Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Kendrio Shaheed Minar (Language Martyrs' Memorial) in Shades and Colours

The Kendrio Shaheed Minar (Central Langauge Martyrs' Memorial) was originally a small make-shift one erected hurriedly by several Dhaka Medical students with mortar and bricks in the dark of the night of February 23, 1952. It was constructed on the very spot where, on February 21, several students and non-students who were fired upon and killed by policemen when they tried to break the curfew in support of the Bangla language movement. Armed police demolished it on February 26, 1952.

The work on the second shaheed minar officially started in 1957 but, with the change of government, things got bogged down and original extensive and lavish plan of the minar was abandoned. Ultimately, the completed but" shaved" minar was inaugurated in 1963. The Pakistan ruling elite (the army as well as the Muslim League leaders) were never happy with this minar because the East Pakistanis (Bangladeshis) rallied around this monument every February 21 and demanded more rights and freedoms.

In March of 1971 they got their chance. During the Pakistani army crackdown in Dhaka, they first damaged the shaheed minar severely and later they completely destroyed the columns and placed a notice board on the site, saying "Mosque." What a malarkey in the name of Islam! It was the habit of the ruling elite to take the name of religion and scapegoating when engaging in any injustice. The newspaper headlines are full of such examples during their rule of East Pakistan.

After the independence of Bangladesh in December, 1971, the third shaheed minar (see the photo below) was constructed in the independent Bangladesh. This minar is the symbol of the long struggle for freedom and independence of Bangladesh.

Now let's view this shaheed minar in myriad shades and colours, having a surreal feeling in your heart and mind!

Original black-and-white photo of the Kendrio Shaheed Minar
(Central Language Martyrs' Memorial) in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Photo (Dhaka: March, 1975) © Jerome D'Costa
(Below) lighting and shading of this photo (Toronto: 2010) © Jerome D'Costa

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