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Martyrs Day and International Mother Tongue Day

February 21, 2022 @ 8:00 pm February 22, 2022 @ 1:00 am

I’m honoured to be giving a brief introductory talk for the Toronto Bengali community’s celebration of Basha Shahid Dibos, Language Martyrs Day, held online and on NRB TV. This six-hour event begins at 8 p.m., Sunday, February 20, the eve of the holiday, and features the marking of the day itself at 12:01 a.m. February 21, the anniversary of the 1952 police killing of peaceful Bengali demonstrators asking for official language recognition of Bengali (Bangla) in what is now Bangladesh. 

This event was the origin of the United Nations’ establishment of February 21 as international Mother Language Day. The UNESCO declaration states: ‘The mother language, in which the first words are uttered and individual thought expressed, is the foundation for the history and culture of each individual.’

In my role as Poet Laureate of Toronto and along with High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada Dr. Khalilur Rahman, I’ll declare the opening of the Canadian Basha Shahid Dibos celebration. Special guests include Nathaniel Erskine-Smith MP and Dolly Begum MP. Presented by renowned writer and researcher Subrata Kumar Das. Canada’s Bangladeshi organizers, thinkers, writers, artists and cultural personalities will also take part in this 6-hour non-stop event. There will be songs, poems, discussion and many more.

The event can be viewed from the following link and can be joined at any point in its length:  https://www.facebook.com/681214938647550/posts/4358855334216807

After the event has ended, the NRB TV broadcast will remain available on Facebook here : https://www.facebook.com/thenrbtv/videos/954689505188424

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