Parampara: An effort to appreciate history

Mobile libraries on Liberation War, Bangabandhu, PM roam DNCC streets
Parampara’s mini-truck attracted a lot of visitors out on a stroll at Manik Mia Avenue on Victory Day. Photo: Collected

Reading about Bangladesh's rich history gives us an understanding about the people's struggles, and helps us realise and value their sacrifices. The legacy and honour of our forefathers can also be imprinted in the minds of later generations, which means the youth will never lose sight of their roots.

Keeping all that in mind, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and publication house Charcha, in association with Centre for Research and Information (CRI), started "Parampara", a mobile-library initiative catering to books on the Liberation War, and life stories of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Two different mini-trucks, one coloured yellow and the other blue, carrying hundreds of books, regularly travel across DNCC's wards.

Yesterday, the mini-trucks were stationed at Manik Mia Avenue all day on the occasion of Victory Day.

Charcha Publisher Sabrina Islam said, "The initiative started in September to inform youths about the Liberation War, the Father of the Nation and his legacy. The libraries will travel to all DNCC wards, and anyone can browse the books."

"We hope that through this initiative, we will be able to kindle youngsters' interest in the subjects, and consequently, enrich their knowledge of our glorious history," she added.

Marking Bangabandhu's birth centenary and the 74th birthday of Sheikh Hasina, the initiative was launched on September 28.

The books are from different publications, including Charcha, CRI, Bangla Academy, Pathak Shamabesh and Shrabon Prokashani. They are being sold at different discounted rates, depending on the publication house. The mobile libraries conduct activities from 10am-6pm every day except Friday.

Volunteers accompany each mini-truck and campaign for the library. Whenever a pedestrian passes by, the volunteers invite them to browse the books.

People are quite enthusiastic about the initiative, particularly youths, who leaf through the books with great interest.

"Ward-based libraries are not available, so such an arrangement will help people go through the books. It's a nice initiative by DNCC," said Robiul Islam, a private job holder who was browsing the books at Mirpur.

Nusrat Safa, a university student who stopped by the library, found a book about the Liberation War before going to her tutoring work.

She said, "There's a lot to learn from the Liberation War. Whenever I find books on it, I try to read them. It helps me to not only enrich my knowledge, but also provides an understanding of what sacrifices the freedom fighters had to make."

According to the volunteers, after entering a ward, they stay there for three days, and locals visit the libraries while passing by. Young people -- some in groups, others alone -- pay visits throughout the day. However, afternoon is the peak hour, when they get the most readers.

"We're overwhelmed by the readers and their interest. We saw people picking and reading books for hours straight, standing in front of the mini-truck. Those who couldn't buy the books immediately took our numbers and contacted us later to find the vehicle and buy the books," said Shamzid Shahriar, leader of one of the volunteering teams.

As DNCC is involved with this initiative, before entering a ward, the ward-councillor concerned is informed beforehand. The councillor's staff then arranges a spot for the library vehicle to attract attention.

Recently, the library visited Ward-11. DNCC Ward-11 Councillor Dewan Abdul Mannan said, "As most youngsters now spend time on social media, they rarely read physical books. Even for a while, if youths or schoolchildren leaf through the books, it'll help them grow a good reading habit."

"As there is no ward-based library, such an initiative is very commendable. We help find proper spots for the vehicles so youngsters can see it. We designated six different spots, including those near educational intuitions and colonies," the councillor said.

Talking about the libraries, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam said, "This initiative will help youths know about the Father of the Nation's contribution and legacy, and proper history of the Liberation War."

"We are primarily planning to keep the initiative running for six months, and hope to continue all year round if the project gets a good response," he said. 


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