Spirit of Youth- Celebrating Togetherness
Sophia Shabnam Deen and Sarah Binte Nasir Nabia
THE lively ambience at BRAC University was not because of some extraordinary lighting or decoration, rather it was the refelection of youth - the resonation of fresh, dynamic and young minds. Yes, such an exceptional day prevailed at the “1st BRACU Inter-University Youth Festival 2010”, where youths from different universities of the country gathered together to share their talents and strengths with each other. Commencing on the 16th of June, BRAC University took on a completely different look, with colours of freedom and unique charm that emanated from the youths all around. The recurring presence of lamps resembling Rubik's cube in which one side in bright orange signified the theme of “Celebrating Togetherness”. The entire decoration layout gave the campus a festive look and the spirit of youth blended in with it.
While expressing his thoughts, Youth Festival Organising Committee Vice President, Mohd. Zubair Matin said, “The purpose of this festival is to unite 18 public and private universities under one roof, calling for unity and togetherness and at the same time to host a talent show, much like the popular reality shows on TV, to find out the talents in the university students in the presence of highly qualified judges.”
The first day's events started with a variety of options for the students and participants to enjoy. This was a grand opportunity for the different clubs and organisations of BRAC University to represent themselves and get involved in. This fair, named as the “Club Fair” was inaugurated by Dr. Md. G M Samdani Fakir, Pro-VC, BRACU and Dr. Zainab F Ali, Director, Student Affair. The event has traditionally been a process where the respective clubs let the visitors and freshmen know about the extra-curricular activities they do at BRACU. The clubs had their respective booths with their unique attractions adorned with dazzling colours. International, entertainment, entrepreneurial, sports and subject related clubs are only few categories amongst the huge variations of clubs present in there. It was indeed splendid to see the excited visitors, thrilled to have signed up for their preferred clubs and hoping to do something spectacular through it.
The club fair wrapped up within one and a half hour, giving way to the upcoming attractions of the festival. As expected, food festival, mehendi design and face-painting sessions were in full swing by then; participant registration was open at this time too, as a booth was set at the university building lobby.
A group at the parking lot down the university building greeted the visitors with delicious 'Pithas' and youths' favorite drinks and lightening chips. A table filled with delightful dishes was undoubtedly a pleasing welcome to the guests and in fact nothing could have been better for the food lovers as the “Food Festival” camped its territory there for the day. Heading past the irresistible desire of scrumptious foods at the parking lot, at the Prangan awaited the very exciting game shows. The starting day offered two game shows, “Gift Toss” and “Hit the Frooto”.
Participants seemed completely captivated with the thrills of trying out their aim and be the lucky one to get a gift and the crowd accumulated gradually to cheer the players in the best possible way. In 'Hit the Frooto', players had fascinating time aiming at filled up frooto bottles with a sponge ball; the sequence of cute, fragrant and beautiful jwellery and accessories attracted numerous students. It eventually grew quite difficult to manage the game tickets as students rushed in to aim and win their desired gifts, and it was not surprising to see some players buying multiple tickets for the same game.
From quite early in the morning, face painting seemed to be gaining popularity. From football team flags to colourful butterflies and intricate designs to eye-catching motifs painting your face or arm or upper back was the thing to do. With the Football World Cup going on, the most popular patterns were of course Argentine or Brazilian flags and a fan was creative enough to have his French-beard colored in blue and white while another person got a lip painted on his cheek. A huge number of girls also wanted butterflies on their cheeks, often of the same colour as their clothes. Face-painting was definitely a smashing hit on both the days!
There was more for the gorgeous ladies. They had more to beautify as the “mehendi design” craze ran alongside. Ladies with decorated faces got their hands nicely adorned with eye-catching mehendi designs.
