Weach Bangla New Year we start a new journey. Leaving all the sorrows, sad and bad times behind us we move forward. We welcome Pahela Baishakh by celebrating the occasion. We re-discover ourselves with the Baishakhi celebrations. It reminds us of our cultural identity and heritage as we celebrate Pahela Baishakh with new hopes in eyes.
Today marks the first day of the Bangla New Year 1418. Pahela Baishakh has surpassed all the other festivals in terms of celebration; today it has turned out to be a widely celebrated event of the country.
On the occasion of Pahela Baishakh daily sun sat at a Baishakhi adda with Aly Zaker. Here are the excerpts, as the media and theatre personality recalls his Baishakhi days and expresses his views on Pahela Baishakh.
“In my school days, Pahela Baishakh celebration was totally different from what it is now-a-days. The main attraction of Pahela Baishakh was Haal-Khata.
We witnessed various kinds of Baishakhi festivals including fairs, which featured different kind of goods like sweets, hand-made toys and more. This is how I remember the Pahela Baishakh of my childhood days.”
Sharing the Baishakhi memories of his school days, Aly Zaker says, “There are so many memories. In my school days, I always wanted to have a toy which was in the shape of a cart with two sticks. When dragged it used to play like a drum. Back then, parents hardly allowed children to have it.
Apart from that, I can still remember the mouth-watering sweets: Kotkoti, Chira-kodma, Batasha, Murali and so on, which we used to have at the Baishakhi fair.”
“My father always took me to the Baishakhi fairs. After moving to Gendariya in Dhaka, we used to go to most of the fairs which were held in our locality. For me those days are treasured memories. Young children, regardless of religions, Hindu, Muslim and so on, all used to blend together, play with tops and marbles and celebrate the occasion,” he continues.
While speaking about the evolution of Baishakh celebrations, he expresses, “The Baishakhi celebrations have given us an individual identity as a nation. Through the celebration of Pahela Baishakh, we have discovered our different cultural identity and roots which make us different from the Pakistanis. Pahela Baishakh played a very vital role, in the discovery of our own identity. I am talking about the pre-Bangladesh period during the ‘60s when Pahela Baishakh became a huge festival and gave us a platform for our cultural expression and helped us to discover our identity and united us.”
Speaking about the present day celebrations of Pahela Baishakh, he shares, “Today the young generation is celebrating Noboborsho in a much different way as culture cannot be static, and it evolves with time. But the passion of celebrating Pahela Baishakhi is very much present and the rate of celebration is increasing with each passing year.”
About having Panta and Hilsha fish on Pahela Baishakh, he says, “May be, there is an element of fashion in having Panta just on this day. However, I appreciate this as it gives a picture of the poverty stricken people of Bangladesh. This is an exposure and any kind of exposure, sociologically speaking, is good for any society.”
“The young people who, I suppose, go to the Ramna Batamul in colourful, traditional attires to have Panta are the essence for lessening the huge gap between the poor and rich. Their mass-scale participation in the event makes Pahela Baishakh a truly secular and non-communal festival participated by people from every class,” ends Aly Zaker
Courtesy of The Daily Sun