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Linking Young Minds Together
      Volume 7 | Issue 07| February 17, 2013 |


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Elita Karim
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

The last two weeks have been a tumultuous two for, not only Bangladesh, but for the world. The people witnessed a sudden rise amongst the youth, who have been fighting for nothing but justice.

With slogans like "Quader Mollah -- Tui Rajakaar!" and "Fashi, fashi, fashi chai!" Shahbaagh Chattar became the centre for all young protesters. To many an elderly, it was like déjà vu, where more than 40 years ago, the young men and women were fighting for something similar -- a Bangladesh free from the Pakistani hanadars, from the rajakars, from the collaborators, from the rapists and murderers.

In the last one week, Shahbaagh Chattar, aka, Projonmo Chattar, a name symbolising the power of the youth, became one of the most inspiring areas in the country. Not only was it filled with little groups of students, building a niche for themselves with candles and diyas and chanting on for hours together at a stretch, it also became an area where one would help the other with food and water, to relax, to sing along and shout out loud and also to offer a friendly shoulder when needed.

The rise of the Projonmo Chattar, most importantly, has also led to the birth of prospective leaders of Bangladesh. To date, the rise of the Projonmo Chattar encourages one to hope and believe, that the 'wrongs' will finally be 'right,' and just, this, just might be the beginning of a whole new era.

The cage symbolises Bangladesh -- where the people are trapped, caged and cannot step out of into freedom. "All we wanted from the government was justice," says Paula Aziz, from Prothom Alo, and also one of the protestors at Shahbaagh. "When the government was being elected back in 2009, we were not asking for jobs and money and anything else. All we wanted was justice and the government promised to give it to us. Unfortunately, we don't have it as yet, which is why, we are trapped and we live in a cage."

Last week, on February 12, 2013, people all over Bangladesh observed silence for 3 minutes, in solidarity with the protestors at Shahbaagh.

The silence practically cried out to the world -- protesting against the wrong and demanding for the right. Not only in Bangladesh, but Bangladeshis all over the world -- Canada, USA, Malaysia, Australia, Netherlands -- took part in this silent protest.

Photo: Md Ata Islam Khan Mojlish

On February 8, 2013, thousands of people, both young and old, took an oath at the Projonmo Chattar, to get rid of the Rajakars, once and for all. The oath taking was an extremely emotional event, where many had tears in their eyes. Bangladeshis all over the world synchronised their watches to the ones at Projonmo Chattar and took the oath along with the young soldiers in Shahbaagh.

Projonmo Chattar demand.

Photo: Md Ata Islam Khan Mojlish

Projonmo Chattar has become an activity centre for the young, where people would drop in after class and work and start their evenings with chants, music, poetry and also theatre. People are also writing in their thoughts and feelings on a long stretch of plastic board, put out on the street; filling it with cartoons, song lyrics, couplets and slogans. While many young theatre activists enthralled the crowd with heartrending dialogues and acts, yet another young team organised a concert at the TSC Chattar. Musicians and Bands -- Mamuduzzaman Babu, Chirkut, Dreek, Sandhi, Swagota, Sobbhota, Shunno, Warfaze -- and many more joined in and enthralled all. To make things a little more special, the current super hero of Bangladesh Ananta Jalil and his wife -- actor Barsha, also shouted out the slogans along with the thousands.

‘Shunno’ playing at TSC.

The young people who have occupied Shahbaagh, are simply refusing to go back home. They await positive changes in Bangladesh, they want to see this country rise, and they want to have a better future. All they want now, is justice.

Projonmo Chattar-- for the youth and by the youth. Photo: Md Ata Islam Khan Mojlish

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