By Sharif Shahabuddin
Both the birth and beginning of the religion based Pakistan were on a wrong trajectory. The ruling Muslim League leaders including Jinnah started discriminating among the different people who spoke different languages. But Islam, upon which Pakistan was founded, does not allow such disparity in anyway.
Because of its undemocratic, colonial and autocratic attitude, conspiracy was prevailing inside the power structure in absence of democracy.
Political chaos and conflict had engulfed Pakistan from all sides. After prolonged illness Jinnah died in 1948. In absence of Jinnah the power struggle took a serious turn. Prime Minister Liakuwat Ali Khan was assassinated in cold blood in 1951. President Iskander Mirza was trying to consolidate his power.
Right from the day one, Bengalese became worst affected because of disparity. The people of Bangladesh, the then East Pakistan, had great contribution in achieving independence in 1947 but were not given their due respect, share, recognition and responsibility by Pakistani ruling clique.
The decision for making Urdu as the state language had made the majority people of Pakistan scared and agitated. To protect mother tongue Bangla, spoken by the majority people of Pakistan, the people of then East Pakistan started peaceful movement to press home the demand to recognise Bangle as one of the state languages of Pakistan. But, angered by this demand, Pakistani rulers, who were mostly from West Pakistan and spoke Urdu, had attempted to crush the movement by force. But it didn’t work.
In a bid to protect their mother tongue, the Bengalese, who had played a courageous role in achieving independence of the country from the British Raj, took to the streets to protect the mother tongue even at the cost of their lives.
A nationwide movement had started to make Bangla a state language. On February 21, breaking the curfew a procession was brought out by the students of Dhaka University, in which people from all walks of life also took part. When the procession reached in front of the Dhaka University (now Dhaka Medical College) at around 4pm police opened fire and four people were shot dead on the spot. They were — Rafique, Shafique, Zabbar and Salam. Out of the four, three were students of Dhaka University. They were declared martyrs of 1952 Language Movement.
The martyrs’ blood didn’t go in vain. Only after two years the Pakistani rulers, who had taken lives of our valiant sons, had to face a befitting reply from the people of then East Pakistan. In 1954 election in East Pakistan, the united front headed by Sher-e-Bangla A K Fazlul Haque got the landslide victory over the ruling Pakistan Muslim League. That was the first in the history of Pakistan, elections were held and the transition to democracy had started. A cabinet was formed making Sher-e-Bangla A K Fazlul Haque as chief Minister. But it didn’t last long. Only within a few months the cabinet was abrogated. The ruling Muslim League had resorted to the path of conspiracy against the people of then East Pakistan. It was clear that the West Pakistan based ruling clique will not allow Bengalese to serve the nation.
In their part of conspiracy, they brought Mohammad Ali of Bagura to power, but it also didn’t work.
On October 27 1958, General Ayub Khan declared himself as the chief Martial Law administrator and President Iskandar Mirza was ousted. Pakistan entered a dark chapter in its short tenure.