By Paul Geater
Monday, February 25, 2013
A CRUCIAL – and tragic – turning point in the battle for Bangladeshi independence has been marked at a special celebration at Suffolk New College.
The Suffolk Bangladeshi Society held the county’s first International Mother Language Day celebration yesterday, attracting civic leaders and members of the Bangladeshi community from across the region.
The event commemorated the struggle for the recognition of the Bangla language – spoken by the majority of the Bangladeshi population.
After the partition of India in 1948, a single state of Pakistan – split between west and east – was formed with the dominant west decreeing that Urdu should be the official language. This was opposed in the east, and during a protest in 1952 many students were killed during a march in Dhaka.
Their deaths sparked a movement which eventually led to the split in Pakistan in 1971 and the establishment of the new state of Bangladesh. In 2008 the United Nations designated February 21 as International Mother Language Day.
At the Ipswich ceremony wreaths were laid by mayor Mary Blake and other civic leaders including Ipswich Star editor Terry Hunt.
The chairman of the Suffolk Bangladesh Society, Manik Miah, said: “This is a very important day for us and we are delighted to share it with the wider community.”