More than a month has passed, but the community is still buzzing about the 37th FOBANA conference. At coffee shops, parties or wherever you are sitting, Phobana gets into the middle of various topics at least once. There were thousands of pictures and videos on Facebook during the event. After that, pictures and dancing video clips of various people are still scattered on Facebook. It may continue for a few more days in the conversation of Bangladeshis.
Expats from other cities outside of Montreal are also talking about the FOBANA conference in Montreal. Every week, good and bad things are said with some who came to the conference from Toronto, New York, Michigan.
Talked to Rebecca Chowdhury, she came from Toronto. Two events on the same day in Toronto, still Rebecca came to Montreal with her husband, children. Came here to see how Phobana’s event is going. He said, it was worthwhile for him to come.
Jewel lived in New York for ten years. He also came. He has seen many performances of Phobana in different cities of America. He was interested in the event in Montreal. Jewel’s expression is similar to Rebecca’s – poignant. Jewell also said that he also liked the city of Montreal.
Talked with many locals who came to the conference. They also said that they spent two days with great joy. Enjoyed every event. Prominent Montreal real estate broker Mohammad Jalil Rahman regretted missing the conference as he was on rest after illness. Many others expressed their grief on social media for not being able to go due to such unexpected reasons.
Family, social, cultural or religious events are held in Montreal. But the grand event like Phobana doesn’t get much flavor. Got it last time after 9 years. Got it this time too. He did not get it, when he did not get it, it was two years in a row. Although there is no Fobana since the creation of Fobana due to division, the importance of this conference has not been lost at all for the Bangladeshis living in America and Canada. It is true that Fobana has lost the zeal of united or universal activities due to the division into branches. However, the Federation of Bangladeshi Associations in North America or in short The nobility of Phobana is still attached to the name of the organization. That is what came out in the writing of prominent businessman Shamimul Hasan, chairman of the Montreal Conference Committee. On the occasion of the conference, he wrote in a part of the congratulatory message edited by Ranjit Majumdar, “Fobana was formed in 1987 with the commitment to strengthen and strengthen the bond of brotherhood and exchange of ideas among Bangladeshis in North America. It should be noted that Shamimul Hasan was the convener of Fobana held in Montreal in 2006. It can be said that the Fobana event is held every year in various cities of America and Canada with the aim of creating bridges of brotherhood.
The expatriates of Montreal got the opportunity to enjoy two crowded conferences last year and this year in a big budget big event. This year’s conference is organized by Bangladesh Association of Montreal.
This time, Labor Day long weekend, from September 1 to September 3, the conference was organized for three days. Especially on the last two days, the five-star hotel Laval Sheraton, the venue of the conference, saw a flood of visitors. Then it seemed that the hotel area is a part of Bangladesh. During the two-day cultural event, thousands of visitors watched the event inside the hall, and there was also a huge crowd outside in the sari shop and walking here and there. There is no doubt that photo session is a very popular thing at any event or party. This has also happened in stages! In fact, there is an opportunity to exchange ideas based on such a conference. People from different cities of the two countries come and meet each other after many days. That is practically an important aspect of Fobana conference.
The weather was nice for those few days. The crowd was visible as they entered the venue covered in magical weather. Glitzy venue. Every part is colorful. Women wearing rich jewelry and colorful sarees walk from one side of the hotel lobby to the other, talking in groups. The boys who come in fashionable clothes are also busy chatting. This story-telling fair was going on in the hotel lobby until the start of the cultural program. A smiling assembly of men and women. At first glance, it is a festival.
On the evening of the first day of the cultural event, a large crowd was visible at the ticket counter upon entering the hotel lobby. It was seen that the person in charge of the conference was busy with various tasks of the event, the convener journalist Dewan Moniruzzaman also came forward to handle the issue of ticket sales. It was visible that both the convenor and the chairman were not sitting in one place, they were busy with various aspects of the conference. At the same time each member was trying to fulfill his own responsibility. The hall was full of people the next day. Basically, Montreal’s cultured Bangladeshi community was suffering from Phobana fever a few months before the conference.
