Sahid Minar, image courtesy: Wikipedia
The Basic Principles Committee of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan announces its recommendations that Urdu should be the only state language. It sparks off a wide wave of resentment in East Bengal where the people spoke Bangla.
Politicians and students join their forces for a broader movement under the leadership of Maulana Bhashani of Awami League.
As demonstrations and unrests seem to get out of control, the Government cracks down by imposing a curfew in Dhaka; a number of demonstrators are killed in front of the Dhaka Medical College over a period of one week (February 21-27, 1952).
The Language Martyrs Day:
The First Martyrs to die for their native language: Rafiq, Salam, Jabbar, Barkat, and Salauddin. More die in police shootings in the following days. A makeshift memorial is dedicated to these martyrs at the spot of killings: the Shaheed Minar becomes an icon of the Bengalees’ pride in their culture and history, and of their resistance against imposition of all things foreign. The Shaheed Minar also becomes a place where many future movements for the basic rights of the Bangalees are born.
Bangla was recognised as the second official language of Pakistan on 29 February 1956, and article 214(1) of the constitution of Pakistan was reworded to “The state language of Pakistan shall be Urdu and Bengali.”
21 February was proclaimed the International Mother Language Day by UNESCO on 17 November 1999.
Click here for details on the movement.