A concert with a difference…
SATURDAY, 8th March. Gulshan Youth Club ground was packed with around 30,000 young people. They were there to show their hatred towards corruption and respect to women around the world. “Jago Manush-Nari Odhikarey Jago…” (Wake Up People, Wake Up for Women's Right”), with this slogan Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), a national chapter of Berlin based Transparency International (TI) and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) jointly organized an anti-corruption concert to mark the 100 years of International Women's Day which saw renditions of popular numbers by Kangalini Sufia, Azam Khan, Renaissance, Fahmida Nabi, Dalchhut, Mehrin, Krishna Koli, Arthohin, Yaatri and many more.
The event was inaugurated by TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman. In his welcome address, Dr Iftekharuzzaman urged all to come forward to realize women's rights saying the movement against corruption and for women's rights must go hand in hand. Programme anchors Simi and Aditya Kabir then came to stage to announce that renowned baul singer Kangalini Sufia will perform her entertaining number titled “Amra nari…Koto koshto kori”. After her performance, Renaissance performed and mesmerize the large crowd. The ground were totally filled with young boundless lives when all these singers and bands performed one by one and encouraged the spirited youths to say no to corruption and cruelty against women. When the Pop song Guru Azam khan rendered his famous number “Rail line er oi bostitey”, Gulshan Youth Club ground saw the never-ending ecstasy of these young people who rocked with drumbeats till the end.
The objective of TIB and ACC behind this concert was to link the anti-corruption movement with the movement for women's rights and to make the new generation aware about these. “We will say no to corruption through all our activities -- through our words, songs, concerts and stories,” said ACC Chairman Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury amid a huge cheery crowd.
Hoping that the young generation will be always with the ACC and TIB's continuing fight against corruption, he asked them to engage their all-out efforts to stop all sorts of corruption.
Pointing out that discrimination against women is a common phenomenon in the country, Prof Muzaffer Ahmad, chairman of TIB Board of Trustees, said corruption causes sufferings mostly to women.
“We'll say no to corruption today, tomorrow and day after tomorrow,” he said urging the youths to establish a just society, free of corruption and based on parity.
TI Chairperson Huguette Labelle, Mili Rahman, wife of Birshrestha Motiur Rahman and eminent freedom fighter and Convener, Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCC), Chittagong Metropolitan Begum Mushtari Shafi gave messages expressing similar views on this occasion.
In her message TI Chairperson said, “It's a very encouraging day today as so many young voices came here together with the aim to make a corruption-free Bangladesh and world. So come forward to say 'No' to corruption and 'Yes' to equal rights of both men and women”.
Begum Shafi said, “Movement against corruption and to ensure equal rights of men and women should be carried with equivalent importance to reach our goal of better society”.
With the appeal to the youths to try the war criminals, Mili Rahman said, “Show us that you can do what we failed to do”.
The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam, Artiste Dilara Zaman, and leaders of women's rights movements Rokeya Kabir and Sonia Nishat Amin also spoke in between the songs.
The concert was aired on www.metrobd.netlive. and was open to all though the crowd had to collect their passes to concert from the organizers.
TIB and ACC formed an advisory council comprising Dr. Syed Manzoorul Islam, Begum Mushtari Shafi, Dr. Maleka Begum, Dr. Geeti Ara Nasrin, Angela Gomez, Ferdousi Priyobhashini and Sara Zaker to make the programme a success.
Comparatively new performers Kafil, Shahed, Pancham Sur, a band of Acid Survivors Foundation, and Awaz, a group of garment workers, also performed at the concert that continued till 9:00pm.
This is not the first time that TIB organized such a different concert. On 29th December 2006 TIB organized the first ever anti-corruption concert of this world at the same venue. But this time with a new goal along with its anti-corruption social movements, TIB proved that it is high time that we should come forward to ensure women's safety and rights to combat the social disease named corruption.
(The writer is a student of LL.B. Honours, 3rd year, Department of Law, CU and a member, Youth Engagement and Support, CCC, Chittagong Metropolitan, TIB)