politics seemed to have failed,” said Badruddin Umar, a left-leaning scholar and political history analyst.
In 1999, the United Nations declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day, which coincides with Language Martyrs Day in Bangladesh.
On September 25, 1974, the founder of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, delivered a historic speech at the United Nations General Assembly in Bangladesh.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Shahriar Alam said UN authorities need $600 million a year to make a new official language work in the UN system.
In 2010, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stated Bengali at the United Nations General Assembly that Bengali should be named an official language of the United Nations to reflect its large number of speakers and its literary and historical heritage.
Meanwhile, Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid laid a wreath at the central Shahid Tower after midnight to honor the country’s language martyrs.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also honored her at a military ceremony on Tuesday.
Thousands of people from different social, professional, academic and cultural organizations also gathered at the Central Shahid Tower and paid their respects.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)