Saturday, February 16, 2019 | ePaper

Pahela Baishakh celebrations

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THE Bangalee nation is going to celebrate the first day of the Bengali New Year - the  Pahela Baishakh-today. Today is the first day of the Bengali year 1425. It's a centuries-old tradition of this nation.  And it is a part of our national cultural identity also. It is a celebration of colour, folk art, traditional foods and the common heritage. Actually, the event unites the people beyond their beliefs, religion and politics where members from all walks of life come forward to turn the day into a great festival.
From the very beginning, since the Bengali calendar year was introduced, it became a day of mass celebration. At that time, the people of villages who depend on cultivation and farming most took part in it. Besides, the day had got priority to the traders and businessmen as they open their 'Halkhata' amid festivity. In the course of time, the urban populace, that means citizens of major cities including Dhaka, started joining the Baishakhi programmes. Now, it becomes a very powerful Bangalee tradition, which is observed across the country with pomp and grandeur.
The day begins at dawn with special dishes -- pantabhaat (boiled rice with cool water) with the fried hilsha and green chillies. There are many other items also. Currently, other fishes are getting priority because of banning hilsha netting in this breeding season. Wearing colourful saris, particularly in red and white; the women come out in the streets also wearing multi-coloured glass bangles and flower ornaments. The men are seen in fancy panjabis and kurta. The dresses of children are also colourful.  
A section of people who speaks about contradiction that celebration of Pahela Baishakh is conflicting to our beliefs; they clearly speak in favour of communalism - in a bid to communalise our nation. By saying that, they try to create a division among the people that has been living together for several hundred years.  Not only that, it is also a disrespect to religion if anyone tries to create division and hostility within a community. We think, such philosophy of communal concerns cannot bring any good for a nation.
Obviously, our political leaders can take an initiative to take the moral to high marking such an event. Here, the Pahela Baishakh could be an example to unite the entire nation beyond their personal, social and religious identities. It becomes a palpable duty of our leaders to patronise the century-old Baishakhi tradition.
The Bangalee is a courageous nation with a symbol of extraordinary resilience and the Pahela Baishakh is a symbol of national unity. The day's main attraction is its festivity. We hope, the people from all walks of life will take part in the celebration. Shubho Naboborsho for all!

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