Literally speaking, the main attraction of the conference is the cultural program. This time bringing the living legend Sabina Yasmin as a guest artiste has increased the quality of the show as well as everyone has been listening to her many timeless songs. Artiste Mumtaz has excelled in songs and words. Also, the performance of artiste Tapan Chowdhury, who left a lasting impression on the hearts of all age audiences with numerous songs of Prem Birah Anurag, was excellent. The craze of the time has rocked the song of Balaam and Muza. The music of Muza was accompanied by the tumultuous dance of young women.
A performance by a group from New York was memorable. Written and directed by New York reciting artist Anwarul Haque Lovelu, the song and dance song ‘Mukt Kar Fear, Apana Mighe Shakti Dhar, Nivre Karo Joy’ was extraordinary. It was written to remember the glorious history, traditions, liberation war, Bangabandhu, the nation’s best children. Performances by local artists were also enjoyable. Especially the party dance with the song ‘O Aam Desh Mati, Tomar ‘Pare Thekai Matha” directed and performed by Sudeshna Haldar Purna was wonderful, mesmerizing. Shamsad Rana performed the presentation duties on both the days of cultural events.
The event worth mentioning in this year’s conference was the seminar on various topics. In this, a group of experts in their respective fields was gathered by the coordinator and organizer of the microbiological scientist, the writer Dr. Shoaib Saeed. Economist, columnist Dr. NN Tarun Chakraborty, Professor of English at McGill University. Sandeep Banerjee, professor of history at McGill University. Shubo Basu, Former VP Agriculturist Faizul Karim, McGill University Doctoral Researcher, North American Three Minute Thesis Competition Champion Atia Binte Amin, Freedom Fighter Major (Retd) Didar A Hussain, Bangla Academy Award Winning Writer, Liberation War Researcher Tajul Mohammad, War Child Researcher Author Mustafa Chowdhury, physician and associate professor at York University. AKM Alamgir, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Department of Concordia University. Wise Ahmed, Farah Tahsin, a doctoral researcher in medical science at the University of Toronto, the organizer Hasan Amjad Khan and the seminar director Dr. Shoaib Saeed. In addition, the assistant professor of clinical public health of the University of Toronto participated in the online discussion because he could not be physically present due to illness. Shafi U Bhuiyan. Such a seminar event with the participation of such a large number of academics working in the mainstream of Canada can be said to be rare.
Apart from this, the participation of those concerned in the Fobana Scholarship, Awarding of Honorable Mentions, Business Networking Summit, Literary Chat, Youth Forum Friendship etc. was satisfactory. Khalilur Rahman. Mainstream politicians of Canada also participated in the opening ceremony and spoke. In addition to the officials of the Fobana Montreal Conference Committee, the Chairperson of the Fobana Central Committee from the United States, Atiqur Rahman and the Executive Secretary Dr. Rafiq Khan delivered the welcome speech.
At the end of the conference, FOBANA’s steering committee announced that the next conference will be held in Michigan in 2024.
It is not easy to successfully complete a conference of such a large scale. According to observers, this successful conference is the result of day and night hard work of a group of energetic, smart and hard working volunteers inside and outside the committee under the leadership of Conference Committee Chairman Shamimul Hasan, Convenor Dewan Moniruzzaman, Member Secretary Hafizur Rahman, Member Secretary (Admin) Abhijeet Dey and Joint Member Secretary Shakeel Ahmed Piyas. . The way in which the youths in particular have performed their duty throughout is exemplary. Committee Chairman Shamimul Hasan and Convener Dewan Moniruzzaman spoke with appreciation for the activities of these young workers and organizers in the meet the press after the conference.
Shamimul Hasan, the top ranking chairman of the conference committee and convenor Dewan Moniruzzaman Fobana, the main architect of the conference, claimed that Montreal Convention 2023 will be the best conference in memory, saying that Montreal and all the visitors from other cities of America and Canada are partners in this honor. They commented that it was not easy to complete such a big work without the joint participation and cooperation of all.
I started writing with the words – Why do we talk about Phobana even after months? I talked to some community organizers about this. The conclusion of their statement is this – after a conference, people analyze their hair. Small and unintended mistakes are brushed aside by ordinary people when successful. Remember its bright side. Therefore, the meeting of thousands of people comes back again and again in their discussions. Joyful mood gradually becomes nostalgic.
It can be said that my writing long after the Fobana conference was over is also a sample of such nostalgic symptoms.