Commemorating International Mother Language Day in 2024 by Observing The Language of Sustainability

Mother Language Day 2024

International Mother Language Day is a day to observe and inspire the power of language, inclusion and fighting for culture.


Proclaimed by UNESCO, the day is observed to commemorate a very special incident that took place in Bangladesh on the same day in 1952. It is one of the most gallant face-offs and a vivid demonstration of cultural integrity that one could die to defend one’s mother language.


Understanding the innate relationship between language and the environment is one way to observe International Mother Language Day within the framework of sustainability. As a leading jute bags manufacturer in India, we at Richie Bags aim to spread awareness about the strongest language of humanity and our role in it.

What Is International Mother Language Day?


Already observed as Shôhid Dibôsh in Bangladesh, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) first proclaimed it in November 1999, an idea that was welcomed by the UN General Assembly, and finally, International Mother Language Day was proclaimed in 2002.


International Mother Language Day is observed to “promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by world peoples.” Declared in UN resolution 61/266, it was approved by the UN General Assembly on May 16, 2007, and it also declared 2008 to be the International Year of Languages.


International Mother Language Day serves as a poignant reminder of the intrinsic value of linguistic diversity and the need to safeguard it for future generations. By embracing the language of sustainability, we can harness the power of words to foster environmental stewardship, social equity, and cultural resilience.

History, Objectives And Approaches of the International Mother Language Day


In 1947, when the British Raj was abolished and India was declared an independent country, it was not without sustaining a dent, that would only broaden in the coming decades. India was geographically separated into three parts: the Republic of India, West Pakistan, and East Pakistan.


Even though West and East Pakistan were separated on the basis of religious affiliation, for the “Muslim majority” demographic, it was a precarious geographic alignment when the two portions of a country were intersected by over 1,000 miles of Indian territory between them. Moreover, East Pakistan, more strongly called Bangladesh, despite being an Islamic region, was way too different from West Pakistan in culture, language and moral values.


It was already a tense situation since East Pakistan had constantly conflicted with Bangladesh, for having language differences, the former did not accept Bangla to be a state language, even in Bangladesh. The Pakistan Government tried to impose the following:

“The state language of Pakistan is going to be Urdu and no other language.”  – an excerpt from the 21 March 1948 public announcement by Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.


The government of Pakistan declared that anyone who tries to oppose this idea is “misleading” the state and is thus an enemy of Pakistan. This declaration sparked a strong protest from Bangladesh to defend their mother language, Bangla. The demand was very simple, to include  Bangla as a national language, in addition to Urdu. But Pakistan was adamant and persuasive with its “Urdu-only” policy.


In 1952 January, the central language committee of “Shorbodolio Kendrio Rashtrobhasha Kormi Porishod” was formed. The committee decided upon an all-out protest on 21 February of the same year, through rallies and strikes. The Pakistan Government urgently imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), with the scope of preventing nuisance or apprehended danger, however, the rule was more focused on prohibiting the assembly.


On the day of 21st February, the students of Dhaka University gathered on the campus, defying Section 144, the ensuing conflicts ended with the police opening fire and shooting 29 people dead. This incident served as the most potent prelude to the Bangladesh Liberation War, in which Bangladesh not only preserved its mother language, Bangla but also emerged as an independent country, severing ties with Pakistan, once and for all.


Ideas To Celebrate International Mother Language Day


Mother language is as much about communal harmony as it is about multilingualism. The concept is to encourage language to be a catalyst for positive change, on this day and every day, paving a cultural pathway for a more sustainable world. Richie Bags has come up with the following ideas to celebrate this day:


✔️ Learn a New Language: It could also be learning about a language, a few phrases from a foreign language, or just learning a new word. The primary goal is to take a step closer to a world beyond your own.


✔️ Make a Friend:  If you are looking to learn a language, there’s no better way than to learn it from a friend. We at Richie Bags, a global jute bag supplier, have experienced this while communicating with our overseas customers. Language often draws people closer.


✔️ Gift a Sustainable Bag with a Message: To spread the word in the universal language of humanity, a straightforward organic tote bag bearing the phrase “save the earth” could be a wonderful gesture.


✔️Organise Cultural Events:    From foreign language films to cultural performances of traditional dance, music and theatre, by organising such cultural events, one can practice creating opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and friendship.


✔️Hold Community Language Festivals: Celebrate your region’s linguistic diversity by holding community language festivals. To keep participants of all ages and backgrounds interested, provide a range of activities like interactive games, craft workshops, and food stalls with linguistic themes.

Gift a Jute Bag With A Message: How Linguistic Diversity Can Break Cultural Diversity


International Mother Language Day highlights the importance of multilingualism in fostering global cooperation and knowledge exchange for sustainability.


In 2018, we at Richie Bags visited a number of international trade fairs and that year, we introduced our “recycled shopping bags,” which had messages written on them, simply saying, “This Bag Is Made From Recycled Plastic.” We are glad to share that this one message changed the course of our new product for the coming years, and it is one of the most enquired products in our catalogue.


Have you ever wondered that scriptures can be art? A simple organic cotton bag with the quote “C’est la vie” could be a great fashion statement. It is a French phrase, meaning “such is life.”

Even though French is not the language everyone speaks, foreign language quotes are often highly influential messages, bringing linguistic diversity into the folds of global cooperation and common internet in each other’s culture and worldviews.


The exchange of effective and friendly communication across foreign countries, breaking away from language and cultural barriers, can be instrumental in forming alliances, perhaps even stronger than political truces. Since multilingualism makes it possible for different voices to be acknowledged and heard without discrimination, it promotes cooperation, creativity, and the co-creation of sustainable solutions. And when the message of sustainability is voiced with such an indiscriminate, friendly and welcoming approach, it tends to reach out to people more effectively than anything else.

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