Growing up in the hilly areas of Rangamati, Suro Krishna Chakma was always keen on sports. During his school years, he made his way to Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan (BKSP), and took up boxing.
His dedication and hard work paid off as he eventually won medals both home and abroad. From 2013-14, he won national boxing championship twice. Besides, internationally-acclaimed kickboxer Ali Jacko invited him to London for training.
Suro's passion for sports is not just about the sport itself, but more about the competitive atmosphere and active lifestyle.
The master's student of Dhaka University aspires to improve condition of the university's gymnasium, enhance sporting activities inside halls and put an end to leasing out of playgrounds.
With that in mind, he is running as an independent candidate for the post of sports secretary on Monday's Ducsu election.
Like Suro, 11 indigenous students out of 738 candidates are vying for different posts.
In central union polls, five candidates and in hall union polls another six are running for sports and cultural secretaries, and member posts with an aim to represent their communities and work for betterment of students.
“Enhancing facilities for students with physical disabilities and indigenous students are one of my priorities,” said Joshiah Sangma, a Garo student, vying for a member post in central union polls from Bangladesh Chhatra League.
The indigenous students, from various ethnic and educational backgrounds, said they are contesting the polls as they too want to contribute directly to the policymaking.
Some of them are nominated by student organisations while others are contesting independently.
“I want to bring all cultural organisations of TSC under one umbrella, and promote diversity,” said Kingsuk Chakma of Rangamati. The English department student is running for the post of cultural secretary in central union as an independent candidate.
According to indigenous student leaders, there are more than 500 indigenous students out of over 40,000 students at DU.
It is important that indigenous students come forward and raise their voice, said Rebang Dewan, a Chakma student leader of Bangladesh Adivasi Chhatra Sangram Parishad.
Besides, three indigenous female students are contesting the hall union polls.
Pramee Khisa of Rangamati, a first-year student of business, is vying for a member post in Rokeya Hall union polls from left alliance.
“Most female students do not get dormitories, so they are forced to stay outside. Not only do they have to spend a lot of money, security also remains a major concern,” said the Chakma student. “I want to try my best to bring a change to that.”
From the same hall, Kamala Marma is running for the post of indoor sports secretary independently while Nwaisin U Marma for Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall's social welfare secretary from BCL.
In addition, Mitramoy Chakma and Lenik Chakma are contesting for member posts in central union and Jagannath Hall respectively -- nominated by left alliance. Three Santal students -- Prabir Mormu (hall union), Nathaniel Tudu (hall union) and Jesan Arko Marandi (central union) -- are also nominated by the same alliance.