KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said India's basic essence is unity in diversity and exhorted everyone to keep aside differences and fight against divisive forces to save the country.
Speaking on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day, she called upon people to remain united.
"The objective of the language day can be served in its true spirit if India remains united, if people of different religions and communities remain united as they have been for ages," Banerjee said in an apparent hint at the BJP.
The Trinamool Congress supremo often accuses the saffron party of trying to divide people along religious lines.
"Even if the battle is harder, we should not back out. We must carry on," she said.
Observing that the Bengali language is integral to the soul of every Bengali, Banerjee said she has equal respect to all other languages "as we believe in pluralism and cosmopolitanism".
Earlier in the day, she tweeted in Bengali, "Today is 21st February, an occasion being celebrated across Bengal for paying tribute to those who had sacrificed their lives for their mother tongue. My homage to all those martyrs."
"We love all the languages including our mother tongue," she said.
International Mother Language Day is observed on February 21 to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
The day was celebrated by various organisations and institutes across West Bengal.
Students, faculty and alumni of the St Xavier's College in Kolkata observed the day by organising a torchlight procession in front of the college premises.
The procession was led by its Principal Dominic Savio.
Savio said the International Mother Language Day aims at fostering the essence of various global languages and cultural diversity, integrity and solidarity.
Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh Toufique Hasan, state Fire Services Minister Sujit Bose and others took part in the rally.