Shahid minnar

Time line: A brief history of the Bangla language movement

  • Urdu as state language

    Urdu as state language
    Muslim League leaders announce in Hyderabad, India, that Urdu will become state language for the still to be formed Pakistan
  • Period: to

    A brief history of the Bangla language movement

    Today we celebrate International Mother Language day. But do we know the story behind this? Let's have a glance.
  • Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah defends

    Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah defends
    Bengali Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah defends Bangla
  • Tamuddun Majlis

    Tamuddun Majlis
    Tamuddun Majlis (Cultural Society, an organisation by scholars, writers and journalists) demands Bengali as one of the state language of Pakistan.
  • DU students' meeting

    DU students' meeting
    East Pakistani students became agitated and held a meeting on the Dhaka University campus demanding that Bangla be made one of the state languages of Pakistan.
  • Students: Bangla as official language

    Students: Bangla as official language
    Public outrage spread, and a large number of Bengali students met on the University of Dhaka campus on 8 December 1947 to formally demand that Bangla be made an official language. To promote their cause, Bengali students organised processions and rallies in Dhaka.
  • Dhirendranath Datta proposed to allow Bangla

    Dhirendranath Datta proposed to allow Bangla
    The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was in session at Karachi-then the capital of Pakistan. Assembly member Dhirendranath Datta proposed legislation in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan to allow members to speak in Bangla and authorise its use for official purposes. Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan and the Muslim League denounced the proposal as an attempt to divide the Pakistani people, thus the legislation was defeated
  • A general strike

    A general strike
    A general strike was observed in the towns of East Pakistan in protest against the omission of Bangla from the languages of the Constituent Assembly, the absence of Bangla letters in Pakistani coins and stamps, and the use of only Urdu in recruitment tests for the navy. The movement also reiterated the earlier demand that Bangla be declared one of the state languages of Pakistan and the official language of East Pakistan.
  • Muhammed Ali Jinnah visits East Pakistan

    Muhammed Ali Jinnah visits East Pakistan
    Muhammed ali Jinnah, the governor general of Pakistan, came to visit East Pakistan. He addressed two meetings in Dhaka, in both of which he ignored the popular demand for Bangla. He reiterated that Urdu would be the only state language of Pakistan.
  • Urdu will be the only State Language

    Urdu will be the only State Language
    Mohammad Ali Jinnah declares in Dhaka University convocation that while the language of the province can be Bangla, the "State language of Pakistan is going to be Urdu and no other language. Anyone who tries to mislead you is really an enemy of Pakistan."
  • "Urdu-only" policy

    "Urdu-only" policy
    Before Jinnah left Dhaka, he delivered a speech on radio reasserting his "Urdu-only" policy
  • Jinnah dies

    Jinnah dies
    Mohammad Ali Jinnah dies. Nazimuddin becomes new Governor-General of Pakistan
  • Memorandum to Liakat Ali Khan

    Memorandum to Liakat Ali Khan
    Ghulam Azam on behalf of Dhaka University Students’ Union gave a memorandum to Pakistan's Prime Minister Liakat Ali Khan at Dhaka University asking that Bangla be the national language for Pakistan. At the time, Ghulam Azam held the position of the General Secretary of Dhaka University Students’ Union.
  • Arabization of Bangla

    Arabization of Bangla
    Central Pakistan education advisory board recommends Arabization of Bangla after receiving recommendation from Fazlur Rahman
  • Dhaka University Language Action Committee

    Dhaka University Language Action Committee
    The Dhaka University Language Action Committee was formed with Abdul Matin as its convener.
  • East Bengal Language Committee

    East Bengal Language Committee
    East Bengal Language Committee, presided by Maulana Akram Khan, was formed by the East Bengal government to prepare a report on the language problem. The Committee completed its report.
  • Liaquat Ali Khan dies

    Liaquat Ali Khan dies
    Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan dies. Nazimuddin becomes new Prime Minister and Ghulam Muhammad, a public servant, becomes Governor-General
  • Khwaja Nazimuddin: Urdu only

    Khwaja Nazimuddin: Urdu only
    Khwaja Nazimuddin came to Dhaka from Karachi. Addressing a meeting at Paltan Maidan, he said that the people of the province could decide what would be the provincial language, but only Urdu would be the state language of Pakistan.
  • Dhaka University: Protest meeting

    The students of Dhaka University in a protest meeting call the Prime Minister and the Provincial Ministers as stooges of West Pakistan.
  • Strike

