To avoid technology addiction, all over the country are reading books silently

To avoid technology addiction, all over the country are reading books silently

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Some people gather in open spaces in front of flower gardens, ponds or old historical houses. They come one afternoon a week. The only condition is to read the book for a while without making a sound. There is no prescribed content for reading the book. stories, novels, poems, research papers; Anyone can read whatever they want. However, the use of mobile phones is discouraged unless absolutely necessary at that time. This is for yourself and for the other reader next door.

This silent book reading program has been going on for seven months in Bangladesh. ‘Bangladesh Reads’, simply called Silent Reading Programme, is an initiative of digital marketing firm Trash Box Limited’s ‘Volunteer Opportunities’ programme. This event has started from the last week of July 2023. In six months, hundreds of volunteers have joined this initiative in different districts of the country. In addition to the capital, the silent book reading campaign is now underway in 32 other districts of the country.

It’s a campaign. This silent reading program is a campaign to practice mindfulness against the harmful side of technology. This book is being read in various districts including the capital on holiday afternoons. The organizers said that the goal of 2024 is to spread the book reading program in 64 districts of the country. Basically, the main goal is to avoid the negative aspects of technology and give importance to mental development. Mithun Das and Ryan Zaheer are one of the two founders of the silent reading program.

Mithun Das is the founder and managing director of Trash Box Limited and Ryan is a private sector employee. The two have been friends for a long time.

Mithun Das told Prothom Alo, “No fund or associate organization has been associated with the program yet. One of the reasons is that no company, organization should not disrupt our initiative by promoting their products. I want to expand the habit of reading books silently in a slow and natural process. But for 2024 there are plans to hold new events with fairs, promotions and books. I will definitely add other institutions then. Many people have helped us with their own collection of books.’

Lessons are organized in an open place in the district. Local residents come with books of their choice. Those who come to read books, there is a charge for tea. Those expenses are paid by the organizers from their own pockets.
Talking about people’s habituation to technology, Mithun Das said, now readers are getting used to see online content. Technology is making people so accustomed that even if the phone does not ring, it seems that the phone is ringing, someone has called. People check their phone screen repeatedly. But people cannot remember much information from online content. Can’t increase your imagination. That is from reading books. So our initiative is to create awareness.

Entrepreneurs said that initially there were 30 to 40 readers in Dhaka. Still the membership in the capital is more or less the same. Sometimes more. Again, if there is rain, extreme cold, natural disaster or political unrest, readership declines.

Another entrepreneur of this program, Ryan Zahir, told Prothom Alo that this program was initiated in Bangladesh after seeing the initiative to read books silently in Kaban Park, India. There are volunteers in different districts outside Dhaka. Locally they supervise this lesson. Lessons are organized in an open place in the district. Local residents come with books of their choice. Those who come to read books, there is a charge for tea. Those expenses are paid by the organizers from their own pockets.

On December 29, a silent book reading event was held in the premises of Pabna’s historic Tarash Bhavan. Local people brought books there. Rabiul Roni, one of the organizers said, people of different generations meet at the event. Some elders came with their books. Children are also present with guardians.

This silent reading program is a campaign to practice mindfulness against the harmful side of technology. This book is being read in various districts including the capital on holiday afternoons.
Various scenes can be seen at this event held every Friday afternoon at Ramana Park in the capital. Readers who come to study here bring sheets, dry food along with their books. Anyone who wants to read a book can feel free to sit on the edge of that sheet. You can be a reader here without bringing a book. Someone brought some books. You can choose any one from there.

The main objective of this non-profit initiative is to bring back the habit of reading books among people. Organizers were saying that books increase people’s imagination. And many things in technology destroy people’s memory. Many like-minded people are introduced while reading books. They talk about books among themselves. From there, the lessons progressed further. It involves the practice of a social relationship, the whole of which takes place around the book. Open space is chosen for expansion of mind.

Zubayer Pratim is one of the group reading books silently. He is studying Engineering as an ICCR Scholar at NIT Silchar, Assam, India. During the winter vacation last December, he attended two events in Kushtia and Ramna in the capital. Prothom Aloke said, ‘When a person is engrossed in a book of his choice, he is the king of his mind. We invite everyone to read the book. On that day, a member of Rabindra Parishad was present at the book reading session at Rabindranath Tagore’s house in Kushtia. Some recited poems composed on that day. It seemed that every man was confronted with his own being. How serene this scene is, you can’t feel it unless you are there.

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