Foreigners joined Bangladeshis to pay respect to language martyrs in Canberra

Foreigners joined Bangladeshis to pay respect to language martyrs in Canberra

High Commission for Bangladesh , Canberra

Press release

Canberra, 21 February 2021

Bangladeshis and Australians participated at a Probhat Fery and collectively observed Ekushey in Canberra today at Telopia Park where a Shaheed Minar has been temporarily installed.

Australian dignitaries, including the Australian Capital Territory Environment and Heritage Minister Ms. Rebecca Vassarotti, MLA Alister Coe, many ambassadors, including from India and Russia and other members of the diplomatic corps, representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and other federal departments and above all Bangladesh community members passionately attended the Probhat Fery at the cusp of dawn. Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra organized the Probhat Fery for the third consecutive year around Manuka Oval that ended at the temporary Shaheed Minar.  More than a hundred fifty men and women representing government offices, Ambassadors, school teachers and Bangladeshi origin Australian professionals and students assembled in the dawn and marched together with flowers, festoons and banner singing the song of Ekushey “Amar bhaier rokte rangano ekushe February, ami ki bhulite pari”.      

After the walk, the dignitaries, followed by others, placed floral wreath at the altar of the Saheed Minar. The High Commissioner paid rich tributes to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for securing self-determination for the Bengali nation that, he argued, will help keep Bangla alive in an assured state of sovereignty. He emphasised on international efforts to protect the mother tongues from extinction and expressed determination to work with a multicultural Australia to this cause. The dignitaries underscored significance of Ekushey and linguistic diversity and multiculturalism. The dignitaries highlighted the importance of multilingualism and cultural inclusion to face the challenges of this turbulent time. Commending the socio economic development of Bangladesh under the Sheikh Hasina Government, the speakers praised the bold leadership of Bangladesh in the global campaign for securing honour for all languages and promoting multiculturalism.

After that, the High Commissioner hoisted the national flag at half-mast at the Chancery premise. The messages of the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and State Minister for Foreign Affairs were read out. A Special munajat was also offered for the salvation of the departed souls of the language martyrs and for a peaceful, inclusive and prosperous Bangladesh.

The evening programme for the Bangladesh community commenced with a discussion session on the significance of Ekushey and International Mother Language Day. While briefly touching upon the history of the evolution of the Bengali language, the High Commissioner underscored the need  for protecting mother tongues as languages become extinct, delinking the community from their rich history and culture. Other discussants touched upon challenges for Bangali diaspora, especially the young generation, to continue to practice Bangla in foreign lands. The discussion session was followed by a colourful cultural program with songs and recitation of poems that enthralled the audience.

The temporarily installed “Shaheed Minar” at the Telopea Park will, like previous years, remain there till 24 February 2021 for public viewing and reflection. Despite COVID related restrictions the well conceived and well organized programs were appreciated by the participants.

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