Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ekushey February: A Timeline -- 2

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1947 (December 6):

University of Dhaka students were furious at the demeaning and insulting language used by Fazlur Rahman, the Central Education Minister, against Bangla and its script and the decision of the Pakistan Educational Conference to make Urdu the only state language of Pakistan. At the students' call, a meeting was held in the university campus on December 6 where they denounced the Education Minister and his anti-Bangla efforts and demanded that Bangla be made one of the state languages of Pakistan.

1947 (Last Week of December):
Towards the end of December, Tamaddun Majlish helped form the first Rastra Bhasha Sangram Parishad (State Language Action Committee) with Professor Nurul Huq Bhuiyan of Tamaddun Majlish as its convenor. The purpose was to provide organized resistence against the anti-Bangla policies of the Pakistan Central Government and to protest the degrading comments and actions of the Education Minister against Bangla. This Sangram Parishad was able to attract support of students of the University of Dhaka and other educational institutions, teachers and general public.

1948 (February 23):
At the first session of the Muslim League-dominated Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, presided over by the Farsi-and-Urdu-speaking Governor General Mohammad Ali Jinnah, in Karachi -- the then capital of Pakistan, it was proposed that members either speak in English or Urdu. One opposition member, Mr. Dhirendra Nath Datta (1886-1971) -- a Hindu lawyer from Brahmanbaria and member of the Pakistan Nationalist Congress Party -- moved an amendment motion to include Bangla along with Urdu and English as one of the languages of the Assembly. He reasoned out that among the total population of 69 million people in Pakistan, 44 million people were from East Pakistan with Bangla as their language. The Farsi-and-Urdu-speaking Pakistan Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and the Farsi-and-Urdu-speaking Chief Minister of East Pakistan Khwaja Nazimuddin opposed the motion. Some other Bangali East Pakistani Muslim League members along with the West Pakistanis also helped defeat this motion. At this news, there was an uproar among students, intellectuals and politicians in Dhaka. Newspapers, like the Bangla daily Azad, also criticized the motion-rejecting politicians in Karachi.

1948 (Early March):
Under the convenorship of Shamsul Huq, a new action committee was formed to struggle for making Bangla as one of the state langauges of Pakistan.

(Continued)
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