The year 2014 was meant to be a year of change for Bangladesh. But that promise had been left behind and when seen in a political view, the nation has not grown at all in the past one year.
But we have seen change nonetheless. Positive change. Change in the youth. While we have realised that there is still no scope to make a political change, we have also realised that we can raise the nation to new heights in other ways.
One field we have seen a dramatic and positive change in is arts and culture. More and more children, teenagers and young adults have gotten involved in the areas of performing and fine arts. These youths have gone on to take up the challenge of presenting their nation culturally around the world. Be it in theatre, dance, painting, or music, youths are now taking the lead and going on to make bigger names internationally.
Of course we cannot give credit to just the youth. Our rise in this field was possible only because the previous generation's involvement in culture and the arts paved the way for young people to come forward and further contribute their imagination and creativity. With the addition of more individuals, the field is sure to flourish.
This year, we can expect the youth to become pioneers in such fields – to make a name and bring fame to their country. The year 2015 will be the year we take on the world in a different, unexpected way – through the love of the arts.
Long gone are the days when becoming a doctor, engineer or lawyer was everyone's dream. The tradition of parents enforcing these dreams has disappeared and the youth is now daring to have fresh, new, creative ones. Once the burden of picking from only three or four particular professions was lifted, children started venturing out into various fields and started searching within themselves for their own talents. While one found out about his or her obsession with words, another found out he or she liked moving and swaying to music. These little discoveries within themselves led them to go far in their lives with love, passion and motivation.
Some of the biggest companies are now being either started by or being handed over to the youth, and positive change is already evident. Armeen Musa, a young musician studying music in the United States, has opened her own company, Mushroom Entertainment, provides online tools for independent musicians, labels, and management companies. The business runs internationally from Armeen's home.
Similarly, the dance arena in Bangladesh is also being taken over by the youth as they are taking things to a whole new level – experimenting with creativity and adding new flavour. Be it Warda Rihab or Amit Chowdhury, the youth have already started to make a name for themselves and their country all around the world. While Warda Rihab is a Manipuri instructor in Chhayanaut, one of the leading cultural institutions of the country, Amit Chowdhury has become a known face across the nation as an esteemed Bharatanatyam dancer, especially after his thrilling performance at the Bengal Classical Music Fest 2014.
Painting is something that has become a popular calling to many. While Charukola is throbbing with young students from different walks of life, some aspiring painters are taking private classes, while others are teaching themselves. Alia Kamal is one such painter who recognised her passion early on in life and has been working on improving ever since. She believes in constantly learning and spreading the love. “I don't dare do it professionally just yet. I believe I will stop learning once I go professional. What I do now is spread the love for painting, teach it, teach its therapeutic aspects, and show others what it is like to have a passion. That fulfils me more than earning money,” says Alia. It's the kind of passion inside Alia Kamal that makes her a great painter and one to look up to.
There are theatre groups opening up at every corner of the country, where the youth, if not leading, are actively participating. Nowadays, the stages are filled with young faces who all manage to pleasantly surprise you with their talents. The youths in theatre participate both onstage and behind the scenes. They contribute to music, art direction, production design, and much more. Arnila Guha is an active theatre activist who worked her way into becoming someone to watch out for. “Theatre has shaped my lifestyle. It is the school of acting where I overcame all my fears, especially speaking in public. This year I would like to concentrate more on my acting and learn every aspect of it. I will also try to encourage younger children to participate in theatre so that they can explore their talents as well,” says Arnila. The children of those who had taken the helm in the previous generation are also in the limelight now, making their own names in the game. Alongside other young people, daughter of Sara and Ali Zaker, Sriya Sharbojoya is now taking centre stage in not only the fields of theatre and television acting, but in media itself, currently working as the In-charge of Radio Shadin.
These are just a couple of fields that are becoming popular amongst the youth. As their presence in the industry grows, so does the hope for newer and fresher ways to perceive the arts. And as we see changes in each field, a little at a time, we can hope for a newer and better Bangladesh. 2015 is the year that hope will be rekindled. 2015 is the year of the youth.
The writer is Feature Reporter, The Star Weekend, The Daily Star.