The Sixth and Seventh Banknote Issues of Bangladesh

Figure 6

The Central Shaheed Minar is one of the most important monuments in Bangladesh, and is dedicated to the Martyrs of the Language Movement. In the early 1950s, when the Government of Pakistan decreed Urdu to be the single national language of Pakistan, and that Bengali would no longer be considered one of the national languages, there arose a large protest movement throughout East Pakistan. On 21 February 1952 a group of protesters was fired upon by the Pakistani army near the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, with three of the protesters being fatally wounded. In 1956 the Awami League government erected the Central Shaheed Minar on the site of the protest as a memorial to the Martyrs of the Language Movement.
When the Pakistani army repressed the independence movement in East Pakistan in March 1971, the Shaheed Minar was destroyed by the armed forces. In January 1973, after Bangladesh’s independence, orders were given by the Bangladeshi authorities for the monument to be reconstructed in its original form. Designed by Mr. Hamidur Rehman, the Central Shaheed Minar today stands not only as a monument to the Martyrs of the Language Movement, but also as a symbol of the destruction that was visited upon the people of Bangladesh during their War of Liberation. (Nota bene: In this photograph, the orange cloth circle has been torn.)

© Peter Symes