Pahela Baishakh has no conflict with religion: PM

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DHAKA : Describing Pahela Baishakh celebration as completely a Bangalee culture, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called for celebrating the festival in a peaceful and festive manner.

“The celebration of Pahela Baishakh is fully a Bangalee culture, which the Bangalees have been practising years after years … It has no conflict or involvement with religion. Nobody should try to find conflicts between the two,” she said.

The premier said this while inaugurating the “grand musical dancing fountain” and amphitheater at Hatirjheel in the city on the eve of Bangla Nababarsha (new year).

Sheikh Hasina opened the largest grand musical dancing fountain in South Asia and amphitheater through videoconferencing from her official residence, Ganabhaban, here this morning.

The prime minister said everybody should stay alert so that Pahela Baishakh is celebrated in a peaceful and festive manner. “Pahela Baishakh is the only festival which the people of all religions celebrate together,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Emperor Akbar started celebrating Pahela Baishakh during the Mughal regime. “From that time, Bangla Nababarsha is being celebrated and now it has become a universal festival of all faiths,” she said.

The prime minister said Bangla Nababarsha has a connection with economic activities of the Bangalees. “On this day, they start their business afresh by opening halkhata (new tally book) and making the day festive,” she added.

Sheikh Hasina said Mangal Shobhajatra (procession welcoming new year) has been recognised as a world heritage by the UNESCO. “Mangal Shobhajatra is not a matter of religion,” she said.

She said making earthen elephant, horse, pots and pans and preparing flowers with paper are part of Bangalee culture and tradition and it has been continuing over the years.

Like that, she said, Baishakhi fairs were held at different parts of the capital, including Azimpur, New Market and Plassey areas as well as across the country providing entertainment to the people. “In this way the tradition of Bangla Nababarsha has been built,” she said.

At the outset of her speech, the Prime Minister extended her heartiest greetings to the countrymen on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh and said “grand musical dancing fountain” and amphitheater at Hatirjheel are her Nababarsha gifts to the city-dwellers and the countrymen.

The amphitheater and the largest musical dancing fountain in South Asia, with capacity of 2000 audience, have been constructed on the water of Hatirjheel lake to give a new facelift to the Hatirjheel project.

Bangladesh Army’s Special Works Organization (SWO-West) implemented the project with the patronization of Housing and Public Works Ministry, Rajdhani Unnayan Katripakhya (RAJUK) and Dhaka WASA.

Chief of Army Staff General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Haque also spoke at the function.

Project Director Major General Abu Sayeed Mohammad Masud highlighted various key features of the fountain and amphitheater through a power point presentation.

Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury and LGRD Minister Engineer Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain were present on the dais, while PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury moderated the function.

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