    A strike was observed at Dhaka University.
  • Moulana Bhasani- Meeting

    Moulana Bhasani- Meeting
    The representatives of various political and cultural organisations held a meeting on 31 January chaired by Moulana Bhasani. An All-Party Central Language Action Committee was formed with Kazi Golam Mahboob as its convener. At this time the government also proposed that Bangla be written in Arabic script.
  • Strike on Bhasha dibosh

    Strike on Bhasha dibosh
    Abdul Matin forms "Dhaka University's State Language Committee" in language protest. Shorbodolio Kendrio Rashtrobhasha Kormi Porishod decides to declare February 21 as the day for strikes throughout the province terming the day as "Bhasha Dibosh" (Language Day). Gaziul Haq and Abdul Matin led student procession. Students of the University of Dhaka and other institutions gathered on the university premises and warned the government to withdraw its proposal to write Bangla in Arabic script.
  • Amtala DU

    Amtala DU
    • Zillur Rahman leads student protest in Amtala of DU
  • Section 144

    Section 144
    A meeting of the Central Language Action Committee was held under the chairmanship of Abul Hashim. Opinion was divided as to whether or not to violate Section 144. Opinion was divided as to whether or not to violate Section 144. The students were determined to violate Section144.
  • Blood letters

    Blood letters
    The students were determined to violate Section144 and held meeting at 11am on the DU campus.Soon the Vice-chancellor came and asked them to stop.The students,under their leaders- Abdul Matin and Gaziul Haque-were adamant.Students threw brickbats at the police,who retaliated with tear gas.Police fired as they were proceeding towards the Assembly Hall ( Jagannath Hall).Rafiq Uddin Ahmed,Abdul Jabbar,Abdus Salam and Abul Barakat were fatally wounded. A nine-year-old boy named Ohiullah was killed.
  • Public demonstrations

    Public demonstrations
    The day was full of public demonstrations and police reprisals. The public performed a janaza (prayer service for the dead) and brought out a mourning procession, which was attacked by the police and the army resulting in several deaths, including that of a young man named Shafiur Rahman. Many were injured and arrested.
  • First Shahid Minnar

    First Shahid Minnar
    At the spot where students had been killed, a memorial was erected. Government orders crackdown of student leaders and prominent figures
  • Shaheed Smritistombho

    Shaheed Smritistombho
    The monument ( Shahid Minnar) with a handwritten note attached to it saying "Shaheed Smritistombho" was inaugurated by the father of the slain activist Sofiur Rahman. The government gives full authority to the police and military to bring the situation in Dhaka back to normal within 48 hours.
  • Dhaka University closed

    Dhaka University closed
    The Dhaka University is closed sine die. Industrial workers in the town of Narayanganj observed a general strike.
  • Shaheed Smritistombho" destroyed

    Shaheed Smritistombho" destroyed
    "Shaheed Smritistombho" was destroyed by police.
  • Government report

    Government report
    A government report on the incidents failed to show any particular justification for police firings on the students
  • University reopened

    University reopened
    The University of Dhaka reopened
  • Urged to release prisoners

    Urged to release prisoners
    Shorbodolio Kendrio Rashtrobhasha Kormi Porishod, or All-Party Central Language Action Committee, held a seminar at the Bar Association Hall. At the meeting delegates urged the government to release prisoners, relax restrictions on civil liberties and adopt Bangla as an official language.
  • PM Muhammad Ali

    PM Muhammad Ali
    Ghulam Muhammad dismisses PM Nazimuddin and appoints Bengali Muhammad Ali Bogra, Ambassador to USA, as new PM.
  • Support for Bangla

    Support for Bangla
    The constituent assembly resolved, with the Muslim League's support, to grant official status to Bangla.
  • New Shaheed Minar

    New Shaheed Minar
    The anniversary of the Martyr day was observed for the first time in a peaceful atmosphere. The Government supported a major project to construct a new Shaheed Minar.
  • State Language Bangla

    State Language  Bangla
    Bangla was recognised as the second official language of Pakistan and article 214(1) of the constitution of Pakistan was reworded to "The state language of Pakistan shall be Urdu and Bangla."
  • Bangladesh

    Bangladesh becomes an independent nation.
  • Letter to UN

    Letter to UN
    Freedom fighter Rafiqul Islam wrote a letter of proposal to Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the UN. Rafiqul emphasized the necessity of protecting and nurturing mother languages of the world
  • International Language Day

     International Language Day
    UNESCO recognised the unique sacrifice for mother language and declared 21 February is the International Language Day.