Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home

 

The history of the Bangla calendar

The history of the Bangla calendar is muddled and confused, like many of our histories. But it is relatively easy to pick a logical path through the contradicting beliefs.

The most common belief is that the Mughal Emperor Akbar had this calendar formulated around 1584. The calendar used by the Mughals was the Hijri calendar, which is lunar. This caused some problems with the taxpayers, who were mostly farmers, since the months did not coincide with harvesting cycle. So Amir Fatehullah Shiraji was charged with making the necessary calculations for this calendar. The starting date for this new calendar was set at 1556, the date of Akbar's acquisition of the throne. At the starting moment, the Bangla year was taken to be the same as the Hijri year,

There are some arguments against this theory. Some people ask why the names of the months are in Sanskrit if Muslims formed the calendar. There is also the matter of Hindu festivals, the dates of which are calculated using a mixture of both lunar days and Bangla calendar.

The answer is pretty simple. The names of the months were determined using the Surya Siddhanta, a complex calculation that calculates the Sun's position in the sky. But this is not the only calendar in the area mind you. Such calendars were already is use, parallel to the Hindu calendar. What is commonly thought is, Akbar took a Hindu calendar and modified it slightly to suit the harvesting seasons. The dates would still be parallel to the Hindu calendar. Why call it the Bengali calendar? To please the freedom-crazed Bangalees, probably the most unruly people during the span of the Mughal era.

This calendar was later modified in 1966, by a committee headed by Dr Muhammad Shahidullah, one of the best linguists and scholars this country has ever seen. This committee modernized the calendar and introduced the leap year. It is the form that is used today. The first five months of the year are 31 days long, the rest only 30 days. And Falgun has the leap day of the leap year. The leap year is based on the Gregorian calendar. This calendar was officially adopted in Bangladesh in 1987, though the people of West Bengal follow a slightly different calendar.

Overall, this is a well-known calendar in South and South East Asia. There are many countries that follow this calendar due to its compatibility with the harvest season.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a parade to attend to. [Incidentally, the parades started from the mid-80s].
References: wikipedia and the internet.

By Kazim Ibn Sadique


The inauguration of
“Chotto Amra Shishu”


"Less is more” is the motto that motivates the instigator behind the first of its kind organization 'Chotto Amra Shishu', Sharif Hasan Khondoker. On Sunday, the 12th of April, in Gulshan's Club Amazon, this organization started its tentative journey.

Khondoker's wish was always to teach young children, especially those not as privileged as us, to learn and to believe in their dreams of becoming somebody someday. Despite his family's pessimistic views, he went ahead with his idea and formed this organization to help children learn through playing and other entertaining activity. His mission was to take those who've been told that they have 'no hope', like he was told by his family, and show them a way defying everyone's expectations.

The inauguration ceremony organized by Samin & Safir Ltd. started around 7:30. The event was initiated by Khondoker and followed by speeches from Special Guest the eminent writer Mofidul Huq and Chief Guest A. A. M. S Arefin Siddique honorable Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University. The program culminated with songs from the 'Chotto Amra Shishu' team.

The organization is launching educational Toys, CD's etc to help children learn the basics, such as Bengali alphabets, numbers, colours, etc, from a very young age simultaneously while at play.

The objective of Khondoker is to bring the concept of 'education through entertainment' to the children of Bangladesh. The organization believes that this is the first time the concept of 'edutainment' is being applied successfully in Bangladesh.

By Musarrat Rahman

 


 

home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2009 The Daily Star