Some 12-15 children regularly sell flowers near the National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar. All of them are aged between 8 to 12 years.
All day long, they implore visitors to buy flowers inside and outside of the martyrs’ memorial premises. Some visitors buy flowers, some don’t.
There are fewer visitors on normal days. So, they earn a small amount of money.
Prior to especial occasions like the national days, a ban is imposed on entry for a few days, as a result, these children have to sell flowers outside of the martyrs’ memorial premises.
On any national days however there’s a crowd of visitors at the martyrs’ memorial. Flower sales go up and that puts a smile on their faces.
So, any national day to these children means a little bit of extra income than regular. And, there is a complete certainty of meal in breakfast, lunch and supper on the day.
Like these children, day labourer Zakir Hossain holds the similar thinking about the Independence Day.
On Saturday (25 March) from the National Martyrs’ Memorial area in Savar, he said to Prothom Alo, “What will I do with the independence if I can’t manage food. You find it really tough to manage, when you go to the market. We need freedom of (buying) fish, meat and rice.”
While visiting the area of martyrs’ memorial in the afternoon on the day before the Independence Day, 10-15 children including Shobuj Mia, Md Hasan, Md Hosain and Md Labib were found hustling to sell roses to visitors waiting in front of the martyrs’ memorial.
Two or three people bought flowers at the time; others declined saying ‘no’.
Shobuj’s mother Munni Akhter sells roses carrying in a bamboo-made basket. Taking a few roses out of there, Shobuj went to the visitors and requested them to buy flowers. He waits to sell a few more extra flowers than usual on the Independence Day.
Shobuj said, “Now they don’t allow us to enter the martyrs’ memorial premises. Tomorrow (26 March), they’ll let us in. A lot of flowers will be sold then.”
Around 12:30pm Saturday (25 March) two brothers Md hasan and Md Hosain were noticed selling flowers in front of the martyrs’ memorial. While talking to them it was learnt, they hadn’t even had breakfast or lunch till then.
Hasan said they don’t have a father. They live with their mother at Kurgaon area in Ashulia. Their ailing mother was at home. So, they had come to the martyrs’ memorial to sell flowers like every other day.
Hossain said, “There’s no rice at home, so we didn’t eat. We brothers sell flowers. Later we’ll buy rice. Tomorrow we’ll sell a lot of flowers. It would have been better if the sales were like this every day.”
One of the visitors named Md Sohel, who had returned to the country just a week before, went to visit the martyrs’ memorial with his wife and child.
This resident of Savar’s Bishmail area is happy to see the infrastructural development of the country. However, he’s worried about the food insecurity.
Md Sohel told Prothom Alo, “I was abroad for a long time. Coming to the country this year I saw, there has been quite some improvement of the roads and all. The National Martyrs’ Memorial has been beautified as well.”
“Everything’s fine. But, price of everything in the market (kitchen) is very high. Life’s very difficult now,” he added.
Due to inconsistency in the headline and photograph used in this report published earlier, the photograph has been removed and the headline has been corrected.
The quotation mentioned in the headline wasn’t from Shobuj Mia, seen in the picture. It was from day labourer Zakir Hossain.
For the same reason the post published on social media has been scrapped as well.