Nasreen Khan

The gathering might not be huge, but the emotions were high when Kolkata celebrated its unique Friendship Day (Sampriti Dibas) in memory of Rizwanur Rahman. The gathering mostly consisted of students from various colleges in Kolkata, including Presidency, St Xavier’s, Jadavpur University among others. But the crowd that gathered at the Nandan/Rabindra Sadan premise on September 21 evening included people from various walks of life. There were students, teachers, parents, office goers and artists. They all tied rakhis of various shades on each others’ wrist and sang songs of love.
Mita Dutta Hira teaches at a school in Dakhshineshwar yet she made it a point to be present at the gathering. Her class XI son skipped his school because he too wanted to be part of the gathering. “I have come here because like everyone else I had been following the story of Rizwanur and his death and everything that happened afterwards. Thankfully, this was one apolitical platform where people could gather with the purpose of spreading the message of love and communal harmony,” she said.
Film director Saron Dutta too was present for the same reason. “The Rizwanur episode was an unfortunate incident. It was more unfortunate because it happened in our city, which is supposed to be the hub of intellectual and social awareness. The incident was used to score political mileage. The reasons for which the young man died never got priority. It was a poor man and rich girl story as much as it was about inter religious marriage. It is nice to have our very own day of love, love as we understand it in its many manifestations,” he added.
There was no candle lighting because tying a rakhi is more Indian and pollution free method of expressing solidarity, explained Saptarshi Deb whose group, Fourth Dimension Research and Study Centre, spearheaded the idea of organising the meet. This newly formed organisation intends to give the student community a platform to vent their opinions on issues concerning them and the society.