Dhirendranath Datta |
Sanjoy Kumar Nath Chittagong
Every year on Ekushey February our national heartbeat stops as we pay homage to our glorious sons Salam, Barkat, Rafiq and Jabbar.
Let us also ensure that we pay due tribute to another key figure in the language movement that gave birth to our freedom struggle. Shahid Dhirendranath Datta was the first East Pakistani to formally raise the demand for Bangla as an official language of the new country as early as 1948. How ironic a twist of fate, that he moved this resolution in the Pakistan National Assembly on 23rd February 1948, just two days after the calendar date that has become immortalised in our collective consciousness.
Unfortunately, when he did this, he was branded a traitor and enemy of a certain religion by the central Pakistani leaders, and the establishment never forgot his audacity; he was singled out and dragged away from his home along with his son in 1971 and brutally tortured to death. So, he too was a martyr for our cultural identity and freedom.
Let us make a special effort to remember Shahid Dhirendranth Datta on Ekushey February.