Countdown to Pahela Baishakh
Pahela Baishakh (first day of the Bengali year), the biggest celebration in secular Bengal, is just days away. One of the hubs of the Baishakhi celebration in the city -- Faculty of Fine Arts of University of Dhaka -- is abuzz with preparations. The Mongol Shobha Jatra brought out by the students and teachers of Faculty of Fine Arts (FFA) of Dhaka University is one of the major attractions of the Baishakhi celebration in Dhaka.
Students of FFA are racing towards finishing their preparations for another jubilant rally on Pahela Baishakh, 1419.
FFA students are raising funds for the Mongol Shobha Jatra through sale of watercolour paintings, lokkhishora, traditional terracotta gift items, masks and more. At the FFA premises students can be seen working on the paintings, traditional pottery and several other items which will be put on sale.
Dean of FFA Professor EHM Matlub Ali, Professor Nisar Hossain, artist Biren Shome, Professor Shishir Bhattacharya, Professor Nasreen Begum and others formally inaugurated this year's Baishakhi preparation through “shora” painting. The arrangement is open from 11am to 10pm everyday and will continue till Pahela Baishakh.
Apart from the grand rally, a cultural programme will also be held at Bakultala of FFA. Folk-themed cultural performances with Baul songs will dominate the event.
A jatrapala will also be held at FFA premises on the next day. Present and former students and teachers will enact different roles in the jatrapala titled "Bagdatta", written by Jatin Basak.
What also draw one's attention are the huge bamboo frames on which students are busy working on. They were working on replicas of a royal elephant, a folk tiger, Gazir pat and a peacock showing off its colourful plumage-- which will be among the main attractions of this year's Mongol Shobha Jatra.
"When we finish these huge structures, Professor Nisar Hossain, Professor Shishir Bhattacharya and Professor Abul Barq Alvi will choose this year's motif for the grand rally," informed Ashim Halder Sagar, a student of the 11th batch, FFA. This year the 11th batch students (Masters final year) are leading the preparations for the big occasion.
"Even though the 11th batch is leading the preparations; all current and former students as well as teachers of FFA for the Baishakhi preparations are working jointly. We don't receive any sponsors. We always try to raise funds through sales of artworks prepared by the students and teachers," said Sagar.
Prices of paintings range from Taka 500 to 5,000, while prices of painted shora start from Taka 500.
"A fundraising art exhibition featuring works of noted Bangladeshi artists and FFA teachers will open at Zainul Gallery 1 of FFA on April 1 and continue till Pahela Baishakh (April 14). Paintings by teachers will also be auctioned, which should fetch larger amounts," added Sagar.
Like every year the students will paint the walls of FFA marking Pahela Baishakh.
The 'Zainul Shishu Niketon' also known as 'School Ghar' at the FFA will also be decorated with colourful folk motifs such as birds, elephants, horses and other animals in the Shokher Hari (a painted clay pot).
This year the Mongol Shobha Jatra will go around the Doyel Chattar, Shahid Minar and Jagannath Hall and then return to FFA.