Trinamool Congress (AITC) MP Mahua Moitra today lashed out at the BJP, reiterating vehemently that the opposition party would never win West Bengal for its ‘mistake’ that it celebrates Hinduism and reminds people of its glorious history that British and leftist education tried to obliterate. As Bengalis across the world mark the beginning of a new year, Moitra said that many were putting a religious spin to the festival.
“Woke up to see @BJP wishing people “Happy Hindu New Year”. Radicalisation is complete. Its Poila Baisakh for us. Celebrated as New Year in West Bengal AND Bangladesh,” she tweeted, showcasing her ignorance. She used the uncharitable moniker “flea-brained haters” to describe her party’s political rival.
Over the last couple of days, Twitter has exploded into a flurry of greetings as various parts of India celebrated the beginning of a new year. In West Bengal, today, 15 April is being celebrated as the traditional new year day of the Bengali community. Also called Poila Boishakh, it marks the first day of the first month (Baishakh) of the sidereal Bengali calendar. The festival is marked with fervour by Bengali communities across the world, especially in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and neighbouring Bangladesh.
In case you were wondering, while many of the new year celebrations taking place across the country do indeed originate from the traditional Hindu calendar, vested interests have for centuries denied a similar history of Poila Baishakh.
Half-baked historians like economist Amartya Sen and blogger Shoaib Daniyal say that the Bengali calendar was derived from a calendar made during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar that combined the lunar Islamic calendar and solar Hindu calendar. Banglapedia, an encyclopedic series put forth by the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, contends that Pahela (sic) Baishakh originated during Akbar’s reign after Fatehullah Shirazi, a commissioned worker Bangladeshis consider a scholar, formulated the Bangla year on the basis of the two calendars.