January 26, 1952
The Basic Principles Committee of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan announces its recommendation that Urdu should be the only state language.
In a public meting at Paltan Maidan, Dhaka, Prime Minister Nazimuddin declares that Urdu alone will be the state language of Pakistan.
Both the developments spark off the second wave of language agitation in East Bengal.
January 28, 1952
The students of Dhaka University in a protest meeting call the Prime Minister and the Provincial Ministers as stooges of West Pakistan.
January 30, 1952
In a secret meeting called by the Awami League, which is attended by a number of communist front as well as other organizations, it is agreed that the language agitation can not be successfully carried by the students alone. To mobilize full political and student support, it is decided that the leadership of the movement should be assumed by the Awami League under Bhashani.
January 31, 1952
Bhashani presides over an all-party convention in Dhaka. The convention is attended by prominent leaders like Abul Hashim and Hamidul Haq Choudhury. A broad-based All-Party Committee of Action (APCA) is constituted with Kazi Golam Mahboob as Convener and Maulana Bhashani as Chairman, and with two representatives from the Awami League, Students League, Youth League, Khilafate-Rabbani Party, and the Dhaka University State Language Committee of Action.
February 3, 1952
Committee of Action holds a protest meeting in Dhaka against the move 'to dominate the majority province of East Bengal linguistically and culturally'. The provincial chief of Awami League, Maulana Bhashani addresses the meeting. On the suggestion of Abul Hashim it decides to hold a general strike on 21 February, when the East Bengal Assembly is due to meet for its budget session.
February 20, 1952
At 6 p.m. an order under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code prohibiting processions and meetings in Dhaka City is promulgated.
This order generated tension and resentment among the students.
February 21, 1952
A general strike is observed.
Noon - A meeting is held in the campus of Dhaka University. Students decide to defy the official ban imposed by Nurul Amin's administration and processions are taken out to stage a demonstration in front of the Provincial Assembly. Police starts lobbing tear gas shells to the students. Students retaliate by batting bricks. The ensuing riot spreads to the nearby campuses of the Medical and Engineering colleges.
4 p.m. -The police opens fire in front of the Medical College hostel. Five persons - Mohammad Salauddin, Abdul Jabbar, Abul Barkat, Rafiquddin Ahmed and Abdus Salam - are killed, the first three are students of Dhaka University.
"The news of the killing spread like wildfire throughout the city and people rushed in thousands towards the Medical College premises." (-- Talukder Maniruzzaman)
Inside the assembly, six opposition members press for the adjournment of the House and demand an inquiry into the incidents. But Chief Minister Nurul Amin urges the House to proceed with the planned agenda for the day. At this point all the opposition members of the Assembly walk out in protest.
February 22, 1952
Thousands of men and women throng the university, Medical College and Engineering College areas to offer prayers for the victims of the police firing.
After prayers when they go for a procession, the police opens fire.
The police also fire on angry mob who burned the offices of a pro-government newspaper. Four persons are killed.
As the situation deteriorates, the government calls in the military to bring things under control.
Bowing to the pressure, the Chief Minister Nurul Amin moves a motion recommending to the Constituent Assembly that Bengali should be one of the state language of Pakistan. The motion is passed unanimously.
"For the first time a number of Muslim members voted in favour of the amendments moved by the opposition, which so far had consisted of the Hindu Congress members only. The split in the Muslim League became formalized when some members demanded a separate bloc from the Speaker; the Awami (Muslim) League had attained the status of an opposition parliamentary party." (-- Hasan Zaheer)
February 23, 1952
A complete general strike is spontaneously observed, despite the resolution by the Provincial Assembly. The government again responds with repressive measures.
APCA decides to observe a general strike on February 25 to protest the government's actions.
The students of Medical College erect overnight a Shahid Minar (Martyr's Memorial) at the place where Barkat was shot to commemorate the supreme sacrifices of the students and general population. Shahid Minar later became the rallying symbol for the Bengalis.
February 24, 1952
The government gives full authority to the police and military to bring the situation in Dhaka back to normal within 48 hours.
"During these 48 hours the police arrested almost all the student and political leaders associated with the language movement." (-- Talukder Muniruzzaman)
February 25, 1952
The Dhaka University is closed sine die.
"In the face of these repressive measures, the movement lost its momentum in Dhaka. But it spread widely throughout the districts ... In addition to demands for recognition of Bengali as one of state languages of Pakistan, students now began to call for the resignation of the 'bloody' Nurul Amin cabinet ... Nurul Amin claimed that the government "had saved the province from disaster and chaos" by its repressive measures. The students, however, argued that they had already "written the success story of the movement on the streets with their blood." In retrospect, whatever the merits of government and student actions, it is clear that the movement did sow the seeds of a secular-linguistic Bengali nationalism in east Bengal. Its immediate impact was to prepare the ground for the complete routing of the Muslim League in the 1954 elections by a United Front of opposition political parties, on a nationalistic planck of cultural, political and economic autonomy for East Bengal." (-- Talukder Maniruzzaman)
"The Language Movement added a new dimension to politics in Pakistan. It left deep impression on the minds of the younger generation of Bengalis and imbued them with the spirit of Bengali nationalism. The passion of Bengali nationalism which was aroused by the Language Movement shall kindle in the hearts of the Bengalis forever ... Perhaps very few people realised then that with the bloodshed in 1952 the new-born state of Pakistan had in fact started to bleed to death." (-- Rafiqul Islam)
May 7, 1954
The Pakistan government recognizes Bangla as a state language.
Feb 26, 1956
The Constituent Assembly passes the first Constitution of Pakistan recognizing Bangla as a State Language.
March 23, 1956
The first Constitution of Pakistan comes into effect.
March 26, 1971
Bangladesh become an independent nation.
Hasan Zaheer, The Separation of East Pakistan - The Rise and Realization of Bengali Muslim Nationalism, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 1994
Talukder Maniruzzaman, The Bangladesh Revolution and its Aftermath, Bangladesh Books International Ltd., Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1980
Siddiq Salik, Witness to Surrender, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, 1977
Rafiqul Islam, A Tale of Millions, Ananna, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 3rd edition, 1986
Md. Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan, Emergence of Bangladesh and Role of Awami League, Vikas Publishing House, Delhi, India, 1982
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