Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ekushey February: A Timeline -- 11

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1964 (February 21):
The Ekushey was observed with much enthusiasm. The Dhaka Centre of Radio Pakistan for the first time in 12 years broadcast programmes on the Ekushey February. At the foot of the Shaheed Minar thousands gathered in the morning and Maulana Bhasani and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman addressed them. Some politicl demands made in the meeting were: all kinds of black laws of Ayub Khan and Governor Monaem Khan must be repealed; full regional autonomy must be granted to East Pakistan for unhindered development of the Bangla langauge, culture and economy; and the gross inequality in the economic development between the two wings of Pakistan must be eradicated. The meeting also resolved that a national anthem be written in Bangla and Bangla be used in the national insignia. The Ekushey was also properly observed in other cities and towns of East Pakistan.

One important event of this Ekushey February was that a number of Urdu-speaking people of Dhaka, for the first time, participated on this day's programmes and placed wreaths at the martyrs' memorial on behalf of their organization, Anzuman-e-Tariqy.

1965 (February 21):
This Martyr's Day was observed with usual solemnity in Dhaka and elsewhere. Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television broadcast programmes without referring to the Martyrs' Day. Special publications came out on this occasion: Raktaswakhhar published by Sreejani Lekhak Goshti, Bikkhove by East Pakistan Students' Union, Raktalekha by the Medical College unit of Students' Union, and reprint of Ekushey February (it was first published in 1953 and edited by Hasan Hafizur Rahman).

1965 (September):
There was the India-Pakistan war, when it was nakedly proven that West Pakistan was heavily armed and defended whereas East Pakistan was unabashedly neglected. During this war, East Pakistan was totally cut off from West Pakistan for 17 days from any military help reaching from
that wing.

After the war, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at a press conference, stated: "The question of autonomy appears to be more important after the war. Time has come for making East Pakistan self-sufficient in all aspects."
(Continued)

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