Pahela Baishakh has come again with a new message of hope, of discarding the old. We greet everybody on the Bangla New Year 1426.
The new year means joy for everybody. It comes with new hope, dreams and determination. It begins with fresh inspiration and determination to achieve success against the failures and disappointments of the past.
The spirit of Pahela Baishakh is universality. It is a celebration of all Bangalees. Most calendars are related to particular religions, but the Bangla New Year has no such link. This celebration is simply cultural and related to ground reality. The celebration centers crops and revenue collection. Later, it became a date to clear outstanding dues and loans, and ‘halkhata’ was launched on Pahela Baishakh. Once it was mainly a rural celebration. Fairs were held in villages and various types of sports were arranged. Some fairs started on the day of Pahela Baishakh and continued on for the next two weeks. Such fairs are still arranged at different places across the country.
This festival is not longer limited to villages. It has spread to the cities. Pahela Baishakh is now a huge festival for the urbanites.
It is now a universal cultural event for all Bangalees, whether in the villages or the cities. It is the festival of all irrespective of religion and class. It is a reflection of our identity. This cultural identity sharpened our political awareness during the rule of Pakistan. The Pakistani rulers frowned upon this festival and we fought against obstacles placed in the way of celebrations.
Chhayanot’s new year celebration started at the Batamul of Ramna Park in 1960. The celebration expedited the struggle for establishing our own identity.
The celebration of that Ramna Batamul still continues. Such celebrations are held at different areas in the capital and across the country. The entire Bangladesh celebrates Pahela Baishakh. All sorts of people join the Mangal Shobhajatra, that is the colourful rally organised by the Fine Arts Faculty of Dhaka University.
Unfortunately there had been attacks and violence on women on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh in the recent past. And extremist communal forces are spreading propaganda against this festival. The law enforcing agencies have reduced the time of celebration in the capital and elsewhere for sake of public security over the last three years. Similar steps have been announced this year too. Public security is an important matter, but additional strict measures may harm the spontaneity of the festival. Intelligence surveillance should be strengthened to ensure public security. If the prior information of security risk is found, steps can be taken accordingly. The duties of the law enforcing agencies are to provide security without disturbing Pahela Baishakh celebrations. There should be minimum restrictions in place.
Let’s welcome 1426 in safety and joy. We wish the new year t usher in good for all. Let unhappiness be replaced with love and affection. Let peace prevail the world over.