Harun Ar Rashid, a bright beacon in darkness of illiteracy
Published: 07:26 PM, 6 February 2021
Harun Ar Rashid
After waking up in the morning, the people of the village first see Harun Ar Rashid with a big smile on his face and a bag carrying books on his shoulder.
He walks mile to mile on foot and traveling from village to village with his books. He buys the books with his own money and lends them to the people without any fees. After a few weeks, he comes by again. The villagers return the previous books and borrow new ones from the fresh lot he brings along. He has been doing this for the past 12 years. He covers about 20 villages in Nawabganj, spurring an innovative reading revolution in the region.
Although a banker, he is a book-loving man from head to toe. If you want to see his indomitable love for books, you have to go to Nawabganj near Dhaka. Born in Gobaria village of Kuliarchar Upazila of Kishoreganj, the book-loving man passed his post-graduation from a private university and has been working now at Grameen Bank in Nawabganj, where he built the paradise of his book. His little house is just fulfilled with books. Numerous books are in his collection. Everywhere you look in the room, there are books and books.
His work is not only offline but also online. Going from house to house in the city, he is delivering books to the people on his own initiative. Coming up with new books again at the end of the week, he brought back the old ones. His great work did not stop even during the epidemic. At the risk of his life, he has delivered the book to people of all classes and professions following the hygiene rules. Children and teenagers, young and old are now addicted to the virtual world like YouTube, Facebook and other online social media. In order to bring these people back to the world of books from the virtual world, books are being handed over to all irrespective of class or profession.
"That was the beginning," Harun Ar Rashid said adding, "When people saw me lending books, they'd come up to borrow too. Distributing books by roaming village to village on foot almost became an obsession to me."
He began going from home to home with his books. As his activities spread around, all sorts of people, including students and housewives, would come to him requesting books. He became a mobile library himself. His home was the local library of the village.
Harun Ar Rashid loves to give people the classics of Bangla literature to read. He also likes lending books of folktales and stories by other popular authors.
It is because of Harun Ar Rashid that the Azad Shohel, now 40, became an avid reader. Rahim has a cloth shop in Agurpur Bazar. Now not only he read books, but every afternoon he has a book reading session at his shop. He said, "Harun Ar Rashid has ignited the love of books in me."
Harun Ar Rashid still goes walking with his books every day from village to village. He is a humorous man with a zest for life. He has been an inspiration to the people around him. His enthusiasm for books has spilled over from his village. Many others have followed his example in setting up libraries and distributing books from village to village.
The book lover has one more identity. Not only is he a great reader, he is also a writer. Not to mention, the one who cooks also ties his hair. A thriller published at the 2020 book fair received a huge response from the readers.
The ‘Eskaponer Tekka’, published during the coronavirus pandemic, has already earned the reputation of a best seller. He has a lot of dreams about books. Asked about his dream, Harun Ar Rashid said that he wants everyone’s house would be the paradise of books. Not smart phone, but books will take place in the hands of young people.