Border melts as India, Bangladesh celebrate Mother Language Day By Sujit Chakraborty, IANS, Akhaurah (India-Bangladesh border) : With hundreds and thousands of people from either side of the border present and vivid functions and commemorations of the language martyrs, India and Bangladesh Tuesday jointly organised the International Mother Language Day. Men, women and young students belonging to India and Bangladesh, joining the celebrations, breached the borders and walked deep into either country's territory when artists from the two sides performed dances, rendered songs and recitations, and staged drama since the early hours of the day. Members of parliament, legislators, ministers, important personalities took part in the International Mother Language Day programme held at the zero point on this border, three km from the heart of Tripura's capital, Agartala. "For the first time, the day was jointly celebrated in the presence of thousands of people from both sides of the border. Such joint celebrations would easily further strengthen the existing ties between India and Bangladesh," Bangladesh MP Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury said while addressing the function. He said: "Such type of joint carnivals would be held very frequently in future. It was most unpredicted that such a huge number of people and artists from both sides of the border would participate in this heart-warming event." Another member of the Bangladesh Parliament, Ziaul Haque Mrida said: "India-Bangladesh cultural diplomacy would definitely resolve many vague and unsettled issues, benefiting the people of the two neighbours." International Mother Language Day, first announced by Unesco(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Nov 17, 1999, is observed Feb 21 every year worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Bangladesh observes the day as "Martyrs' Day" to commemorate the killing of Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and a few other brave men of that country killed in police firing on this day in 1952 when thousands of students moved out in a procession from the Dhaka University campus, breaching police barriers, demanding recognition of Bangla as a state language of the then undivided Pakistan (which included East Pakistan that today is Bangladesh). "Though we are separated by the border, we have a common culture, language and life style in both the nations and now with the joint observance of the Mother Language Day, the Bengali-speaking people of the two nations would further come closer," renowned poet and Tripura Cultural Minister Anil Sarkar said. "In 1952, Bangladesh's language movement martyrs who laid down their lives to establish Bangla as a state language during Pakistani rule, also brought Bangladesh and India closer," Sarkar added. The Tripura government's information and cultural affairs department is actively supporting Tuesday's programme, that is also co-sponsored by many cultural organisations of Bangladesh and India. The India-Bangladesh border points with Tripura were almost open Tuesday in many areas to facilitate the people to join in the celebrations. Border Security Force (BSF) and troopers from Bangladesh Border Guards were silent onlookers as people from either side freely crossed the border barriers and mingled together.