US Congress to pass Mother Language bill

A resolution has been introduced in the US Congress to promote International Mother Language Day in the country.


US Representative Grace Meng of New York’s 6th Congressional district made the move on Saturday to encourage the House of Representatives to support the goals and ideals of the day with appropriate ceremonies, programmes and activities.

International Mother Language Day is observed on February 21 in recognition of the sacrifice made by Bengalis who had died for the cause of their mother language in 1952.

They had been shot dead in Dhaka by the then Pakistani regime for marching in a procession demanding the status of a state language for Bengali.

The day, originally known as ‘Shaheed Dibosh’, is observed with the highest degree of solemnity in Bangladesh.

In Nov 1999, the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), after adopting a resolution moved by Bangladesh and co-sponsored by 28 other countries, proclaimed Feb 21 as International Mother Language Day in recognition of the unprecedented sacrifice made to advance the cause of the mother language.

Since then, Bangladesh’s ‘Language Movement Day’ has been observed internationally to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism around the world.

“This resolution is an outstanding way to bring attention to International Mother Language Day and to make Americans aware of its importance to the people of Bangladesh,” said Meng, a Democrat member of Congress.

“Thanks to Bangladesh, countries around the world celebrate this great occasion, and I look forward to more people in the US and across the globe learning about the importance of preserving our linguistic heritage.

“I encourage House leaders to hold a vote on my resolution soon.”

The resolution is expected to be referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the matter.

For most people residing in the United States, English is the de facto language but many other languages are spoken across homes in the country.

According to the American Community Survey, there are 39 language groups in the US including Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Persian, Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu and many more.

Source: BD News 24