Throngs of people walking barefoot, singing songs of patriotism are paying homage to the Language Movement martyrs, who sacrificed their lived for mother tongue Bangla marking a day of supreme sacrifice.
Singing 'Amar bhaiyer rokte rangano Ekushey February', people from all walks of life are swarming the Central Shaheed Minar to pay their deep respects to the Language heroes.
As the clock struck one minute-past zero hour, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar amid tight security to pay homage to the Language Movement heroes.
The prime minister placed a wreath at the altar just after the president. They stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the language heroes.
Flanked by cabinet members and senior leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Bangladesh Awami League, later placed another wreath at the Shaheed Minar on behalf of the party.
Ministers, advisers to the prime minister, parliament members, chiefs of three services, diplomats, senior Awami League leaders, high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
Later, Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Deputy Speaker Fazley Rabbi Mia and Leader of the Opposition Begum Raushan Ershad placed wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar.
The leaders of 14-Party alliance, Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, foreign diplomats, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokan, Sectors Commanders Forum, Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Swechchhasebak League, language veterans and DU Teachers' Association (DUTA) placed wreaths at the Shaheed Minar.
Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private TV channels aired live the midnight Ekushey ceremony while cultural personalities added extra flavour by reciting poems on immortal Ekushey February.
In observance of the day in a befitting manner, the Central Shaheed Minar premises have been tastefully redecorated with paintings, graffiti, buntings and selected verses on the mother language as the nation paid homage to the martyrs of the great Language Movement when clock struck one-minute past zero hours (midnight) tonight.
Tight security has been enforced around the main altar of the Shaheed Minar and the Azimpur graveyard of the language martyrs as streams of people were set to pour into these places to lay wreaths to express their heart-felt respect to the 1952 language martyrs.
On this day in 1952, students and people from all strata of society took to the streets in Dhaka to protest the then Pakistan government's refusal to recognize Bangla as one of the state languages and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Shafiur, Jabbar and some other brave sons of the soil sacrificed their lives on this day to establish Bangla as the state language.
The Language Movement is indeed the most important turning point in the history of Bangalee as its spirit led to the Independence of Bangladesh through a bloody nine-month war in 1971.
The day is also being observed across the globe as the International Mother Language Day. On November 17, 1999, the Unesco declared February 21 as the International Mother Language Day.
Countries across the globe have been observing the day since then to promote linguistic diversity and multilingual education and raise awareness of cultural traditions based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.