Dhaka, Bangladesh
Stages set to ring in the new

Stages set to ring in the new

High security around venues for Baishakhi bash

News Report Stages are set across Bangladesh, including the Batamul heartland of the bash, for celebrating the Bengali New Year today amid assurances of no security risk. Apart from the main podium at Batamul and the lush green Ramna Park around, all venues for funfair are decorated for artists to sing and dance when the Bengalis in Bangladesh and elsewhere will be ringing out the old and ringing in the new at sunrise. Open-air concerts, musical soirees, recitation, band music, traditional rural games and acrobatics feature the Pahela Baishakhi programmes, arranged by educational institutions, clubs and socio-cultural outfits. A main feature of the celebrations is Mongol Shovajatra pageant annually arranged by the Institute of Fine Arts of Dhaka University. Among the programmes are also a cultural function and feast at the National Press Club and a daylong funfair at Banani Bidyaniketan, arranged by Primeasia University. Holidaymakers on the occasion will throng sea resorts, amusement parks and recreation sites, including Shilpakala Academy premises, Rabindra Sarabar and Hatirjheel in the capital. At daybreak singers of Chhayanaut will sing out from Ramna Batamul the traditional theme song 'Esho hey Baishakh, esho, esho' to welcome the year 1426 on the Bengali calendar in the hope of wellbeing next burying behind all the odds and adversities. The entire expanse of Ramna Park covered with vernal boughs is placed under security blanket by various law-enforcing agencies for a secure carnival. Security bulwark around the venue is warranted by a past carnage down the Batamul concert stage. A series of bomb explosions on 14 April 2001 during the Pahela Baishakh celebrations left ten people, including Shujan, a Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami militant, dead and many more wounded, reports say. Assurances of secure celebrations came from the home minister and the chiefs of the law-enforcing agencies on the eve of the Bengali New Year. "We've no alarm-our security agencies are alert all over the country," said the minister, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal. Yet, conscientious sections of society advise all to keep aware and alert about any predatory act of evil. A prognosis came from an outrageous incident on the Dhaka University campus. A stage prepared for a Baishakhi concert at Mal Chhattar of DU was set ablaze in the early hours of Saturday. Some activists of a faction of Bangladesh Chhatra League were blamed. This happy occasion has a history. It was 1556 and Emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar was looking for a unification code for entire Mughal Empire. But things were very problematic with taxation of the subjects following the lunar calendar, as it was not supported by the climate of the Indian subcontinent. The Mogul monarch applied a brilliant idea to come out of this crisis, and he implemented solar calendar again in place of the lunar one, which paved way for the Bengali New Year celebration on Pahela Baishakh.

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