A few years ago, I stated that the Urdu language was also a Bangladeshi language. This attracted some dismay, surprise and hostility towards me. Some couldn’t understand how I could say something like this when Bangladeshi Bengalis fought against the imposition of the Urdu language as the only state language in Pakistan. One person asked how I could say something like this when his cousin was killed by Pakistanis in 1971. There were other harsher responses to my assertion.
I couldn’t understand what the Urdu language did to attract such negative emotions. The language was not guilty of any policies adopted in Pakistan, nor any movement against the imposition of Urdu in Pakistan as the only official interprovincial language of the country invalidates the fact that Urdu was a language practised in the land we call Bangladesh, even long before the modern Bangla was developed.
I would like to tell my Bangladeshi friends, colleagues and fellow country people, loving Bangla does not have to go hand in hand with hating Urdu.