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Language Movement Day or Language Revolution Day (ভাষা আন্দোলন দিবস Bhasha Andolon Dibosh), which is also referred to as Language Martyrs' Day or Martyrs' Day (শহীদ দিবস Shohid Dibosh), is a national day of Bangladeshmarker to commemorate protests and sacrifices to protect Bangla as a national language during the Pakistani regime in 1952.

Background

Around 1950-52, the emerging middle classes of East Bengal underwent an uprising known later as the Bangla Language Movement. Bangladeshis (then East Pakistanis) were initially agitated by a decision by the Central Pakistanmarker Government to establish Urdu, a minority language spoken only by the supposed elite class of West Pakistan, as the sole national language for all of Pakistan. The situation was worsened by an open declaration that "Urdu and only Urdu will be the national language of Pakistan" by the governor, Khawaja Nazimuddin.

Protest

Police declared Section 144 which banned any sort of meeting. Defying this, the students of University of Dhakamarker and Dhaka Medical College and other political activists started a procession in February 21, 1952. Near the current Dhaka Medical College Hospital, police fired on the protesters and numerous people, including Abdus Salam, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, Sofiur Rahman, Abul Barkat and Abdul Jabbar, died.

The movement spread to the whole of East Pakistan and the whole province came to a standstill. Afterwards, the Government of Pakistan relented and gave Bangla equal status as a national language.

Effects

This movement is thought to have sown the seeds for the independence movement which resulted in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

Commemoration



To commemorate this movement, Shaheed Minar (শহীদ মিনার), a solemn and symbolic sculpture, was erected in the place of the massacre. The day is revered in Bangladesh and, to a somewhat lesser extent, in West Bengal as the Martyrs' Day.

UNESCOmarker decided to observe 21 February as International Mother Language Day. The UNESCO General Conference took a decision to that took effect on 17 November 1999 when it unanimously adopted a draft resolution submitted by Bangladesh and co-sponsored and supported by 28 other countries.

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