As the first day of every Bengali year is greeted with a poetic celebration across the country – Mongol Shovajatra – a rally for the sake of wellbeing, is organized at the Dhaka University (DU) Fine Arts Institute to symbolize the passion and aspiration of the nation.
But rarely does anyone ask how this gathering became part of the culture.
It was in 1989 that DU teachers and students started the secular and cultural movement which has not faded, but brightened over the years.
To carry this idea forward to the global stage, the Fine Arts Faculty Dean Nisar Hossain played his significant role in getting it incorporated by Unesco's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The story of Professor Nisar Hossain was passed on to the young generation on the platform of Young Bangla during the Joy Bangla Youth Award 2021 ceremony.
Apart from its regular arrangement of recognizing the country's young changemakers, this year the organization brought forth a new addition – Pathfinder of 50 Award – themed on the 50th anniversary of the country's independence.
It is a special recognition to individuals who have made significant contributions to the post-independence nation-building process through their leadership, service, initiatives, and research. Professor Nisar was one of the three recipients of the award conferred by Young Bangla, the youth platform for Research and Information (CRI).
Receiving the award from CRI trustee Radwan Mujib Siddiq, he said, in a voice imbued with emotions, "Mongol Shovajatra is one of the initiatives to revive the spirit that resulted in this Joy Bangla slogan, the spirit that led to the birth of this Bangladesh, the spirit that they attempted to wipe out forever by murdering Father of the Nation Bangabandhu and his family on 15 August.
"I desire that the young generation will march forward holding that spirit in their heart."
Another recipient of the Pathfinder of 50 was – Anjuman Mufidul Islam – a Bangladeshi welfare organization 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 patients untouched, this organization offered burial services for them.
It also reached out to people with relief during the crisis.
This Anjuman Mufidul Islam Joint Director Harun ur Rashid Khan received the award on behalf of the organization.
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 work on preserving wild animals earned them the Pathfinders of 50 Award, which freedom fighter Hasan Mahmud Khokon came to receive on their behalf.