Rabindranath Tagore said any education must be immersed in the mother tongue if it is to gain permanence, depth and to expand. We have failed to make Bangla the medium of education at all levels. There are no Bangla books on engineering and medical studies at the tertiary level. The Qudrat-e-Khuda Education Commission’s recommendation to launch a unitary education at the primary level was not implemented due to the negligence of the authorities.

The nation celebrates 21st February through various programmes. However, the question remains as to how much dignity we could ensure for the language. The dignity of the language means introducing it in every sphere of individual and national life. Every year on 21st February, the government high-ups talk about introducing Bangla on all levels but no effective or sustainable steps are visible. English gets priority in business, higher education, research and various other sectors. Laws are being made in Bangla, but the higher courts still rely on English.

A committee was formed several years ago to bring the use of Bangla in higher courts. The committee saw no progress. We are worried to see that the use of Bangla is declining in our regular activities too. Nameplates of most of the buildings are in English. Such neglect of the mother tongue is sad in a country where people laid down their lives for the language.

If we are truly respectful to our language martyrs, we have to ensure that the day is not confined merely on formalities. We must inculcate the true meaning of the day. We must introduce Bangla in every sector. Alongside emphasising on the expansion of Bangla, the government has to work on ensuring the development of languages of other ethnic groups living in Bangladesh.

Development of the mother language is the real lesson of 21st February.

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