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(Commemorating the Bengali language movement day, February 21, 1952)

Dr. Gulshan Ara

The day was bright and sunny, pulsating in festive mood
Earth beaming with life in a vibrant spring day, music playing in the air
Baby green leaves peeping through skinny branches
Krishnochura* trees rejoicing with red flowers brightening the earth with radiant glow
Birds chirping, butterflies flying from flower to flower
Sparkling water in running creeks making rumbling music
Rows of swan gliding through glittering water, basking in midday sun
Mother Nature in joyous mood, playing welcoming orchestra to usher in spring
Offering floral bouquet to earth’s bosom

On the ground, through the streets of Dhaka**
A peaceful procession of thousands of people was going on
Marching and demanding their basic democratic right
The right to preserve Bangla***, their mother tongue, as their national language

Suddenly, soldiers with military boots, came thumping through the streets of Dhaka**
Attacked unarmed civilians breaking their peaceful procession
Machine guns firing bullets randomly on an ocean of people
As they ran in chaos many were hit by bullets, and many dead bodies were scattered all around
Stream of fresh blood flooded the streets of Dhaka
Dark shadow of death overcast the sky causing solar eclipse in midday

Mother Nature stunned, watched with woe, clocks stopped ticking
Being overwhelmed with grief, Krishnachura* trees lowered their branches
Showering red petals on flooding stream of fresh blood
Such demonic outburst of armed monsters has no parallel in the history of humanity
Years Later, Bengalees*** acquired their right to have Bengali as their National language
So, history of heroism, bravery and resilience,
and history of the utmost sacrifice were written in blood

Today we commemorate the brave worriers and the martyrs of the language movement
We honor them with utmost love, respect and a great deal of humility
Today, their voices are reverberating throughout the world
Claiming the day as everyone’s mother language day, the “International Mother Language Day”
Singing in unison to protect all spoken and written languages
Learning each other’s history, honoring one another, enriching and flourishing together

*Krishnochura-Bloody red flowers blooming in big trees which bloom in Bangladesh only in February; **Dhaka – Capital city of Bangladesh where the tragedy occurred; ***Bengalee – Bengali speaking people


Gulshan Ara is a scientist, poet and social activist

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