Let The Wind Blow… By: Prosanta Laskar

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WE celebrate PahelaBaishakh or the Bangla New Year’s Day today. Everything under the sun looks gay and cheerful and colorful, one is suddenly struck by the beauty of the grass, the sky, the trees – each and everything around looks pretty and radiates joy and happiness. It seems that the tired and weary sun of 1423 that set last evening carried along with it all the gloom, all the sorrows, all the melancholy and misery. Nothing that is painful or dull or dreary is left for 1424, and the sun rising with a new spirit and vigor this morning, rises in its full glory, radiating nothing gloomy, nothing sad, nothing pensive but only hope and happiness for the days to come. 

“ LIKE FRUIT, shaken free by an impatient wind

from the veils of its mother flower,

thou comest, New Year, whirling in a frantic dance

amid the stampede of the wind-lashed clouds

and infuriate showers,

while trampled by thy turbulence

are scattered away from the faded and the frail

in an eddying agony of death.”

PahelaBaishakh is indeed a momentous occasion in the life of each and every Bengalese. It is the first day of the Bangla calendar year. To every Bengalese, young and old, rich and poor, wise and ignorant, it is a time of excitement to be celebrated with great merry-making, to be enjoyed in every possible manner, an occasion which enables us, in the words of Tennyson, to drink life to the lees.’ It is a cruel irony of fate that a few orthodox Muslims in our country, shrouded by sheer ignorance, look down upon this Nababarsha festival, simply because they inadvertently consider it to be a festival of non-Muslim origin. But there is no shadow of a doubt that the Bangla calendar that we follow today was introduced by the Muslims in this sub-continent.

The PahelaBaishakh so warmly celebrated all over the country on 14th April or 15th April originated not from Bangladesh but from an entirely different part of this sub-continent more than a thousand miles away. What is more, the Bangla Saal was introduced not by any Bangladeshi but by a non-Bengalee whose grandfather’s vein flowed the blood of both Gengis Khan and Tamerlane. He is emperor Akbar the great.  

In Bangladesh, the New Year is celebrated with festivities since the dawn very lively and colorful, especially in Dhaka. Usually, it starts with a version of the song of Rabindranath Tagore’s “Esho he Baishakh” of Chhayanat sung under the banyan tree at Ramna (the RamnaBatamul). An integral part of the festivities is the Mongol Shobhajatra, a traditional colorful procession organized by the students of the Faculty of Fine Arts (Charukala) of Dhaka University. The procession has a different theme each year, chosen among the most relevant to the culture and politics of the country. Artistic performances and exhibitions are organized all over Bangladesh. In particular, we recall the bull racing in Munshiganj, wrestling in Chittagong, and still rowing, cockfights and races pigeons.

Nowadays, PahelaBaishakh becomes the 2nd largest festival of the country including in foreign territory where the Bengalese resides. Therefore shopping becomes an inevitable part of this festival. All the prominent and non-prominent fashion clothing lines tried their best to represent Bangladesh and it’s culture including the missing customs through their designs. They use different types of motifs to represent 1st Baishakh with its splendor. So where the wind of Chaitra ends, the wind of Baishakh starts with the ecstasy of wishing HAPPY BANGLA NEW YEAR…so let’s sing the song of Baishakh and celebrate the wind to blow.

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