For the Love of Nature
"Shab means beautiful. It is a promise to lose oneself to nature, a covenant to live and die together. Shab is an initiative to develop a unique brotherhood of mutual love, a step to open the door of optimism and possibilities. All the activities of Shab are centered on Nature, born of Tradition and Friendship.”
This is how Shab introduces itself in its own website. Founded in 2007 Shab is the brainchild of nine friends graduated from Ahsanullah University. When asked about the reason behind the idea, the executive president, Syed Golam Abbas (who happens to be the ninth generation descendant of Nawab Shiraj-Ud-Daula) says “We want to get our new generation acquainted with the tranquil nature which they are gravely deprived of. We want to spread the message that nature and people are intertwined with each other and we need Mother Nature for our own survival. We, the young generation must come forth because the way we are exhausting our natural resources and letting go off our geo-diversity we will face violent consequences. If we don't, who else will clean our mess?” So Shab is not just another group with whom you can go places. It has a bigger vision of responsibility.
Since its birth, members of Shab have travelled to exotic places, existing in to nooks and corners of Bangladesh. “We have been to Norshingdi, Bandarban, Sylhet and few other places. But we have not just 'been' there. Wherever we have gone we have tried to do something to raise awareness about preserving the natural beauty. We have also been approached by NGOs to do voluntary social work", says Ruhul Amin, president of Shab.
Shab is a group composed of people who are really passionate about our natural surroundings. This feature is shared not just by its founders but by its members as well. All the founders and members of Shab are professionally established and well settled in their personal lives. Even with hectic schedules all the members meet at least once a month to discuss group-issues. Hence the recruitment is quite strict and only devoted nature lovers can be members of Shab.
At the age of two, Shab is in the process of grooming itself as a full-fledged organisation. The first trip ever made by Shab was to the nearly extinct Shonaimuri Pahar at Norshingdi. “People have cut down the hill, I don't even know if it's there now. It makes me sad how apathetic we are about the gifts nature has given us” says Golam Abbas. Of all their trips, the one to Bandarban's Nilgiri Pahar has been memorable. “The life, the bluish hills touching the mighty sky-these all are our treasures. But their beauty is fading due to lack of awareness. We must do something to preserve them,” he says. Another of Shab's celebrated venture was to Lauachhara forest in Sylhet. “We had camp fires in the jungle. We heard the cries of animals at night, they sounded as if they were screaming for help, begging to be saved. We went to Sheetesh Ranjan's zoo of rare animals and contributed to the maintenance. We saw amazing animals like 'Choshma Banor, we went to the very popular neelkantha tea stall, had its legendary 'pancha-ranga' (five-layered) tea. We must make it sure that our future generation gets to see all of this.”
Shab is making its way to a revolution, to drive our generation towards graceful nature. It has made a commitment and it's keeping it well. So if you love nature, if you love waking to the chirping birds, if you still believe the fragrance of flowers can spread happiness, while sitting in a horrible traffic jam, if it's the sunset through the web of electric wires and old lousy skyscrapers that sooths your mind, Shab might be the kind of group you can belong to. Membership in Shab requires only a passion for nature and a will to save it from extinction.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009