Forty years are a long time for an organisation, particularly when it propagates habits, spirits and values contrary to the popular trend. On this score, Bishwo Shahitto Kendro and its creator prof. Abdullah Abu Sayeed have achieved success of an unprecedented order. On Friday, February 8 last, the leading light of an organisation celebrated its 40th founding anniversary. Hats off to the man behind the movement for promotion of book reading! This charismatic personality has drawn the attention of social thinkers and scholars not only from the country but also from around the world. No wonder, he has been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay prize for his pioneering campaign. He surely deserves far greater accolades for his work.
At a time when the world is harried and upset by the aggressive and unstoppable addiction to smartphones, note books and computer contents, his message is unerringly simple. In order to avoid selling your soul to the electronics demon, you make eternal friendship with books. A storehouse of knowledge, library that is, he apparently did not promote, perhaps knowing full well that the infrastructure, manpower and paraphernalia required for launching a library movement will be hard to come by. Instead, he took the onerous responsibility to build up as large a collection of books as possible and more innovatively to make books available to readers rather than readers coming to look for books.
Decentralisation of library on moving vehicles is a unique idea. Now the moving library goes to the doorsteps of readers instead of readers coming to a library. The effort is expended to win over young readers and quite a large number of such readers have discovered the virtue of becoming book worms. Without doubt it can now be declared that the best defence against electronic screens' invasion is book. e-Books like Kindle can be read on screen but the experience of browsing hard copies is certainly more rewarding. The former does not allow its readers an absolute liberty to get intensely absorbed in the content and imagine the described scenes and events before their mental eyes; whereas the latter's stable printed form creates a lasting impression. Imagination takes flight without restrictions and the world so created full of colours and shapes is before them.
In this respect, Abdullah Abu Sayeed is delivering a Midas touch to minds in slumber. Once awakened, the minds will continue to surpass their limits and push for the improbable. They will aim for a sky without boundary. Mental orientation so achieved will save them from falling in bad companies and guide them all along to be on the side of the righteous. Cult gurus have their own way of holding sway on their followers. Here is a preacher who is not preaching so much but cajoling his young followers to gobble more and more books. The result is spectacular. Millions of readers have been mentally prepared to recoginse the book first doctrine in their life.
Books distributed among young readers make miracle happen. Readers are rewarded for reading the books borrowed from the moving libraries. Every year, numerous students are given awards and these are also books. There is an atmosphere of festival and young readers discover themselves in a new light. Here is a genuine celebration of books. Bishwo Shahitto Kendro has been transcending the boundary of minds -minds that have been claustrophobic by the burden of coaching and scoring GPA 5. Let the institution survive for 4,000 years to come.
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