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Dhirendranath Datta and the Bengali Language Movement (1)

Dhirendranath Datta

On Feb 25, 1948, in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly Dhirendranath Datta said:

‘But, Sir, if English can have an honoured place in Rule 29 — that the proceedings of the Assembly should be conducted in Urdu or English — why Bengali, which is spoken by four crores forty lakhs of people, should not have an honoured place, Sir, in Rule 29 of the Procedure Rules? So, Sir, I know I am voicing the sentiments of the vast millions of our state and, therefore, Bengali should not be treated as a provincial language. It should be treated as the language of the state.’

‘He should realize that Pakistan has been created because of the demand of a hundred million Muslims in this subcontinent and the language of a hundred million Muslims is Urdu . . . Pakistan is a Muslim state and it must have as its lingua franca the language of the Muslim nation. . . The object of this amendment is to create a rift between the people of Pakistan. The object of this amendment is to take away from the Mussulmans that unifying force that brings them together.’ — Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan

‘Urdu is not the language of any of the provinces constituting the Dominion of Pakistan. It is the language of the upper few of Western Pakistan. The opposition to the amendment proves an effort, a determined effort, on the part of the upper few of Western Pakistan at dominating the state of Pakistan.’ — Bhupendra Kumar Datta

‘I am sure the Bengal government realize their responsibility and they will take immediate steps to popularize Urdu in the schools, so that after a period of ten or fifteen years there may not be a single Bengali who will not be well conversant with the national language of the state.’ — Ghazanfar Ali Khan

‘Sir, I feel it my duty to let the House know what the opinion of the overwhelming majority of the people of Eastern Pakistan over this question of Bengali language is. I think there will be no contradiction if I say that as far as inter-communication between the provinces and the centre is concerned, they feel that Urdu is the only language that can be adopted.’ — Khwaja Nazimuddin



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