From childhood, to adolescence to adulthood- the roller-coaster journey of first 20 years of our lives, are indeed formative, in the sense that perceptions and perspectives shaped by this short span of time actually determines future encounters. Some learn it the hard way, by making inadvertent mistakes and some are taught by the experienced and learned-but in the end we are all enlightened to some extent about the know how’s of survival, thanks to our countless mama, chachas and extended relatives whose concern about our future, transcends that of our parents, at times. We hear them rant on about how alarmingly difficult it is to get a kick start in the rat race and how CGPA’s below the ‘Golden 5’ benchmark are indicators of a bleak future-in colloquial terms, ‘ondhokar bhobisshot’. Their daily doses of warning and exclamations of ‘tomake diye kicchu hobe na’ fails to permeate our nonchalance most of the times, but sometimes these prophecies manage to plant nagging doubts at the back of our mind, and you start questioning your eligibility for that preposterous proverb ‘lekha pora kore je gari ghora chore sha’.
But then there are the fortunate ones, who manage to defy the myths of the grapevine, and prove themselves. After battling it out at the indescribably arduous HSC and A level examinations, we prepare ourselves for one of the biggest phenomena that sets the turning point of the lives of every college graduate- The University admission tests. Intimidating, frightening, exhausting and incredibly rigorous- that’s exactly how the lot with ample experience in the ‘modus operandi’ of admission preparation, describes it. The pressure is intense and backbreaking, and it’s not just academic, but the social burden is just as much as omnipresent. Those who have been frowned upon by the ‘unassuming aunties’ at a wedding for not being able to qualify, are all too familiar with the feeling of chagrin. No matter how much criticisms are hurled at our flawed and antiquated education system that focuses on quantitative knowledge instead of qualitative, the reality, quite unabashedly remains the same- that our aptitude will unfortunately, always be assessed by a one hour exam, and the ‘proletariat’s’ who don’t make it, are regarded as ‘kono kajer e na’.
And as for the victorious ‘bourgeoisie’, who leave the battleground with their head held high, it is simply the beginning of another journey-a journey of a lifetime and this is exactly where the University of Dhaka comes into picture.
Lauded as the ‘highest echelon of academic excellence’ in Bangladesh, the name does not only constitute an institution or academia-it encompasses a legacy, a glory untouched by all, and crystallized by history. Apart from the many cliched arguments in favor of ‘Dhaka University’-the prominent and decorated alumni it holds, the quality of education it imparts, creme de la creme faculties, and an astounding reputation of fostering the best and the brightest minds, Dhaka University is indeed so much more than an alma mater. A stroll down the lanes of Dhaka University is not just a stroll down the lanes of history. It is a walk that transforms aspirations into reality, a road leading to an unforgettable journey, a road to belongingness, to honor, to dignity.
For some Dhaka University is a lifelong ambition, a cherished dream. Rashed, a first year student, on the threshold of his second year at Dhaka University, expressed his feelings as such,
‘For a person like me who has rarely tasted success throughout life, Dhaka University is the best thing that happened in years. Like a miracle, like God’s gift it just came to me as a blessing. I value it not because of its fame and accreditation, but because it helped me prove myself to some of the most important people in my lives who had lost faith in me. It was a flicker of hope.’
Wasima, also a freshman gave yours truly a more interesting insight,
‘It’s not just a university to me, it’s a dream I’ve nurtured since childhood, and somewhere I can walk without fear. It doesn’t matter that I have to fight for a seat amid-st a bevy of students in a crammed university bus every other day while going back home, or the fact that I tend to burn my tongue every time I munch on a piping hot shingara at TSC. The red bus that takes me home is more secure than any transport, the ice-cold, sugary lemonade to treat my scalded mouth, the endless bantering at TSC are more than enough reasons for me to love this place. In a nutshell, Dhaka University means happiness in all forms, always’.
Maliha, a second year student, talks about how Dhaka University helped her overcome stage fright, when she anchored at an university freshers event for the very first time in front of a huge crowd.
‘The hectic lab classes, soporific lectures, nerdy lectures are all part of a fond memory only because I shared them with two amazing best friends’, she quips
But what about those who will be leaving in a few months? Let’s hear what Adiba, who is currently in her final year at Dhaka University, has to say about her four year stint with the campus,
‘It’s not conceit that is associated to the fact that I studied in one of the very best institutions this country has to offer to a student, nor is it about being the object of envy. It’s about the pride that you see in your parent’s eyes, the sense of responsibility to give back to the country that has given you so much. To me, it’ll always be a place I can come back to, even after leaving. It will always and forever be a fragment that I carry with myself, wherever I go’.
Be it the ancient exam halls of Curzon Hall, the newly painted, furnished classrooms of the business and social science faculty, the long winding corridors of the Arts building-every part of DU, every brick, every sculpture has a story to tell. Some find contentment in the yellowed pages of ancient archives at the Central library, while the more talkative, pulsating minds find joy in lazy chitchatting at TSC, over a cup of tea costing an unbelievable one taka. The foodies can be found devouring a plate of spicy ‘khichuri’ at DAKSU canteen, or the tasty ‘dim-chop’ fried at Hakim, while the ecstatic sports buff rapturously cheers for our cricket team, during a live telecast at Madhu’s canteen. The impetuous journeys to Nilkhet for photocopying assignments at the eve of a deadline, the exhilaration after the last exam of the semester, the momentous celebration after Shakib hits a six…
This is ladies and gentlemen, the heartbeat of Dhaka University. This is us.
Lamia Mohsin .
Author still unknown to us .Please contact us if it’s you .