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Bangla Language Movement in Sylhet

Discussion in 'Bangladesh Defence Forum' started by bongbang, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. bongbang

    bongbang SENIOR MEMBER

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    In august, 1947, Al Islah the local newspaper in the editorial column entitle “Prubo Pakistaner Rastor Bhasha” demanded Bangla as the state language of East Pakinstan. The Tamaddun Majilis, a sacio-cultural organization came out with its pamphlet Pakistaner Rasto Bhasha Bangla na Urdu on 15th September 1947. Sylhet played a pioneer role in the state Language Movement. On 9th November 1947 one of the literary sessions of the Muslim Shahityo Snagsad the local literary society was devoted to the issue of the state language. In the meeting presided over by M. Matinuddin Ahmed, an eminent litterateur, M. Muslim Chowdhury, who was then an Assistant Inspector of Schools, presented an erudite paper entitled Pakistaner Rastro Bhasha. In this paper he argued that Bangla should be the official language and the medium of instruction in East Bengal; Bangla and English should be the state languages of Pakistan and any West Pakistan language should as well be another state language. This was well attended meeting in which six discussants spoke for Bangla, two for Urdu and one for Arabic as the state language of Pakistan. Two other meeting followed on the same subject on 30 November and 28 December. The meeting on 30 November gave a foretaste of what was to come in 1948 in the nation-wide State Language Movement. This was held in the compound of Alia Madrasha and was presided over by M. Matinuddin Ahmed, Hosain Ahmed, who was Assistant secretary of the Sangsad, presented a short paper. Syed Mujtaba Ali, the distinguished linguist and litterateur and a son of the soil, was invited to deliver the keynote address. This was subsequently published in Al Islah under the title Purbo Pakistaner Rastrobaha in March 1949. A handful of people, mostly Madrasha students, tried to disturb the meeting and five spekers took the floor for Urdu. Ali made a strong case for Bangla and found the demand for Urdu totally unjustified. He suggested response to the plea for promotion of Islamic ethos that in that case Arabic should be the state language. In the last meeting on the subject, the main paper “Purbo Pakistaner Rastrobasha” was presented by the renowned philosopher Dewan Mohammad Azraf. In this meeting also a couple of discussants took up the cause of Urdu.

    The state Language Movement in Dhaka practically began in December 1947 as to the decision of the Education Conference held in Karachi on 3 and 4 of that month. Sylhet as we have noted, was already active in this respect. Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, Pakistan’s Minister for communications, visited Sylhet on 11 January and two delegations meeting him urged for recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages. Nazimuddin as the Chief Minister of Est Bangal signed an eight-point agreement in Dhaka with the student leaders on 15 March 1948 for proper recognition of Bangla as well as other matter but the movement continued as the implementation process gave rise to suspicion of earnest intention. The students of Sylhet sent a memorandum to the Governor General Quad-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on 4th April although all the points of the understanding with the Chief Minister were not implemented. The only outlying area where there was some activity in 1948 was Kulaura and that was because of the presence there of a band of dedicated workers such as Syed Almal Husain, A. Majid and Tara Miah.

    The year 1949 was a less eventful year for the State Language Movement. There was the peasant revolt known as Nankar Abolition Movement. The beginning of 1950 witnessed a disgraceful communal carnage in which Sylhet stood up firmly against riots. Peace committees under local leaders and students were set to bring the situation under control. In 1950 Dr. Shahidullah, the eminent scholar, while visiting Hobigonj spoke publicly against the foisting Arabic script on Bangla. Students activism took a new turn taking a non-partisan and progressive stance. There were two salutary national events in which as far as Sylhet was concerned students played the major role. The Muslim Students Federation after the 1948 movement withered away as some of it’s stalwarts left forDhaka. Determined suppression by the government and the serve police surveillance of the students Federation, the front organization of the Communist Party, took away the alternative option of the students. But the peace operation gave them confidence and inspiration as well. The arrest of Mahmud Ali, Convener of the Peace Committee, not on 14th March and licking up of the office of the Peace Committee brought forth strong protest but also some dismay. Soon after March, 1950 students decided to form their own organization, Sylhet Students Education Committee, not linked to any political party or other students organizations. This received the blessing of Mahmud Ali, Pir habibur Rahman encouraged it and A. M. A Muhit was elected its Convener. For the next year or so this was the only organization in Sylhet that kept the light of nationalistic aspirations in Sylhet. The students in Dhakadecided to hold a Provincial Education Conference on 15 and 16th September, 1950. The Education committee sent delegates to the conference and on return held meetings to publicize the declaration adopted in the conference.

