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Have a great New Year

Have a great New Year

Author: Kanchan Gupta
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 15, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/169640/Have-a-great-New-Year.html

It's reassuring to know that the Jamaat-e-Islami and its Islamist affiliates have failed in their singular pursuit of transplating the Bangla culture of Bangladesh with their vulgar version of 'Arab culture' which, they believe, is synonymous with Islam. During the wasted years of BNP-Jamaat rule when Begum Khaleda Zia was busy helping her sons Tareq and Koko to loot the country, the Islamists let loose a reign of terror with the help of criminals like 'Bangla Bhai' - since despatched to the other world by the caretaker Government - to impose their writ. The Jamaatis, who had collaborated with the Pakistani Army in its brutal rape of Bangladesh during the liberation war of 1971, were set upon Talibanising the country. As part of their evil agenda, they imposed a ban on honouring the martyrs of February 21, 1952, who had opposed the attempt to replace Bengali with Urdu. 'Ekushey' fell victim to Islamist ire, as did another great day in the Bangla calendar: Poila Boishakh, heralding the Bengali New Year.

Thankfully, the Islamists have failed in their mission. The military-backed caretaker Government reinstated the observance of Martyrs Day on February 21 and the celebration of Poila Boishakh which is also referred to as Borsho Boron, or welcoming the new year, on the other other side of Padma. With the Awami League back in power and Sheikh Hasina Wajed at the helm of a democratically elected Government, Bangla culture, brutalised by the Islamists, is being nourished back to robust health. As much was evident on Tuesday in Dhaka when tens of thousands of Bangladeshis came out on the streets to join the Poila Boishakh celebrations.

Tragically, even as Bangla culture flourishes in Bangladesh, in this country, especially in West Bengal, it has lost much of its sheen. We may not have Islamists on the march, but bogus multiculturalism and an over-arching desire to be seen as 'cosmpolitan' have reduced Bangalis in India to rootless wonders who speak a strange language, eat paneer masaala and listen to Bhangra. Self-loathing has taken a terrible toll of all that was unique about being a Bangali no matter where you lived: Nirad C Chaudhuri would wear a dhuti at home in Oxford and serve a Bangali meal to his guests. Ask a Bangali in Kolkata what being a Bangali means, he or she would be stumped for an answer. What the Islamists couldn't achieve, the Marxists have. Hopefully, Bangladesh will keep Bangaliana alive.

Shubho Nobo Borsho.

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