Bengali New Year : Expectations
Anis Fatema :
Pahela Baishakh is not merely a date to remember. It is not only an occasion to celebrate. Rather it is the embodiment of the thoughts, dreams and elaboration of our cultural identification. The Day provides us with a separate holding in the realm of global culture. Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla year has an everlasting as well as overwhelming appeal. Leaving behind the old, previous year we move ahead towards our desired way of life, towards the fulfillment of our dreams and expectations. We look for a better life filled with alive thoughtfulness and an episode of happy moments. Pahela Baishakh enters our territory with message of freedom, promises of goodness and holding the flag of peace. We welcome the first day of the year- the first ray of the sun of this auspicious day with great enthusiasm. The day reminds us of our previous deeds, previous decisions and makes us look forward into the upcoming success that we hope for.
We are familiar with the history of Pahela Baishakh. It depicts the true essence of our colorful, traditional culture. It is celebrated in our country in a joyous mood.
The term 'Halkhata' carries a very significant role on this blessed day. The traders get themselves engaged in various rituals. It was mainly the celebration of the traders according to its birth history. The story behind Pahela Boishakh will take us back to the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great. Under his reign (1556-1609), several hundred years ago, the economy almost entirely depended on agricultural productions and that revolved around six seasons. In that period of time tax was collected on the basis of Arabic or Hjri year. But that did not go smoothly with the seasonal cycle of this region. Even before the harvest the landowners were supposed to collect tax which was creating a mess. Emperor Akbar ordered that the Bangla year be counted combining the Arabic calendar from March 10 or March 11 in 1584. It was originally called a 'Fosholi Son' (The season of harvest) and later gained currency as the BangIa Year. Gradually the first day of the month Baishakh takes the gorgeous look of 'Noboborsho', the moment of rejoicing Bengali New Year.
Undoubtedly Pahela Baishakh depicts the true craving for freedom. We want to live a happy life. A life free of all sorts of sadness, unwanted events and falsehood. Life never reveals itself as a sweat and excellent piece of dream. We are the subjects of destiny and our decisions do not lead us towards success or the desirable goal every time. We make mistakes and as a result have to face suffering. The New Year gives us the idea to build up a new philosophical ground on which our future gets an absolute concrete shape. We visualize the upcoming year of our life as a successful period of time. But sometimes still the question remains stable in our mind. We try hard to get rid of the anxiety and sadness of our life. We struggle to get ourselves out of the tragic ends of incidents but we fail to do that. We fail to enjoy the utmost beauty of life. We fail to earn the most awaited happiness on earth. We fail to bid adieu to all of our scornful thoughts and memories. It seems that we are surrounded by evil deeds and dark thoughts in such a way that we just cannot collect the true essence of a peaceful life. The first day of the New Year arrives with the message of freedom. But the freedom itself sometimes is kept behind the curtain as some people practise inhuman activities. The existing crimes and misdeeds of our society remind us of the previous sadness, sobbing and our failure to establish humanity in our cherished horizon.
Nowadays we are about to forget our own identification. We human beings are crossing the boundaries of humanity leaving the sense of kindness behind. We are completely getting dragged by our dishonest desires which sometimes lead us to a heinous world of hypocrisy. People are being killed, robbed. Our lives and wealth are getting snatched away. Especially women are facing the most horrible misfortune in various ways in our society. Humanity is indulged into the burning questions of to day's world, "Who is to be responsible?" "Are not we loosing ourselves in the vast pool of cruelty?" The atmosphere remains silent. We just stand still closing our ears, ignoring our consciousness. We are getting habituated just to talk regarding a particular issue as a funeral note and then to take a U-turn to take care of our everyday schedule. We make a gross mistake of our life by ignoring the fact that our present and future take birth from the womb of our past. Today's present is to be tomorrow's past. It is very much important to arrange our present affairs in an honest and logical way in order to sow the seeds of a peaceful future. It is undoubtedly true that we must have to get rid of our selfish thoughts. We must consider the injustice committed to our neighborhood as our own disaster and to stop them with strong hands. Only the sense of unity intermingled with the feelings of honesty, humanity and our inner strength of social responsibility can help us to manage the cruel situation of today' s world. The first Day of the year demands a sober planning to live a decent life with soft peaceful desires. It comes with the message of peace and invitation towards a much better social structure. In our celebration we must not forget to discuss the existing social issues demanding correction.
Pahela Baishakh provides us with the lesson of freedom and humanity. The colourful celebration makes us meet the various colourful aspects of life. The message of freedom gives us some moments to think of the basic demands of human life. Children are supposed to get a secured life. People of all status are supposed to get food, shelter, education and proper medication in case of sickness. It is our right to enjoy a secured life. Scenery in education sector is praiseworthy. Children are going to school in time. But what about the other aspects of human life? Ours is an overpopulated country. Manpower could play a vital role for the sake of our prosperity. Are we taking enough care of our abilities and strength to move ahead towards a bright future? It is high time to find out the solutions of some unsolved issues. The first Day of the year arrives with a golden opportunity to give a look to resolve the difficulties which have got a never ending look.
We celebrate this Day in an extremely joyous mood. But we should also keep in mind that the aim behind this celebration should be to present our culture in front of the world as well as to convey the message of Bangla tradition to the next generation. We want our next generation to be aware of our own traditional aspects. We want our children to be proud of our nationality and culture. In order to do so we must celebrate this Day in a logical pattern.
We welcome the BangIa New Year with utmost joy and happiness. We celebrate Pahela Baishakh with our family, friends and relatives. On this blessed Day we get overwhelmed by our thoughts of gratefulness to the Almighty Allah. We celebrate this occasion declaring our own identity having our rich traditional existence of humanistic ideals.
(The writer is a short story writer and a poet.)