Bengali Language Movement
On 21 March 1948, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Governor General of Pakistan, declared that Urdu would be the only state language for both West and East Pakistan. The people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), whose main language is Bengali, started to protest against this declaration. On 21 February 1952, (8 Falgun 1359 in the Bengali calendar), students of the University of Dhaka called for a general strike. The government invoked section 144 prohibiting all types of public gathering. The Pakistani police fired on the students who came out on the streets defying the government order and a number of students were killed. Thus the language martyrs were created, which led to the foundation of Shaheed Minar.
Shaheed Minar, or the Martyr's monument, is the symbol of the language movement. In 1999, UNESCO declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day in tribute to the Language martyrs marking the ethno-linguistic rights of people around the world.
War of Liberation
The University of Dhaka played a significant role in the movement for national emancipation of the Bengalis including the 1971 War of Liberation through which the Bangladesh state was established. In defiance of the Pakistani rule, on 2 March 1971, the national flag of Bangladesh was first unfurled by the students on the roof top of a major building of the university.
The University was the first victim of the genocidal attack, perpetrated in the name of operation Search Light, by the Pakistani Army in the dreadful night of March 25, 1971,
The War of Liberation severely crippled Dhaka University's academic environment as a large number of its distinguished teachers and a considerable number of its students and employees were killed.