12:01 AM, February 02, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Dhirendranath speaks up

Dhirendranath speaks up

Ekushey is, and has always been, symbolic of the Bangalee national aspiration for self-expression. Just how important Bangla was to be was a theme already being discussed in the run-up to Partition. There were, of course, those in the non-Bangalee Muslim community in pre-August 1947 India who for their part had begun to root for Urdu as the language of a future Pakistan. And when Pakistan came into being, it was Urdu and English that came in as the languages in which parliamentary business was to be conducted.
It was Dhirendranath Dutta, the quintessential Bangalee, who first demonstrated the sagacity to ask that Bangla be adopted as one more language in the conduct of parliamentary proceedings. He went further, to demand that Bangla be the lingua franca of the state of Pakistan. His reasoning was based on the reality on the ground. Bangla, he reminded the Pakistan Constituent Assembly on February 25, 1948 was the language of the majority component of Pakistan's population. While submitting his motion in the assembly, Dhirendranath made it clear that he was not approaching the question from a provincial point of view. And then he moved on:
“Out of six crores and ninety lakhs of people inhabiting this state, four crores and forty lakhs of people speak the Bengali language. So, Sir, what should be the state language of the state? The state language of the state should be the language which is used by the majority of the people of the state, and for that, Sir, I consider that the Bengali language is a lingua franca of our state. . .”



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