“Shikkhalok is a bulletin of a non-government development organization, CDIP, working at the rural level for economic, social and educational development of the disadvantaged people. Muhammad Yahiya is its editor. Anyone who sees its beautiful cover usually designed with some artistic work will be drawn to the bulletin and feel interested in reading its topics.” This is how Ashraf Ahmed, a writer and scientist living in the USA, has described Shikkhalok and evaluated its publication going on for five years. Mr. Ahmed’s write-up ends thus, “Shikkhalok is helping us to build a better future. From it, people who love literature receive some food for their souls.”
Writer Manzur Shams read out this article to the audience at the Shikkhalok Lekhok-Shilpi Shommilon (a get-together of writers and artists) on 31 January 2019 at the seminar room of CDIP. The first such get-together was organized on 28 December in 2017.
Like the 1st get-together this year’s program was also graced with the presence of some renowned writers and artists of the country. Professor Niranjan Adhikary, Writer Towfique Mujtaba and his wife, Mr Shajahan Faruque of Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, A. K. Fazlul Bari, former Director of BARD, Writer Saleha Begum, Poet Shamset Tabrejee, Filmmaker Noman Robin, Dr. Lelin Chowdhury, Poet and Essayist Saikat Habib, Writer and teacher Fatihul Kadir Samrat, Bidyut Kumar Ray, associate professor, Artist Shishir Mallick, Artist Hafiz Uddin, Writer Mahfuz Salam, Artist Biplab Dutt, Writer Hasan Iqbal, Writer and recitaion artiste Amirul Basar, television producer Ranjan Mallick, Mr. Zahidul Islam of IRC publishing firm, Writer Nazneen Shathi, Story Writer Shyamol Dutt, education researcher Shirajud Dahar Khan, Teacher Ashok Biswas, Poet Hanif Rashedin and others were present in the program. The hall was full of excitement with absorbing discussion by writers, artists, and persons connected with Shikkhalok. A Quarter Mile Country, a film on the Rohingya issue by Director Noman Robin was shown in the get-together.
It is to be mentioned here that the first issue of Shikkhalok was publsihed in June 2014. It has been widely acclaimed by thoughtful persons within and without CDIP. This bulletin has played an important role in sharing views and ideas among people concerned with education issues. It also has a role in stirring up new ideas about education and in creating new writers for it. Another important thing about Shikkhalok is that it regularly publishes old articles by classic Bengali writers. Thus valuable articles on education, science and literature by Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, Sukumar Ray, Bhai Girish Chandra Sen, Qazi Motahar Hossain and others have been published in various issues of the bulletin. 26 issues of the Shikkhalok have been published so far.
Last year three booklets were published compiling writings in various issues of the Shikkhalok. These were on the courtyard schools for disadvantaged children, victories after struggles in the lives of rural people, and some aspects of education. This year 20 serious-type Shikkhalok articles on many aspects of education have been compiled into a new book entitled ‘Amader Shikkha: Bichitra Bhabna’ (Various ideas on our education).
Distinguished discussants at the Thursday program said that Shikkhalok could do something to prevent the sorry condition of lack of cultural practice and the shocking decline of morality in the country. Attention was drawn to the fact that this publication has been able to rouse interest about education issues among an educated section of the country despite its being a bulletin of an NGO.
Professor Niranjan Adhikary praised CDIP for its method of disseminating education and helping to prevent dropout among the disadvantaged children. Poet Shamset Tabrejee raised a sorry fact that our children know more about Alexander than Ashoka. Dr Lelin Chowdhury pointed to our education problem rooted in the structure built in the colonial period. Poet Saikat Habib stressed the fact that it would go a long way in developing education level in the country if all children could learn at least to read and write. Mr Mahfuz Salam said that Shikkhalok published some write-ups on the local sports and cultures which are now on the path to extinction and this situation should be reversed. Mr. Shishir Mallick, Editor of JhunJhuni, a periodical for children, emphasized the need for spreading good ideas and science thoughts in an easier and more attractive way for the children in the country.
This review of the second such get-together of writers and artists can be ended with a hope expressed by Writer Ashraf Ahmed, “Let Shikkhalok be like a beacon to take us forward with its coherent commitment to promote traditional cultures and new ideas.”