Behind the Scene
'Arong' Library Working to Create Enlightened Citizens
'Arong', a Marma word, means to spread light in the darkness. A youth is trying his best to spread the light of education among his own people. His dream is to create enlightened citizens in his own community. His name is Ulamong Marma. He is not a famous person, only a youth of twenty, a student of Higher Secondary level at Mutiranga Degree College under Khagrachhari district.
When he was a student of class-9, he first thought of starting a library for the people of his village Chailou Para in Khagrachhari. So he started to save little by little the money given to him occasionally by his parents. When he felt that he had saved a reasonable amount, he spent the whole of it for buying twenty different kinds of books and started a personal library in 1998. He then requested the students of his village to come and read the books at the small library of his which he called 'Arong'. A few students responded immediately to his invitation. He continued to buy, and sometimes to collect books from various people. Now there are about one thousand books in Arong library.
Ulamong's grandmother Ukna Moghinee gave him a 3 decimal piece of land while twenty-two families of his village gave sufficient quantity of bamboo, woods and tin to build a tin- shed house. Ulamong started his library activities in full swing from 2004.
Now more than one hundred readers sit together every day in Arong and read different types of books. “I feel very happy when I see a scene like this which I dreamt of and expected to see for a long time. I thank my grandmother, the NGO Foara, my village people, Ramon Publication and my friends who have always supported me and helped me build up this library” said Ulamong.
For maintaining the register of the readers some eleven members work by turn. The library is open six days a week from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. except on Friday. On Friday it is open from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Some times films with educative value are shown to all. Ulamong says, “There are so many things to learn about people, places, cultures and human relations from good films as one can learn from good books.” He adds, “We also organise other activities. Last winter we distributed more than two hundred clothes to the local people through our library. Arong library is open to all and I would like to say this only, that books are the best friends of men. They not only open up new worlds to their readers but also help people know & understand many things without demanding any interest.”
(R) thedailystar.net 2006