Carnival of Souls: Pohela Boisakh 1419 in BNW

Pohela Baisakh means The First of Baisakh whereas the Baisakh is the first of the 12 months in Bengali calendar.  The Bengali speaking people of Bangladesh and  West Bengal celebrates this event with great enthusiasm. It is the biggest secular festival in Bangladesh in which people from all religions and sect participate together. That’s why it is called “Carnival of the Bengali soul”. Through Pohela Baisakh the face of the rich , colorful culture and heritage of the people of this area is expressed. It’s celebrated in 14th of April in Gregorian Calendar.

The Bengali calendar was Formulated by Fatehullah Sirazi in order of the then Mughal Emperor Akbar The Great. During Mughal  era agricultural taxes were collected according to Hijri calendar which follows the lunar calendar and didn’t coincide with the agricultural cycle. So in order of Akbar the Fasli San ( Agriculture calendar) was enacted compiling both Hindu and Hijri calendar and it was called Bangabda.

Color is one of the main attraction of Pohela Baisakh. The exuberance of  color seen in this day is remarkable and it is another proof that the Bengal is the land of colors. In this photo essay all the photographs are shot in black and white rather than color as a part of an experimentation to catch Pohela Baisakh in monochromes. The location is the centre of urban celebration Dhaka University. So the series of photographs is my representation of witnessing the event in an urban setup which is bit  different than the original rural ways of celebration and I tried to convey the feelings I gathered in the  one day journey  through the carnival of souls.

It was 7:30 a.m in the morning of 14th april and the first rays of sun was burning the earth. Yet people started coming like flood. The festive mood was all there with balloons, flags, banner etc and there was the Doreamon.

The Crowd approaching towards the centre of Urban celebration of Pohela Baisakh, Dhaka University.

The Bengali Calendar is also called Fasli San ( Agriculture calendar). The main purpose of the calendar was to help the farmers. Today after our independence from Pakistan we celebrate it more widespreadly than ever but have we ever thought of the backbone of our country, the Farmers, the rural people who gave us all we have got. We could say we are independent now but did we ensure the freedom of our farmers?  The Farmer Freedom Movement is still in posters today after 40 years of independence.

14th April 2001/ 1st Baisakh 1408 a terrorist attack on the culture function of Ramna Batmul killed 10 and injured over 50. Since then the security is tight with all the armed polices, RAB, secret service, cc cameras, sensors, gadgets and other security items.

The Mongol Sobhajatra (The Wellfare Parade) is one of the main attraction of Pohela Baisakh. In Dhaka it starts from the Charukala (The fine arts institute) and advances upto Shahbag More and ends in the Charukala again. The parade is accompanied by big elephants, boats, devils and a overwhelming cheerful crowd.

The devil, bird and the photographer.

Inside the parade.

The devil and the youth.

Two ladies on a nagordola a local ferries wheel.

A variety of traditional dresses are seen in the day, Dhuti, panjabi, fatua and also western dresses.

Pran (Soul) of Bengalis Lalon and Baul artists.

The New year’s day brings in an exceptional joy for lovers all around the country. Dunno how much the  boyfriend enjoys (:P) the girlfriend surely enjoys their heart out. On this particular day allmost all the ladies wear Sarees and clay or wooden ornaments.

The family’s day out.

The day the boys stood still.

Nagordolla- The Ferries wheeel of bengal.

A member of APBN deployed for security reason at the Dhaka University area. Its disgusting to be on duty on such a festive day. His eyes was impatient he was watching every colors (:P) of the pohela boisakh with his one eye and with the other he was giving his duty.

It was about 5 pm and the place was crowded with huge amount of people all gathered for the concert. The crowd sang and danced their heart out leaving behind yet another year and building high hopes about the new one.

At 5:30 the Guru was on the stage. James is called the Guru of Bangladesh rock music and he is also called the Jim Morrison of the subcontinent. A fanatic fan went to trance state while the Guru was playing.





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