The weather in the Indian capital was just right for ushering in the Noboborsho – cool breeze, chunks of clouds gliding across an azure sky and the smell of rain in the distance.
But what was even more in sync with the advent of the New Year was the enthralling performance of Lalon songs by one of its exponents Farida Parveen at the Pahela Baishakh function this year at the Maitree Hall of the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi.
The nearly two-hour function was a tribute to Lalon Fakir, whose message of religious tolerance is more relevant than ever in the subcontinent today -- when bigotry often tends to rear its ugly head.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali set the mood by welcoming the packed audience comprising diplomats of different countries, Indian officials, cultural activists and Bangladeshi expatriates and students studying here. He said while the harvesting of crops mark the beginning of New Year and is celebrated with much joy and fanfare in Bangladesh, in Delhi “We will try to share some of the joy with you this evening.”
The mood was enhanced when Farida Parveen, flown from Dhaka along with her troupe specially for the function, belted out several folk and baul songs; “Ei Padma, Ei Meghna”, “Shey Ekhon Ghomta Pora Kajol Bodhu”, “ O-hey Doyaban”, “Bari'r Kache Arshi Nagar”, “Parey Loye Jao Amaye”, “Khanchar Bhitor Achin Pakhi”, “Roopkotha'r ei Nouka”, “Shob Lokey Koy Lalon Ki Jaat Songsarey”, “Teen Pagoley Holo Mela”, “Milon Hobey Koto Diney” and “Somoy Geley Sadhon Hobey Na”.
Besides, Gazi Abdul Hakim performed Bangla folk on the flute. Other members of the troupe were ASM Reza (dhol), Debendranath Chatterjee (tabla player, music director & rhythm composer) and Delwar Hossain (dotara).
The singer said she felt that to become a true Lalon singer one had to imbibe his philosophy and Sufism.
“I am in the process of translating the songs of Lalon in Hindi and will be releasing the album soon in Delhi,” she said.
No Pahela Baishakh celebration is complete without food and a spread of simple traditional culinary delights were spread out for the guests -- kichudi, Dhaka hilsa fry, brinjal fry and payesh.
Earlier, an essay competition among the Bangladeshi children was also organised.