The official business of the first day began with the Inauguration Ceremony around 1:00 pm. The Vice Chancellor of BRAC University, Dr. Ainun Nishat was present as the Chief Guest, while the Pro-Vice Chancellor, the Director of Student Affairs of BRACU as well as veteran Rabindra Sangeet artistes Sadi Mohammad and Papia Sarwar and other eminent teachers were also present. The participants from various other universities attended the ceremony as well. Inaugurating the festival, Dr. Nishat said that each and every student should have passion for extra curricular activities so that he or she can enjoy his or her life accordingly. He encouraged students to get more involved in extracurricular practices alongside their regular academic activities. Among the major highlights of the day were the singing and dancing competitions. On the first day of the contests, students, faculty members and experts enjoyed the performance of a host of talented artistes in categories such as Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Geeti, classical and light dance. Sadi Mohammad, Papia Sarwar and Swapan Dutta adjudicated the Rabindra Sangeet competition in which Md. Sakibul Islam (BRACU) and Sazia Khanam (Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University) were jointly placed first and Sumaiya Mehjabeen (Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology) and Tanushree Halder (Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University) were placed second and third respectively.
The Nazrul Geeti round took place right after the Rabindra Sangeet event. S.M. Miftah-uz-Zaman (BRAC University) and Zinia Zafrin Luipa (North South University) achieved first place in this section, while Rifat Sharmin Antara (South East University) and Ashik Sarker (Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University) tied for the second place; Israt Jerin (Stamford University) got the third spot. This was a very competitive event and the judges, Yasmin Mushtari, Shaheen Samad and M. A. Mannan, had a hard time selecting the winner.
While the singers were competing, the dancers were busy flaunting their skills. Decked in colourful and sparkling attires and accessories, they gathered at the event to dazzle everyone in classical or light dancing. The judges were the same for both the categories: Shibli Mohammad, Shamim Ara Nipa and Sharmila Bondopadhyay. After each dance, in a truly reality-show style, the judges gave their feedback to the participants; and after much nervousness as to who would win, the winners were announced. In Classical dance, Tamanna Zaman of BRAC University claimed the first position and Sanjoy Kumar Gowshami (University Of Liberal Arts Bangladesh) the second, while Sanjana Islam (BRAC University) came third.
The Light Dance category saw four winners: Tanzena Akter (South East University) and Nur Peera Haque (BRAC University) were declared first and second respectively; Sabrina Shaan (BRAC University) and Maria Farih Upama (North South University) tied for the third place. It is important to mention here that the first, second and third place holders from each of these events will also get the opportunity to directly enter the South Asian Universities Youth Festival (SAUFEST) to be hosted by BRAC University in October-November of this year.
The Film show and Documentary Festival had box-office hits like “Ocean's Eleven” and “Shonar Kella”. This event attracted a large number of students.
The first of its kind and indeed a unique spectacle took place on the streets in front of BRAC University during the Fire Spinning Show after dark. A large number of spectators enjoyed the show in utter amazement. The three spinners surprised the audience with their awesome art and techniques of twirling and swirling the blazing fire as music blared in full volume and the crowd cheered in a deafening fashion. Everyone was mesmerised by the skills of the lady who, with outstanding courage and dexterity, kept the audience on their toes in suspense and awe. Words would run short to describe the beauty and the amazement the show carried with it. As many opined later , the show was perhaps the best of the youth festival, and the first day of it couldn't have ended better!
The second day triggered off with participant registration as well as national competitions like Public Speaking, Free Hand Sketching and Folk and Modern Singing. Altogether fifteen students from various public and private universities took part in the category of Public Speaking. The topic of the contest was “Fair”. The three esteemed judges, Nurul Kabir, Zesrina Haider and Mabroor Wassey, had the opportunity to listen to every participant for five minutes. To be “fair” in evaluation, the host and the participants were not allowed to utter the names of the institutions they belonged to. The participants were well prepared and confident. Many of them used humour, whilst some resorted to emotional stories to present their points. The focus of the speeches ranged from national and international politics, global warming, love, war, life, nature, race, gender, complexion, homosexuality, religion, youth, culture, drug abuse and many other issues. At the end however, all of the contestants were in agreement that the answer to “what is fair?” depends on one's perception. To add humour, one of the speakers even voiced that “Life is not fair; if you think the bull won't attack you because you are a vegetarian, you are wrong!”
While the points were being counted, the three judges went up to the stage one by one and gave everyone some valuable feedbacks. Ratib Mortuza Ali of BRAC University was declared the winner of the event whilst Sarah Tabassum of BRAC University and Adiba Raisa Hossain of University Of Liberal Arts Bangladesh were the first and second runners up respectively.
