Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Thursday lashed out at the BJP, reiterating vehemently that the Opposition party would never win West Bengal. 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 explained. Using the somewhat uncharitable moniker "flea-brained haters", she insisted that the saffron party would never come to power in West Bengal.
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, April 15 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 lunisolar 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, Poila Baishakh is somewhat different.
Some historians 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 Baishakh originated during Akbar's reign after renowned scholar and astronomer Fatehullah Shirazi formulated the Bangla year on the basis of the two calendars. Others link the calendar to king Vikramaditya. The Vikram Samvat incidentally is the official calendar of Nepal.