State Minister for Cultural Affairs, KM Khalid, said the cultural programme to celebrate Pohela Boishakh at Ramna Batamul started as a means to protest the attack on Bangla language and culture in Pakistan times and has now become a part of universal culture.
Khalid said this on Tuesday, speaking at the virtual event 'Amar Boishakh 1428,' organised by the online platform of the Women and e-Commerce Forum (WE).
"During Ayub Khan's rule, Bangla language was routinely attacked and to protest this, Bangla songs were played in the early hours of Boishakh at Ramna Batamul. Since then, the particular practise has stood the test of time and become a universal festival," Khalid added.
The State Minister also praised the Women and e-Commerce Forum (WE) for doing a great job in spreading Bangla culture and products worldwide.
Reminiscing about the Boishakhi celebrations in her childhood, Hosne Ara Begum, managing director (Secretary) of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, said, "I have had to live in different places because of my father's sugar mill job. Fairs were held in those places during Boishakh and we would go there. I remember having a bit of money with me one time and I spent it to buy bangles for eight annas."
Additional Secretary (Planning and Development) of the ICT Division, Dr Bikarna Kumar Ghosh, said during the event, "In our childhood, there were not so many programmes, nor were there so many opportunities to celebrate. But our celebrations were lively and the whole neighbourhood would turn festive."
"We were given a bowl of payesh to eat in the morning or in the afternoon, and we shared it with great pleasure. I believe that we need to spread this culture more widely," Ghosh added.
Founder President of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), Razib Ahmed, said these days there are significant economic activities involving Pohela Boishakh. Keeping this in mind, on April , his organisation celebrates e-CAB day, and e-CAB week is observed from 1 April.
"Orders that arrive during this time are delivered within two days so that everyone can celebrate the Bangla New Year in new clothes and with traditional products," he added.
Founder of WE, Nasima Akter Nisha, said that due to the impending lockdown, the programme had to be organised a day before Pohela Boishakh. She said that WE organised a similar virtual programme last year.
Regarding Boishakhi shopping, she said "it is happening on virtual platforms. Since last year, our platform has boomed and nearly one million members joined our group in the midst of lockdowns."
Nisha further called on everyone to extend cooperation and care for each other in these trying times in the spirit of Boishakh.
The programme started with Shampa Reza and Purnima Pew performing 'Esho He Boishakh,' and was moderated by Farzana Tanni.