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Shaheed Minar

Shahed minar was erected in memory of the 21st february 1952 the great language movement in then east pakistan.

Tina S
Tina S
Feb 7, 2010
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The Shaheed Minar is a national monument in Dhaka, Bangladesh, established to commemorate the martyrs of the Language Movement of 1952.

Shaheed minar is located near the Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the national monument known as Shaheed Minar, was established in memory of those who were killed during the 1952 Bengali Language Movement demonstrations. Set upon a fourteen foot high stage, the Shaheed Minar National Monument is constructed from columns of pure marble stone, with stairs and railings painted white and the fences on either side bearing lines of poetry penned by famous poets made out of iron letters.

The enormous design included a half-circular column to symbolize the mother with her martyred sons standing at the dais of the central part of the monument. A number of Yellow and deep Blue pieces of stained glass symbolizing eyes that reflects the sun was also to be placed firmly in the columns. The marble floor was designed to reflect the moving shadows of the columns all day long. The basement of the Minar also included a 1500 square feet long fresco art to minutely describe the history of the language movement. A railing decorated with Bangla alphabet was to be constructed in front. Two footmarks coloured red and black was also in the design indicating the two opposite forces.Two statues are placed at the entrance of the monument.The Language Movement of 1952 to recognize Bangla as a state language may be termed as the first step towards independence.

On February 21, 1952, dozens of students and political activists were killed when the Pakistani police force opened fire on Bengali protesters who were demanding equal status to their native tongue, Bangla. The massacre occurred near Dhaka Medical College and Ramna Park in Dhaka. A makeshift monument was erected on February 23 by students of University of Dhaka and other educational institutions, but soon demolished on February 26 by the Pakistani police force.

Shaheed Minar (1963-1971)

When the Awami League government came to power, it became possible to construct the new monument without fear of government retribution. Famous architect Hamidur Rahman created the design of Shaheed Minar under which construction was started in 1957. The foundation stone of this Shaheed Mianar was laid on February 21, 1956.

Hamidur Rahman's model was a huge complex on a large area of land in the yard of Dhaka Medical College Hostel. The enormous design included a half-circular column to symbolize the mother with her martyred sons standing on the monument's central dais. Yellow and deep blue pieces of stained glass, symbolizing eyes reflecting the sun, were also to be placed in the columns. The marble floor was designed to reflect the moving shadows of the columns.

The basement of the Minar also included a 1500 square foot fresco depicting the history of the language movement. A railing decorated with Bangla alphabet was to be constructed in front. Two footmarks coloured red and black, indicating the two opposite forces, were also in the design. Besides this a museum and a library were also included in Rahman's design. A fountain shaped like an eye was also to be constructed. Rahman specifically designed the materials of the monument to withstand the area's tropical climate. Construction started in November 1957 under the supervision of Hamidur Rahman and Novera Ahmed. Most of the work, including the basement, platform, some of the columns with the rails, footprints and some of the murals were also finished when the Martial Law was introduced and construction was forced to a halt. Construction work was completed in 1963, leaving much of Rahman's design unfinished.
 
It was inaugurated on February 21, 1963 by the mother of Abul Barkat, Hasina Begum. The Minar was severely damaged during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The columns were destroyed during the fighting. The Pakistani Army crushed the Minar and placed over the rubble a signboard reading "Mosque."

Current Shaheed Minar

The current Shaheed Minar design mainly follows the original plan of 1957. The minars are constructed with pure marble stone upon a 14 feet high stage. The stairs and railings are painted white to create a heavenly appearance. The fence on both sides is highlighted with lines from poems of famous poets in iron letters. The entrance of the monument includes two statues.

The previous plan of Watch house, library and other statues were also included.
The plan was again accepted on May 5, 1973 and Hamidur made a rough agreement to submit to the Purto Secretary for sanction.

Previously, in February 1973, the government had hurried to repair the Shaheed Minar. As a result the Minar was constructed incorrectly. The height of the column was shorter and the head bent more than originally planned, and the proportions of different parts of the monument were not propertly maintained.

Repair of the Shaheed Minar was again started during the Ershad regime. This time the main stage and the columns were unchanged, but the stairs were extended forward and the huts at the bottom of the Minar were closed. The front premise was also made higher. As a result, the area of the premises and the stairs was increased.
 
Many know the sacrifices we made to make Bangla our sole mother tongue. Few realize that Bangladesh is the first country to ever fight for linguistic freedom and fewer know how to respect it…everyone there was walking around in shoes. People made it an ideal place for gossiping, smoking. Young couples were romancing on the staircase right beneath the moment. These people have grown up reading the clause 'commemoration for the martyrs' in their school textbooks but they never understood the line. Their behavior is a total disgrace to the nation. Just visiting the national monument with a bouquet, decorating the base with 'alponas', walking bare feet only on 21st February because it's the International Mother Language Day, is not the way of paying tribute to the martyrs. These should be maintained throughout the year.

Definitely, 21st February is to be celebrated to remember the importance of mother language but at the and of the day the reminder doesn't work. Everyone starts behaving indifferently and treats Shaheed Minar like any other venues in the city. Everybody talks of independence respectfully; write great articles and speeches of the glorious victory, airs intense talk shows on historical days but they miss reading between the lines.
No one should forget the origin of independence which started with the birth of this Monument.



 
Keywords: shaheed,minar,national,monument,1952,pakistani,1963,Dhaka,language,movement,martial law,Hamidur Rahman,Novera Ahmed.Bangla,alphabet,birth,independence,Dhaka,medical College,police.



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