Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jinnah: a Bangla view

Mr. YLH points out:
It is important to draw a distinction here between state language/lingua franca and national language. The two are entirely distinct — the former is appurtenant to statehood and the latter is a cultural construct. Nowhere in any of his speeches on that fateful trip to East Pakistan did Jinnah refer to Urdu as the national language. He used the words state language and lingua franca interchangeably. More importantly, he repeatedly emphasised in the same speeches that East Pakistanis had every right to safeguard and protect the Bengali language and culture as the official language and culture of East Pakistan. The impression therefore that Jinnah was out to destroy the Bengali language and culture is erroneous.
Since it is a matter of language, let's see what Jinnah said and what Bengalis heard:
In a Radio Address to East Pakistanis before his departure from East Pakistan on March 28, 1948, Jinnah had harshly rebuked the critics of his language policy.  He characterized the opponents of Urdu language as the "opponents" of Pakistan.  He said that the supporters of Bengali as a state language are nothing but the "paid agents" of foreign countries.  Aimed at castigating those who had the guts to demand Bengali to be one of the State languages of Pakistan, an imbecile Jinnah had labeled the champions of Bengali language as "communists,"  "enemies of Pakistan," "breakers of integrity of Pakistan," "defeated and frustrated hate-mongers,"   "champions of provincialism," " breakers of peace and tranquility," "political assassins and political opportunists," "traitors," " inhabitants of fools' paradise," and "self-serving, fifth columnists" etc. He commended the Chief Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin for using various forms of repressive and aggressive measures against the supporters of Bengali language. Jinnah had repeatedly reminded the proponents of Bangla language that the Central Government of Pakistan "is determined to take appropriate stern actions" against these evil forces.
Note: the above is a composite of the speeches that Jinnah gave around that period, and all of the above is not in the one radio address.

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