A nine-year-old, cheerful, lively, and courageous girl who works for the betterment of her village. His role in eradicating various prejudices of the society including education, child marriage, prevention of child labor was extraordinary. I was talking about the popular cartoon character Meena, the source of pure childhood entertainment. Not only as a source of entertainment, but also very popular among thousands of viewers, this Meena cartoon has made people aware in the light of social reform and knowledge.
In the '90s, UNICEF took the initiative to promote Meena cartoons to consolidate the rights of girls in the subcontinent. Meanwhile, the puppet show 'Moner Kotha', invented by the painter Mustafa Monwar, was aired on BTV at that time and a famous female character named 'Parul' became very popular in Bangladesh. From there, UNICEF got some ideas.
Later in 1991, famous cartoonist, Ram Mohan directed the first animation of Mina cartoon in collaboration with UNICEF. He then made 16 episodes one by one. The duration of these 16 episodes was till 2001. These episodes help to decorate Ram Mohan with UNICEF, Hanna-Barbara cartoons, and Tunbangla.
To make Minar's dress acceptable to all the countries of South Asia, Ram Mohan first started drawing various sketches of Minar on different costumes. In the end, it was decided to finalize Minar's long skirt.
Mina also plans to keep a monkey as her favorite pet to make the cartoon a little more fun and humorous, but later she is replaced by the mischievous sweet-talking Mithu. Other characters include Meena's mother, father, grandmother, and younger sister Rani, Rita, Moonmoon, shopkeeper, Moral, Dipu, Rita, teacher, uncle, and many others.
Meena cartoons have been created not only in Bengali but also in at least 29 languages including Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, and English. Meena cartoons were also dubbed in Arabic. Initially, 13 episodes of Minar were made and aired on state television in seven SAARC countries. Renowned lyricists Arshad Mahmood and Farooq Kaiser have also composed the impossibly beautiful song. And Sushma Shrestha gave the sweet voice in the song.
In addition to education and health development, the character of 'Mina' is playing a vital role in raising awareness and conveying effective messages on child marriage, unequal distribution of food in the family, prevention of child labor. Meena Day is celebrated on 24th September every year. UNICEF declared the day with a pledge to ensure school enrollment of 100 percent able-bodied children and to prevent falls.
The Meena cartoon was well ahead of its time. Even though Meena is now 26 years old in the nineties, it seems that Meena's character is still young in everyone's mind.