History of Bangla Language Movement

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History of Bangla Language Movement
« on: June 04, 2010, 10:49:17 AM »
1st Wave

September 15, 1947
Tamuddun Majlis (Cultural Society, an organization by scholars, writers and journalists oriented towards Islamic ideology) in a booklet titled State Language of Pakistan : Bengali or Urdu? demands Bengali as one of the state language of Pakistan.
The Secretary of the Majlis, at that time a Professor of Physics in Dhaka University, [Abul Kashem] was the first person to convene a literary meeting to discuss the State Language issue in the Fazlul Huq Muslim Hall, a student residence of Dhaka University. Supporters and sympathizers soon afterwards formed a political party, the Khilafate-Rabbani Party with Abul Hasim as the Chairman. (-- Talukder Maniruzzaman)

November 1947
In Karachi, the representatives of East Bengal attending the Pakistan Educational Conference, called by the Minister of Education Fazlur Rahman, a Bengali, oppose Urdu as the only national language.

February 23, 1948
Direndra Nath Dutta, a Bengali opposition member, moves a resolution in the first session of Pakistan's Constituent Assembly for recognizing Bengali as a state language along with Urdu and English.
The resolution "... was opposed by Liakat Ali, the Prime Minister of Pakistan and other non-Bengali members in the Assembly. Regrettably, this was opposed by Khawaja Nazimuddin - hailing from the eastern wing - and a few other Bengali collaborators of the West Pakistanis in the Assembly. Later, D. N. Dutta came up with a few amendments to the original resolution, and everytime these were opposed by the west Pakistanis and their Bengali stooges. The West Pakistanis were uncompromising to such a genuine demand of the majority Bengalis." (-- Rafiqul Islam)
"The demand for Bengali as one of the state language gathered the spontaneous support of the Bengali Civil Servants, academics, students, and various groups of middle class. Several members of the Provincial Assembly, including some ministers, were reportedly active in supporting the movement. By the end of February 1948, the controversy had spilled over on the streets. The East Pakistan Student League, founded in the first week of January by Mujibur Rahman, was in the forefront of the agitation." (-- Hasan Zaheer)

March 1948 (1st week)
A Committee of Action of the students of Dhaka University, representing all shades of opinion - leftists, rightists, and centrists - is set up with the objective of achieving national status of Bengali.

March 11, 1948
Students demonstrating for Bangla as state language is baton-charged and a large number of students are arrested in Dhaka.
" The situation grew worse in the days that followed. The Quaid-i-Azam was due to visit Dhaka from 19 March. The provincial government became nervous and Nazimuddin under pressure of widespread agitation, the impending visit of the Governor-General, sought the help of Muhammad Ali Bogra to enter into negotiations with the Committee of Action. An agreement was signed by Nazimuddin with the Committee which, inter alia, provided that (1) the Provincial Assembly shall adopt a resolution for making Bengali the official language of East Pakistan and the medium of instruction at all stages of education; and (2) the Assembly by another resolution would recommend to the central government that Bengali should be made one of the state languages." (-- Hasan Zaheer)

March 21, 1948
Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and its first Governor-General, while on a visit to East Bengal, declares in Dhaka University convocation that while the language of the province can be Bengali, the "State language of Pakistan is going to be Urdu and no other language. Any one who tries to mislead you is really an enemy of Pakistan."
"The remark evoked an angry protest from the Bengali youth who took it as an affront: their language Bangla (Bengali) was, after all, spoken by fifty-four percent of the population of Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, then a university student, was among those who raised the protest slogan and was placed under detention. The Dacca University campus became the focal point for student meetings in support of the Bangla language." (--Siddiq Salik)
Jinnah meets the student representatives of Committee of Action to persuade them of the necessity of having one national language, but the students are not convinced.
"The discussion of Jinnah with the student representatives could not bear any fruit but blurred the difference between the student group led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his associates and the student group led by Shah Azizur Rahman. The National leadership resorted to repressive policies in order to crush the Bengali language and put its supporters behind bars." (-- Md. Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan)


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Re: History of Bangla Language Movement
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 10:51:03 AM »
2nd Wave

January 26, 1952
The Basic Principles Committee of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan announces its recommendation that Urdu should be the only state language.
In a public meting at Paltan Maidan, Dhaka, Prime Minister Nazimuddin declares that Urdu alone will be the state language of Pakistan.
Both the developments spark off the second wave of language agitation in East Bengal.

January 28, 1952
The students of Dhaka University in a protest meeting call the Prime Minister and the Provincial Ministers as stooges of West Pakistan.

January 30, 1952
In a secret meeting called by the Awami League, which is attended by a number of communist front as well as other organizations, it is agreed that the language agitation can not be successfully carried by the students alone. To mobilize full political and student support, it is decided that the leadership of the movement should be assumed by the Awami League under Bhashani.

January 31, 1952
Bhashani presides over an all-party convention in Dhaka. The convention is attended by prominent leaders like Abul Hashim and Hamidul Haq Choudhury. A broad-based All-Party Committee of Action (APCA) is constituted with Kazi Golam Mahboob as Convener and Maulana Bhashani as Chairman, and with two representatives from the Awami League, Students League, Youth League, Khilafate-Rabbani Party, and the Dhaka University State Language Committee of Action.

February 3, 1952
Committee of Action holds a protest meeting in Dhaka against the move 'to dominate the majority province of East Bengal linguistically and culturally'. The provincial chief of Awami League, Maulana Bhashani addresses the meeting. On the suggestion of Abul Hashim it decides to hold a general strike on 21 February, when the East Bengal Assembly is due to meet for its budget session.

February 20, 1952
At 6 p.m. an order under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code prohibiting processions and meetings in Dhaka City is promulgated.
This order generated tension and resentment among the students.

February 21, 1952
A general strike is observed.
Noon - A meeting is held in the campus of Dhaka University. Students decide to defy the official ban imposed by Nurul Amin's administration and processions are taken out to stage a demonstration in front of the Provincial Assembly. Police starts lobbing tear gas shells to the students. Students retaliate by batting bricks. The ensuing riot spreads to the nearby campuses of the Medical and Engineering colleges.
4 p.m. -The police opens fire in front of the Medical College hostel. Five persons - Mohammad Salauddin, Abdul Jabbar, Abul Barkat, Rafiquddin Ahmed and Abdus Salam - are killed, the first three are students of Dhaka University.
"The news of the killing spread like wildfire throughout the city and people rushed in thousands towards the Medical College premises." (-- Talukder Maniruzzaman)
Inside the assembly, six opposition members press for the adjournment of the House and demand an inquiry into the incidents. But Chief Minister Nurul Amin urges the House to proceed with the planned agenda for the day. At this point all the opposition members of the Assembly walk out in protest.

February 22, 1952
Thousands of men and women throng the university, Medical College and Engineering College areas to offer prayers for the victims of the police firing.
After prayers when they go for a procession, the police opens fire.
The police also fire on angry mob who burned the offices of a pro-government newspaper. Four persons are killed.
As the situation deteriorates, the government calls in the military to bring things under control.
Bowing to the pressure, the Chief Minister Nurul Amin moves a motion recommending to the Constituent Assembly that Bengali should be one of the state language of Pakistan. The motion is passed unanimously.
"For the first time a number of Muslim members voted in favour of the amendments moved by the opposition, which so far had consisted of the Hindu Congress members only. The split in the Muslim League became formalized when some members demanded a separate bloc from the Speaker; the Awami (Muslim) League had attained the status of an opposition parliamentary party." (-- Hasan Zaheer)

February 23, 1952
A complete general strike is spontaneously observed, despite the resolution by the Provincial Assembly. The government again responds with repressive measures.
APCA decides to observe a general strike on February 25 to protest the government's actions.
The students of Medical College erect overnight a Shahid Minar (Martyr's Memorial) at the place where Barkat was shot to commemorate the supreme sacrifices of the students and general population. Shahid Minar later became the rallying symbol for the Bengalis.

February 24, 1952
The government gives full authority to the police and military to bring the situation in Dhaka back to normal within 48 hours.
"During these 48 hours the police arrested almost all the student and political leaders associated with the language movement." (-- Talukder Muniruzzaman)

February 25, 1952
The Dhaka University is closed sine die.
"In the face of these repressive measures, the movement lost its momentum in Dhaka. But it spread widely throughout the districts ... In addition to demands for recognition of Bengali as one of state languages of Pakistan, students now began to call for the resignation of the 'bloody' Nurul Amin cabinet ... Nurul Amin claimed that the government "had saved the province from disaster and chaos" by its repressive measures. The students, however, argued that they had already "written the success story of the movement on the streets with their blood." In retrospect, whatever the merits of government and student actions, it is clear that the movement did sow the seeds of a secular-linguistic Bengali nationalism in east Bengal. Its immediate impact was to prepare the ground for the complete routing of the Muslim League in the 1954 elections by a United Front of opposition political parties, on a nationalistic planck of cultural, political and economic autonomy for East Bengal." (-- Talukder Maniruzzaman)
"The Language Movement added a new dimension to politics in Pakistan. It left deep impression on the minds of the younger generation of Bengalis and imbued them with the spirit of Bengali nationalism. The passion of Bengali nationalism which was aroused by the Language Movement shall kindle in the hearts of the Bengalis forever ... Perhaps very few people realised then that with the bloodshed in 1952 the new-born state of Pakistan had in fact started to bleed to death." (-- Rafiqul Islam)


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Re: History of Bangla Language Movement
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2010, 10:51:34 AM »
May 7, 1954
The Pakistan government recognizes Bangla as a state language.
Feb 26, 1956
The Constituent Assembly passes the first Constitution of Pakistan recognizing Bangla as a State Language.
March 23, 1956
The first Constitution of Pakistan comes into effect.
March 26, 1971
Bangladesh become an independent nation.


  • Guest
Re: History of Bangla Language Movement
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2010, 10:52:11 AM »
Hasan Zaheer, The Separation of East Pakistan - The Rise and Realization of Bengali Muslim Nationalism, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 1994
Talukder Maniruzzaman, The Bangladesh Revolution and its Aftermath, Bangladesh Books International Ltd., Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1980
Siddiq Salik, Witness to Surrender, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 1977
Rafiqul Islam, A Tale of Millions, Ananna, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 3rd edition, 1986
Md. Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan, Emergence of Bangladesh and Role of Awami League, Vikas Publishing House, Delhi, India, 1982


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Re: History of Bangla Language Movement
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2010, 10:54:16 AM »
Language Movement began in 1948 and reached its climax in the killing of 21 February 1952, and ended in the adoption of Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan. The question as to what would be the state language of Pakistan was raised immediately after its creation. The central leaders and the Urdu-speaking intellectuals of Pakistan declared that urdu would be the state language of Pakistan, just as Hindi was the state language of India. The students and intellectuals of East Pakistan, however, demanded that Bangla be made one of the state languages. After a lot of controversy over the language issue, the final demand from East Pakistan was that Bangla must be the official language and the medium of instruction in East Pakistan and for the central government it would be one of the state languages along with Urdu. The first movement on this issue was mobilised by Tamaddun Majlish headed by Professor Abul Kashem. Gradually many other non-communal and progressive organisations joined the movement, which finally turned into a mass movement.

Meanwhile, serious preparation was being taken in various forums of the central government of Pakistan under the initiative of Fazlur Rahman, the central education minister, to make Urdu the only state language of Pakistan. On receipt of this information, East Pakistani students became agitated and held a meeting on the Dhaka University campus on 6 December 1947, demanding that Bangla be made one of the state languages of Pakistan. The meeting was followed by student processions and more agitation. The first Rastrabhasa Sangram Parishad (Language Action Committee) was formed towards the end of December with Professor Nurul Huq Bhuiyan of Tamaddun Majlish as the convener.

The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was in session at Karachi-then the capital of Pakistan-from 23 February 1948. It was proposed that the members would have to speak either in Urdu or in English at the Assembly. dhirendranath datta, a member from the East Pakistan Congress Party, moved an amendment motion to include Bangla as one of the languages of the Constituent Assembly. He noted that out of the 6 crore 90 lakh population of Pakistan, 4 crore 40 lakh were from East Pakistan with Bangla as their mother tongue. The central leaders, including liaquat ali khan, prime minister of Pakistan, and khwaja nazimuddin, chief minister of East Bengal, opposed the motion. On receiving the news that the motion had been rejected, students, intellectuals and politicians of East Pakistan became agitated. Newspapers such as the Azad also criticised of the politicians who had rejected the motion.

A new committee to fight for Bangla as the state language was formed with Shamsul Huq as convener. On 11 March 1948 a general strike was observed in the towns of East Pakistan in protest against the omission of Bangla from the languages of the Constituent Assembly, the absence of Bangla letters in Pakistani coins and stamps, and the use of only Urdu in recruitment tests for the navy. The movement also reiterated the earlier demand that Bangla be declared one of the state languages of Pakistan and the official language of East Pakistan. Amidst processions, picketing and slogans, leaders such as Shawkat Ali, Kazi Golam Mahboob, Shamsul Huq, Oli Ahad, sheikh mujibur rahman, Abdul Wahed and others were arrested. Student leaders, including Abdul Matin and abdul malek ukil, also took part in the procession and picketing. A meeting was held on the Dhaka University premises. Mohammad Toaha was severely injured while trying to snatch away a rifle from a policeman and had to be admitted to hospital. Strikes were observed from 12 March to 15 March.

Under such circumstances the government had to give in. Khwaja Nazimuddin signed an agreement with the student leaders. However, although he agreed to a few terms and conditions, he did not comply with their demand that Bangla be made a state language. muhammed ali jinnah, the governor general of Pakistan, came to visit East Pakistan on 19 March. He addressed two meetings in Dhaka, in both of which he ignored the popular demand for Bangla. He reiterated that Urdu would be the only state language of Pakistan. This declaration was instantly protested with the Language Movement spreading throughout East Pakistan. The Dhaka University Language Action Committee was formed on 11 March 1950 with Abdul Matin as its convener.

