14 April 2019
(Prepared by Farid Hossain, Minister (Press)
Headline: BD Delhi mission celebrates Pahela Baishakh
New Delhi, April 14: It was a Sunday with a difference.
On this Pahela Baishakh, the Bangla New Year’s Day 1426, Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi wore a festive look.
Children, in coulourful dress, women in red-bordered sari and men in pyjama-punjabi greeted each other with Shubho Naboborsho in celebration of Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla Naboborsho. This has been an ancient tradition of the Bangalees since Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced it in 1556 to facilitate tax collection in the harvesting season.
It was a day of music, dance, Mangal Shobhajatra and enjoying the traditional Bangla food as the Delhi mission joined the compatriots at home and all over the world to welcome the day with Rabindranath Tagore’s “Esho heh BaishaikhEsho..” (Come, on Baishakh, Come.)
With the beat of drums and dugdugi (a trational musical instrument) children, accompanied by women, went round the mission’s Maitree Hall in staging the MangalShobhajatra waving replicas of birds, animals, boats, palank and masks highlighting the spirit of secularism and cultural tradition of Bangalees. They were greeted with thunderous applause from the audience comprising the Bengali community of New Delhi and the members of the mission.
The MangolShobhajatra (the procession of good wishes) is a tribute to the secular feature of the festival that has evolved over the years and became an integral part of Bangladesh’s struggle for political and cultural freedom from the tyranny of Pakistan, of which Bangladesh was a part until its independence achieved through a War of Liberation in 1971.
The event also signifies the eternal fight of the good against the evil.
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It has been a part of the tradition since late 80s, organized by the teachers and students of Bangladesh Fine Arts Institute. The Unesco has recently recognized the pageant as the intangible cultural heritage of the humanity.
Syed Muazzem Ali, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India, wrote in his PahelaBaishakh article in the Indian Express, wrote how Chhayanaut, a premier cultural organization, used the celebration of PahelaBaishakh as a tool to fight the religious oppression of Pakistan regime.
It was Chhayanaut which first held a public music event at RamnaBatamul in 1967 in celebration of PahelaBaishakh. “That marked the beginning of the Bengali nobobarsha in the capital city of Dhaka,” wrote the high commissioner. “The Pakistani authorities did not look at this development favourably and various attempts were made to kill this initiative. The more they tried to suppress the indomitable Bengali spirit, the more fiercely we resisted and the crowd kept getting bigger every year.”
No to Hilsa fish. The New Delhi mission has decided against offering Hilsa fish, a Bengali delicacy, to guests in response to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s call urging people not to eat the fish at this time. Only mother hilsa, ready to lay eggs, are available at this time of the season. So, catching mother Hilsa is seen as a culinary offense in Bangladesh. Instead of Hilsa Ruhi fish was served with Bhua Khichuri, murighanta, bhaji and bhorta in true Bengali tradition.
The programme was rounded off with a musical soiree by a cultural troupe led by artist Samina Dey Urmi.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to India, Syed Muazzem Ali speaking on the occasion of celebration of Pehla Baishak at New Delhi on April 14, 2019
Madam Tuhfa Zaman Ali, wife of Bangladesh High commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali felicitating the artists on the occasion of Pehla Boishak programme at Bangladesh High commission New Delhi on 14 April 2019
Wives of the officers of the mission and children staged a 'mongal shobhajatra' procession at Bangladesh High Commission New Delhi on April 14, 2019
Children of staff members of the Mission staged a 'Mongalshobhajatra' procession at Bangladesh High Commission, New Delhi on 14 April, 2014
Wives of the officers of the mission their children and children of staff members staged a 'mongal shobhajatra' procession at Bangladesh High Commission new delhi on April 14, 2019