We know student life is the most precious time of a person. One can learn many things this time for their future and these are some common notions we know. In this time one has to prepare themselves for taking future responsibilities and they want to do something for the family, society and country. Students try to learn how to take responsibility and how to make contribution to the country when they pass their time in universities and colleges. The students who do not live in the dormitories are deprived from many attractive and necessary things in youth time. Everybody must agree that dorm/hall life is the most precious time of students. One has to prepare himself/herself self-dependent in this situation as s/he has to stay out of their home. And there is nobody to help them for their personal work. He or she has to do everything by their own initiatives. Because their parents do not stay in the dormitory with them. For that reason they have to learn how to pass their time fruitfully in dorm life. But there are some exceptions. Many students do not follow the right path for them. There are ample chances to be derailed in this time also. In the late seventies and early eighties of last century the environment of different halls/dormitories of Dhaka University was as like this as elaborated in the below. More or less the inner environment of all the dormitories was same and nothing was special in different halls which could be mentioned. In this respect the situation and environment of Salimullah Muslim Hall in late seventies and early eighties are discussed here.
We know Salimullah Muslim Hall is one of the ancient dormitories of Dhaka University. Dhaka University was established in the year of 1921 and the construction of present building of Salimullah Muslim Hall was completed in 1930. Early months of 1978 the accommodation problem in S M Hall was a big problem. Students admitted would get seat as the Provost and House Tutors helped them. But in general no 1st year student would get seat in any room. Many students would stay in different rooms as the doubling partner or flooring partners. It was very common that time and so far it is known to all these situations are still prevailing in different Halls of the Dhaka University.
Mainly the rooms of Salimullah Muslim Hall are four seated and single seated but there are little numbers of two seated and three seated rooms. Now one who visits Salimullah Hall rarely sees four students residing in the four seated rooms. He must notice, in each and every four seated rooms, more than four persons are residing and it is equally true in two or three seated rooms also. Only the single room owner students reside their rooms solely with some exceptions. It was also seen few students who did not have any relatives in Dhaka or no one that much known to him in the Hall managed their accommodation some corner space in or outside the auditorium for temporary period. This was the picture of the students’ accommodation in the Salimullah Hall during 1978to 1983.
Most of the resident & non-resident students taking their breakfast/lunch/supper in the Hall canteen and dining hall those hailed from middle class & lower middle class families. There were influential and very well off students sometimes would take their food in the moderate eateries adjacent to the university campus and different halls or their food was cooked separately in the hall kitchen and some tender aged boy called ‘Pittchi’ appointed by them would supply their food to their rooms. It was very common in 1978 to 1983 in Salimullah Hall.
Generally parata, vegetables and dal are the common items of breakfast. Some students would take egg fry or omelet also in the breakfast time. After breakfast most of the students generally would go to the classes. This was very common in Salimullah Hall. In the dormitory life it was very common that some prominent or influential students used to appear as ‘big-brothers’. The big-brothers had special qualities to attract general resident students or apprehending intimidation general resident students had to follow the big-brothers. Big-brothers were also needed for the security of the general students. Generally big-brothers would be very influential in functioning student organizations in the Hall. In that time Bangladesh Chattra League (JSD), Jatiotabadi Chattra Dal, the two main organizations were functioning in Salimullah Hall. Though, Chattro League (Mujibbadi), Islami Chattro Shibir and Chattro Union were also functioning in Salimullah Hall.
Sometimes regionalism appears as big factor in Hall students’ politics. In those days, in the Dhaka University Barisal-Patuakhali group, Cumilla group, Noakhali group, Faridpur group were very active in Salimullah Hall. Barisal-Patuakhali group used to play very active and dominant role in every matter related to students. It was very common that small groups of other districts would gather separately in the premises of Hall canteen in the afternoon tea time. They used to gossip and make fun on different matters. And one group used to look at another group when they would make fun and cutting jokes with each other. That was a time of light fun and recreations.
In those days there were some students always would spend time in the auditorium to enjoy TV programs. That time only BTV was screened and no other channels were there. They entered the auditorium in the evening and passing time till the end of TV programs of the day with a short break of supper. Generally some dramas and some Hollywood movies, some English serials were very popular among the television programs. Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, Hawaii 50, Wild Wild West, Knight Rider, The A-Team were very popular.
Some activists of different student organizations would keep illegal fire arms. Normally general student would know this but they used to keep their mouth shut. In those days sometimes Halls were raided by the law enforcing agencies. But the big-brothers and activists somehow would know this prior to the raiding mission and had to leave the Hall area beforehand. It was very common in those days. Many things happened in the Halls or Dormitories were colorful and full of events. These were the days of university life. In short it is not possible to cover up or describe all the events but still now some of the events are vivid in the mind of the residents of Salimullah Hall in the late seventies and early eighties last century.