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                Volume 11 |Issue 07| February 17, 2012 |


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Photo: Star File

Let there be Light

Shahtub Siddique Anik

A few years back, Zubair Ahmed, then a member of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) faction dominating the campus, beat two students named Ashikul Islam and Rashedul Islam. Little did he know that this act would result in his death. “Little did he know” — I found the phrase quite interesting after I saw a movie.

In Stranger than Fiction (2006), directed by Marc Forster, Professor Hilbert explains to Harold Crick, “Little did he know means that there's something that he doesn't know, which means that there's something that you don't know. Did you know that?” This gap in knowledge helps to move the plot as Harold Crick goes in search of what he doesn't know or understand.

There was something that Zubair, a student of the University English department of Jahangirnagar, was yet to know or understand — that torturing fellow students could lead to his death. But this was not his only ignorance or the only “gap in knowledge”.

He also did not know (or understand) that it was dangerous to get involved with an organisation that makes a devil out of a student instead of utilising the creative force within him. And Zubair paid the price.

His “gap in knowledge” originates from the bad schooling of his organisation that believes power is constant and they can dominate the campus forever. They were wrong; another faction drove them out of the campus.

On January 8 this year, he was brutally beaten for hours by none other than Ashikul, Rashedul and their associates. Thirteen hours later, he succumbed to his injuries.

Students protest the unbridled terror in Jahangirnagar University campus. Photo: Star File

For Ashikul and Rashedul it was payback time and they showed no mercy. They did not worry about anything as they were involved with the BCL faction that had the backing from the Vice-Chancellor and they had established control over the campus.

Zubair had come to the campus only to sit for an examination and had reportedly distanced himself from politics. Little did he know that this would be his “final exam”. “Little did he know” — we hardly think how important the phrase in our life is.

“I've written papers on 'Little did he know'. I've taught classes on 'Little did he know.' I once gave an entire seminar based upon 'Little did he know',” Professor Hilbert says in the movie.

Zubair is not the only one to suffer the “gap in knowledge”. We have seen youngsters time and again taking the wrong path and their life being destroyed. Many of them initially joined the ruling party's student wing for accommodation in dormitories or for some extra bucks.

Jahangirnagar University has seen several political killings: Kabir in 1989, Dipu in 1993 and Ananda in 1998; not to speak of the clashes that left hundreds injured and disabled for life.

We of course demand justice for all the murders, including that of Zubair, and also a probe into the roles of teachers who stoke up campus violence and play games with the life of students.

But our students also have to take lessons from all this and be aware of what to do and what not to do. It is time they reject the evil force which in the guise of student politics teaches them to kill each other. It is time they give birth to a new politics that will teach everyone to dream again. Our nation does not want them to suffer from any “gap in knowledge”.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2012