February 21
Every year on February 21, International Mother Language Day is observed to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity around the world, UNESCO declared this day in 1994, to recognise the Bangladeshi Language Movement and officially named it International Mother Tongue Day. In Bangladesh, February 21, has been honoured as National Martyr’s Day since 1952. The day commemorates the sacrifices made by Bangladeshis to establish Bangla as the state language of then east Pakistan [now Bangladesh]. The movement to reclaim Bangla started after the then Governor-General of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, declared that “Urdu, and only Urdu “could be the common language for both parts of Pakistan.

“Ekushe February” or February 21, holds special significance for Bengalis worldwide who celebrate it as Bhasa Divas or Shahid Divas. It is a day of great significance for Bangladesh and West Bengal, two countries that may be separated by borders but are united by language. On this day they commemorate the sacrifices made by people in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) for Bangla, their mother tongue. It is a day to remember and honour the brave souls who fought for recognition of their language and culture. The celebration also serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving the language, unique identity and heritage of Bengalis.
OT Staff

‘Rape is not Resistance’
According to Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, between 17 and 20 women and girls are still being held by the Islamist terror group since its brutal October 7 attack on Israel.

Reports of rape and sexual violence have multiplied since October 7, and at the start of December, GiladErdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said Hamas used rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Hamas has denied this, despite substantive accounts detailing the systematic sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women and girls by Palestinian terrorists on October 7, including interviews with more than 150 witnesses, medical personnel, first responders, soldiers, rape counsellors, and government officials, along with the scanning of video footage, photographs and GPS data from cell phones.

It is believed that 132 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza–not all of them alive–after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November. Four hostages were released prior to that, and one was rescued by troops. The bodies of eight hostages have also been recovered and three hostages were mistakenly killed by the military.

The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 32 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza. One more person is listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown.
The Times of Israel

Why Aadhaar is Becoming Inactive
In the aftermath of Aadhaar Act, 2016 (as amended in 2019), Hon'ble Supreme Court's verdict of September 26, 2018 and November 13, 2019, there is a logical and legal compulsion for States to unsign their MoUs with UIDAI.

These MoUs were signed in the pre-Aadhaar Act era and continued to operate in the era when unconstitutional Sections like Section 57 of Aadhaar Act was recognised and declared as unconstitutional and illegitimate by the Hon'ble Supreme Court's verdict of September 26, 2018 and by the deletion of Section 57 by the amendment of 2019 in Aadhaar Act. The verdict of November 13, 2019 recognised that the entire Act is unconstitutional.

A 7-judge Constitution Bench has been constituted to declare it to be so in order to adhere to judicial discipline. The fact remains no sane person will wait for formal announcement of poison to desist from consuming poison. Aadhaar Act is a poisonous law. It is a black law akin to the colonial law which was bitterly resisted by Mahatma Gandhi's first Satyagrah. Hon'ble Chief Justice of India has declared this law to be a fraud on the Constitution of India in his order dated September 26, 2018. He has reiterated it on at least two more occasions. In this backdrop, constitutional, legal, judicial and political imagination creates a logical compulsion to resist this law which creates an architecture of unlimited government based on 360 degree surveillance. It is eroding the constitutionally mandated autonomy of States beyond repair.

West Bengal's Home Department signed the MoU with UIDAI on July 1, 2010. Shri A.G. Ghosh, OSD & ex-officio Special Secretary signed it on behalf of Home Department, West Bengal Government and Shri Nirmal Kumar Sinha, Deputy Director General, UIDAI; Planning Commission signed it on behalf of UIDAI. This MoU is outdated and it imperils the autonomy of the State and the citizens. West Bengal Government’s considered intervention will pave the way for other States to act on this MoU which is facilitating unlimited and indiscriminate mass surveillance and mass spying at the behest of World Bank's eTransform Initiative and its partners since 2010.

Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties (CFCL) welcomes WB Chief Minister’s letter to Hon'ble Prime Minister on the subject of "Aadhaar is becoming inactive" in defence of the natural and fundamental rights of fellow citizens. (Source:
This writer’s articles–"India’s First Metadata case: Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench to decide illegitimacy of Aadhaar Act amid Great Data Robbery" (https://mainstreamweekly. net/article13958.html), "India’s First Metadata Case and Pegasus–Part 2" ( and India’s First Metadata case: Mass Surveillance, Mass Spying and Unending Census Part 3 ( provide robust argument in this regard.

