International Mother Language Day:
Valuing identity, culture, diversity and peace

Zoom event, 27 February 2021, 16:00 - 18:30 (GMT)

A celebration with Purbachal - the Eastern Sky of the contributions of mother tongues to identities, cultures, enrichment and community cohesion.

Over 120 different languages are spoken in Luton and we celebrate their variety each February. This year, we held our event on 27 February as a convenient Saturday. The official date for International Mother Language Day is 21 February. This was designated by UNESCO to commemorate 21 February 1952, when a number of students and other civilians were killed by the police as they protested against the non-inclusion of Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan. At that time, Bangladesh was East Pakistan.

See the announcement in the Luton News on 24 February and their review of the event on 3 March.

See report from Channel S News

Broadcast 3 March 2021

Outline programme:

Welcome: Dr Nazia Khanum, OBE DL, Chair or UNA-Luton and Purbachal

Messages of support from: Helen Nellis, Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire; Susan Lousada, High Sheriff of Bedfordshire; Rachel Hopkins MP (Luton South).

Performances: Dr Rukhsana Safa, the renowned Bangladeshi singer, will open the performances with the iconic Bangla song, 'Amar bhaier rokte rangano.' This will be followed by singing, dancing, poetry readings and statements in Bangla and other languages.

Hosts: The event will be hosted by Dr Anwarul Haque, General Secretary of Purbachal, and Majuba Khan, Social and Cultural Secretary of Purbachal.

You can download the full programme here:

IMLD Programme 27 Feb 2021.pdf

Recording of the International Mother Language Day event

Full recording of the event is now available

Commemoration of International Mother Language Day University of Bedfordshire: 24 February 2020


The commemoration was organised by the UNA-Luton at the University of Bedfordshire, with support from the University of Bedfordshire and Purbachal - the eastern sky, a Bangladeshi cultural and artiistic organisation. International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by UNESCO in 1999 in honour of the students killed by the police in Dhaka, then East Pakistan, who protested against the decision of the Pakistan government to impose Urdu as the only national language of the country, suppressing Bengali which was spoken by the Majority. It is a unique example of people dying to protect their language.

See the International Mother Language Day message from Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO