Bangladesh: Bengali Language Movement
 

 

Introduction

Background preceding the Movement

The Bengali language movement Bhasha Andolon

Contributors to the movement

Personal experience

Celebrating Ekushe February
(21st February)


A brief account of post-language movement

Declaration ofInternational Mother Language Day

About the Bengali language and the Bangladesh National Anthem with translation

Bibliography

Contact me

 

 

 

 

~Contributors to the Movement~

     

Notable names

The Language Heroes

Dhirendranath Dutta and his monumental speech in defence of Bengali as a state language of Pakistan

 
 

 

Notable among the main contributors to the Bangla language movement are:

1. Professor Dr Mohd Shahidullah (10 July 1885-13 July 1969).
2. Dhirendra Nath Datta (1897- 1971). Lawyer and politician.
3. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Father of Bangladesh)
4. Abul Hashim (1905-74). Politics
5. Abdus Salam (1910-77). Jouralism
6. Tofajjal Hossain Manik Miah (1911-69). Journalism
7. Shaokat Osman (1917-) Huglee, India). Novelist
8. Mohd Abdul Hai (1919-69, Murshidabad, India). Teaching
9. Mohd Abul Kashem (1920- Debendi, Chittagong)
10. Abdus Samad Azad (1922, Bhuakhali, Sunamganj). Politics
11. Mohd Toaha(1922-87)  Kushakhali, Laksmipur: Politics
12. Munier Chaudhury (1925-71, Dhaka). Professor, Playwright
13. Sardar Fazlul Karim (1925- Barisal). Professor
14. Mofazzal Haider Chowdhury (1926-71). Professor
15. SA Bari AT (1927-87, Munshipara, Dinajpur). Politics and law
16. Kazi Golam Mahbub (1927, Barisal): Politics & law
17. Badrul Alam (1927-80, Sherpur). Medicine
18. Meer Hossain Ahmed (1927, Dhaka). Professional
19. Ataur Rahman (1927, Bogra): Teaching
20. Abdul Matin (1928, Shailjana, Pabna). Politics
21. Fazle Lohani (1928-85, Kolkata, India). Journalist & TV Presenter
22. MA Ajmal Hossain Bulbul (1928, Sirajganj). Medicine
23. Zillur Rahman (1929, Kishoreganj) Politics & law
24. Ahmed Rafiq (1929, Comilla). Medicine
25. Shamsur Rahman (1929, Mahuttuli, Dhaka). Poet
26. Abdullah al Muti (1930, Pabna). Scientist
27. Mohd Ali Asgar (1930) Comilla. Medicine
28. Abdul Latif (1930,Raipasha, Barisal). Singer and musician
29. MR Akhtar Mukul (1930) Bogra. Journalism
30. Bahauddin Chowdhury (1930, Armanitola, Dhaka):Journalism
31. Sufia Karim (1930, Pabna). Teacher
32. Hasan Hafizur Rahman (1931, Jamalpur). Journalist and poet
33. Nizamul Huq (1931, Chhagalnaiya, Feni). Dance teacher
34. Sadek Khan (1931,Munsiganj). Journalism
35. Murtaza Bashir (1932, Ramna, Dhaka). Teacher, Arts College
36. Sufia Ahammad (1932, Dhaka). Teacher
37. Halima Khatun (1933, Bagerhat). Lecturer
38. Zahir Ryhan (1935, Noakhali): Film director
39. Golam Murtaza (1936, Dhaka). Business
40. Anisuz Zaman (1937, Kolkata, India). Professor             
41. Dabirul Islam              
42. Abdur Rahman Chowdhury
43. Nurul Huda
44. Kader Bakhs
45. Yusuf Ali
46. Syed Nawab Ali
47. Abdul Matin
48. Mojaharul Islam Abu
49. Jalal Uddin Akbar
50. Fazlur Rahman          
51. Saleha (Rani)
52. Mujibur Rahman Akkelpuri
53. Kabial Ramesh Sheel              
54. Ahsab Uddin Ahmed
55. Principal Rafiq            
56. Pulin Dey
57. Sucharit Chowdhury
58. M Mansur Ali             
59. Amzad Hossain
60. Mahbubur Rahman
61. Aminul Islam
62. Prorsad Ray
63. Prof Mozaffar Ahmed Chowdhury   
64. Prof Ajit Guha
65. Khairat Hossain         
66. Ahmmad Ali
67. Ranesh Dasgupta     
68. Satyen Sen
69.Wadud Patwari          
70. Amulya Kanchan Ray
71. Abdul Aalim                
72. Alauddin al Azad
73. Imadullah Lala           
74. Momin Talukdar
75. ATM Shamsul Huq   
76. Rowshan Ara Bacchu
77. Borhan Uddin Khan Jahangir               
78. Abdul Gani Hajari
79. MA Muhit   
80. Ibrahim Taha
81`.Farman Ullah             
82. Anis Chowdhury
83.Sirajul Islam
84. MA Mukit
85. Rafiqul Islam              
86. Prof AT Latif
87. Maulana Bhasani (1885-1976). Politics
88. Dr Quazi Motahar Hossain (1897-1981). Professor
89. Maulana Abdur Rashid Tarkabagish (1900-85).Politics
90. Ataur Rahman Khan (1905). Law and politics
91. Abul Kalam Samsuddin (1897-1978) Journalism
92. Osman Ali (1900-71) Daudkandi, Comilla) Business & Politics
93. Sikandar Abu Jafor (1919-75, Tetulia, Khulna): Journalist & poet
94.  Samsul Huq (1920-64, Tangail): Politics
95. Golam Maola (1921-67, Naria, Shariatpur). Medicine and Politics
96. Kalim Sharafi (1924-): Singer
97. Kamruddin Hossain Shahud (1925- Janglibari, Kishoreganj). Teaching
98. Tajuddin Ahmed (1925-75), Kapasia, Dhaka): The leader of the liberation war.
99. Shahidullah Kaiser (1926-71, Noakhali). Journalist and Novelist
100. Mohd Sultan (1926-83, Boda, Panchagar): Politics & Business
101. Mustafa Nurul Islam (1927, Nisindara, Bogra). Teaching
102. Rafiq Uddin Bhuiyan (1928, Merenga, Mymensing).Politics
103. Mosharaf Hossain Chowdhury (1927, Tangail). Business
104. Mahbub Alam Chowdhury (1927, Chittagong): Industrialist
105. Abdul Momen (1928, Mohanganj, Netrokona). Politics & law
106. Fakir Shahabuddin (1927-89, Kapasia, Dhaka). Politics & law
107. Gaziul Huq (1928). Lawyer
108. KG Mustafa: (1928, Kuripara, Sirajganj). Journalism
109. Abdul Gafur(1929-). Journalism
110. Ali Ahad (1929, Comilla). Politics
111. Usha Bepari (1929, Rajbari). Nursing
112. Zulmat Ali Khan (1930,Mymensing). Politics & law
113. Habibur Rahman Shelly (1930) Murshidabad, India). Judge
114. Ishtiaq Ahmed (1930, Kolkata, India)
115. Anwarul Huq Khan (1930,Basirhat, India). Publisc service
116. Altaf Mahmud (1930,Muladi, Barisal) Singer and musician
117. Momtaz Begum (1930,Narayanganj). Teacher
118. Safia Khatun (1931, Kolkata, India). Teaching             
119 Aminul Islam (1931,Totia, Dhaka) Teacher, Arts College
120. Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury (1932, Ulania, Barisal). Journalism
121. MN Nurul Alam (1932, Rajshahi). Lawyer
122. Sayeed Atikullah (1933, Tangail).Journalism
123. Abu Zafar Obaidullah (1934,Barisal). professional and poet
124. Syed Samsul Huq (1935,Rangpur). Novelist, poet
125. Mohd Mokammel (1937, Bhola). Bureaucrat


Language Heroes

Although all the martyr's accounts and names could not be compiled with accuracy,we have been able to retrieve information of the following immortal figures:

Rafiq (Rafiq Uddin Ahmed): Rafique was scheduled to get married around the 21st of February. As he was returning home with shopping for his wedding,he joined the protest rally of Bangla Language Movement organized by the students of Dhaka university leaving his shopping with his nephew.Shot dead by the Paki cops in the language procession on 21st February, Rafique’s dead body was later dumped by the Paki commandos (who stole the dead bodies of language martyrs from Dhaka Medical college morgue) in the Azimpur grave yard where thousands of Bangalees paid their homage the next morning. His love for his mother tongue had disallowed his wedding, but had made him immortal.

Barkat (Abul Barkat): An MA final year student of the department of political science of Dhaka University. Barkat was born on 16 June 1927 at Babla village of Murshidabad district in India.


Salam (Abdus Salam): A staff member of the industrial directorate. Salam was shot on 21st February and died in Dhaka Medical College hospital on 17 April 1952. Father: Mohd Fajil Miah.

Jabbar  (Abdul Jabbar): In the morning of 21 February Jabbar went to hospital to see his mother-in-law.The procession of language movement was culminating outside. Crowds with fiery eyes and thundering slogans-We demand Bangla as state language-turned the university campus into a battleground. The spirit of the protesting crowd sucked Jabbar in within a flash.Jabbar became the crowd, he carried the banner in front of the procession. When the police opened fire, Jabbar being in the front line, was one of the first to fall.

Shafiur Rahman: A High Court staff and a law student Shafiur Rahman was killed by the Pakistani troops beside the Khoshmahal Restaurant near Rathkhola on Nababpur road. He was the father of a daughter and left behind his pregnant wife and a big family dependent on his income.

Ahi Ullah: Details of language martyr Ahi Ullah are still unknown as the police later captured his dead body and dumped.

Abdul Awal: Abdul Awal died under the police truck used to disperse the funeral procession of the martyrs of the Bangla language movement.

An unidentified boy: Like Abdul Awal, this unidentified lad was run over by the police truck used to disperse the funeral procession of the martyrs of the Bangla language movement. His death was never acknowledged by the Pakistani government.


Dhirendranath Dutta: The Champion of Bengali Language

Shaheed (Martyr) Dhirendranath Datta (1886-1971) had made history on February 25, 1948 by demanding Bengali to be recognized as one of the State languages of the new nation of Pakistan even though his proposal was meant to be an amendment permitting the use of Bengali along with Urdu and English in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan (CAP). Despite his pivotal role in the Bengali language movement, especially in the formative phase, his name has thus far remained essentially forgotten and neglected. It is also ironic that there exists a serious paucity of literature on the various phases of his life and political struggle.

Dutta was an outstanding lawyer-politician with an impeccable record of professional integrity. Along with the Bengali Language Movement, he had played a significant role in the Bengal Partition of 1905. However, the Pakistan establishment never forgot Dhirendranath's continued defiance of state discrimination and authoritarianism. At the onset of Bangladesh Liberation War, he was arrested from his Comilla house on March 29, 1971, three days after the arrest of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and taken with his son, Dilip Kumar Datta, to Moynamoti Cantonment and tortured to death. For this reason, he is often referred to as "Shaheed" (martyr) as a sign of respect

His speech on the defence of Bengali as a state language had without doubtlessly contributed to the fulcrum of the Bengali Language Movement.

The following was the speech:

Sir, in moving this– the motion that stands in my name– I can assure the House that I do so not in a spirit of narrow Provincialism, but, Sir, in the spirit that this motion receives the fullest consideration at the hands of the members. I know, Sir, that Bangla is a provincial language, but so far our state is concerned, it is the language of the majority of the People of the state. So although it is a provincial language, but as it is a language of the majority of the people of the state and it stands on a different footing therefore. Out of six crores and ninety lakhs of people inhabiting this State, 4 crores and 40 lakhs of people speak the Bangla language. So, Sir, what should be the State language of the State? The State language of the state should be the language which is used by the majority of the people of the State, and for that, Sir, I consider that Bangla language is a lingua franca of our State. It may be contended with a certain amount of force that even in our sister dominion the provincial language have not got the status of a lingua franca because in her sister dominion of India the proceedings of the constituent Assembly is conducted in Hindustani, Hindi or Urdu or English. It is not conducted in the Bangla language but so far as the Bangla is concerned out of 30 crores of people inhabiting that sister dominion two and a half crores speak the Bangla language. Hindustani, Hindi or Urdu has been given and honored place in the sister dominion because the majority of the people of the Indian Dominion speak that language. So we are to consider that in our state it is found that the majority of the People of the state do speak the Bangla language than Bangla should have an honoured place even in the Central Government.

I know, Sir, I voice the sentiments of the vast millions of our State. In the meantime I wand to let the House know the feelings of the vastest millions of our State. Even, Sir, in the Eastern Pakistan where the People numbering four crores and forty lakhs speak the Bangla language the common man even if he goes to a Post Office and wants to have a money order form finds that the money order is printed in Urdu language and is not printed in Bangla language or it is printed in English. A poor cultivator, who has got his son, Sir, as a student in the Dhaka University and who wants to send money to him, goes to a village Post Office and he asked for a money order form, finds that the money order form is printed in Urdu language. He can not send the money order but shall have to rush to a distant town and have this money order form translated for him and then the money order, Sir, that is necessary for his boy can be sent. The poor cultivator, Sir, sells a certain plot of land or a poor cultivator purchases a plot of land and goes to the Stamp vendor and pays him money but cannot say whether he has received the value of the money is Stamps. The value of the Stamp, Sir, is written not in Bangla but is written in Urdu and English. But he cannot say, Sir, whether he has got the real value of the Stamp. These are the difficulties experienced by the Common man of our State. The language of the state should be such which can be understood by the common man of the State. The common man of the State numbering four crores and forty millions find that the proceedings of this Assembly which is their mother of parliaments is being conduct in a language, Sir, which is unknown to them. Then, Sir, English has got an honoured place, Sir, in Rule 29. I know, Sir, English has got an honoured place because of the International Character.

But, Sir, if English can have an honoured place in Rule 29 that the proceedings of the Assembly should be conducted in Urdu or English why Bangla, which is spoken by four crores forty lakhs of people should not have an honoured place, Sir, in Rule 29 of the procedure Rules. So, Sir, I know I am voicing the sentiments of the vast millions of our State and therefore Bangla should not be treated as a Provincial Language. It should be treated as the language of the State. And therefore, Sir, I suggest that after the word 'English', the words 'Bangla' be inserted in Rule 29. I do not wish to detain the House but I wish that the Members present here should give a consideration to the sentiments of the vast millions of over State, Sir, and should accept the amendment that has been moved by me.

Mr Dutta's Speech in the Parliament