Sunday, April 14, 2024

DU students launched movement for Bangla

A significant development in the gathering movement for Bangla to be adopted as the state language, or one of the state languages, of Pakistan was the move made by a dedicated band of left-leaning students of Dhaka University soon after the details of the Basic Principles Committee report came to light. In April 1951, the students, all members of the Dhaka University State Language Committee of Action, sent off a letter to every single member of Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly then meeting in the capital Karachi. The contents of the letter, as the following paragraphs will demonstrate, stated the case for Bangla in unequivocal terms and were patently a portent of what might come to pass if the legitimate demands of Pakistan’s Bangalee population were ignored.
The following are excerpts from the letter, which was signed by an individual acting as the convenor of the committee:
“We, the students of Dhaka University, who initiated the language movement in East Pakistan three years ago (and) who are now more determined than ever to secure for Bengali the status of State language of Pakistan, will take this opportunity, while you are assembled at Karachi, to press once more our legitimate claim. . .
We refuse to believe that any language under heaven can be Islamic or Christian or heathen. If Urdu is Islamic, Bengali is equally so. Nay, it is more Islamic as a larger number of Muslims speak Bangla. . . ‘
The letter went to claim that an adoption of Urdu as the only state language would ‘create a privileged class as English did and thus lead to the exploitation of the many by the few, nourish disaffection among Pakistanis in general and Bengalis in particular; and it will strike at the root of national integrity without which there is no future for our country.”
The closing words of the letter sum up the energy that had already come into the movement in favour of Bangla and that was surely a sign of where Pakistan was headed as a country on the issue of language:
‘We the students of Dacca University, claiming the immediate implementation of the provincial policy in the matter of language and demanding Bengali to be the state language of Pakistan have given a tough fight and are prepared to fight to the last. We shall never accept Urdu as the only state language. We are sworn to expose the great conspiracy which aims at reducing East Pakistan to the state of a colony. We remind them and the people’s representatives who are at the helm of affairs that until and unless the claim of Bengali is fully established in the province as well as the Centre, the students of Dacca University shall not rest.”

 

Via: The Daily Star

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