Md. Joynal Abdin
The Independent on January 7, 2018
Celebrating 31st Night or New Year’s Eve is also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day in many countries. Saint Sylvester’s Day is the day of the feast of Pope Sylvester I, a saint who served as Pope of the Western Church from 314 to 335 and oversaw both the First Council of Nicaea and Roman Emperor Constantine I’s conversion to Christianity. Among the Western Christian Churches, the feast day is held on the anniversary of Saint Sylvester’s death, 31 December, a date that, since the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, has coincided with New Year’s Eve. This is the most prominent historical reference about celebration of 31st night in the West mainly the Christian dominating societies. They used to organize social parties in this occasion and have alcoholic drinks with light shows and others. Probably Indian society has been adopted this 31st night celebration like so many other things from the British culture during the colonial period.
Many colonial habits injected to Indian cultures and became part and parcel of our daily life. We sometimes promoted those habits to show our loyalty to the western masters; sometime we wanted to place ourselves in the British level elite by adopting their cultures here in the colonial India. The eastern part of British India is dominated by the Bengali originated people. It is not unlikely to state that celebrating 31st night and New Year’s Eve is one of those western cultures adopted by the upper class people of the Bengali society to place themselves in British level elite class. Though is does not have any reference in Bengali Culture or does not permitted by the major religious believers of the Bengali society.
Not only the Gregorian calendar year have many other cultures celebrated respective New Years Eve today. For example the Pohela Boishakh (1st Day of Bengali New Year), The Chinese New Year (exact date can fall any time between January 21 and February 21), the Korean New Year or Seollal (the first day of the lunar calendar), The Vietnamese New Year or Tết Nguyên Đán (most times is the same day as the Chinese New Year) and the Tibetan New Year or Losar (falls between January and March) etc. Actually celebration new years is a trillion Dollar business around the world today. In presence of too many New Years Eve we Bengali people are crazy to celebrate the Gregorian New Year’s Eve or the Saint Sylvester’s Day only. Why do we? May be it is the most widely used calendar around the world, maybe we are inheriting this event from the British Lord’s till now, maybe it is allowing us to dance with alcohol and others.
We observed another new trend of 31st night celebration in Dhaka city this year. This trend was listening loudspeaker Hindi songs (90%), English songs (5%) and Bengalish songs (5%) throughout the night. Few parties used Fanush (throughing fire to the sky) with different types of bombs. These fires and bombs could create dangerous fire distraction any time. We are thankful that Dhaka Metropolitan Police was strict (as per their media announcement) against such dangerous acts. But in practice Dhaka duelers had to fight for sleep in the 31st night this year. At last the night passed without any major casualty or fire incident. But the silent harm is doing by this injected events to our culture is that, Bengali songs are going to be abolished due to the loud presence of Hindi songs in the 31st parties. Hindi is the official language of our neighboring country. But I am afraid that, such frequency of loud Hindi songs was absent in many states of India like Dhaka during this 31st night. I am sure native state of current Indian Prime Minister HE Narendra Modi i.e. Gujarat had not played such a huge number of Hindi songs in loud speaker during this 31st.
I do not have any reservation for listening to Hindi songs or English songs or any other language songs during the 31st or throughout the year. My only reservation is listening to Bengalish songs i.e. 70% English or Hindi lyric and 30% Bengali words in a song to make it Bengalish. It’s totally unaccepted to destroy our own resources like the language by the name of modernization or becoming smart. I am afraid our future generation will be affected by this wrong pronunciation of Bengali language and miss the original glory of our beloved mother taught. We fought for this language, our forefathers offered their bloods and lives for this language. But today we are doing nothing to save this language from the illegal transformation into Bengalish (Bengali + English) or Hingla (Hindi + Bengali). Some FM radio stations are regularly competing with each others to inject foreign words into Bengali illegally. Some singers are copying Hindi or English lyric to sing Bengali songs. As a result our beloved language is becoming polluted.
Government shall look after the matter seriously and going to anti language pollution drive is essential need of the time now. Broadcasting authority should make it clear that, no Hindi or English lyric shall be allowed to copied and used in Bengali songs. No FM radio shall be allowed to pollute Bengali language with the name of modernization or smart practice. Serious attention of the government and relevant agencies is required to save our beloved mother tang from this trend of pollution and preserving the pure taste of Bengali for our future generation.