Monday, 23 March 2020

Bengali Language Movement before the Birth of Pakistan

Bengali Language Movement Even Before the Partition of India 

There were debates and controversies about whether the state language of Pakistan would be Urdu or Bangla even before the creation of independent Pakistan. The people of the then East Pakistan (now present Bangladesh) never obey the oppressive and illogical demand of accepting Urdu as a sole state language of Pakistan. 

# 1906: There were debates on what would be the medium of education for Muslims in the Eastern Bengal at the time of All India Muhammadan Educational Conference which was held at Shahbag in 1906. All India Muslim League was formed at the 20th session of the Conference. 

In fact, in 1906 when the Muslim League was being established, Bengali speakers mentioned that giving up Bangla language in favour of Urdu was not going to be accepted by them. 


# 1937: When Urdu speaking non-Bengali Muslim leaders proposed to make Urdu the lingua franca of Muslim League in Lucknow (UP) session of the Muslim League in 1937, supporters of Bengali led by AK Fazlul Haq opposed and rejected the idea. 


# 1947 May: Chowdhury Khalequzzaman, a Muslim League leader, in Hyderabad told Urdu would be the national language of Pakistan. 

July: Ziauddin Ahmed, the then vice-chancellor of Aligarh University told in a Conference on the Urdu language “As Hindi is going to be the state language of India, so Urdu should be the state language of Pakistan.” 

In response to Ziauddin's declaration, Dr Muhammad Shahidullah of Bangla Department at Dhaka University (DU) wrote an op-ed titled “Pakistaner Bhasha Samasya” (Pakistan's Language Problem) in Weekly Comrade and Azadi newspapers. He described his opinion as to why Bengali should be the 1st state language of Pakistan and Urdu can be considered to adopt as the second language. He wrote that Bengali should become the medium of instruction as well as the official language in East Pakistan. The demand took formal shape with the formation of the Gana Azadi League in Dhaka during the same month. 


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