For the past 20 years, members of Ujjiban Padmapar Rajshahi have been gathering at Shimla Park and exercising for 40 minutes every morning
During this Covid-19 pandemic, members of the Ujjiban Padmapar Rajshahi are taking morning walks everyday to keep them fit and healthy. It was not closed even during the countrywide Covid-19 shutdown.
None of the 70 members of the organisation have been infected with the novel coronavirus so far and the organisation's members feel their regular exercise has played a key role in keeping the virus at bay.
If you travel through the Shimla Park area of Rajshahi metropolis after dawn, you will see a group of old people doing various physical exercises together.
For the past 20 years, they have been gathering at Shimla Park and exercising for 40 minutes every morning. Alongside doing different physical exercises, they organise various health awareness campaigns.
Members of the organisation said everyone gathers at Shimla Park on the bank of the Padma river at 6:25 am every day. The exercise starts at 6:30 am and lasts till 7:10 am. Some of the members of the organisation include government officials-employees, retired officers-employees, doctors, lawyers and youths.
While paying a visit to Shimla Park on August 28 morning, The Business Standard saw that Ujjiban Padmapar members had already started their daily exercises. They were seen doing various physical exercises, wearing white T-shirts with the logo of the organisation.
At the end of the exercise, after having tea together, they distributed masks and hand sanitisers to the general people, including low-income workers and rickshaw pullers, at the C&B intersection in the city.
Freedom fighter AKM Jahangir Ratan is the founding president and trainer of Ujjiban Padmapar Rajshahi. The 70-year-old guerrilla fighter said he cared about physical fitness from a very young age.
He said Ujjiban Padmapar was established in 2000 with five/six members, but later the number of members increased gradually.
"Alongside doing physical exercises, we also carry out various health awareness campaigns. Besides, we, on behalf of the organization, contribute in various charitable activities."
Mostafizur Rahman Mukul, general secretary of the organisation, said, "The motto of our organisation is 'walk regularly, stay healthy'. If you are healthy it will be possible for you to do something for the country."
Members of the organisation said most of them joined it willingly after observing their activities. Dr Md Mahbubur Rahman, senior scientific officer at Bangladesh Wheat and Maize Research Institute, Rajshahi, is among them.
He said he joined the organisation in 2018 after completing his PhD from the University of Sydney, Australia.
"I am working with this organisation mainly to keep my body healthy and the mind strong. Now I am physically quite healthy."
Abdul Latif, administrative officer of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, who joined the organisation in 2013, said he works as the coach in the absence of the head coach.
Abdul Latif said, "It is my long-standing habit to get up and walk every morning. It has increased after being associated with 'Ujjiban Padmarpar'. As I have been in the habit of scouting since school days, that's what works here."
Fire Service and Civil Defense official Abdul Quddus, who has been associated with the organisation since 2007, said if he did not wake up in the morning and come to Shimla Park to exercise the day would be in vain. "It has become a habit. This habit is beneficial for our body and mind," he said.