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Linking Young Minds Together
         Volume 6 | Issue 11 | March 18, 2012 |


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Sumaiya Ahsan Bushra
Photos:Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

Reading can take you to a different world.

While some love spending time in touring, playing sport and lazing around, others, particularly those belonging to this generation are fascinated by the idea of checking out new hangout spots and attending parties! But, there was a time when our modest ancestors loved to indulge in the pleasure of reading. Intellectual discussions, debates and rhetoric's held more value in the eyes of the people of those times. However, in the 21st century, it has all boiled down to a matter of perception. To gain knowledge one does not need to travel to China! Nor does one need the aid of books to achieve superior knowledge. With the age of internet and easy availability of information within the four walls of one's house-the concept of reading books has become to some extent outdated and obsolete. But, a controversy lies here. Those who actually read books or have read books not just for the purpose of absolute need but for the love of it, this very notion that reading is probably the best activity one may indulge in remains unchanged and unalterable part of life.

In Bangladesh, there is a certain tradition of reading books and encouraging generations to involve in the activity of reading. Boi Mela as it is commonly known amongst the wider population is one event, to which the entire nation looks forward to every year. Held in February, it gives people of all ages and walks of life, the scope to collect books for the entire year. These books which are sold at this event are mostly by Bangladeshi writers written in Bangla and they are diverse in genre-starting from family drama to lyric poetry!

Book sellers have an intriguing role to play when it comes to matters regarding customers and the issue of pirated books. S A S Muhammod Faisal of Zeenat Book Supply, a popular bookstore in Dhaka says, “The body language of a customer can give out the kind of the book they are looking for. There are those who wish to buy English books and their body language is unique from those who want a book on sewing. New books are like new money, it has a different smell. We have customers, who are reputed educationists teaching in different public and private universities, who come to buy books and they are addicted to the smell of those crispy fresh pages. We avoid pirated text books and sell general books which are not available everywhere, they come as single copies. Those who buy such books are in a sense the real elites of the society.”

Boring hours can be revived through reading.

Books have an essential function in the lives of young people. They enable imagination. Before, the intrusion of the world wide web and television, there was a generation who loved to read books back in the 80's. They looked at books as if they were crossroads to unvisited, mysterious territories.

The greatest gifts to any young mind are books. For instance, Harry Potter is a book which has taken an entire generation of young Bangladeshi people by storm both home and abroad! The fascinating school for wizardy and witchcraft, dark hidden alleyways symbolising secrets and the protagonist's quest to overcome the dark wizard 'He who must not be named' are things which have made young people think creatively. Are these simply representations, or do they have an underlying moralistic message to it?

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the city one can delve into the world of reading.

Azima, a Bangladeshi med school student, pursuing education in England says, “It is truly fascinating how Harry Potter, can be read over and over again without really boring me. I read the first book when I was 13 years old and even today, when I do get time, I re-read it and am completely hooked to it until I finish the last bit of the last book. As they say, it does reflect the society of which I am a part of and I can evidently see how true it is.”

A book can be great friend when travelling alone.

Literature is said to mirror the many faces of society. Students of literature from different departments of both public and private universities of Bangladesh spend substantial amount of their semester reading varieties of texts, inspecting polar opposite worlds, like that of the Capitalist nation America to underdeveloped worlds of Africa and the Caribbean. It is essential to note that books are not just for bookworms, but for anyone anywhere, be it a bus stand or a café.

Any place can be worth being in with a good book in hand.

Additionally by reading books written by great thinkers, we come in contact with their minds. Books permit us to know the best of different countries. So, if we want to keep abreast of the great minds of all ages, we must read books. Aliya on this note states, “Through books we get to know about the ways of life of people from other nations. At times, books reveal such crucial pictures of a country that we are dumbfounded.”

Like many other activities, reading is also now handy and digitalised.

For those who have a troubled soul and believe that an idle mind is a devil's workshop, books are their best friend. They entertain us in our spare moments. Good novels, books on poetry and short stories, give great enjoyment and add depth to life. At times we become so engrossed in our reading that we forget important engagements. The presence of loneliness is not for a reader. If we are in a cheerful mood, our joy is multiplied by reading.

Books - store-house of pleasure and knowledge.

Bangladesh has a rich and booming field of writers. There are books, written by our very own Bangladeshi writers, depicting the times of the War of Liberation in 1971. These books are sometimes based on memories of a particular individual, seen through the lens of the first person narrative point of view like that of Jahanara Imam's wartime diary, Ekatturer Dinguli, while some are a collection of letters by freedom fighters and their beloved ones. The thick pages of such treasures almost often have an emotional impact on the readers. As it takes us to a time in history, we are reminded of the struggles the people of the country had to go through to give birth to a new nation.

The relationship between technology and books is another issue. With the fast pacing world and electronics turning large libraries into compact tablets, the real essence of books are at stake. Prema, a student of a private university states, “I don't like e-books; they do not serve the same purpose as real paperback books do. When I read a book, I don't feel I am browsing through, I feel that each and every word is being absorbed into my mind, which is certainly not the case when I am going through an electronically modified version of the same thing.”

Now-a-days the world is progressing at the rate of knots. A young person cannot remain in roach with the changes in his own country, or in the world, without reading the latest literature. One who wants to be respected in cultured society must be well informed. Reading of good books is the key to the store-house of pleasure. But we cannot derive full advantage from reading, if our choice is not good enough. Some books are such that instead of benefiting us, they do positive harm to the readers mind. It is only through good reads we can be wholly benefited.

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