In Bangladesh on Friday (21 February) normal business stopped for Shaheed Day -- kept in memory of the Martyrs who on this day in 1952, died for their language and wrote one of the first chapters in the country's struggle for independence.
GV People assemble outside the Shaheed Minar
SV AND CU Flower bed of wreaths around monument (2 shots)
SV AND CU People laying wreaths (3 shots)
GV Procession of people past monument
CU AND LV More wreaths laid (2 shots)
GV PAN Long procession
SV AND GV Dr. Choudhury and officials on rostrum in front of crowd taking oath (5 shots)
Initials CL/1634 CL/1622
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Background: In Bangladesh on Friday (21 February) normal business stopped for Shaheed Day -- kept in memory of the Martyrs who on this day in 1952, died for their language and wrote one of the first chapters in the country's struggle for independence.
The day -- a public holiday -- was observed in the capital, Dacoe, by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Mausoleum of the unnamed Martyrs, by a procession and public swearing of oaths of allegiance to the State language, Bangla.
In March 1948, the central government of Pakistan decreed that Urdu was the country's only official language, sparking off demonstrations in the East where the language issue became of vital importance in the separatist movement.
The Language Movement sprang up under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman -- now Bangladesh's head of state -- pressing for the sovereignty of the Bangla language. This was a forerunner of the larger movement for territorial sovereignty in East Pakistan.
Demonstrations became riots. And, on February 21 and 22, 1952, a number of rioting students were shot in Dacca and other provincial towns by Pakistani government forces -- giving rise to the celebration of Shaheed or Martyrs day.
On Friday the flags were at half mast, and the attention of the people of Bangladesh turned to this premier event in the historical calendar of the new nation.