Mahmuda Begum Sinthia :
In the history of Bangladesh, Language Movement is a linguistic, cultural and nationalist movement. It is a movement of mass uprising. It is a symbol of resistance and pride. Killing of protestors was a weapon of the rulers to suppress the right of Bengali language that fuels from 1947. The protest quickly turned into a full-fledged movement by 1952 with the outlook of common linguistic spirit, which inspired people from all walks of life to save the mother tongue.
Language Movement is not just a matter of regional pride, cultural identity and democratic principles but also a reflection of national existence of this region with linguistic freedom of the people of the then East Pakistan.
There was a constant conspiracy centering the State Language of Pakistan. The rulers were not prepared to accede to Bengali as a State Language. Consequently, the movement began for bringing the status of the State Language with a grand reaction. The Language Movement came out as a particle of extreme rage and later it formed strong protestations. People responded with the slogan: 'We demand Bengali as a State Language!' (Rashtro bhasha Bangla chai!).
The valiant Bengali people sacrificed their lives in the Language Movement of 1952 out of love for mother tongue. On the eve of martyrdom, they uttered the slogan of victory of the language, 'Bengali must be the State Language'. After that we have owned our Bengali as a State Language that can express our hopes and aspirations, happiness and grief,
laughter and tears. The language martyrs are our forerunners and the bloodstained days of' 52 are our inspirations to go against all form of subjections.
After the Language Movement which is a step towards Independence along with our final glorious victory of 1971 against all suppression and oppression, our literature has got uprising components.
Our literature echoed our sorrows and expectations for freedom of our voice and total entity. It expressed our protest against discrimination of the people of the then East Pakistan from the central government of Pakistan. There were great contributions of Bengali literary compositions to fight against the tyrants who had power and evil design.
The poets composed poems on Ekushey and the musicians gave the melody. Words and music were weaved in unison. The advent of those songs also reverberate the stream of consciousness in Bengali soul.
Mahbub UI Alam Chowdhury was a renowned poet for writing the first poem 'Kandte asini fasir dabi niye esechi' on Bengali Language Movement in 1952. He was also the convener of the All Party Rastro Bhasha Songram Porishad and the editor of a paper, 'Simanto' in Chittagong. He is appreciated as the Ekusher Prothom Kobi.
"Ekhane jara pran diyeche/ romnar urdhomukhi krishnochurar tolay/ jekhane aguner fulkir moto/ ekhane okhane jolche osonkhyo rokter chhap".
"Jara amar matribhashake nirbason dite cheyechhe/ Tader jonyo ami fasi dabi korchi".
(Mahbub Ul A lam Chowdhury, 21st February, 1952)
The first song of Ekushey was composed spontaneously by Language activist Gaziul Haque on February 24, 1952, which people sang in that time raising the demand for State Language -
"Bhulbo na, bhulbo na ei Ekushey February bhulbo na/ lathi guli ar tear gas, military ar military, bhulbo na/ Rashtro bhasha BangIa chai' e dabite dhormoghot/ Barkat, Salamer khune lal Dhakar rajpoth bhulbo na."
And the translation in English is -
"We will not, we will not forget Ekushey February/ The sticks, shots and military we are not frightened of/ The movement is about Bengali as a state language/ The streets of Dhaka is red with blood of Barkat and Salam/ We will not forget it."
Poet Hasan Hafizur Rahman was a literary figure who answered to all barbaric oppressors through his strong poetic creations with the highest honor for the language martyrs. He is the first one who created the strong foundation in literature by his 'Ekhushey Sonkolon' (1953).
"Blood writes a thousand unspoken words/ The fires that bums in the heart."
No voice but blood/ Man's holy blood/ Pours out words in thunderous silence"
(Kabir Chowdhury; A face in the procession)
Poet Sikandar Abu Jafar wrote strongly with the spirit of Ekushey. His role is immense as a poet as well as an accomplished devotee of aesthetic excellence. His view with extreme rage and hatred towards the barbarous oppressors :
"All the people get united in a second/ They anointed their sinews, ribs and muscles/ With a new-born pledge/ The history of the land pulsates on the horizon of time/ February 21 is a fearless journey on the road of consciousness/ February 21 is a united being of million men."
(Translated by K Ashraf Hossain)
Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury was a poet, lyricist who was remarkable for the most iconic song of the 1952, 'Amar Bhaier Rokte Rangano Ekushey February'. First, these lines were written as a poem on Bengali Language Movement. Later it has been figured as a song and holds a great dignity from the people of Bangladesh. Thus as twenty first February approaches, the voices of people resound heartily in one voice with the memory of those heroes- "Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February/ Ami ki Bhulite Pari? Chhele Hara Shoto Mayer Oshru Gora E February/ Ami Ki Bhulite Pari? /Amar Sonar Desher Rokte Rangano February/ Ami Ki Bhulite Pari?" (Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, 1952)
This song has been composed in twelve languages including English, Hindi, Malay, Nepalese, Chinese, Russian, French, Spanish, German, Italian languages. Eminent writer and translator, Professor Kabir Chowdhury translated it into English :
"My brothers blood Spattered 21 February/ Can I forget the twenty-first of February/ Incarnadined by the love of my brother/ The twenty-first of February, build by the tears/ Of a hundred mothers robbed of their sons/ Can I ever forget it?"
Musician, lyricist Abdul Latif's famous song 'Dam diye kinechi Bangla, karo dane poana noy' is a representation of patriotic as well as linguistic devotion. This song is also an appropriate reaction against all tyrants.
"Dam diye kinechi Bangla, Karo dane poana noy/ Dam dichi pran lokkho koti, Jana ache jogotmoy/ Dam diye kinechi Bangla, Karo dane poana noy".
In 1952, Abdul Latifs song 'Ora amar mukher kotha kaira nitey chay', was composed by Romesh Sheel. The lyric provides true feelings, insecurity and inner turmoil for mother tongue. It is also contained with Bengali folk basis.
"They want to snatch away the words of my mouth. They chain my hands and feet for sheer fun/ What my grandfather spoke that too my father spoke/ And now tell me, brother mine , can any other tongue adorn these lips?"
(Translated by Mohammad Mijarul Quayes)
Poet Shamsur Rahman used his fiercest voice against Pakistani barbarism in his writing. He is often called Ekusher Kobi,(a poet of Ekushey). He made Bengali nation of the then East Pakistan aware of their own language, culture and national identity. Against the backdrop of Language Movement, the poet wrote 'Bornomala amar dukhinee bornomala' (Alphabets, my sad Alphabets). The poem pathetically says - 'If you are plucked out, tell me, what remains of me'. "Nokkhotropunjer moto joljole potaka uriye acho amar sottay. Momota namer puto prodesher shyamolima/ Tomake nibir gheri roy sorbodai" and "Ekhon tomake ghire itor belellapona cholche bedom/ Ekhon tomake niye khenrar nongrami/ Ekhon tomake ghire khisti-kheurer poushmas/ Tomar mukher dike aj ar jay na takano/ Bornomala amar dukhini Bornomala."
February 1969 of Shamsur Rahman is a depiction of historical mass movement of the people of the then East Pakistan. In this poem the poet commemorates Salam, Barkat and others who participated in the movement. The speaker of the poem says,
"The flaming krishnochura of Ekush is nothing but the conscience of us today".
Eminent poet Al Mahmud also wrote poems on turmoil of his motherland. One of his poem 'Ekusher Kobita' indicates a sharp protest on Ekushey oppressors.
"February Ekush tarikh/Dupur belar okto/ Brishti name, brishti kothay?/ Barkater rokto.
Contd on page 9