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DHAKA Friday 13 April 2012 30 Chaitra 1418 BS 20 Jamadi-ul-awwal 1433 HIJRI
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Morning tea
Another New Year,Another Resolution→ Gaushey
 The Bangla New Year is just at the

door. I remember waiting for this

special day as a child. In our small

district town that hardly had good civic

facilities, Pohela Boishakh was the occasion

of a big fare. The Academy school field

would be occupied by quaint looking stalls

catered to by smiling and colourfully

dressed young men and women - there was

music, there was colour, there was festivity

- enough to put an otherwise slow paced

town into merry making. We used to have a

puppet show (in those days, it was pretty

decent), art works, toys and food stalls. I

remember on one occasion, (I used to make

my way around holding my father’s hands

everywhere then), while transfixed at a

miniature artificial lake with beautiful fishes

swarming in it, I absent mindedly let go of my

father’s hand. The fare was thickly crowded

and with my height at that age, I could only

see people bustling all around (and over) me -

my father was nowhere in sight. Very

abruptly, I started screaming. Both my mother

and father had warned me on numerous

occasions telling stories about the cheledhora

(kidnappers of children). I thought I would be

put into a sack and soon be shipped

somewhere by a cheledhora. My tremor was

soon tranquillised by a next door aunty

‘rescuing’ me as my father only happened to

be at an adjacent store. Today, as I come to

think of the fact that home was only a 5

minute rickshaw ride from the fair ground , I

cannot help laughing and feeling a sense of

pleasant joy.

While the English New Year may have its

pomp and show, the Bangla New Year

certainly has a bigger sentimental tone to it

and is a lot more socially engaging. Firstly, the

Bangla calendar is functional - i.e to speak,

the months and dates are not mere record

keepers, but signal the change of seasons,

agricultural practices, and religious rituals. The

Bangla New Year, for our majority rural

population is indeed a ‘new year’. Secondly,

(Boishakh) is the first month of Bengali calendar. Named after the star Bishakha, Boishakh marks the

start of grishmakaal or summer as well. The first day of the month, known as Pohela Boishakh, is one of the

most significant festivals among the Bangalee community all over the world. Month-long events are arranged

to welcome the New Year as well as the season. Boishakh falls between 14 April and 14 May of the Gregorian


the Bangla New Year has a strong historical

and cultural foundation. Let’s take the

mongol sovajatra (auspicious procession) for

example. For decades now, marches by

different art schools have been organised. For

well over a month before Pohela Boishakh,

students prepare for the march. As a proud

nation that sacrificed blood for the cause of

our mother tongue and linguistic identity, we

have several special songs and poems written

by esteemed singers and poets for the

occasion. The sudden rush for panta ilish is

also a cultural undertone of Pohela Boishakh.

We all like to put on sarees and panjabis, get

close to family and people of the heart’s most

intimate affection, and get out for the day to

join the festivity!

On Pahlea Boishakh, Dhaka, a busy bustling

city, is extremely colourful. For this one day,

the city has more colours around and more

songs in the air than any other day of the year.

Exhibitions of cultural motifs based on Bangla

folklore that are transformed into various

artistic shapes are an important part of Pohela

Boishakh - in the fair grounds, in the marches,

in the open spaces, it is the birds, animals and

symbols that have been crafted on traditional

Bangla folk motives. Our women and girls,

even to this day, and even in the cities

meticulously draw alpona (traditional wall

painting) and paint shoras (earthen vessels) to

decorate their homes.

Tomorrow, the streets will be thronged with

the youth- the parks and gardens (of those

few remaining in this groping city) will

become lively with a celebrating crowd.

Tomorrow we will start a new day, a new year.

Our recent feats in international cricket and

the maritime victory on Myanmar through an

international court have re ignited our

nationalistic sentiments. In our 41 years as an

independent Bangla speaking nation, we have

had many rises and falls… we did fight bravely

for our freedom and heritage, but we have

also faltered a lot and bungled with our

freedom in many ways. Lack of leadership and

constructive vision has seen our country trail

behind in many aspects.

An aged freedom fighter very recently told

me that the generation of ‘71 has done all

they could. Today

the hope of the

country lies in its

youth. I believed

him and I agree

with him. It is the

time for the present

generations to

inculcate in them a

new zeal, a patriotic

social contract to

deliver their best

they can for their

country and people.

Tomorrow, we will

start our new year

and perhaps a new

era. A small story will go a great way to what I

have to say.

A man, very eager to be rich, went to visit a

great sage living in a very remote village. It

was said that the magical sage could make

anyone rich as long as he just wished to do so.

But nobody knew exactly where the sage lived.

There was no road to reach the village and it

was feared that many miles of dense jungle

had to be crossed to reach the place.

The desperate man cut through bushes, and

cut through swamps for a whole week. He

finally reached the sage’s remote home. But

there was no one. The sage had died a long

time ago and no one in the outside locality

had known. Hanging by a thread at the door

was a parchment. The parchment, hanging by

the narrow thread twirled with the wind. The

man opened the parchment. On it the sage had

written, ‘My children, now that I am dead I can

no more change fortune by my wishful thinking.

For you, my children, I leave behind the magical

three step shortcut to success. To know the

short cut dig below the bamboo shade in my

courtyard. You will discover a secret every time

you dig through a certain height.’

The desperate man found a shovel and

started digging wildly. After having dug 5

feet deep, and having accumulated a pile of

soil, he found another similar parchment. On

it was written: “The first secret shortcut to

success: TRY”. The man was in a hurry to know

more. He kept digging. After going down

another 5 feet, he found a similar parchment

with the engravings: “The second secret

shortcut to success: TRY AGAIN.” The man had

no time to decipher what it meant and he

kept digging. After yet another 5 feet of

digging, he found the last parchment. On it

was written: “TRY YET AGAIN, and spread the

word when you are successful.”

So folks, we all know what to do, just as a

Turkish proverb says, ‘If it is dark, do not

complain, light a candle instead!’
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