Prosperity and well-being for all

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

Today is Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the Bangla New Year.

Rabindranath Tagore ushered in New Year with this song, ‘Esho Hey Baishakh, Esho, Esho/ Taposnishwasbaye Mumurshure Dao Uraye/ Botshorer Aborjona Dur Hoye Jak’ (Come, Oh Baishakh, in the hot summer month, Blow away the decaying, let last year’s waste be gone.”  

We hope the new year will bring joy and the message of hope to all, erasing the all evil, sorrow and sickness of the past.

Bangla new year is a national festival and celebration of life for the Bengalis. Like every other year, people from all walks of life in Bangladesh eagerly wait to welcome the Bangla new year.

Preparations have been made to celebrate Pahela Boishakh through various programmes including fairs, festivals, rallies and musical performances.

The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) has directed all schools and colleges to celebrate the Bangla new year by singing the national anthem and ‘Esho Hey Boishakh’ alongside bringing out rallies. Mangal Shobhajatra (procession for well-being) has been enlisted in UNESCO’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’. That is delightful news for all of us.

Amid the hostile ambiance during Pakistan regime, Chhayanaut started the culture of welcoming the new year with the traditional musical performance at Ramna Batamul. That trend is still going on. Not only at Ramna Batamul, such programmes are organised all over the country. This year, right when the nation was preparing to welcome the New Year, some tried to create a controversy regarding the Mangal Shobhajatra, which is completely unacceptable.

We may recall that Bangla new year was introduced during Emperor Akbar’s reign to facilitate tax collection. Since then, businessmen do bookkeeping the whole year centering the new year, and opens new account books. Customers also pay their dues. This trend has been going on for hundreds of years.

The matter of hope is that the Baishakhi economy has boomed quite a much centering the Bangla new year. A few days after the new year, there approaches the holy Eid-ul-Fitr of the Muslim community. So, it can be expected that the sales will increase even more this time.

Notably, militants killed nine people blasting bombs at the new year celebration programme of Ramna Batamul on 1st Boishakh, 2001. Besides, this evil force orchestrated many other incidents of terrorism including bomb blast at Udichi conference in Jashore.

Inspector general of police Abdullah Al-Mamun said Thursday that there is no feeling of panic ahead of the Bangla new year. And, sufficient measures have been taken in ensuring public security.

It is only natural that law enforcement agencies will take necessary measures to maintain public security. However, imposing unnecessary restrictions in the name of security is by no means desirable. Because, in a situation like that panic build up in public mind. And, the festival loses its glory.

Bangla new year is an all-encompassing festival of Bengalis. People of all classes and professions, irrespective of their religion, caste and creed, participate in it. It’s an inseparable part of our history and culture. Bangla new year has a significant role also in the struggle of establishing the Bengali self-identity.

While Bengalis in the plains celebrate the new year, three communities of the small ethnicities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts also celebrate the beginning of the new year, Baisabi; which is recognised as Baisub, Boisu or Baisu to the Tripuras, Sangrai to the Marmas and Bizhu to the Chakmas and Tanchangyas. It’s their new year celebration.

So along with Bangla new year we welcome Baisabi festival as well. May the new year bring prosperity and well-being to all. Let Bangla new year become not just a formality, but relevant in our thoughts, beliefs and daily life as well. Welcome 1430.