Nation celebrates Pahela Baishakh amid festivity


People participate in a rally called ‘Mangal Shobhajatra’ bring out by Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University students at Shahbagh on Saturday. — Sony Ramany

The nation celebrated its most colourful and traditional festival Pahela Baishakh, the Bangla New Year 1425, on Saturday with much fanfare, festivity and enthusiasm amid restrictions and a nor’wester with hailstorm and rain.
Like the previous years, in Dhaka, the day’s programme began with artistes of Chhayanaut rendering songs at Ramna Batamul at sunrise. Cultural programmes and fairs were held almost all important places in Dhaka and across the country and people, irrespective of age, religion and ethnicity, thronged all the places of celebrations braving summer heat under shiny sun.

Artistes from Chhayanaut welcomed the Bengali New Year day with Tagore’s songs under the banyan tree at the Ramna Park. — Sony Ramany

The government banned all outdoor celebrations after 5:00pm, but a nor’wester with hailstorm and rain disrupted the celebrations in Dhaka at about 4:00pm.
The Met Office recorded 30 millimetre rainfalls as a nor’wester with hailstorm lashed Dhaka.
The 30mm rainfall was recorded in Dhaka in about two-hour of rain till 6:00pm, said at Bangladesh Metrological Department meteorologist Ruhul Quddus.
Different other districts, including Gazipur, Tangail, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Narsingdi, Brahmanbaria and Comilla also witnessed rainfalls causing disruption to the celebrations and enormous sufferings to the celebrating people.
Many people especially the homebound commuters, who went to Ramna Park, Dhaka University, Suhrawardy Udyan and adjacent areas in Dhaka and places of celebrations in those districts suffered due to the rainfall caused by the nor’wester.
People, irrespective of age, religion and ethnicity, welcomed the Bangla New Year through colourful processions, songs and fairs vowing to defeat the sectarian and evil forces and building a happy and prosperous Bangladesh.
Men in traditional pajama and punjabi and women in white and red saris joined the celebrations along with children in colourful attires. They also relished Bengali delicacy of panta bhat.
President Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina in messages greeted the nation on the occasion. US acting secretary of state John J Sullivan, on behalf of president Donald Trump and the US people, wished a joyous Bangla New Year.
Like the previous years, in the capital, the day’s programme began with artistes of Chhayanaut rendering songs at Ramna Batamul at sunrise. This year the programme’s theme was dedicated to influence the youth to stand against all sectarian forces and social injustices.
With an aim to motivate people to awaken their humane side, Dhaka University’s ‘Mangal Shovajatra’ was held amid law enforcers’ escort as the recent years with law enforcing agencies sensing security threat and miscreants’ presence.
Three-tier security circle were made with the Rapid Action Battalion in the front row, followed by Dhaka Metropolitan Police and Special Weapons And Tactics, an elite tactical unit of the metropolitan police, to protect the procession-which had this year’s theme from a Lalon’s song calling for devotion to humanity.
A group of Dhaka University students demonstrated demanding a secure campus for the students and protested against the recent attacks on students by the police and ruling Awami League-backed student body Bangladesh Chhatra League activists.
Rapid Action Battalion also made surveillance with choppers over Dhaka University and Ramna area and ran a mobile court to avoid unpleasant situations. The mobile court also jailed two males for one year on charge of snatching.
In Dhaka, citizens slammed government restriction on any outdoor programme after 5:00pm, saying that government was covering up their failure to ensure security for the city and it’s dwellers by imposing the restriction.
‘Why would we stop celebrating outdoor after 5:00pm …this is a failure of law enforcement agencies,’ said ABM Khairul, a banker who came to Dhaka University campus with family.
At the afternoon the nor’wester coupled with rain and hailstorm, lashed different places of the country which causing sufferings to celebrating people.
The Bangla year with its first month Baishakh was introduced during the rule of Mughal emperor Akbar.
The day was a public holiday.
Different government and other organisations including the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Bangla Academy, Shilpakala Academy, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, Jatiya Press Club and Dhaka Reporters’ Unity celebrated the day with festivity.
Besides, Pahela Baishakh was also celebrated in Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Barisal, and Rangpur divisional headquarters, and all other districts with fairs and cultural programmes, reported New Age correspondents.

Source: New Age.