The Origin of Bangla new year and celebrating Pahela Baishakh
Syed Ashraf Ali
WE celebrate Pahela Baishakh or the Bangla New Year’s Day today. Everything under the sun looks gay and cheerful and colourful, 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 1405 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 1406, and the sun rising with a new spirit and vigour this morning, rises in its full glory, radiating nothing gloomy, nothing sad, nothing pensive but only hope and happiness for the days to come.
Pahela Baishakh is indeed a momentous occasion in the life of each and every Bengalee. It is the first day of Bangla calendar year. To every Bengalee, young and old, rich and poor, wise and ignorant, it is a time of gaiety 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 doubt that the Bangla calendar that we follow today was introduced by the Muslims in this sub-continent.
The Pahela Baishakh so warmly celebrated all over the country today originated not from Bangladesh, but from an entirely different part of this sub-continent more than thousand miles away. What is more, the Bangla Saal was introduced not by any Bangladeshi but by a non-Bengalee in whose grandfather’s vein flowed the blood of both Gengis Khan and Tamerlane. Read the rest of this entry »