From the Insight Desk
Get Ready for the Journey with The Daily Star
I have been privileged enough to visit 37 districts out of the 64 that make up our country, in the process of setting up The Daily Star Readers' Club. The initial stages were really exciting! I was on the search for enlightened people. I had met and conversed with people of many ages, both interesting and enlightened. But now the question is, “Are all the 37 cells of The Readers' Club active?” Of course not. When I ponder about the reasons behind 'why not,' I think about what happens to the clubs when I visit them. In my presence, they become lively and active but somehow lose motivation once I leave. This makes me ask myself, “Could I not motivate them properly?”
There has been a gradual transformation in current lifestyles, and in the way people think. People have become more and more materialistic. Everyone is running behind financial gain. And in this situation, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find enlightened people. Those who are supposed to be the torchbearers of enlightenment are also running with the crowd, they are also running after materialism nowadays. Who shall be our leader? Who is going to show us the way towards enlightenment? It is also true that life has become so hard to carry on that people have to work harder than before to maintain their standard of living. But who sets the acceptable standard? What is it really? How far should we go to attain it? Who do I compare my life with, on what basis? It's a million dollar question.
Do we really know what we want? How much we want? Many ask, “What is enlightenment? If I am not enlightened, how do I know when I become so? What are the differences in my life before and after I am an enlightened individual?” Let us say, a farmer has been harvesting crop all his life. He then becomes enlightened. Now he questions, “What is the difference in my life? I am still harvesting crop!” Of course there is a difference. When you were not enlightened, you were not conscious about your actions; you did whatever you did for the sake of doing it. Once enlightened, you enjoy your work, you become aware of your actions. And in doing the same work, you feel a difference in yourself. But the question remains, “Who will enlighten us?” There are leaders out there; there are those who lead us towards the path of enlightenment. But the search for them is eternal. There is no end to this journey - it goes on. And only the true seekers of enlightenment will find them.
The Daily Star Readers' Club believes that the journey has only just begun. The right people are there, who will enlighten us. We just have to be strong and keep looking; eventually we will find and unite them. They exist amongst us, maybe not two doors away, but they are yet to be found. And if we can find those that are enlightened amongst our own districts, only a handful of people will be enough to spread light on the entire district. We at The Daily Star Readers' Club have brought a change in our very mindset, instead of diversifying our efforts, for the time being we will concentrate only on twelve selected districts. Once we feel that they are ready to progress by themselves, we will broaden our horizon of involvement. This is an open invitation to all those that are enthusiastic towards our approach. If there is indeed anyone who feels that they should be included in this stage, especially schools, colleges, universities and any academic institution, then they should feel free to come forward. We are waiting with open arms to greet them. Even though we have our own plans with which we are progressing, we are most open to share and talk about your ones.
In a country like ours, Bangladesh, there is always scope to do more. There is work left to be done in almost every sector. We are currently working in a few of those specific areas, one of which is how to improve and popularize the English Language in Bangladesh through non-formal education. Because we have all agreed that alongside Bangla, we also need to know English. And we should realize that English skills cannot be a privilege to the upper minority, it cannot be city-based, it's our duty to spread the skill and learn English together. About two or three generations ago, people from even the remotest areas of the country at least possessed a certain degree of formal skills, both in Bangla and English. Through the years, for certain reasons, the overall quality of education received by the masses has deteriorated. This is not news; we have been hearing that song for a long time. But even though we all agree to this, no initiative has been taken to solve the problem. Just talking about problems without taking responsibility is not going to help. So, let's take some responsibility, from wherever we stand. We can join our hand together and move forward. Through a lot of cultural activities and healthy competition, I think we can build awareness about the problems at hand.
The twelve districts we have selected are: Mymensing, Rangpur, Sylhet, Bogra, Kurigram, Sirajganj, Jhenidah, Tangail, Jessore, Patuakhali, Khulna, and Kishoreganj. Are these districts ready for the journey with The Daily Star? We hope this will foster a trust in The Daily Star, as this is something people now dearly need.
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