In the month of February, Miran Uddin, veteran of the 1952 movement, is remembered once again as one of the many from Manikganj who never received official state recognition
Despite being recognized as a 1952 Language Movement veteran by the Manikganj district administration, Miran Uddin is yet to receive any state recognition.
Now, in the winter of his life, 86-year-old Miran who was just a boy when he responded to the call of the language movement in February 1952, wants nothing more than the country to give him his due.
On February 5, this reporter went to visit Miran at his daughter's house in Ghior of Manikganj. There, Miran reminisced about his past and talked about his current life.
"You [reporters] only come to visit me during the month of February," he said. "The rest of the year, I remain forgotten. There have been many articles published on me, my story has been broadcast on televisions, but no state-affiliated people have sought me.
"Only the district administration has given me the status of a language warrior," he said. "At this age, all I want is for my children to remember and be proud of their father as a language warrior."
Originally hailing from Kakna village in Daulatpur of Ghior, Miran, a retired school teacher, lives with his daughter Meherunnisa Mitu, near Sadar upazila. A lifelong believer in leftist politics, Miran married at the late age of 50. After his wife died a few years ago, Miran spends his time mingling with his grandchildren and writing his autobiography.
The octogenarian still attends events and ceremonies whenever they crop up. Last year, Miran received a crest as a Language Movement veteran from the current Health and Family Welfare Minister, Zahid Maleque. But his desire to get state recognition still remains unfulfilled.
"My friends, Wayezuddin Master, Niranjan Basu, and Rehazuddin, who all stood alongside me during 1952's language movement, have died without receiving state awards," Miran lamented. "I can only hope I do not face the same fate."
Language Movement veterans of Manikganj
In 1949, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, came to Dhaka and declared Urdu - and only Urdu - would be the state language of all Pakistan. The fire of revolution started to spread among the Bangalis of East Pakistan, who could not accept this declaration.
The revolutionary wave surpassed Dhaka and reached Terosree village in Ghior upazila. Student leaders from Dhaka sent leaflets containing instructions regarding the protests against Jinnah's declaration, to Terosree KN Institute.
In accordance with the instructions, KN Institute students brought out processions and held rallies. Ninth-grader Miran Uddin, Wayezuddin, Niranjan Basu, 10th-grader Rehazuddin, and SSC candidate Jatin Dash, led these processions.
At that time, Miran used to lodge in a house belonging to a man named Mir, in Terosree village, for his studies. Amid the tumultuous political upheaval all across the country, suddenly, Mir asked Miran to leave Terosree. News had come from the local chairman that police were rounding up all the students involved with distributing leaflets and holding processions and rallies.
Running away from his lodger's house, Miran took shelter in Sattar Munhshi's house in a nearby village. After spending the night in fear and doubt, in the morning Miran came to know his friends had been arrested by the police and sent to the court on sedition charges.
Understanding his precarious position, Miran left Sattar's house in the dead of night and stayed in hiding, seeking shelter in different people's houses for the next two months. In the meantime, his arrested friends were transferred from Manikganj jail to Dhaka Central Jail.
Miran only came out of hiding after his friends had received bail with the help of then-Congress leader, Bhabesh Nandi, and the cases against them had dissolved.
"I gave slogans, distributed leaflets, held processions and rallies," Miran said in conversation with this correspondent. "I had cases lodged against me, the police came looking for me, and my friends languished in jail. However, none of them got any state recognition.
"The language movement taught me to be aware of my rights and helped me love my country better," he said. "I hope the language warriors are not remembered only during the February month. And it is my demand the government officially recognize those who toiled for the movement."