Assembly before classes is an exception to schooling these days. Students hardly see on-campus debate on contemporary issues. Playful joys have already disappeared from the lives of growing children even in rural Bangladesh.
What are the replacements? No, the youths of the current generation are not blessed with too many soothing moments. The revolution brought by mobile phone with internet has offered them enough scope to know the whole world but the new culture of jubilation is yet to arrive in their springtime.
Dreams of doing great works are not visible amid the reports of violent attacks on the likes of Abrar at BUET or allegations of rape and conspiracy theories surrounding the Dhaka University campus. Often, obnoxious or sadist use of the social media is making the nation embarrassed at the digital development. The atmosphere this transitional generation of youngsters has been presented with, doesn't allow them to feel happy about the moment, confident about their future. Rather, they find themselves in a situation that has just plagued almost everything - education, skill development, search for jobs and other opportunities or even adda with pals. It will not be easy to remove this trauma from their psyche in the foreseeable future.
Intelligent people say, to the extent of a cliché, this crisis is also a new opportunity, provided creative minds strive for making breakthroughs. It's actually the responsibility of the senior generation/s to not just show the path to recovery but also create the platform for a healthy competition to grow collectively, be it in innovation, entrepreneurship, or professionalism.
The Great Depression of the 1930s, the two world wars within the first half of the 20th century, and even the 2008 global recession had shaped up the mindsets of a large number of people in the West. In this part of the world, a number of famines in a couple of centuries had pauperised the people's mental world until recent decades.
We are yet to measure what kind of impacts the pandemic would leave on those Bangladeshis who are between 10 and 30 years old.
Losing many traditional social practices and even major parts of the way of life, the youths may have to live in unknown territories of thinking, habits and culture.
However, before taking up newer and harsher challenges, today's children and juveniles would have to find their individual powers to heal the trauma once the pandemic is over.
Whatever they would need to live a decent life is to do things with gusto. For example, work life may have to be made a lifestyle so that the new generation could be more professional without suffering pains while doing the job. The purpose of career may need to be redefined so that public servants of any sort get satisfaction in maintaining dedication and integrity.
Most of the old songs were already losing their appeals and long paragraphs of novels of yesteryears could hardly attract modern-day youngsters. And the coronavirus pandemic is perhaps going to delineate clear points of departure between emerging culture and that of the earlier times.
Still, to find fresh justifications of life and living, it's better for the youths to look at how their predecessors felt happy and enthusiastic in living their lives. The joys of the 1960s and 1970s or the promises of the 1990s may not be rediscovered but the wisdom and legacy of the past can make the job of bringing changes easier.
The hushed period of the pandemic may be used as a breathing space for settlement of the issues like uncertainty of earning a living, and securing a society that takes care of each other.