Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Martyrs of the Mother Tongue

21 February 1952
BG E 16/405

Bangladesh was governed by Pakistan from 1947 to 1971. As a consequence, Urdu was the only recognized language. Bangla, the language of the Bengalis, was forbidden. During a protest demonstration by students in Dhaka on 21 February 1952, the Pakistani police killed four people. Since then, Rafiq, Barkat, Jabbar, and Selam have become 'Martyrs of the Mother Tongue', and the Bengalis celebrate 'Language Martyrs Day' on 21 February.
In 1999 the UNESCO made 21 February International Mother Language Day, a day intended to promote free language choice everywhere in the world.