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Women in Bangla Language Movement (1948-1956)


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This work is about some of the female language activists who took part in the language movement in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan).Though they fought side by side with men going against social norm,they have been omitted from historical account.

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Women in Bangla Language Movement (1948-1956)

  2. 2. CONTEXT OF THE BANGLA LANGUAGE MOVEMENT  The Language movement (1948-1956) started to establish Bangla, the mother tongue of the majority in Bangladesh(then East Pakistan) as a state language.  It was a struggle to protect cultural identity from government suppression.  It laid the foundation of nationalism and paved the way for the birth of Bangladesh.
  3. 3. WOMEN’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE LANGUAGE MOVEMENT  Women actively participated in the movement-at a time when society was largely conservative.  Conventional historical narratives have overshadowed the heroic deeds of women.
  4. 4.  Women’s tasks included, but were not limited to: • Writing posters. • Management of school girls in procession.  Later, women came forward to fill up the void in leadership when male leaders were imprisoned or had to go into hiding to avoid police arrest.  Women were the first to defy curfew under section 144 on the fateful February 21,1952.
  5. 5. NOTABLE FEMALE LANGUAGE ACTIVISTS  Pratibha Mutsuddi • Student of Chittagong College (1951) and Dhaka University (1954),member of Students' Federation. • Participated in demonstrations held in Chittagong city protesting the firing on students in Dhaka in 1952. • Arrested for breaking Section 144 during 21 February,1955.
  6. 6. NOTABLE FEMALE LANGUAGE ACTIVISTS  Mamtaj Begum • Headmistress of Narayanganj Morgan Girl’s School. • Arrested for organizing demonstration protesting police killings of language activists. • Refused the government’s offer to sign a mercy petition admitting mistake in exchange for her freedom. • Jailed for over a year, she lost her job and was disowned by family. • Died all alone at the young age of 37.
  7. 7. NOTABLE FEMALE LANGUAGE ACTIVISTS  Rawshan Ara Bachchu • Member of Democratic Progressive Student Front. • Spoke in favor of women's participation in politics in a radio program on April,1950. • One of the forerunners to deny the curfew in DU Campus on 21 February,1952. • Also involved in the students’ movement for a pro-people education policy.
  8. 8. NOTABLE FEMALE LANGUAGE ACTIVISTS  Anwara Khatun • one of the members along with Maulana Tarkabagish who famously staged a walkout as a protest against Chief Minister Nurul Amin's inaction during February 21 police firing. • Moved a resolution in the East Bengal Legislative Assembly on February 22,1952 demanding the unconditional release of all arrested for language protest and compensation to the victims. • Led Awami League during 1966 when male leadership was imprisoned for the 6-points
  9. 9. SOME OF THE IDENTIFIED FEMALE LANGUAGE ACTIVISTS Dr Halima Khatun Dr Sufia Khatun Nurunnahar Kabir Fazilatunnesa Safia Khatun Sofia Khan Zulekha Sara Taifur
  10. 10. SOME OF THE IDENTIFIED FEMALE LANGUAGE ACTIVISTS Rani Bhattachariya Manjushree Sen Sufia Ahmed Nuri Sufia Ibrahim Begum Zobeda Khatun Chowdhury
  11. 11. SOME OF THE IDENTIFIED FEMALE LANGUAGE ACTIVISTS Zakia Sultana Bulu Rabeya Chhomela Foujia Begum Feroja Saleha Halima
  12. 12. REFERENCES  4/the-forgotten-women-veterans-of-the- language-movement  bangladesh?id=151  language-movement-heroes-of-nilphamari- 65544