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Innovator: Transforming a habit into a festival

Every time anti-liberation forces plotted against the history of Bangladesh’s struggle for independence, the youth of the country bravely foiled those evil attempts. Innovator, a youth-led cultural group in Sylhet, is one of them.

Innovator was formed back in 2006 by a group of dynamic youth led by Rezwan Ahmed and Pranab Kanti Deb. They launched their flagship program – Boi Pora Utshab (reading festival) – to encourage school, college and university students to read books on the Liberation War. Initially, they started by giving students books on Liberation War and history free of cost and awarded the best readers.

“So far, Innovator has distributed books among 7,000 students from different educational institutions in Sylhet division. We arrange competitions and reward the readers to amplify the eagerness to read,” said Nirat Ferdous, a student of Leading University in Sylhet and one of the frontrunners of the organization.

Innovator gives out selected books on Liberation War to readers following a free registration process in December every year, and a multiple-choice questions (MCQ) test in February. The free books, given in the month of March, are the prizes for the best performers. Innovator’s annual calendar also includes several events including seminars, study circles, education programs, etc.

“Our biggest achievement is that we have somewhat succeeded in transforming reading habits into a festival,” Nirat added.

It has never been a bed of roses for Innovator. They have had to fight against financial hardships, social and political antagonism from the local anti-liberation forces.

Innovator is the country’s first organization that arranges festivals to inspire young men and women to read books on the Liberation War.

In 2017, the organization won the Joy Bangla Youth Award in the cultural activities for its flagship event “Boi Pora Utshab”. Riding on this momentum, Innovator now wants to expand activities beyond the boundaries of the Sylhet division.