Source 2a

Source 2a describes the moment in 1948 when Urdu was confirmed to be the State language of both West and East Pakistan. This meant that all official business would be done in Urdu.


Report from the British government on the political situation in Pakistan, March 1948. Catalogue ref: DO 142/423



Jinnah received tumultuous [intense] welcome on arrival at Dacca [capital of Bangladesh] airport. Following day he reviewed troops including newly-constituted [newly created] East Bengal Regiment and said that though East Bengalis were formerly considered a non-martial [non-military] race, East Bengal was now one of the most powerful components of Pakistan in which all would have opportunity to join Army and do their duty to their country.


They were before all else Muslims belonging now to a Muslim nation and essential condition for success of Pakistan was complete internal solidarity… He confirmed that Urdu must be the State language of Pakistan, but that decision regarding Provincial [regional] language of East Bengal would be according to will of people.


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  • Why do you think the leaders of Pakistan thought it was important that everyone spoke the same language? Give three reasons.
  • How do you think people in East Pakistan, who did not speak Urdu and instead spoke Bengali (Bangla), reacted to this?
  • Find out who Jinnah is. You can use our Indian Independence resource to help.