After the Liberation War of Bangladesh, it was only the second time that Chhayanaut cancelled its Pohela Boishakh celebration in 2020. This year too, the Ramna Batamul festival ground will remain silent
Celebrated across the country, Pohela Boishakh is the first day of the Bangla calendar. This celebration is deep-rooted in the nation’s cultural identity; it is a common symbol against all odds and communalism.
As dawn breaks, thousands swarm to the Ramna Batamul festival ground to ring in the Bangla New Year. This has been the tradition for years.
Chhayanaut, a leading cultural organization in the country, greets the new year with songs of Pohela Boishakh, poetry recitations, and traditional songs.
However, in 2020, amid the pandemic, Chhayanaut announced that the organization would not go forward with its programs.
Rather, the organization provided food and other necessities to the poor and the homeless, who had to bear the brunt of the pandemic.
This year, the country has been again seeing a steep rise in Covid-19 deaths and infections in the last few weeks, with the highest ever single-day death tally and caseload recorded in the country in the past couple of days.
In light of the ongoing crisis, on April 14, Bangladesh is set to go into another week-long lockdown with strict measures. And the ongoing lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 has been extended till 6am on April 14.
Under these circumstances, Chhayanaut has decided not to pursue its initial plan of holding a program on a limited scale at the Ramna Batamul festival ground. A few of the artistes, who were set to perform, have also tested positive for Covid -19.
“We are devastated. Amid these bleak times, this traditional festival could have brought some joy to everyone struggling around the country; we ask for the nation’s forgiveness for our helplessness. However, we have to stem the spread of the virus to the best of our capability and keep hoping for better days ahead,” a press release from Chhayanaut read.