21 February – Marking the Struggle of Bengali Language Movement

While 14 February is widely celebrated as the day of love, little of us actually know the importance of 21 February, the International Mother Language Day.

International Mother Language DayIt all started in the present Bangladesh in the year of 1948 after Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the then governor of Pakistan, declared Urdu to be the official language of both East and West Pakistan. The population of East Pakistan being somewhat greater in number quite obviously felt to have been ignored.

The anguish spread like a forest fire all across East Pakistan, thereby giving rise to Bengali Language Movement or Bangla Bhasha Andolon. Instead of being subsided, day after day the unrest gained more momentum. People from every strata of the society came down to streets to protest against this atrocity. Facing serious mass discontentment and sectarian tensions with the newly passed decree, the then East Pakistan government banned any form of public gatherings.

On 21 February 1952, students from Dhaka Medical College and University of Dhaka organised a peaceful rally defying the Government diktat. The incident reached its climax when without any provocation police opened fire killing the student demonstrators. Several were killed that day thereby becoming the martyrs of Bhasha Andolon.

This gruesome event resulted into widespread civil unrest led by Awami League. After subsequent years of conflict, in 1956 the then Pakistani government gave in and granted official status for Bengali language. Later on, in 1999 UNESCO recognized the ethno-linguistic struggle of the Bengali people and announced 21 February as International Mother Language Day. Currently, the day is celebrated as Bhasha Shahid Diwas.

Bhasha Andolon left a prominent mark in not only the history of Bangladesh and Bengali language, but also in the world history. It proved to be a catalyst in asserting Bengali national identity in East Pakistan, in initiating Bengali nationalist movements, and subsequent rise of Bangladesh as an independent nation.

US Army Introduces Women into Combat Forces

In army there are no men and women. There are only soldiers.

Women in Combat RolesIn an attempt to put an end to the everlasting debate of equality in between men and women in armed forces, recently the US Army have agreed to induct women forces into combat role.

Till date there are a lot of instances of women lying down their lives in war. While some of them were considered to be just war casualties, others are deified as martyrs. The United States of America too has got few of such notable ladies lying buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

One such a valiant lady is Tammy Duckworth, a disabled war veteran who is currently serving in the White House. She showed great courage and determination at a crucial stage in the Iraq war in which she received the fatal blow. Indeed, Ms Duckworth is a living example of how a woman can be hailed as a war hero among her countrymen.

War front has not been the same as it used to be some decades before. The concept of predefined first line of force is long gone. All we have left with is strategic strike groups, who can be assigned with cross-vertical tasks. More than on battlefield, these days the course of combat is decided on war control rooms.

Today the concept of war has also took a major deflect without conforming the fight against any particular enemy limiting in a particular area. On the contrary, this has been spread all throughout and sometimes extending even through decades. Take for instance the Fight Against Terror.

This defines that if there are women forces in military, quite obviously they are into one type of combat activity or another. The presence of women in armed forces also enabled the US Army to enjoy a greater outreach to locals in Afghanistan. However, such a step can also backfire and can prove to be vulnerable for the combat unit assigned to such a mission.

The current DOD policy is to not assign women to combat units, yet irregular warfare, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, places those in combat support or combat-service support units in just as much risk as the infantry.

— Joe Davis, Director (Public Affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars)

Conclusion

Though there are female soldiers fighting and dying for their country, seldom they are allowed to move up to the ranks of a Brigadier or Commander like their male counterparts. While one needs the combat badges to move up the ladder, women soldiers, in spite of having all the required qualities and experience to adorn the top brass were denied so as they were not allowed to take a direct part in the combat activities till some days before.

However, with good sense prevailing in the end, we could now expect more and more women military personnel occupying the coveted posts in the US military and take the country to glorious heights.