On 21st February, a rally of students were coming towards Dhaka Medical College during the Language Movement in 1952. The police shoot towards the rally and instantly some of the protesters of the first line were killed immediately. One of them was Shahid Abul Barkat (1927-1952). Few days after, the Central Shaheed Minar was built in here and from 2000, UNESCO declared 21 February as the Mother Language Day.
Previous History: In 1947, Pakistan got independence from India. There was two parts of Pakistan- the east and the west. Eastern Pakistan was green by the bless of river God and populated with a lot of people and on the other hand, the western Pakistan was nothing but a desert, population was also low. Demographic, social and economical lifestyle of these two parts of land were completely different, language was different too. But the capital was established in the west and the rulers ruled the entire country living in the west. From 1947, Urdu was the only state language of Pakistan whereas the students of Dhaka university always wanted to make Bengali as a secondary language. Finally in 1952, after some students were killed in the language movement, the government decided to make Bengali as a second language. Later, the eastern part of Pakistan became an independent country by the liberation war in 1971 named Bangladesh.
Early Life of Abul Barkat: Abul Barkat was a student who came to Dhaka for his higher studies. He was born at Murshidabad, West Bengal (now India). He stayed at his maternal uncle’s home during his stay in Dhaka. He was a student of Masters level while he is being killed by the police open fire on 21 February, 1952 (aged 24).
The Abul Barkat Memorial Museum: Abul barkat was died in Dhaka Medical College hospital on 21st February after 8:30 PM. Many people were killed on that day. It is strongly believed that, more than 90% of the dead bodies were hidden by the government which did not receive any ritual and never found. Abul Barkats body might be one of them but fortunately his body was found and identified and buried in the Azimpur Graveyard, Dhaka according to proper procedures of Muslim believe. Many stories have written about the killings of 21 February in the Bengali Literature.
The Memorial Complex is actually a library, a seminar hall and a gallery of photographs of the language movement. It was built and inaugurated in 2012 in the Palashi, Dhaka University area by the funding of the government. It is actually a language martyr museum not only just for Abul Barkat. It is just named after Abul Barkat. The Museum is open 6 days a week from 10 AM to 4 PM, except Fridays and national holidays (only 21 February & 16 December is an exception). No ticket or entry fee is needed to enter into the two storied memorial complex. From December to March, the institute arranges special video programs for the young students to let them aware of the language movement and the liberation war.
The Language martyr Abul Barkat was honored with the “Ekushee Padak” (the highest non military achievement in Bangladesh) by the Governmnet of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh in 2000. His grave is situated in Azimpur Graveyard in Dhaka.