Welcome to Uttar Bangla College (UBC)!
There can be no gift of friendship truer than the sharing of knowledge. At the Uttar Bangla College in Kakina village of Lalmonirhat's Kaliganj upazila, Scotland's Sikh community has extended their hand of friendship across religions and continents through the donation of a campus library, named for the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak.
With a catalogue of 20,000 books in both Bangla and English covering history, science, literature and other fields of knowledge, the library has become an invaluable asset for the 6,000 students and around 200 faculty members of the college.
“Like other students, I sit in the Guru Nanak library everyday to read books and study,” says Bangla department student Mousumi Akter. “Because of the library we don't waste our leisure time. Instead we read books.”
Every day, from morning to evening, in excess of 500 students and teachers are drawn to the library, to read books, socialise and share ideas, with the library having also incorporated a teachers' union centre.
“Many students come from poor families,” says college Higher School Certificate student Helal Hossain. “Their families cannot buy books in the market, so they rely on the library. For us, it's a reading room, a source of knowledge and a place to share what we have read as well.”
The College itself, which offers up to honours level study in several disciplines, has been funded since 1994 by Dr Mozammel Haque, a professor of Glasgow's Strathclyde University who originally hails from Kakina.
As college founder, Haque communicated with Glasgow's Sikh community to source donations for the library, which opened in 2003, initially with a single floor and literary assets of 5,000 books. Four years later a second floor was completed, with funding from Glasgow-based Charity Education International.