On the other hand, 11 students, all ready with their pencils, erasers, and drawing pages, took part in the Freehand Sketching contest. The instructions were simple: any drawing based on the theme of “festival”, completely up to the artist's imagination, to be done in exactly two hours. Contestants were even allowed to walk around, talk to one other, and have tea, anything to inspire their work further. Many participants took their time while drawing: thinking, looking here and there and perhaps exercising their mind's eye. But what caught everyone's attention was the guy at the far end, standing throughout the two hours, busily sketching away, using an eraser to give his work the smudged effect, seeming completely oblivious to the world. Not only did he win everyone's attention, his astounding work, resembling a baul, holding an ektara won the first prize of the competition. This gentleman's name was Md. Mainuddin from Dhaka University. The first runner up Tamanna Tarannum of ASA University and the second runner up, Subrata Paul of Stamford University were excellent artists too. The adjudicators for the event were Hamiduzzaman Khan, Ali Imam and Rokeya Sultana. Rajkumar Paul of Shanto Mariam University of Creative Technology received honourable mention at the event.
The music competition on the second day consisted of two categories: Folk and Modern. The audience enjoyed the performance of another bunch of talented singers as the contests went on. Zahir Alim, Nadera Begum and Bipul Bhattacharya were present to judge the Folk song competition, in which S.M. Rashed Shanu (South East University) claimed the first spot. Sujana Chakma (BRAC University) and Moushumi Akter Mou (ASA University) jointly won the second place and Kabir Md. Mehedi (BRAC University) and Asadduzzaman Rajib (United International University) won the third place.
The Light Vocal/Modern song artistes were to end the singing competition with their renditions. This segment was judged by Syed Abdul Hadi, Fatema-tuz-Zohra and Anup Bhattacharya. Zinia Zafrin Luipa of North South University clinched yet another winning place for herself, this time the first place, and so did Miftah-uz-Zaman (BRAC University) as he was placed second in this competition along with Tahia Hyder Chowdhury (BRAC University). Nishat Nayer (Stamford University) and Sumitra Das Gupta (Armed Forces Medical College) jointly won the third place in this competition.
A second session of the Film show and Documentary Festival movies “Prestige”, “Dark Knight”, “Aha!”, “Kolpo”, “Ekti Bangla Cinema”, “Ma” and a short film by Abbas Kherostami and one by Sudipto were shown.
Day three summed up the “1st BRACU Inter-University Youth Festival 2010” on 20th June, Sunday, with the presence of the Chief Guest Professor Ainun Nishat, Vice Chancellor of BRAC University. Everest Winner Musa Ibrahim also graced the show as a Special Guest and inspired the youth of today to step out of their comfort zones and reach for the sky. Zeeshan Huq, Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, BRAC Bank, also gave an upbeat speech to encourage the representatives of the young generation to dream big and believe in themselves. Performances by the winners of different events lightened up the ceremony too. The prize giving ceremony had in total 33 victors, and they were indeed the best of the bests.
“Taking part in any event is exciting because here the participants meet a lot of people who aspire to be at the top. It was my dream to become top in folk song as I was Nescafe Campus Star in 2006 from colleges of Dhaka. I am very happy to be first in that category and will try my best for my country in the future,” said S. M. Rashed Sanu of Southeast University who claimed the top spot in the folk song category.
The winners were undoubtedly happy with their awards. But, the happiness of being a part of such a grand and unique event was perhaps double for the organisers and everyone else who worked hard throughout the event. As Nahin Ahmed Jisun, Secretary (IT, Event and Delegate Servicing) put it, “Youth Festival was an enormous experience in spite of the sleepless nights! There were a lot of external and internal factors that had to be coordinated, such as the sponsors, media, managing the invited universities, as well as our own volunteers and workers and our university's administration. I believe with our experience we would be able to make 'SAUFEST' a even bigger success.” This festival with its appearance and events was unquestionably a memorable event of 'Celebrating Togetherness'.
Contributors: Prama Neogi, Maliha Ahsan & Ayaz Mahmud
Photographers: Tahmi Ahmed, Biplob & Firoz
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