    In the political front Youth League was formed in February, 1951 and Mahmud Ali was Its Secretary. In Sylhet, the Awami League was formed in 1951 and most of the associates of Mahmud Ali joined it. It was gaining ground but was not a force worth any mention. The Muslim League was rife with internal discussion ad-hoc committee were functioning without much public support.

    Sylhet: Language Movement in Sylhet
     
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  2. bongbang

    bongbang SENIOR MEMBER

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    Language pioneer's museum, Sylhet's cultural wealth

    [​IMG]

    There existed long years before contemporary footwear, when th ekhorom, the wooden sandal was a royal symbol. There were days when any wooden shoe could be bestowed with additional dignity through the embellishment of ivory trimmings. In a time much before the 'Londoni' expats from the country's northeast had colonised parts of Britain, Sylhet had its own alphabet. The Sylheti Nagari script was unique.

    Given the strength of Sylhet's regional culture and longstanding linguistic tradition, it's barely conceivable that any Bengali language movement could begin without noteworthy Syheti contribution. While the Language Movement with its aim to install Bangla as the state language of East Pakistan would reach its pinnacle in 1952, events in Sylhet began earlier.

    On September 9, 1947, with a month yet to pass from the births of independent India and Pakistan, the first meeting to discuss the state language was arranged. It was convened by two leading figures: prominent comic litterateur Syed Mujtaba Ali, and local advocate, bureaucrat and writer Matin Uddin Ahmed.

    In retrospect it's unsurprising that Ahmed was a Language Movement pioneer. As the author of 58 published and unpublished, mostly children's books, Ahmed's love of the written word and of learning is aptly demonstrated. As a lawyer and from his civil service career, Ahmed held an awareness of matters of state. Indeed, his official career led to criticism of his being involved in the Language Movement; yet at a second meeting held on August 30, 1947, at the Sylhet Ali Madrasa Ground, Ahmed was the chair.

    These two meetings were surely among the first to raise the issue of the state language anywhere in East Pakistan.

    Ahmed frequently wrote in periodicals, including the monthly Saogat, The Daily Azad, Ittefaq and Ittehad. According to late Professor Dewan Mohammad Azraf, Ahmed's writing career began early, in Kolkata in the days before Partition. Yet notwithstanding his writing and activism, Matin Uddin Ahmed is probably best remembered in Sylhet for the museum that bears his name.

    [​IMG]

    Late Matin Uddin Ahmed, whose valuable collections later formed the mainstay of the museum founded in 2004. Photo: Star

    The museum visitor can observe an eclectic mix of old coins and notes from various dynasties; the preserved muslin saris of Ahmed's wife and daughter who held landlord status; a cannonball from the Second World War; an idol of Cleopatra; an ivory chess set; an early edition typewriter. The museum also contains more than four thousand archaeological assets.

    “Ahmed collected many of the exhibits himself,” says current director Dr Mustafa Shahzaman Chowdury Bahar, who was among those to establish the museum in 2004, now located on the fourth floor of the Central Muslim Literary Council building.

    Inside, among the many artifacts that serve to paint a picture of Sylhet's rich cultural heritage, one might even find a pair of those old wooden shoes, the khorom, and portfolios written in eloquent Syheti Nagari script.

    Language pioneer's museum, Sylhet's cultural wealth | The Daily Star
     
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  3. Riyad

    Riyad FULL MEMBER

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    Isn't Sylheti a different language? They use 'Kho' in almost every sentence.
     
  4. bongbang

    bongbang SENIOR MEMBER

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    Last edited: Feb 21, 2016
  5. Nilgiri

    Nilgiri ELITE MEMBER

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    Pure Sylheti is closer to Assamese I have heard.
     
  6. bongbang

    bongbang SENIOR MEMBER

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    If pure Sylhet is closure to Assamese they hadnt opted for Bengali in BD and Assam. For god's sake you are a Tamil and you are coming to a conclusion. Btw Assamese and Bengali are same language tree

    Language of Love and Death: Fifty Years of Assam’s Language Movement - Mainstream Weekly

    Bengali–Assamese languages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    ‘I Am An Assamese, A Bengali And A Sylheti. What Exactly Am I?’
    I COME FROM a small town, Karimganj, tucked away like an inconvenient problem on the southernmost fringes of the Indo-Bangladesh border. The widely-spoken languages here are Bengali and Sylheti — I never spoke Assamese until I joined Cotton College in Guwahati. My mother, for instance, spoke Sylheti at home, to haggle with the vendors in her tongue. She taught Bengali at the neighbourhood school in town.

