Volume 2 Issue 85| June 19, 2010 |


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Celebrating Life

From Sylhet

Sylhet's SUST Celebrates Life

Rafi Hossain

Samina Chowdhury dazzles the Central Auditorium Audience

THE destination of this month's Celebrating Life district tour was Sylhet's Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. Sylhet is revered for its holy lands, and the 360 saints that are said have lived here. Shahjalal University have just recently stepped in to its eighteenth year and as far as the lifespan of such institutions go, it still very much in its infancy. The university is housed on a very tidy, cozy campus, somewhat different from most other universities of the country. Given the rigours of the science and technology curriculum, most students are kept busy with their studies, and their academic achievements speaks volumes about the hard work the put in. Whether it is the spiritual calm

that Sylhet exudes, or the tranquil blanket of green that nature has provided, a sense of serenity pervades through every corner of the campus.

VC Prof. Saleh Uddin, Prof. Yasmin Haque and others inaugurating the Celebrating Life Photo Exhibitation

When I met Prof. Md. Younus, I realized it was almost as if was made for his role as the Student Councilor. He is man completely in touch with the needs of the students, knows when to listen and when to act, knows how to strike a balance between the present and future good of the students. He was extremely enthusiastic about Celebrating Life, and had helped us immensely in organizing one of the largest Celebrating Life festivals. Prof. S. M. Saiful Islam, faculty of the Chemistry Department and Proctor, also lent us his considerable organizational talents for the Celebrating Life cause, and his contributions were immense.

In my experience, Prof. Md. Saleh Uddin, is perhaps one of friendliest, easy-going Vice Chancellors I have come across. Always easily accessible, he takes the interests of the students to heart. He shares the Celebrating Life vision of a positive Bangladesh keenly, is acutely culturally aware, and works tirelessly to share his passion and visions with his students.His support for Celebrating Life was invaluable.

Prof. Zafar Iqbal, Head of the Computer Science and Engineering Department, and Prof. Yasmin Haque, Head of the Physics Department, Dean of the Life Science Department, and Provost of the Shahid Janani Jahanara Imam ladies hostel, were excuse the cliché- made for each other. Both very positive and progressive, they are true assets of Shahjalal University. They are role models for all aspiring teachers and students alike, inspiring all around them onto greater heights.

We were planning the festival in Prof. Iqbal's room, when one of the students suggested that “band music” is pretty much the only type of music that the students here listen to. Although this statement had me worried, I took heart from the fact that we are yet to return from a district festival without having tasted success. Although some of the teachers and the students were concerned, I was convinced that we would ultimately succeed, and with that belief I went forward.

My convictions were proven true when Samina Chowdhury arrived, and as per usual, held the audience captive for an enthralling night. Nearly 5000 people cramped into an auditorium that has not been completely finished, and did not have air-conditioning. Yet, despite the heat, the enthusiasm of the audience was inspiring. After the concert, Samina Chowdhury said that she was delighted with the audience, and would love to come back and perform again. “For such an appreciative audience, packed in by the thousands in the heat but still asking for more, I could have gone on for hours”, she said.

The hall full of applauding audience braving the heat only goes to prove the fact that good lyrics, music and singing will always be universally appreciated, regardless of the form; the age or the trends of the time is not really relevant. Zafar sir himself, upon hearing the student's comments, was initially apprehensive about how well the festival would be received, but like everybody else, he too was won over. After the show, in his excitement, he commented that he would wrap up Samina's voice and my beard and hair in gold foil to thank us for the show. We were humbled by such extravagant praise, but coming from a man of such stature, it was truly gratifying. Perhaps he did not know, but we had reserved a for him a gold-encrusted seat in our hearts.

The Celebrating Life Sylhet festival has given me memories that I shall always cherish, memories which we will love to revisit given even the smallest of excuses.


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