The voice of Shahbagh Square is a 22-year-old college student
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The wave of protests at Shahbagh Square has ebbed. But it has left behind a new postal address — "Prajonmo Chattor" (Generation Circle). Most of the postcards and letters addressed to "Prajonmo Chattor" are for Lucky Akhtar, a 22-year-old English Honours final year student of Jagannath University in Gulisthan, on the outskirts of Dhaka.
The Shahbagh protests did not have any leader, nor were there any fiery speeches. The fortnight-long protests were driven by continuous sloganeering, and Lucky, with her forceful and rhythmic slogan-shouting skills, emerged as the voice of the movement. Protestors called her "Agnikanya" (firebrand woman).
Speaking to The Indian Express, Lucky said: "I am getting scores of letters from different parts of the country, many have sent me new slogans. The best part is that they are addressed to me at 'Prajonmo Chattor'."
Even as the protests are slowly being decentralised and shifting to other parts of the country, several hundred still gather at Shahbagh everyday. While there is a huge demand for Lucky, her movements are now being monitored by some student leaders, after security agencies issued warnings about her safety.
"There were moments when I continued sloganeering for two hours. My throat seemed to choke, but the singing, swinging crowd spurred me on," said Lucky, as she set out for Mirpur, on a mission to raise more voices.
"The 1971 slogans proved to be hits in 2013. Nothing matched the resonance of 'Tomar aamar thikana, Padma, Meghna, Yamuna', or 'Joy Bangla, Joy Bangla'," said Lucky.