Pathfinder of 50: Young Bangla honours nation-builders working quietly
The 'Mongol Shobhajatra' on the first day of the Bangla New Year, that is organised at Charukala of Dhaka University, is a cultural marker for Bengali nationalism, on which Bangladesh stands.
In 1989, the teachers and students of Fine Arts Institute, now Faculty of Fine Arts, started the 'Mongol Shobhajatra'.
And to carry this idea forward to the global stage, the dean of the fine arts faculty, Nisar Hossain, played a significant role in getting it incorporated by the UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The story of Professor Nisar Hossain was passed on to the platform of Young Bangla during the Joy Bangla Youth Award giving ceremony on Monday.
Apart from its regular arrangement of recognising the country's young changemakers, Young Bangla added a new honour – "Pathfinder of 50 Award" -- themed on the golden jubilee of the country's independence.
It's a special recognition to individuals who have made significant contributions to the post-independence nation-building process through their leadership, service, initiatives, and research.
Prof Nisar was one of the three recipients of this award conferred this year by Young Bangla, the youth wing of Centre for Research and Information (CRI).
While receiving the award from CRI trustee Radwan Mujib Siddiq, Prof Nisar Hossain turned emotional.
Mongol Shobhajatra is one of the initiatives to revive the Liberation War spirit that led to the Joy Bangla slogan, the spirit that led to the birth of Bangladesh, the spirit that they attempted to wipe out forever by murdering the Father of the Nation and his family on August 15, he said.
"I desire that the young generation will march forward holding that spirit in their heart," he said.
Another recipient of the special award was Anjuman Mufidul Islam, a Bangladeshi welfare organisation specially designed to enrich the livelihood of orphans and the distressed.
Having started its journey in September 1947 as a branch of its Kolkata office in Dhaka, it expanded its footprint to 42 other districts.
When the Coronavirus pandemic instilled a morbid fear of infection among people and even relatives left the dead bodies of Coronavirus patients untouched, this organisation offered burial services for them.
It also reached out to people with relief during the epidemic. The joint director of Anjuman Mufidul Islam, Harun ur Rashid Khan, received the award on behalf of the organisation.
The award was also conferred on Rubaiyat Mansur and Elisabeth Fahrni who played a crucial role in making three sanctuaries for freshwater dolphins in the Sundarbans.
They also took part in establishing the Swatch-of-No-Ground submarine canyon and adjacent coastal areas as the country's first marine protected area.
Their untiring effort to preserve wildlife earned them the Pathfinders of 50 Award, which freedom fighter Hasan Mahmud Khokon came to receive on their behalf.