    As a young child, I had asked my mother if we were Sylhetis or Bengalis. She had told me a story — my grandmother’s extended family’s roots originated in Sylhet, in what is now Bangladesh. As communal unrest grew in the pro vinces, they fled to the relative safety of Karimganj. Many Bengali Hindus who had fled their erstwhile homes sought refuge in this land. In course of time, they made it their own little paradise, picking up the pieces of their erstwhile memories. Nostalgia pervaded every aspect of their daily existence. I understood while growing up that Barak Valley was never going to be a part of Assam as was being demanded.

    Assam was from where my parents’ salary deposits were made, Assam was where you ran to in order to get an error in your matriculation certificate corrected or for that matter, Assam was against whom you competed in the board exams, conducted by the very same Secondary Education Board of Assam. We were Sylheti Bengalis, not Bangladeshis and, of course, not Assamese.

    ‘I am an Assamese, A Bengali and a Sylheti. What exactly am I?’ | Tehelka - Investigations, Latest News, Politics, Analysis, Blogs, Culture, Photos, Videos, Podcasts
     
  7. Nilgiri

    Nilgiri ELITE MEMBER

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    Thats what I mean. All south Indian languages are part of same tree and that creates many local dialects especially around border areas.

    I'm just saying what I heard....that many Sylhetis do not consider their language to be Bengali at all....even though its part of same overall family.
     
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  8. Pumba

    Pumba BANNED

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    Check whatever thread where i have tagged u instead of trolling our bongla bondhus :angry:
     
  9. Nilgiri

    Nilgiri ELITE MEMBER

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    Some tags do not always make it to the alerts for some reason.

    Some glitch in the forum.
     
  10. Pumba

    Pumba BANNED

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    Ok check whatever thread plz.
     
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  11. Al-zakir

    Al-zakir ELITE MEMBER

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    We do not speak tagorize hindu bangla. We speak syloti or musalmani bangla.
     
  12. bongbang

    bongbang SENIOR MEMBER

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    Sylheti contribution to Bangla is actually huge. Bangla isnt a definite language. Which is a combination of spoken language around Bengal area. But now widely misconception is, standard version of Bangla is real Bangla and all others are not. While the standard version was opted for better understanding and knowledge purposes to address wider audiences.

    And we cant imagine Bangla without Hason Raja, Baul Shah Abdul Karim, Poet Syed Mujtaba Ali, Singer Runa Laila, Scientist and fictionist Md Zafar Iqbal

    List of people from Sylhet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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  13. Saiful Islam

    Saiful Islam SENIOR MEMBER

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    We have our own script which is called Sylheti Nagri or Jalalabadi Nagri. A dialect doesn't have it's own script, it's simply a form of a language. Why do you purposely disregard it as a language and then compare it to the likes of Chatgaya etc.

    It's part of the same family tree, doesn't mean Sylheti and Bangla are the same or Urdu and Hindi are the same. If you ask a person in Sylhet village what they speak I can guarantee you 9 times out of 10, Sylheti. We had our own script called Sylheti nagri/Jalalabadi Nagri we had our own literature etc.

    This is the problem with Bengalis, they can't respect diversity. They just want everything to be the same as them.

    Khalasss
     
  14. Nilgiri

    Nilgiri ELITE MEMBER

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    Yes this is what I have heard from some Sylhetis I have known.

    One of my best Bangladeshi friends said he could barely understand a Sylheti speaking lady on the plane when she was asking something about the trip...and it is not uncommon occurrence.

    Urdu and Hindi are much much closer in practice/vernacular than Bengali and Sylheti....but I understand what you are getting at. I would classify difference between Bengali and Sylheti like Tamil and Malayalam.
     
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  15. bongbang

    bongbang SENIOR MEMBER

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    We are trying to have a serious discussion here.

    Nagri was unintelligible. Sylhetis started first Bengali movement in EP and they started in Assam as well. Other areas of Bengal also had their own scripts also. You can dig deep for cavemen scripts, decode them and name your own new language. No one is stopping you and you are welcome to encircle yourself into your own circle where language was meant for communication.

    For example this is Puthi of Bengal. You wouldnt even understan difference between Bengali and Puthi

    [​IMG]


    Southern Chittagong Arakan scripts

    [​IMG]


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2016