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Bushra Farizma Hussain

Remember the classic dialogues ‘Ow Mithu, tumi amare bodlaya diso!’ (Oh Mithu you have changed me!) or ‘i..i..itrami koirona (d…d…do not tease please!)? Be of the 90s or not, these dialogues from the legendary cartoon already took you back to your childhood if you had been a hardcore Meena fan! 

This extraordinary fictional character who talked about child marriage and the practice of dowry, promoted safe sanitation, encouraged sending girls to schools, proved the importance of equality between boys and girls and the right to education for the domestic workers in its 33 episodes is now back with a brand new series!

Unicef Bangladesh has launched the new episode named “Amra Khelte Chai” (We Want to Play) on May 2017 talking about child labor, its cause and effect and like always with a solution through the proper implementation of the Child Labor Act of Bangladesh. 

The very same Meena, Raju, Mithu, Dipu and other secondary characters, who have not changed even a bit, are all here all over again to let us relive our childhood. The biggest treat being nothing has changed, this time, it lets many of us enjoy our childhood legend with our own kids as the second generation little fans of Meena! Alongside this, on its 70th anniversary, Unicef Bangladesh also launched Meena Game as a free app at Google Play Store. 

Review on the game

The gamers who are the older fans of Meena, have praised the graphics for keeping the ambiance and visual treat intact. However, despite its incredible popularity, it has a rating of 4.7 stars. Complaints of delayed updates, lack of comprehensive direction on the use of keys for navigation, lack of promptness to receive the command have been reported by the users. 

Umabee (10) who has recently been playing the game, says, ‘I love the graphics most! It feels like I am literally running through Meena’s village, the one I saw on the YouTube and the comic books. But though it’s an amazing game to play, I face difficulties in grasping the method of playing, the direction is not much clear, and there’s trouble with the second level! Otherwise, it’s a treat to play!’

Review on the New Episode

As of with the episode, my personal take is on the traces of racism in the graphics which is clearly visible and yet been unnoticed. I am afraid if Meena, with her whiter skin amidst others with a darker tone, is delivering the idea of White Dominance as the most enlightened one. Meena does a great job preaching important messages on gender equality, child rights, education, protection, and development. Her strong take on social justice and equity should not be something that might mislead the targeted spectators with the notion of racial dominance based on her appearance. 

A classic delight like Meena should be void of any mixed-signals and controversies. She had been my first teacher on issues of gender, health, and social inequality and also for many other South Asian kids of nineties. It laid the founding stone of feminism for most of us through its every episode. Growing up with her ideals, now finding this flaw in her presentation, awkwardly puts me into conflict I prefer not to be in as a student of Meena! However, for a generation that grew up humming its title song, Meena will always be on top of the list of inspiration for us even after centuries.

Unicef developed the Meena Communication Initiative (MCI) as a mass communication project aimed at changing perceptions and behavior that hamper the survival, protection, and development of girls in South Asia in September 1998. It was in the year 1993 when for the first time BTV started airing Meena. Ever since then, this girl of only nine, with an ahead-of-time, deep, and rational views on society and its anomalies became a part and parcel of our daily food for thoughts! 

June 20, 2017
About Author

An aesthete, conversationalist, logophile, poet who loves the sea, and currently a Lit-enthusiast at ULAB

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