Pahela Baishakh holds a special meaning for noted singers Rafiqul Islam and Abida Sultana. Years ago on this momentous day they were married.
Naturally as Pahela Baishakh comes around, it is cause for a double celebration. Going back down the years, Rafiqul Islam and Abida Sultana talked about what the festival means to them:
Some thoughts of Pahela Baishakh in your early years?
Abida: My father was posted in Munshiganj where we celebrated the day for about five years. We used to feast on sweets and I performed at several music shows. Later, when we settled in Dhaka the festival was celebrated with songs and plays at my grandmother's house in Siddeshshori.
Rafiqul: I spent my childhood in Rajshahi. On Pahela Baishakh, the opening of hal khata (new ledgers) was an important event. The fair at Rajshahi's Dargapara was also a major attraction.
You two got married on Pahela Baishakh. What does the day mean to you?
Abida: Not just that, we first met that day. We also performed a duet on the first day of the Bangla New Year and finally we tied the knot one Pahela Baishakh.
Rafiqul: In those days, in Rajshahi, Muslims weddings were arranged on the basis of the calendar and according to that there was no date for the wedding a day before “Chaitra Sankranti”. I still remember that there was a heavy downpour the day after our wedding.
What about your first Baishakh celebrations after your marriage?
Abida: At the time we lived in Banglamotor and took part in a musical soiree.
Have your ever celebrated your wedding anniversary abroad?
Rafiqul: Several times for professional reasons. Once we went to perform in Rome, Italy, on Pahela Baishakh. The event was deeply appreciated by the packed audience.
Do you still visit Ramna Botomul on the day?
Abida: Earlier, we used to visit regularly and enjoyed the chorus to usher in the first day of Pahela Baishakh. But as it gets very crowded now, we usually refrain from it.