Past in Perspective


On 4th August 1954, the cabinet held another meeting and announced that it had approved the anthem written by

Mr Hafeez Jallandhri without any changes. The meeting also declared that after the adoption of this anthem, the two

national songs – one each in Urdu and Bengali – had been rendered unnecessary.

–Aqeel Abbas Jafari, in Pakistan Ka Qaumi Tarana: Kia Hai Haqiqat Kia Hai Fasaana.

At the time, Bengalis living in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) had been demanding that the national anthem should also include words of Bengali language, but their demand was turned down. Like today, in 1954, the national language was a contentious issue. The people of East Pakistan spoke Bengali, while those in West Pakistan spoke four different languages, which included Sindhi, Balouchi, Punjabi, and Pashto- none of them Urdu. However, Quaid-e-Azam had already declared Urdu as the national language. There was no real debate at the time on what the national adoption of Urdu would mean, and decades late, we still struggle with the language and have not been able to adopte as fully as our own.

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