A group of Jesuit priests and former students gathered on the St Xavier’s College campus on Sunday to pay tributes to the martyrs of the Language Revolution Day (Bhasha Andolan Dibas).
On February 21, 1952, students were killed in Dhaka (then part of East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh) in police action launched to suppress the movement that demanded recognition of the Bengali language. The day is now celebrated as the International Mother Language Day.
On Sunday morning, floral tributes were paid at the erected martyrs’ column on the college campus on Park Street. The column was designed in the style of the original one at Dhaka University.
A minute’s silence was observed in memory of those who had laid down their lives on this day in Dhaka in 1952.
“It is a Jesuit principle to respect and also to create opportunities for different mother languages of people spread across the world,” said Father Dominic Savio, the principal of the college.
“St. Xavier’s College has a rich tradition of respecting the mother languages. The college is now offering MA in Bengali on its rural campus in Raghabpur in South 24-Parganas and Bengali honours on both the campuses. There is also ample opportunity at St Xavier’s College for flourishing literary talent of the students of all streams in their respective mother languages,” he said.
The celebrations at St Xavier’s College were muted this year because of the pandemic. Missing was the usual procession of students, staff and alumni, taken out every year to mark this day.