In the August of 1947, India was divided into two, and Pakistan was formed. Former Pakistan (East and West) was a multi-lingual country with a vast majority of Bengali-speaking people (54%). Despite that, Urdu (6%) was selected to be the national language of Pakistan in 1948. The protest started in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

1948-jinnah-on-urdu-as-national-language-of -pakistan
1948: Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Qaid-e-Azam) declared “Urdu” as the National Language

Janab Abul Kashem, Shri Dhirendranath Dutta,  Janab Samsur Alam, and other leader of then East Pakistan encouraged the language  movement. The people of East Pakistan was  also upset with ignorant behaviour of the Urdu speaking West Pakistan government in almost all aspects.  It was said that the West Pakistan was treating the East Pakistan as a colony for them.

In 1952, the protest reached its heights. Mainly the student community was aggitating on the roads of Dhaka and other major cities.  They got moral support from the common people and all classes of people.

Movement started in East Pakistan in protest of ignoring Bengali Language

In February 1952, the association of all student associations along with other parties called for a strike (“Hartal”) on 21st February 1952. But on 20th February 1952,  the goverment of West Pakistan declared 144 Rule all around Dhaka for one month. This was to control the unrest of the students of Dhaka University and others.


In protest, the students from all over the east Pakistan gathered in Aamtala Maidan, Daka University. They decided not to follow the rule of section 144 and started to go out of the university in groups . The police lathi charged and used tear gas and finaly started gun firing.

Abul Barkat, Rafik, Abdus Salam,  Adbul jabbar and Safiur and few more were killed by the Pakistan Police on the spot. The unrest went to the extreme. The common people of then Bangladesh joined the students  in the movement. The rest is history. Bengali was accepted as one of the national languages of then Pakistan in 1956.

Shaheed Minar in Bangladesh and the Martyrs

This movement has also impacted and influenced the Bangladesh Freedom Fight or “Muktijuddho” which lead to birth of Banghladesh as a free and democratic country.

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