Although community services are not compulsory in our high schools, university students and young professionals of the country have been involved in a number of activities that is in some ways contributing to the society. The activities include social service, development platforms, extracurricular programmes and activism. Bangladesh Study Forum (BDSF) is an organisation that looks forward to engage the youth community through empowerment via knowledge. The focus is toward turning the platform into a think tank body for the youths and young professionals of today who will determine the future course of the nation.
BDSF wants to achieve a holistic development in personal and national level by studying, analyzing and scrutinising both national and global affairs by giving inputs while making a connection among all the branches of knowledge. The ultimate goal in the pursuit of knowledge is to ensure a humane, just, equal, transparent and developed society.
The University of Dhaka premises is where peole from all walks of life come together. Having a common interest or knowledge, Sabidin Ibrahim, Sagar Barua, KN Ipshita, ASM Younus, Quazi Omar Foysal, Saimum Reza Piash, Mehadi Arif, Rohul Amin Dipu and few others initiated BDSF on December 14, 2014. Despite having distinct professional backgrounds like academicians, journalists, entrepreneurs, doctors, activists and engineers, all of them had the same desire to commemorate through the organisation the roles of martyred intellectuals during the liberation war of 1971.
As BDSF believes that material prosperity is not enough if it is not a society based upon knowledge, justice and equality, the organisation is trying to connect and work with young minds today, that will shape events during the coming years.
In order to reach their goals, BDSF has initiated a number of programmes including weekly lecture on interdisciplinary topics by an expert of the field. The lectures are attended by people from different groups of the society including teachers, writers, journalists, activists, professionals and students from different universities of the country.
So far 83 weekly public lectures have been arranged at DUCSU in University of Dhaka. Along with five special lectures, an international conference titled ‘Envisioning Our Common Future’ was organised on December 22-23, 2016 and which was participated by scholars, academics and students from multiple countries.
Some of the other activities that are rolled out regularly are study camps, reading programmes, developing a library culture and daily adda.
As members of the BDSF explained, study camp encompasses tour of some off-campus sites where lectures are later given to the participants. Already BDSF has visited Rajshahi University, Jahangirnagar University, Comilla University, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University and Kabi Nazrul College.
The purpose of study camp is to add pleasure and beauties in studies and to connect people from different universities and different disciplines. Abdullah Al Roman, a member of the organisation, says, ‘BDSF is different from other platforms of similar sort as it wants to assemble readers from every corner of the country. It seems like a “Paathshala of village pundit” when we huddle together discussing the books we are reading.’
Reading programmes have been initiated to nurture and cultivate reading habits the members and volunteers. For the beginners, the target is to read at least one book in a week. The name of this programme is ‘A Book in a Week’.
The next step is to read at least 20 books within the span of two months. The first T-20 batch has completed its journey and 13 members have come out of it successfully. Tasnim Binta Saif, another member of BDSF, informs, ‘Around three to four months back, I was seeking motivation in order to ignite my old passion for reading. I am now content with the interactive platform that BDSF has provided.’
Imran Nafis, who has been a member from the beginning, says Bangladesh study forum is the name of a scholar’s hub. He explains, these 13 members are now trying to achieve a target of reading 50 books within four months under the programme titled ‘ODI (One Distinctive Initiative)’. To make reading effective, the members and volunteers of BDSF are suggested to read in the library and join adda afterwards to share about what they are reading, the problems and possibilities encountered.
BDSF also has a mobile library where a good collection of books are ready for sharing with eager members. The number of books is increasing with every passing day thanks to the contribution from many dedicated readers.
Apart from the social media pages, BDSF has launched a website as www.bdsfbd.com along with an interactive youtube channel. The future plan is to make this website more popular through participation from people from all across the country and thereby establishing it as a hub for sharing of knowledge and ideas.
BDSF invites everyone to join this knowledge movement. Members can join and contribute from anywhere in the country by interacting with the members through any platform.