Baishakh abar asho!
The history of the Shobhajatra dates back only from 1989, yet Mangal Shobhajatra is now a signature event in the celebration of Pahela Baishakh; inseparable from our renewed mindset as Bengalis. Tradition, some assume, has to pass the test of time — centuries if not millennia. But truth be told, a tradition becomes a tradition only when it defines what we stand for. Time is irrelevant. While the genesis of the idea was to create a platform for the rejection of an autocratic regime, the eventual form now has global acknowledgement. Just as the initiation of the dawn gala of Chhayanaut at Ramna Batamul had its roots in re-defining the notion of Bengali in the '60s, the Shobhajatra is possibly a renewed, reinterpretation of that same definition for this generation. As a fund raiser, students of Charukala arrange a sale of watercolors by teachers and students of the faculty. It also includes sale of masks and other traditional handicrafts preceding the main event on 14 April. Water colours enchant us and it would not be wrong to assume that the Bangladeshi art scene nurtures a soft corner for this vibrant medium. This is thus a unique opportunity for art lovers to acquire works at reasonable prices. Not only does it promote the actual event, by in a deeper level support what we are, our identity. Make sure to pay a visit to Charukala, and if it's on the eve of Pahela Baishakh, the events will dazzle even the most cynical minds who still scream, "Not my tradition!"
Photo: Shahrear Kabir Heemel