Many brave souls, both men and women, fought for our mother language Bangla during the 1952 Language Movement. However, the names of women language fighters hardly appear in written history.
With the help of oral history, director Shabnam Ferdousi, made a documentary film titled, Bhashajoyita: The Language Fighter, based on those women. The film was recently screened during the session, Through Her Eyes, an initiative by Goethe-Institut Bangladesh and International Film Initiative of Bangladesh (IFIB), which provides a space to watch and discuss films with women filmmakers of Bangladesh.
Bhashajoyita: The Language Fighter can be a treasure for the national archive. In the film, language fighters Roushan Ara Bacchu, Halima Khatun, Sufia Ahmed and Sofia Khan spoke about the times when they were in the streets to protest.
The film focused on the important women figures of the Language Movement, including the likes of Nurunnahar Kabir, Syeda Nazibunnesa, Zobeda Rahim Chowdhury, Shah Banu Chowdhury, Manjusree Sen and Rani Bhattacharya, among others.
The names of many women, like Momtaj Begum who was imprisoned for over a year, and the stories of their struggles may have lost importance in written documents. However, pictures from 1951 prove the participation of women language fighters.
The screening of the film ended with a discussion session with the director Shabnam Ferdousi. Another film In Quest of Life, by the same director, was also screened on the day. Through Her Eyes is an ongoing initiative, which takes place on the third Sunday of each month at Goethe-Institut Bangladesh.