The Boishakhi procession of
charukola: how it all started
We celebrated Pohela Boishakh last week. As anyone living in Dhaka will know, one of the highlights of the Bengali New Year programmes is the Charukola procession, vibrant in all its colours and flavours. We at the RS managed to catch up with some of the people involved in making the magic happen, and now, join us as we take you behind the scenes.
Who were behind
this wonderful idea?
was the inspiration?
obstacles did they face?
it the sole endeavour of students?
made the teachers change their minds?
was the budget problem solved?
is the route of the procession?
Charukola have other cultural programmes?
There you have it, folks, the low-down on the procession that makes every Pohela Boishakh worth remembering. Bet you can't wait for the next one!
Special thanks to Aminur Rashid, Anupom Huda and Shaheed Ahmed Mithu
By Durdana Ghias
My first talk with
her was over the phone
National new year in the international world
Far far away from their home sweet home, many Bengalis will tell you about the overwhelming feelings they get when they meet another "rare" similar kind on the streets. It may be true to say that only special occasions can truly unite all these Bengalis living abroad, and nothing is more distinctive, traditional and entertaining than celebrating Pohela Boishakh.
In countries where there aren't very many Bengalis, the Embassy of Bangladesh organizes a function to get all the people together. In places where the number of Bengalis is quite large, the festival is arranged by others and takes place inside a hall or a hotel.
Most of the time this arrangement is known as the "one dish" party where each family is to bring in customary home cooked dishes such as aloo bhorta/bhaji, panta bhaat and all kinds of vegetable dishes cooked in the most mouth-watering, eye popping, spicy kind of ways possible. The credit however goes to whoever can bring in the exquisite hilsha dish (most probably the biggest and most expensive ones found). This dish, you will find, goes empty within minutes of arrival. So, if you don't participate in the marathon for one of the "hilsha cups", you will loose your chance to taste the miracle of the year and you may also feel miserable on not being able to gossip about it later on!
Among the crowd there is always that group of people (mostly teens) who complain about the party. They tell tales about how they could be having fun hanging out elsewhere or how the food here "sucks" and the extra influenced ones will blabber in the most deformed Bangla and English (!) ever. However, they will never leave the party on an empty stomach because even those who hate vegetables will dig in!
Now, before actually diving into the dinning hall, everyone is seated to be entertained by traditional singers and dancers. Their performances always bring a tear to the eyes of the elder folks. There are also a few skits and mimes displayed in the form of comedy about the daily lives of the village people. The function of course has the presence of the honourable ambassador of both countries and many other distinguished guests take part in giving out speeches about our nation. While all this takes place, many enthusiastic Bengalis take photographs of the performers (probably the only thing that shows the real Bengali culture abroad).
When the occasion is over some people invite others for dinner and so. It is time for goodbyes for most people and they return back to their normal lives, and some even back to their "non-Bengali" lifestyles. Events like these can make them feel like they're at home again for a little while, where one is able to speak Bangla, crack Bangla jokes and definitely start up a hot argument on this country's politics! Away from relatives, these other Bengalis met on the streets become a part of your family and you only wait for another occasion or another Pohela Boishakh to meet again.
By Shayera Moula
Sar·casm. n. 1. A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.' Sharp words from the American Heritage Dictionary. Sarcasm can, at times offer a whole new meaning to the phrase 'piss-off'' and at others, have you rolling on the floor laughing (like in the case of Chandler's quirky ones[Friends] or that Iraqi minister with his 'the infidels will never reach Baghdad' speeches). Sarcasm is an incredibly powerful instrument indeed. It has the ability to charm, it can positively help out in those oh-so-awkward situations and it works great when it comes to self defense (or offence for that matter). And most people who are believed to be gregarious/outgoing or popular know how to utilize it.
There are basically two styles of sarcasm. First and foremost, there is the harmless sarcasm. This is applicable when it is not used to satirize others, but to make fun of, say the situation one might be in, or perhaps to get out of an awkward situation. Sometimes it is used merely to lighten things up a bit. For instance, a couple of days ago my car was at the garage, so my sister and I were taking a stroll when all of a sudden it started raining heavily.
My sister was quick to comment, 'See, if all days were like this, we wouldn't even need a car!' Harmless sarcasm too can get someone irked when it is inapt for the time or circumstances. For example, in one of the episodes of friends, Ross and his friends were at the hospital as his wife was about to have a baby. However, his wife was still in a cab trapped in a traffic jam. When Ross told everyone about this, Rachel remarked, 'Well, how bad could it be. I mean the cab driver will probably take a couple of bucks for the first contraction and then 50 cent for each that follows!'(not her exact words)
And then comes the sort of sarcasm that is intended to mock or ridicule someone. It can be employed as an offensive manoeuvre, like when that geeky kid in your class comes up to you and asks if he/she can come to your party that weekend, and you say, 'oh even Eminem's going to want to come if you come to the party! Sorry, you're just not pathetic enough!' Or when at the Oscars this year, some guy (don't remember who it was) observed, 'the world is so dissimilar from what it was 20 year ago. Bush was the president, the economy was on a downslide, and we had just come out of a war with Iraq' Bush being the mark sounds like a true Bangladeshi, doesn't it?
The defensive comes into play when someone has said something awful regarding you, etc., and its your turn to strike back. Like when a friend says that you're looking 'dreadful in that shirt you have on', and you say, 'yea, and you're looking so much better in those off-the-footpath Ts. Andre must be a one of your greatest idols when it comes to clothing!' Or when somebody says that they thoroughly ripped you off with those curtains and you hit back 'yea, you're right! SHOULD have bought one of those second hand curtains that YOU got for how much again? Ten bucks?'
Hey, I'm not implying that you should pass a bill to make sarcasm illegal (punishable by death by Chinese torture!) or issue licenses for the use of sarcasm or something because that would make life particularly dreary to live (leading to more suicides and fewer people!). Bottom line (literarily and otherwise) is that sarcasm is a very, very powerful tool in the right hands, and a very dangerous weapon in the wrong ones. So use it wisely or you just might end up paying for it later (BIG TIME!).
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2003 The Daily Star