Because the youngster of Bangladeshi immigrants, my dad and mom ensured that my brother and I grew up realizing and understanding our roots. They made positive we knew we have been Bangladeshi kids, whilst we grew up within the southern United States. We have been taught to solely ever talk with our dad and mom in Bangla, the mom language of Bangladesh. If we tried to talk with them in English, they wouldn’t reply till we repeated it in Bangla. As a younger woman simply making an attempt to get her message throughout, this was a tad bit irritating at occasions. That’s till I discovered the historical past of amar shonar Bangla (my valuable Bangladesh), and why precisely it’s essential that I proceed to talk Bangla fluently and embrace the opposite elements of my tradition as properly.
Right here’s a short historical past lesson: After India’s independence from Nice Britain, Bangladesh didn’t exist as a separate nation. Pakistan, on the time, was comprised of West and East Bengal, which was later named East Pakistan. Pakistan believed that a frequent language would unify the nation because it was made up of various peoples and cultures; whereas they needed to solidify Urdu because the official language, Bengalis started to protest the nation’s reluctance to simply accept Bangla as an official language. Lack of the Bangla language would imply the lack of tradition and id too.
The primary motion towards change was led by college students from Dhaka College, who held a gathering on campus on February 21, 1952. The protesting college students and lecturers have been met by the police, who opened hearth on the group. 4 years later the motion was successful- Pakistan adopted each Urdu and Bangla because the state languages. By this level although, East Pakistan and it’s Bengalis dreamed of full independence.
They discovered a voice in Sheikh Mujib, a person who had an aura of martyrdom about him and had been jailed many occasions by the navy for talking out. He demanded East Pakistan’s autonomy to which the then President of Pakistan, Yahya Khan, countered by ordering elections. Mujib’s separatist league, the Awami League, gained many of the seats allowed to East Pakistan, already giving method to extra Bangladeshi illustration within the authorities. In 1971, Khan negotiated with Mujib whereas the navy entered East Pakistan and launched a large assault on March 25. This was the start of East Pakistan’s 9-month conflict for independence.
My mother was solely 2 years outdated on the time. She instructed me the story of how her household left their dwelling and possessions behind of their village and crossed rivers to seek out protected land. My grandfather had carried my mom, the youngest of eight kids, on his shoulders, and held onto my grandmother’s hand as they ran. Like my household, practically 10 million individuals fled and lots of went to India. India additionally believed in an unbiased Bangladesh and invaded each East and West Pakistan on December three, 1971. 9 days later, the Pakistani defenses surrendered, solidifying Bangladesh’s victory and independence on December 16, 1971. That was solely 47 years in the past.
That really places issues into perspective for a millennial Bangladeshi-American. I’ve examine wars and I’ve seen the information, however there may be nothing like listening to tales of surviving a conflict from your personal mom. A few of her earliest reminiscences are of leaving her dwelling due to the conflict, so when Bangladesh turned its personal unbiased nation and Bangla turned the official language of the nation, my mom discovered her dwelling once more. And it’s in my mom that I discover dwelling.
My mom is an easy girl with two passions, her household, and her nation. She has lived within the US for practically 30 years however has by no means misplaced contact with the traditions and tradition of her dwelling. I witness her love and loyalty for Bangladesh each day. It may be discovered within the aroma of biryani that fills our home each different weekend. It’s discovered within the pleasure she wears once we attend cultural applications and in her cheers for my cousins after they carry out Bangla natoks (performs). I noticed it in her tears once I danced to a Bangla tune for the primary time on my 16th birthday, conveying to her that I too love my heritage. I see it in her smile once I put on choorees (bangles) with my Western garments and he or she feedback on my artistic approach of merging the 2 cultures I’ve grown up with. It may be heard within the Bangla melodies she sings as she cooks and the songs that I hum spontaneously all through the day. It’s due to my mom and the Bangladeshis who fought for an unbiased Bangladesh, that I fortunately communicate Bangla, not solely with my household however with my pals as properly.
The fact is- I’m each. Navigating my childhood and teenage years with two identities was tough and complicated till I concluded that I really solely have one identity- it’s a lovely mix of my Bangladeshi upbringing in a Western nation. It’s an id that I’ve come to like and perceive due to my mom. Thanks to my mom, for constructing a house away from dwelling for us. And thanks, to those that fought the battle that established that dwelling.