India v Bangladesh?

International Mother Language Day is a public holiday in Bangladesh, where it is also known as Shohid Dibôsh, or Shaheed Day. It also remembers events such as the killing of four students on 21 February, 1952, because they campaigned to officially use their mother language, Bengali, in Bangladesh.

This year, International Mother Language Day came two days after the India v Bangladesh (Group B) Cricket World Cup opener at Shere Bangla in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Some pre-game commentary promised an “intriguing” match-up but I, predictably, found myself more intrigued by the sociolinguistic history beyond the boundary than India’s eventual 87-run thrashing of Bangladesh in the one-sided 50-over affair. Now I find myself wondering how much has changed in the 65 years since the Partition, and whether any Indian players knew about Shohid Dibôsh, and if any of their brothers from Bangladesh were, in the midst of defeat, actually celebrating the same Mother Language.


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