Boshonto dot com: Your spring in cyberspace!
Arif Ashraf Nayan
Nobody would doubt the invincibility of discussions and idea-exchange, and consequently academic debates, in maintaining the democratic stature of a society. Gone are the days when the world used to be ruled by authoritarian rulers who hated any kind of second opinionleave alone arguments. A sort of 'am I not right?' type approach used to be the norm when it came to policy-framing or decision-making.
With the passage of time, societies around the world have realised the value of frankness in expression and sharing of facts with each other. You may not agree with what I say, but you need to honour my right to say so. Because, that is how a tolerant society develops.
Sadly in a country like ours, we have been practising intolerance in many spheres of our lives. What has been going on in our Jatiyo Sangsad? The way our lawmakers have been engaged in ineffable discourses is a simple representation of our socio-cultural mindset. We Bangladeshis hardly respect other's thoughts. We still believe in inelegant bigotry.
In such a context, it is indeed heartening to discover a group of young Bangladeshis activating themselves in an endeavor sweetly contradictory to our national practice!
Young Bangladeshi men and women from different educational institutes and organizations have assembled in an online platform called 'BoshontoIn this web forum, you will find members 'mouse down' (how can I say 'pen down'?) their opinions, views and emotions on multifarious issues. Created and maintained by a group of moderators, it has been in operation since 2004 and so far its membership has exceeded sixteen hundred. Nearly 44,000 posts (plus 26,000 threads) have been posted so far at the rate of 61 posts per day. Each member has been giving almost 30 posts on an average. That's remarkable success by all standards. The exuberance of youth is evident in every corner of Boshonto.
What is there in Boshonto? Well, certainly not just childish chit-chat. Nothing near the nonsensical squabbles of yahoo chat rooms. It's far more than that. Starting from serious and radical articulations on our glorious independence war of 1971 to day-to-day merry tit-bits are included in it.
Right on your arrival at its home page, you would land on a traditional lush green rural Bangla podium where autumn and spring are juxtaposed in soothing harmony. You'd instantly feel like clicking on the Bangla word 'Boshonto' , which would take you inside. Here is the content page for you to sneak in anywhere as you wish. Be sure to register yourself for posting your views.
If you are of bit serious bhabook type, just stay at the top section and concentrate on the forums such as 'Ritual & Traditional Bengal', '35 years of Independence', 'Boshonto Book Club', 'As we see it', 'Religion & Ethics' and so on. Each of these forums will drive you to lots of threads and posts where you will dwell in gardens of diverse argumentssoft and hard alike.
I must categorically highlight the forum '35 years of Independence' that would really stimulate patriotic passion in anyone. Look at the threads that exist there: 'Muktijuddher shei chhobi gulo', 'How much do we know about 71?', 'amader 71…amader kotha', 'Deshpremik mane ashole ki', 'War documentaries, Films, Books, Memorials...', 'Ekatturer Kichcu Omullo Smriti',
What will pleasantly surprise you is the maturity level of many of these argumentsgiven that these have been given by members who are older than 30 years. And despite the differences of opinions, you will discover the fact: these people do love this country dearlyand that love is as pure as mother's affection. They shout because they are pained by the 'nothing-is-going-right' situation around them. They quarrel with each other because they want to find out a solution to the ongoing problems. All this will definitely make you get into your act, i.e. post a new thread, or at least a new reply to an existing thread.
If you want to explore some lighter sides of life, boshonto has wide openings as well. Scroll down a bit and you will find the forums.
'Boshonto Chit Chat' (unquestionably the most popular forum with almost 14,000 posts), 'Self Expressions' or 'Laughter…the best medicine' an so on. Some of the hyperactive threads under 'Boshonto Chit Chat' are: 'khola diary', 'ei muhurte ki korte ichha hochhe?', 'kake mone pore', 'shesh ki diyey khelam', 'what song are you playing right now?', 'shout box!' etc. All these threads will remind you again and again: our young people have hearts that are unpolluted and untainted unlike most of the older people. They know how to take pure pleasure in their living moments; they are chiro shobuj and chiro nobeen.
Romantic roamers do have their place in 'Boshonto Love and Relationship' where they can outburst all their agonies and ecstasies. Relevant forums exist for sports and games-crazy people as well as for music-lovers.
In all respects, Boshonto will transform you into Tagore's 'notun jouboneri doot' (ambassador of youth) who are 'chonchol' and 'awdbhoot'.
Last but not least, it would be a crime not to mention names of some members who have been injecting life into Boshonto. Be sure to find their voices on different threads alwaysand without them, Boshonto may run into the risk of becoming Grishho! Some of these ever-dynamic, thoughtful, creative, radical Boshonto-people are: BANGAL (Misho), bristir_Din_e (Mamun), Abhie, Nisargo, Naheen, Chilte Rodh, Jochhona_Raate (Shoily), Nobonita, Pantho John, Ghunepokaa, Fudge, Fida, Odbhut Chele, Shush (Dhutra), Nefertiti Resurrected, and Bulbul. They are people with minds like green fields and blue sky; with emotions like flowing rivers and blowing winds.
Oh, didn't I tell you about a cute poll that they conducted'Mr. & Miss Boshonto 05-06'? In this karchupi-bihin poll, Boshonto members voted to elect the winners, and at last it was Abhie who topped the masculine section while Naheen & Shoily jointly shared the honours in the feminine section. Three vociferous personalities; unmatchable! Just kidding.
So friends, what's the big deal? Just peek into this site per excellence and see for yourself if I am true or not. Okay, you won't have to verify my words; just get in for 3 minutes, and I know you won't get out of it in the next 3 years!
(R) thedailystar.net 2006