Shaheed Minar

the mark of ultimate sacrifice made by the bengali people. possibly the first, maybe the only one in all known history, example of people sacrificing their life to protect their language and culture in modern history. i never visited that place…then again…i never was in this country long enough to have gone anywhere.
a little background on why this structure was erected…1947 saw freedom granted to what was then a FIFTH of humanity and the birth of two arch-enemies…india and pakistan. pakistan was split into two pieces…east and west pakistan…with all of 1200miles of india between the two pieces. west pakistan always tended to look down on the people and culture of east pakistan…to put it mildly. pakistan was founded on the notion of a common country for the muslims of the indian subcontinent, in other words, religion was meant to be the binding factor for the two halves split by 1200mi. and the xenophobic treatment meted out by one for the other. in 1948, jinnah declared that “But let me make it very clear to you that the State language of Pakistan is going to be Urdu and no other language.” [http://www.pakistan.gov.pk/Quaid/speech30.htm] nice way to piss off and on 50% of the population. by declaring only urdu the state language, the bengalis were in danger of seeing no state patronage for their language, meaning a slow decay would have taken place unless the people saved it by their own effort – violent and rebellious or quiet and scholarly. the people chose the first option. so began a countrywide movement to pressure the western polity to change their stance…the reply was a simple military crackdown on the dissenters. the movement climaxed on february 21, 1952 when a procession brought out by the students of dhaka university was shot at with live rounds. dozens died there…just so that they could speak in their own language. 21st february is now celebrated as the international mother language day with millions paying tribute to their mother tongues and also to those who gave their lives to protect one’s right to use a language of one’s own choosing (no, foul language does not count here). [http://www.banglapedia.org/HT/N_0091.HTM]
so i finally get to see this great monument to the language martyr’s of my country. with solemnity and due respect, i take off my shoes and proceed onto the first step towards the monument. the fat(?), white goat wandering to my right causes no more than an amusing glance its way. i proceed up the stairs, pick my spot and take a photograph. then i go closer to look at it better. a bunch of girls from the student group i came with are huddled under the central structure waiting to have their picture taken. the goat wanders up close and their photographer calls it even closer towards (now squealing) girls. we snap a few shots gleefully…then watch on with a mixture of amusement and some other unknown feelings as it takes a dump right in front of the much revered shaheed minar. okay so its a dumb animal…then the thing turns around, showing its backside to the (still squealing) girls and sits down and takes a piss right there. oooo-k…does that count as defiling a place? geez…i dont really know…but somehow it looked like the goat was very satisfied as it strolled away from the place it had just flooded…and there sure was a great first visit to shaheed minar.
oh…if you havent seen even a pic of the place…here [http://meenar71.tripod.com/photo/image_pieces/bangladesh/shaheed_minar.jpg]

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