By the beginning of 1952, the Language Movement took a serious turn. Both Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan were dead-Jinnah on 11 September 1948 and Liaquat Ali Khan on 16 October 1951. Khwaja Nazimuddin had succeeded Liaquat Ali Khan as prime minister of Pakistan. With the political crisis, the economic condition in East Pakistan also deteriorated. The people of East Pakistan started losing faith in the Muslim League. A new party, the Awami Muslim League-which would later become the awami league-was formed under the leadership of maulana abdul hamid khan bhasani in 1949. There was a growing sense of deprivation and exploitation in East Pakistan and a realisation that a new form of colonialism had replaced British imperialism. Under these circumstances, the Language Movement got a new momentum in 1952.

On 27 January 1952, Khwaja Nazimuddin came to Dhaka from Karachi. Addressing a meeting at Paltan Maidan, he said that the people of the province could decide what would be the provincial language, but only Urdu would be the state language of Pakistan. There was an instantaneous, negative reaction to this speech among the students who responded with the slogan, 'Rashtrabhasha Bangla Chai' (We want Bangla as the state language).

A strike was observed at Dhaka University on 30 January. The representatives of various political and cultural organisations held a meeting on 31 January chaired by Moulana Bhasani. An All-Party Central Language Action Committee was formed with Kazi Golam Mahboob as its convener. At this time the government also proposed that Bangla be written in Arabic script. This proposal was also vehemently opposed. The Language Action Committee decided to call a hartal and organise demonstrations and processions on February 21 throughout East Pakistan.

As preparations for demonstrations were underway, the government imposed Section 144 in the city of Dhaka, banning all assemblies and demonstrations. A meeting of the Central Language Action Committee was held on 20 February under the chairmanship of abul hashim. Opinion was divided as to whether or not to violate Section 144.

The students were determined to violate Section144 and held a student meeting at 11.00 a.m. on 21 February on the Dhaka University campus, then located close to the Medical College Hospital. When the meeting started, the Vice-Chancellor, along with a few university teachers, came to the spot and requested the students not to violate the ban on assembly. However, the students, under their leaders - Abdul Matin and Gaziul Huq - were adamant. Thousands of students from different schools and colleges of Dhaka assembled on the university campus while armed police waited outside the gate. When the students emerged in groups, shouting slogans, the police resorted to baton charge; even the female students were not spared.

The students then started throwing brickbats at the police, who retaliated with tear gas. Unable to control the agitated students, the police fired upon the crowd of students, who were proceeding towards the Assembly Hall (at present, part of Jagannath Hall, University of Dhaka). Three young men, rafiq uddin ahmed, abdul jabbar and abul barkat (an MA student of Political Science) were fatally wounded. Many injured persons were admitted to the hospital. Among them Abdus Salam, a peon at the Secretariat, subsequently succumbed to his wounds. A nine-year-old boy named Ohiullah was also killed.

At the Legislative Assembly building, the session was about to begin. Hearing the news of the shooting, some members of the Assembly, including maulana abdur rashid tarkabagish and some opposition members, went out and joined the students. In the Assembly, nurul amin, chief minister of East Pakistan, continued to oppose the demand for Bangla.

The next day, 22 February, was also a day of public demonstrations and police reprisals. The public performed a janaza (prayer service for the dead) and brought out a mourning procession, which was attacked by the police and the army resulting in several deaths, including that of a young man named Shafiur Rahman. Many were injured and arrested. On 23 February, at the spot where students had been killed, a memorial was erected. In 1963, the temporary structure was replaced by a concrete memorial, the shaheed minar (martyrs' memorial).

The East Bengal Legislative Assembly adopted a resolution recommending the recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan. The language movement continued until 1956. The movement achieved its goal by forcing the Pakistan Constituent Assembly in adopting both Bangla and Urdu as the state languages of Pakistan. While the Assembly was debating on the language issue, Member Adel Uddin Ahmed (1913-1981; Faridpur) made an important amendment proposal, which was adopted unanimously by the Assembly (16 February 1956). Both Bangla and Urdu were thus enacted to be the state languages of Pakistan.

Since 1952, 21 February has been observed every year to commemorate the martyrs of the Language Movement. With UNESCO adopting a resolution on 17 November 1999 proclaiming 21 February as international mother language day. It is an honour bestowed by the international community on the Language Movement of Bangladesh. [Bashir Al Helal]

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Re: History of Bangla Language Movement
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2010, 05:23:15 PM »
this is most important information every body should  known  it

thanks  you

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Re: History of Bangla Language Movement
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2010, 07:30:56 PM »
Because of their blood, today we can talk in Bangla by which we can express ourselves completely.
Md. Rezwanur Rahman
Student Counselor,
Daffodil International University
Executive Member, DIUAA
Cell: 01713493051, 01717352538
E-mail: rezwan@daffodilvarsity.edu.bd