Rahman says the day is celebrated in recognition of the language movement in Bangladesh, which was formerly a part of Pakistan.

“The rulers from the west wanted to impose Urdu as the only language of the country, but 56 per cent of the population was actually Bangla-speaking,” he said. “So, there were protests and there was shooting with live ammunition on February 21st, 1952 and that gave rise to the language movement. Eventually, the rulers gave up and declared that Pakistan, at that time, would have two national languages.”

A local celebration of multiculturalism and diversity is taking place at TRU’s Grand Hall this evening (Feb 13).

“Typically we have different cultural events from different countries and we get guests from all across the world,” said Musfiq Rahman, general secretary of the Bangladesh Cultural Association. “So we have Asian countries, European countries, and Canadian all come together and enjoy the show.”

The cultural showcase will take place after a forum discussion and dinner. The celebration is presented in part by TRU’s office of Indigenous Education.

Many First Nation communities are now attempting to revive the languages that had nearly been lost.

“We now know the history of residential schools … (and how) attempts to strip away language and culture from the First Nations and Indigenous people happened,” said Hafiz Rahman. “Lots of loss of language, very few people speak (these) languages, and they’re trying to revive that.”

Almost 300 people are expected to take in tonight’s event and experience the beauty of each others’ languages and cultures.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online. Latecomers are welcome.

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