Published:  12:00 AM, 21 February 2017

Abul Barkat: An immortal language luminary


Abul Barkat is one of the valiant sons of the soil who laid down his life on 21st February 1952 while agitating to uphold the glory of Bengali language overcoming all fears. The memorial museum named after him at Dhaka University, therefore, bears a lot of significance and it is educative too with its historic value for illuminating the current and future generations with precious facts and figures about the Language Movement. Visitors show interest to explore the content of the museum while the highest number of people are seen during February each year. This museum contains Abul Barkat's wristwatch, teacup, his letters, photograph and the Ekushey Padak awarded to him posthumously. This museum consists of a library too with over five hundred books on Liberation War and Language Movement.

Abul Barkat was born in 1927 in West Bengal's Murshidabad. He passed secondary exams in 1945 and higher secondary exams in 1947. He enrolled in Dhaka University at Department of Political Science in 1948 and completed graduation from this department in 1951. He spontaneously participated in demonstrations for Language Movement on 21st February of 1952 when Pakistani policemen opened fire on students and agitators in front of Dhaka Medical College. Abul Barkat embraced martyrdom at that time. He was posthumously awarded Ekushey Padak in the year 2000 for his sublime role in the Language Movement. 

The memorial museum named after Language Martyr Abul Barkat draws attention from visitors during the month of February when the International Mother Language Day approaches. Several mementos recalling the life and work of Abul Barkat have been preserved in this museum for display so that people can get to know about this martyr's lifespan by looking at these objects. The museum is located close to Sergeant Jahurul Haque Hall at Dhaka University.

Local people as well as expatriates from abroad also gather at this museum with eagerness to look back on the history of the glorious Language Movement. People from both Dhaka and from suburban areas also go to this museum, mainly during February, to see the preserved materials representing the memories of martyr Abul Barkat. Young boys and girls, small children, students from schools, colleges and universities love to visit this museum as well.

An expatriate Bangladeshi woman who visited the museum recently commented that her heart dwells in Bangladesh though she has been living in England for a long time. She came to see the museum from her deep love and honor for the Language Movement and its martyrs Salam, Barkat, Rafique, Jabbar and some more people who gave away their lives to protect the grace and dignity of Bengali language. The memories of Ekushey February makes her passionate with thoughts about the tribulations patriotic people like the language martyrs had to go through for making Bengali prevail as our mother language. Bengali language is the most valuable asset for us because our predecessors had to shed blood for it. The memories of the language martyrs are imperishable and immortal in our thoughts and reflections because they gave us our lingual identity.

Another museum on Language Movement is located on the 1st floor of Bangla Academy. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2010. This museum includes four rooms decked with souvenirs and different materials implying the turbulent days of 1952 while the Language Movement was going on. Language martyr Rafique's academic certificates, martyr Shafiur Rahman's coat, his bag, pages from the first book printed in Bengali, memorandum, books by eminent authors on Language Movement, copies of some newspapers published during 1952 and several photographs have made this museum very informative.

It is our massive responsibility to retain the sanctity of Bengali language by using Bengali correctly in all activities. We honor our Language Martyrs from the core of our hearts. Our history and heritage have been glorified through their sacrifices.

The writer is Editorial Assistant,  The Asian Age.

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