* Sayem Sobhan Anvir cuts Russel's birthday cake, distributes prizes among winners of art competition
The mat laid under the vast canopy set up at the Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Limited Complex in the capital’s Bashundhara Residential Area was full of attentive child painters.
Russel was born on October 18, 1964 at the historic Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanmondi-32 of the capital.
Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Limited, the club named after him, organised a children’s art competition titled ‘Shaheed Sheikh Russel Shishu Chitrankan Protijogita’ on Monday, marking his birthday.
If Russel had survived, he would have turned 57. But age turns into a mere number for dead people.
Since he was assassinated along with most of his family members on the fateful night of August 15, 1975, his age was stuck at 10 years and 10 months.
Over 200 children who took part in the competition were of his age. After being stranded inside their houses for over one and a half years due to the coronavirus pandemic, when they stepped into the club field with their paint brushes, colours and hardboards, their faces were glittering with joy of relief and creativity.
Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Limited Chairman and Bashundhara Group Managing Director Sayem Sobhan Anvir, along with three children, cut the birthday cake of Sheikh Russel.
Evaluating the artworks of the child artists, chief judge Imdadul Haq Milan, also a director of the club, announced the names of the three winners. Minhaj Zaman, a fourth grader of Adarsha Shishu Govt Primary School, got the first prize of Tk 100,000 while Mithila Bhowmik, a Class-V student of Viqarunnisa Noon School, and Shreyoshi Saha, a fifth grader of Narayanganj Ideal High School, got the second and third prizes of Tk 50,000 and Tk 25,000 respectively.
As the chief guest of the function, Sayem Sobhan Anvir distributed prize money, crests and certificates among the winners and announced to provide Tk 5,000 for all the participants.
Director-in-charge of Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Limited Ismat Jamil Akhond, sports director of the club Saleh Zaman Selim and Bangladesh Pratidin editor and director of the club Naem Nizam were, among others, present on the occasion.
Later, 27 participants received different gifts and educational materials from the guests.
Minhaj Zaman, the first prize winner of the competition, said, “I’m really delighted and encouraged as I’ve won the first prize. I’ve painted Bangabandhu, Sheikh Russel and their family members.”
Hundreds of guardians present on the club premises appreciated the initiative.
“I and my husband often tell our son about Sheikh Russel and his family members. This competition has offered a great opportunity to him to paint those stories through his imagination. I thank the club authorities,” said Anamika Majumder, a guardian.
Director-in-charge of Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Limited Ismat Jamil Akhond said, “Shaheed Sheikh Russel left his mark of talents in different sectors till his assassination. He would have been able to maximise his talents and reach the peak if he had survived. Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra wants to see that no child’s dream gets shattered untimely and that all the children of our country realise their full potential.”