Bangladeshis in Texas Cling to Mother Tongue in Hopes That Youth Will Follow Their Lead

Language and independence are intertwined in Bangladesh, so it's fitting that a holiday celebrating the mother tongue is held so dear by the local Bengali community.International Mother Language Day was celebrated last month at DFW Family Church in Irving to commemorate the sacrifice of Bangladeshis in 1952 in what was then East Pakistan to retain Bangla as a state language."For our children who were born and brought up in the U.S., English is their mother language," Jasmine Wadud said. "But at least they speak Bangla at home."International Mother Language Day is held on Feb. 21 because that's the day in 1952 when Pakistani police opened fire on activists demanding official recognition of Bangla as their language. Wadud, 46, ran a Bangla school in Irving from 2000 to 2017, teaching Bangladeshi children Bangla, though they were often unwilling.Wadud said the intention of the celebration was to educate children on the value and history of Bangla, also called Bengali. As for adults who have experienced the holiday in Bangladesh, Wadud let out a sigh and a Bangla phrase that translates to "you can't satisfy a milk craving with buttermilk."  Continue reading...

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