I wish readers a very happy Pahela Boishakh!
For several years now, the days preceding the first day in the Bangla calendar (Pahela Boishakh) have seen campaigns triggered by communal impulses and aimed at divisive politics. On the one hand, there is the rise of a certain kind of postmodernism which interprets any form of secular practices as nationalistic and then tears into it, claiming it as an oppressive model, and on the other, there is outright rejection of our secular roots by various extremist elements. While the latter show themselves in unashamed glory on platforms such as Hefajat-e-Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami, Hijbut Tahrir, Ansar-al- Islam etc., the former masquerade as preachers of “political correctness”, concealing their communal propaganda behind a veil of long, cumbersome sentences that drop names and terms like bombs but do not make much sense.
We have found both groups spreading messages of hate against certain writers, religions and festivities. In these postmodern times, their power has increased exponentially due to the virtual platforms where regressive hate campaigns grow unbridled. All the different strategies they take up to continue their campaigns tell us that the time to sit idle is over. While we must resist the temptation of lowering ourselves to the level of countering hate with hate, we need to create alternative platforms to establish the ethos that religion resolves tension instead of spreading it, that secularism is not a threat to any religion, and that the theory of progress we believe in upholds diversity as well as the democratic rights of all religions and races.
With this vision in mind, I wish readers a very happy Pahela Boishakh!