The history of Bangla (Bengali language) goes back over a thousand years. In general term, the Bengali (aka Bengalee) literature can be divided into three periods:
- Ancient Bangla ( 1000-1350 AD)
- Medieval Bangla (1350-1800 AD)
- Modern Bangla (1800-present)
Bangla has a rich literature, dating back to 1000 AD, and the prime example from the period is the celebrated manuscript of Buddhist songs, the Charyapada or Charyagiti, which was discovered in Nepal in 1907. A vast body of literature from the medieval period exists, devoted to both Hindu and Muslim themes.
In the 19th century, the Bengali Renaissance produced many great modern Bengali writers, centered in Kolkata (previously called Calcutta), then the colonial capital. Besides Kolkata, currently Bengali literature has found another capital in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The pride of Bengal, and India was Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913.
Bengalis take great pride in their language and literature. The struggle for independence of Bangladesh may be traced to the Language Movement (bhasa andolan), and the most significant date for the movement is February 21, 1952.
UNESCO has declared February 21 as the International Mother Language Day to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.