Having worked on the subject since 2010, this writer will be happy to share more details regarding the illegitimacy of Aadhaar Act.
Dr.Gopal Krishna, Advocate,
Citizens Forum for
Civil Liberties (CFCL)


Jagan Nath Azad
JaganNath Azad, who once lived in Pakistan, migrated to India during the partition. He was a well-known poet, scholar and journalist who wrote well over seventy books on Urdu poetry. People from both countries—India and Pakistan—loved him and his work. But there was one less-known claim about his work: that he, upon the request of Jinnah, penned Pakistan's first national anthem--Tarana-e-Pakistan.

In an interview with journalist Luv Puri, Azad said that he wrote down the song because “Quid-e-Azam wanted the anthem to be written by an Urdu-knowing Hindu”.

Jagan passed away on July 24, 2004. A year later Luv’s interview was published in Milli Gazette and almost a year later The Hindu republished it.

Hector Bolitho’s official biography, Jinnah: Creator of Pakistan, published by John Murray in 1954, claims that Jinnah asked a Hindu to write Pakistan’s anthem.

In August 1954, lyrics from a submission by Hafeez Jalandhari were adopted as the new national anthem. The anthem was known as Quami Taranah or the anthem of the community.
Team Madras Courier

Transgender people are yet socially, educationally, economically, psychosocially, and psycho-sexually deprived in the society after being recognised as the third gender in 2014 by the Supreme Court of India. According to the 2011 census, the transgender population of West Bengal was about thirty thousand and more, out of about five lakh in India. This population is still deprived of all their rights for better survival. Most of them are engaged in begging.

Post-COVID, beggars have increased, and they have chosen railway platforms, trains, and crowded places in a city or town. There are no significant strategies adopted for their rehabilitation except the formation of a welfare board for the vulnerable.

Anyway, in 2022, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, launched a central sector scheme called SMILE (Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise) with an allocation of Rs 365 crore from 2021–22 to 2025–26. And it promises to ‘provide welfare and rehabilitation to the transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging.' The stipulated service coverage of this scheme is to provide Scholarships for Transgender Students studying in IX and till post-graduation to enable them to complete their education, to provide a comprehensive package in convergence with PM-JAY supporting Gender-Reaffirmation surgeries through selected hospitals, to set up ‘GarimaGreh’(housing facility) for food, clothing, recreational facilities, skill development opportunities, recreational activities and medical support etc. to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging, to set up Protection Cell in each state to monitor cases of offences and to ensure timely registration, investigation and prosecution of offences and other related services for their rehabilitation.
Tragically, there is no visibility of this scheme–SMILE–in a city like Kolkata.
Harasankar Adhikari

CRY’s Appeal
Give children a gift of brighter future by contributing to CRY’s Academic Support Centres.

While schools have reopened formally, children are still struggling with their studies. The prolonged gap has led to the loss of learning opportunities and many important life skills for children. Many of them were even forced to drop out of school during this gap and discontinue their education. If not addressed on time this learning crisis can lead to children dropping out of school permanently putting their bright futures at stake.

To address this issue, CRY has set up Academic and Psychosocial Support Centres that are helping children across many states to reconnect to their studies and give them the necessary confidence to go back to school by:

*    Conducting support classes using interactive audio-visual platforms to bridge the learning gap and protect children from dropping out of school.
*    Retaining motivation levels among children through fun and creative activities like storytelling, singing, dancing, etc.
*    Conducting awareness drives on the importance of education for communities and parents.
*    Creating awareness about the ill effects of dropping out of school, child marriage, labour, and trafficking.
*    Forming children’s collectives to build the agency of children to promote their well-being and give them the confidence to pursue their aspirations.

So far, CRY has reached over 30,000 children. Now, CRY is counting on people’s help to reach 50,000 children, reconnecting them with education and empowering them to reimagine their future.

Donate today and get a 50% tax exemption under section 80G of income tax!
CRY [Child Rights and You]

Back to Home Page

Vol 56, No. 37, Mar 10 - 16, 2024