Tangail’s first Shaheed Minar was built in front of Ramesh Hall on February 22, 1952
Despite Tangail playing a vital role in the 1952 Language Movement—which later paved the way for the War of Independence of Bangladesh—most educational institutions in the district still do not have a Shaheed Minar on their premises.
Exactly 1,882 of 2,561 educational institutions of Tangail district are without such memorial monuments, thus the pupils of those schools are missing the spirit of the Language Movement and the Liberation War.
Locals, freedom fighters and language movement veterans have expressed their great regret and anger regarding the current situation.
The first Shaheed Minar, in Tangail, was constructed in front of the then Ramesh Hall, presently on the western side of the general library, on February 22, 1952. Shaheed Minars here have become the hub for events organized by different political, social, and cultural organizations.
According to the district primary education office, out of 1,623 schools in 12 upazilas under Tangail district, only 294 schools have a Shaheed Minar.
Among the 294 schools possessing a Shaheed Minar: 14 are in Ghatail upazila, 76 in Sakhipur upazila, 8 in the Gopalpur and Basail upazilas, 17 in Sadar upazila, 8 in Delduwar, 45 in Mirzapur, 30 in Kalihati, 28 in Madhupur, 15 in Nagarpur, 21 in Bhuapur, and 24 in Dhanbari upazila.
Addressing the issue, Tangail District Primary Education Officer Abdul Aziz said: "There is no government budget allocated to construct Shaheed Minars on school premises.
"However, a total of 161 Shaheed Minars have been built, with funds provided by locals and schools’ administration, within the span of a year."
However, among the 938 high schools, colleges, vocational institutes, Ebtedayee institutes, and madrasas under the district education office, a total 553 educational institutions do not have a Shaheed Minar—or any other form of Language Movement memorial—on their premises.
According to sources, among the 385 Shaheed Minars: 17 are in Tangail Sadar, 15 in Basail, 52 in Kalihati, 27 in Shakhipur, 38 in Ghatail, 43 in Gopalpur, 32 in Madhupur, 26 in Dhanbari, 50 in Mirzapur, 23 in Delduar, 37 in Nagarpur, and 25 in Bhuapur upazila.
Regardless of the efforts and contributions of the Great Sons of this region—in the likes of Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and founding General Secretary of Awami Muslim League Shamsul Huq; among many others who had leading roles during the 1952 Language Movement and 1971 Liberation role and made today's Bangladesh possible—the lack of Shaheed Minars at so many educational institutes in Tangail has become a source of frustration and discontent among local residents and language movement veterans.
Adding to the discussion, District Education Officer Laila Khanam said: "Every educational institution should have a Shaheed Minar.
"Even Madrasas now have Shaheed Minars, which is a sign of progress. There are 12 madrasas of 6 upazilas in Tangail which have a Shaheed Minar on their premises."
Ekushey Padak recipient language movement veteran Dr Mirza Mazharul Islam, 93, who is also a resident of Tangail said: "Tangail, as a district, played a very important and influential role during the 1952 Language Movement as well as in the 1971 Liberation War.
"So why there are so many educational institutions of the district without a Shaheed Minar? It is a matter of shame for us. This puts a huge question mark on our patriotism and Bangali consciousness."
"If necessary, the government should take initiatives—even implement laws—to ensure that every educational institute has a Shaheed Minar on its premises."
Addressing the proceedings Tangail Deputy Commissioner Shahidul Islam said: "The Shaheed Minar is part of our history and heritage as it carries the Bangali spirit.
"In order to showcase the true history of our struggles to protect our mother tongue for the young minds of the country, a Shaheed Minar should be at every educational institution."
"I did not know about these staggering figures regarding the number of educational institutions lacking a Shaheed Minar or Language-Movement-related monument.
"We will inspire the different school authorities to build a Shaheed Minar. Financial help will be provided if needed.
"I hope locals will come forward for this great cause," he added.