Vol. 5 Num 664 Mon. April 10, 2006  
Star City

Welcoming Pahela Baishakh
Preparation on in full swing

It's time for getting into the festive mood. City dwellers are preparing to welcome Pahela Boishakh the first day of Bangla New Year, the biggest festival of Bengalis, with much fanfare and festivity.

One part of the celebrations concentrated within the Dhaka University (DU) campus, has been taking place since 1989. Students of the Institute of Fine Arts initiated a trend of bringing out a colourful rally with festoons, masks and banners in the morning of Pahela Boishakh.

They begin their work at least two weeks before. Working day and night, mainly the first year students make the festoons, masks under the supervision of the teachers. Ratenswar Sutradhar, a student of Drawing and Painting department, said: "It is a great pleasure and honour for us.”

Till now, the celebration has been a sponsored event. But this year the institute decided to make the arrangements without a sponsor.

“The students came up with the brilliant idea of generating money by selling paintings and wall hanging made both by the students and teachers of the institute. We have already earned Tk 39,000 in last four days," said Ratenswar.

"Our teachers, famous artists including Qayyum Chowdhury and Rafiqun Nabi have promised to donate their paintings towards the fund raising programme," said Ujjal Ghosh, another student.

He also said that if sales continue in this manner, there would be a possibility of raising up to Tk 2,00,000 which would be more than enough to bear the expenses for the celebration.

Bitop Shobhon Bashar, another student said: "This year even former and senior and teachers, who are good in making the materials, have joined us. Everybody is working with a festive spirit, putting their heart and soul to work."

The programme at the institute will include songs, dances, Jatra Pala and face painting by the students of the institute.

The other part of the celebration that takes place at the Batamul of Ramna Park witnesses the largest gathering of people in festive mood. Chhayanaut, a cultural organisation has been organising programmes at the venue since 1967 to celebrate Pahela Boishakh. Khayrul Anam Shakil, Secretary of Chhayanaut, said that like every year the programme will start at 6:15am with about 50 artistes including 35 children -- students of Chhayanaut, who will perform 33 items including songs and poetry recitals.

The two and a half hour programme will be telecast live via satellite on Channel i. Preparations have already been completed and artistes are going through the final rehearsals.

Visiting the Ramna Batamul early in the morning of the first day of Bangla Nababarsha, became a significant event for the city dwellers especially after the bomb attacks at the venue in 2001.

Shakil said: "The bomb attack on the 2001 celebrations turned the event into a gory tale of deaths at Ramna Batamul in the city. Although we had feared that the number of audience would decrease the following year, we were stunned when we saw thousands of people turned up to celebrate with us and with each other defying all negativity."

Naturally authority takes special security arrangements in and around Ramna Park on the day. SM Mizanur Rahman, Commissioner, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), told Star City: "We will take tighter and stronger security measures this time. Like every year we will deploy a good number of armed forces to ensure no mishap take place this time."

A student of Institute of Fine Arts painting an earthen for Pahela Baishakh celebration. PHOTO: Syed Zakir Hossain