an endangered Species
a few years back, children used to spend their leisure time reading
books. After a long day of school and homework, they would seek refuge
in the pages of a book. Through the book they would escape to another
world from the humdrum of their busy lives. They would allow their
minds to be carried away into a different world of fantasy. In this
way they would not only gain pleasure but also acquire a lot of knowledge.
Sadly enough, the number of children who actually sit and read are
becoming fewer day by day.
Nowadays it is
very hard to find a child, who, in his/her leisure time sits with
a book to read. You could blame it on the rapid advancements of technology,
which have introduced us to many beneficial gadgets that have become
essentials for many. One of the main devices that falls into this
category is the television. This electronic gadget, while giving us
the latest information and news, educating and entertaining us, also
produces a bunch of inactive, lazy children to whom the definition
of leisure time is just two letters: TV. This is obviously affecting
the reading habit. The other influence is of course, the Internet.
Kids today sit all day in front of the computer talking to their e-friends
and browsing. And of course one of the opportunity costs of this is
Besides all these
there are many other factors that are responsible for the rapid decrease
in the number of children reading books. First of all, there are not
many libraries in the country from which the children could borrow
the books they want to read. The Public Library and the Biswa Shahitya
Kendro are two famous libraries, which have a good collection of Bengali
books. The British Council library keeps some English books. But on
the whole the number of libraries are very few in our country. There
are many shops, though, which sell these books and some of them even
order books from abroad, but it is neither possible nor feasible for
people to buy books every time they want to read.
The habit of reading
books is nearly becoming extinct among the younger generation. Computers
and televisions have invaded into our world and have successfully
conquered the place that books occupied in our lives.
should try our best to revive this habit and not waste our precious
time in front of the electronic gadgets.
Lets face it,
almost everyone has heard off New Market and it's rare to find a person
who hasn't been there at least once in his/her lifetime. The name
'New market' itself is quite paradoxical to say the least, as it is
anything but 'new'. In fact, this is one of the few places in Dhaka
which has been there for generations, without any sign of transience
so lets not waste any ink giving directions on how to get there.
There are some
really stellar bookstores in New market and I recommend any avid reader
of books to visit those and as contradictory as it may sound, it is
not at all difficult to locate the bookstores in new markets despite
popular notions that it is very easy to get lost and almost impossible
to locate a particular store amidst the labyrinth of almost an infinite
number of shops situated there. Probably, the easiest way to reach
the chain of bookstores is to enter New Market through the south gate
and go left the bookstores are just after a chain of stationary stores.
sell a wide variety of books, ranging from standard O level and A
level text books, Bengali novels by renowned authors, English novels,
Encyclopedias etc. Stores like Zeenat Book supply, Book Mart etc mainly
specialises in the selling of fictional novels and Encyclopaedias
while Mukarram is probably the best place to buy O and A level textbooks.
Bear in mind, though, most of the books sold there are photocopied,
therefore New Market is not an ideal place if you want to shop around
for expensive, original books.
prospective book buyer in New Market must always remember the fact
in the back of his/her mind that there are very few fixed price bookstores
there and therefore, haggling and bargaining is allowed in fact, after
Nilkhet, it is the premiere podium to practice your prowess in bargaining.
The shopkeepers may charge exorbitant and sometimes-preposterous prices,
so always try to have some idea on the prices of the books you intend
to buy beforehand. Still compared to other bookstores, the ones on
New Market offer books at a cheaper price and good quality is almost
guaranteed, therefore don't expect to find missing pages and awful
prints. A wide variety of books are also sold so you can expect to
find lots of rare books (I was particularly fascinated to find some
rare J.R.R Tolkien novels) and sometimes even illegal, banned books.
Therefore, to sum it up, the bookstores in New Market are literally
a reader's paradise!
Bishake and I
as we used to call the Bishwo Shahitto Kendro in our school days gave
us the chance to taste a wide range of great books from both Bengali
and World Literature. Every week I would wait patiently for the day
when the representatives from Bishake would pay visit to our school
to deliver the coveted books. Personally I would be very annoyed with
Bishake because only one book was rationed for a week and that was
far too little for a voracious reader like me.
wanted to avenge this system of Bishake in favour of the good students,
but my tragic struggle against this "bias" used to end in
an inexorable thirst over the last few days of the week and in being
trounced by the surging desire of getting a new book.
Bishwo Shahitto Kendro was founded with the noble aim of enlightening
the young minds in the light of the great books of Bengali and World
Literature. The core programme of Bishake is the nation-wide enrichment
programme under which more than one hundred thousand students from
five hundred branches are included. Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed,
the man at the helm of Bishake has recently received the Ramon Magasaysay
Award 2004 for his unparalleled contributions in the field of journalism,
literature and creative communication arts.
started its journey in the late seventies with the theme 'alokito
manush chai' (we want enlightened individuals). Starting from a small-scale
the centre has had around 1,25,000 members engaged with its various
educational and cultural programmes to date. For university-level
students and those done with university studies, Bishake has the 'study
circle' programme. Its nation-wide mobile library programme is a new
innovative step for the citizens in general. This service is engaged
with twenty thousand readers in four metropolitan cities. Ashonno,
the children's magazine published ten times a year from Bishake is
usually given as gifts to the prize-winners.
more grudge that I have against Bishake is about its prize giving
ceremony. When we were at school our prizes were given out by our
librarian. Now the new kids of Bishake receive their prizes in the
Bokultola at Charukola from the likes of Md. Zafar Iqbal, screaming
to their hearts content. It feels unfair.
the end I want to say that Bishake has to think not only for the "good"
students but also for the "bad" students like me who had
to suffer a whole week with one measly book. I think Bishake should
start a new programme for students like me, allowing them two or three
books a week. In spite of this discrimination against my clan, I absolve
Bishake, and I want to say 'I love you Bishake!’