Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said it is the 1952 Language Movement that paved the way for achieving the Independence of Bangladesh.
“In the history of the Bangalee, the Language Movement is very much important. Our all the achievements came through this movement,” she said while distributing the prestigious Ekushey Padak, the second highest civilian award among its recipients.
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs organised the programme at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium with its State Minister for Cultural Affairs Ministry KM Khalid in the chair. The Prime Minister joined it virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque handed over the Ekushey Padak among the recipients on behalf of the Prime Minister.
Briefly describing the contributions of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to the Language Movement, Sheikh Hasina said there was an Education Conference in Karachi in December 1947 that had taken a decision that Urdu will be the state language of Pakistan.
She mentioned that Bangabandhu formed the Chhatra League on January 4, 1948 and the proposal for the Language Movement had been taken as per his proposal. Basically, with this struggle of the Father of the Nation we attained our Independence, because he had started his protest against those who attacked our language.”
Following his (Bangabandhu’s) proposal, the ‘Sarbadoliya Rashtrabhasha Bangla Sangram Parishad’ (All Party State Language Bangla Action Council) had been formed at the Fazlul Huq Hall of Dhaka University, comprising Chhatra League, Tamuddin Majish and several other progressive student organisations in March (1948) for the movement to get the recognition of the Bangla as a state language, Hasina recalled.
She mentioned that the Bangalee nation attained independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through long struggles starting from the Language Movement.
Making quotes from Bangabandhu’s speech delivered February 21, 1971, she said the language Movement was not only to establish the rights of mother tongue, but also to achieve political, social, cultural and economic rights of the Bangalee nation.
The Prime Minister elaborated the chronological history of the struggles of the nation for achieving Independence, and said young leader Sheikh Mujib through discussions with various organisations had forged the movement immediately after the establishment of Pakistan.
In this regard, she recalled the sacrifices of the great sons of the soil, including Rafique, Salam, Jabbar, Barkat and Shafique and said they wrote about the rights of the mother tongue with blood. “If anyone is interested to know about the details of the Language Movement, I will request to go through the Pakistan Intelligence Branch reports of Bangabandhu from 1948 to 1971. We’re publishing those in books. Seven volumes have already been published while the remaining ones under the process of publication,” she said.
With the reading of the volumes 1-4, the Prime Minister said, anyone will be able to know the many details about the Great Language Movement.
The secret documents of the Intelligence Branch on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are being published in 14 volumes with the reports of the Pakistani intelligence over Bangabandhu submitted from 1948 to 1971.
“We have attained our Independence going through many struggles and movements, and this attainment of Independence is the most important one [in our history],” she said.
Assuming power in 1996, Hasina said, the Awami League government placed a proposal before the United Nations and sent necessary papers to the UN members to get the international recognition of the February 21 supporting an initiative taken by late Rafiqul Islam and Abdus Salam as well as some others expatriate Bangladeshis. “As a result, UNESCO on November 17, 1999 unanimously recognised 21 February as the International Mother Language Day,” she said.
Hasina mentioned that every achievement of the country has been attained through movement and struggle. “No one gave us anything willingly.”
Sheikh Hasina said language, culture and art are normally targeted to destroy the emergence of a nation and the west Pakistani rulers carried out this attempt on the Bangalees.
The Prime Minister reiterated her firm resolve that Bangladesh would go ahead at the world stage with dignity and its head high, and it will not depend on others.
About the Corona situation, Sheikh Hasina renewed her call to the people of the country to follow health rules and wear masks even after taking Covid-19 vaccine.
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam read out the citations of the award recipients and conducted the function while Cultural Affairs Secretary M Badrul Arefin delivered the welcome speech.