The members of the Dhaka Nawab family and in general the Dhakaiyya’s speak a different dialect. This dialect is closer to Hindi & Urdu than Bengali. This alphabetless language has been spoken for over three hundred years in the Dhaka downtown area, spreading from Sadarghat to Nawabpur and from Lalagh to Tanti-Bazar.
Recently, after the liberation war, Dhakaiyya’s started abandoning this language and the number of people speaking Dhakaiyya Urdu/Hindi dialect started to decline rapidly.
Primary causes were:
1. Migration of the Dhakaiyya’s to new towns or abroad.
2. After 1971, Dhakaiyya’s wanted to disassociate themselves from the language of the defeated force (Pakistan) out of fear of persecution. This practice still continues.
3. The media in Bangladesh, especially Bengali soap operas are always satirical of the Dhakaiyya language. Some ignorant people also label Dhakaiyyas as “Maura” and “Bihari”. Once the language of the elite, Dhakaiyya Urdu, is now considered has now turned into a liability. Few people are even ashamed to speak their language in public.
4. In order to assimilate with the mainstream faster, for education and job opprotunities, family members are preparing their new generation with Bengali and sacrificing the mother tongue completely.
The underlying message of the language movement of 1952 is not about hatred of a language. It is about defending the birth right of a mother tongue.
Be it Bengali, Arabic, Urdu or English, no language is ever good or bad. A language or a religion does not commit a crime by itself. It is always the policy makers, ruling class or the politicians who use one language or religion upon another to advance their agenda. Unfortunately as a family we have been victim of collective punishment for the action of a particular family member.
The distinct langue of Dhakaiyyas or the Khwaja family does not represent any foreign entity but the Dhakaiya themselves. Urdu speaking Dhakaiya’s does not open up umbrella when it rains in Delhi or Islamabad. In a pluralistic society speaking a language of the minority which is not spoken by the mainstream does not make someone less patriotic. Speaking Dhakaiya urdu in no way amounts to conspiracy against the state.
Who passed down the six point resolution to Bongobondhu in Lahore resolution quielty? No one othar than Dhakaiya urdu speaking Mayor Hanif (than personal secretary to Bongobodhu).
No one should disrespect another citizen’s language. No one should impose a language or idea on one forcefully. If you are humiliated or bogged down for speaking your mind in your native tongue –stand up for your right. Surely the very same nation that once fought to protect it’s natal tongue will be understanding and sympathetic to acknowledge your right to your own language as a minority.
Bangladesh is truly a multicultural democracy. Every minority has their cultural rights including the right to speak in their first language. This solemn right is protected under the sacred constitution.
The more language you know the better. As a law abiding Bangladeshi don’t be ashamed or be fearful to speak your mother tongue. Believe in yourself. Take a deep breath, look at the mirror and say “I love Bangladesh no less than a fellow Bengali”. Be proud of your rich culture and pass on this treasure to your next generation.