Book Review

Published:  12:00 AM, 12 March 2017

Mementos of glowing innocence and blissful dreams

Some glimpses from Abinta Kabir's colorful and jovial life which had a catastrophic end.
Mahfuz Ul Hasib Chowdhury commemorates with honor and melancholy one of the victims of Holey Artisan tragedy

Abinta Kabir's smiling face glinting with innocence and joy will never fade away from our memory. This promising, talented and creative girl was one of the victims of the militant attack on Holey Artisan Restaurant in July 2016. That occurrence rocked the entire country with panic.

The hostages were released through a commando operation within several hours of the siege though all of the hostages could not be saved. It was beyond doubts one of the biggest tragedies to have ever struck the nation's destiny. Abinta Kabir was one of the murdered hostages who were not spared by the radical terrorists.

An Intimate Portrait of Abinta Kabir, a book cum album recently published by Abinta Kabir Foundation has touched my heart while I was turning over its pages. It looks like an almanac for the variety of its content. Photographs, certificates, write-ups, sketches, paintings and some more colorful things of the book make vivid references to the brisk childhood Abinta Kabir had.

 It shocks us to think this beautiful girl could not cross the threshold of her tender age completely to grow up before which she was exterminated by the ugly hands of radical fanaticism. This book contains several pieces of writing by Abinta Kabir dating back to her school days which displays the blitheness her life was showered with while she was a small girl in school. Her deep attachment with her mom and dad are also closely reflected through these short writings.

 Dashes of her vibrant imagination are exposed in this book through a number of paintings which bear the extraordinary creative talent of Abinta Kabir. If she had a longer life, she could have secured immensely creative achievements to prove her artistic and literary feats.

A facebook post by Abinta Kabir says the following lines, "Happy Mother's Day to the best mom out there. Thank you for keeping up with me and always encouraging me to do my best. I don't know what I will do without you in college!"

These lines virtually brought tears into my eyes. A girl who wondered what she would do without her mom in college, what has been she doing in the world hereafter all alone? Abinta, wherever you are, always stay happy and smile down on us blissfully from heaven. Your beloved people always miss you so much and you are all the time in their prayers. Abinta, I feel like asking you, how is heaven? Are you already in love with its beauty and splendor?
 
Abinta was fond of playing basketball as described in the book. She had a profound leaning towards her mom. To extract a few lines from one page of the book, "While growing up I have been taught many lessons from my mom and she has greatly influenced my perception between right and wrong."

 These lines highlight the values and principles Abinta obtained from her mother and she stuck with these fair ethical aspects till her death. Lovely portraits of gardens, birds, animals, flowers and other spectacular things show the dreams and childlike thoughts that prevailed over Abinta Kabir's mind. Abinta was a meritorious student as well.

 The book An Intimate Portrait of Abinta Kabir contains several memorandums, certificates and acknowledgments which are evidence of her academic excellence. She also loved to plant trees and one of the certificates illustrated in this book confers accolades for her spontaneous participation in tree-planting campaigns.

According to the book, Abinta Kabir was born in Dhaka on 27th February 1997. She migrated to the United States with her parents in 1998. She had a very kind heart for underprivileged children and that's why she involved herself with different welfare activities and volunteering organizations to help children from poor families. Abinta Kabir was a student of Oxford College, Emory University, Atlanta, United States. Her visit to Bangladesh in July 2016 was her last trip to her motherland where she was killed.

The book also includes write-ups by some eminent people recalling Abinta Kabir to pay homage to her departed soul. All of them broadly admired the humanitarian qualities of Abinta Kabir. A melancholic tune jingles in these commemorative messages showing heartfelt compassion for the premature demise of such an amazing girl. Her teachers, classmates and friends expressed wholehearted condolence through their words and all of them offered their blessings for Abinta Kabir's eternal peace.

 Through the martyrdom of Abinta Kabir, it has once again glared up before us that the gruesome visage of militancy is still a murderous threat to peace-loving people across the world. While referring to Abinta Kabir's pathetic death, we have to remember that thousands of unarmed men, women and children are getting killed by war hawks and terrorist organizations everyday in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Chechnya and in many more troubled regions of the globe. We should raise our consolidated voices from respective standpoints to denounce war, violence, hostility, communalism and all other forms of perils jeopardizing human race at present.

 At the same time we recall with honor and sadness all other people who were slain by militants during the attack on Holey Artisan Restaurant last year. We are aggrieved for the deaths of all victims of that assault. The appeal for peace, harmony and justice emanating from Abinta Kabir's image speaks of the significance of brotherhood and unity.
We are also in a dire need to raise awareness among our guardians to keep their children away from the evil shadows of radicalism because the terrorists who killed Abinta and other hostages at Holey Artisan Restaurant are all from wealthy families and all these militants were boys with higher education.

 But just academic education is not enough to resist militancy--the tragedy of Holey Artisan Restaurant has proved it. Parents need to be much more vigilant about the movement and outdoor activities of their children so that they can safeguard their kids from packing hands with terror outfits.

Once upon a time we used to think only half-educated, insolvent families' boys are becoming militants but now the real circumstances are showing boys from highly rich and aristocratic families are also participating in anti-state rackets. This is an alarming piece of reality. Let's hope we will be able to eliminate the threat of militancy and fanaticism from our land for ever before long.


The writer is a columnist of The Asian Age

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