Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ekushey February: A Timeline -- 6

On the night of February 23, 1952, mourning and emotionally-charged Dhaka Medical College students hurriedly constructed this first Shaheed Minar (Language Martyrs' Memorial) with bricks on the spot of the February 21 shooting. The black colour of the memorial symbolizes the death of the martyrs as well as mourning of the people. Armed policemen demolished the first shaheed minar on February 26.



1952 (February 22):

Thousands of people -- both males and females -- rushed to the University Arts Faculty, Medical College and Engineering College areas to pay their respect and offer their prayers for the shooting victims. Police again fired upon the crowd when they started to proceed in procession.

There were other firings elsewhere, too. Angry mob attacked different government offices. When a group set fire and caused a heavy damage to the press and office of the pro-government and pro-Urdu The Morning News daily, the police shot and killed four people. The goverment called on the army to control the situation.

The Morning News printing press had also a Bangla composing section that used to take job orders from outside customers. The Pratibeshi (neighbour) was a Bangla monthly, published by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dhaka, and it was being printed from the Morning News press on contract basis. It was a purely Catholic religious monthly that had nothing to do with politics. All composed matters along with manuscripts of this monthly were also burnt down by the fire. In its next issue, printed from elsewhere, it published an editorial in support of the Bangla and Bangla language movement.

Nurul Amin, the Chief Minister, under pressure from the opposition as well as some members of his own Muslim League party, moves a motion recommending to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan that Bangla be one of the state languages of Pakistan. The motion passes unanimously.

1952 (February 23):

In spite of the provincial Assembly's pro-Bangla resolution, a spontaneous general strike is observed. In reply, the government still resorts to repression.

The All-Party Committee of Action announces a general strike for February 25 to protest government's repressive actions.

The Dhaka Medical College Students uses bricks, cement and sand, already available in the nearby construction site, to erect the first Shaheed Minar (Martyrs' Memorial) on the spot where Abul Barkat was killed. From that time on the Shaheed Minar became a rallying symbol for the Bangalees.

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