** Influentials hamper reform process : Economists ** BNP announces march prog on February 11 ** Probe alleged enforced disappearances ** Stolen device worth Tk 47 lakh recovered ** Spy balloon row: High-altitude spying marks new low for US-China ties ** 642 killed in road accidents in January: JKS ** Buriganga River, the lifeline of Dhaka city, suffers from a terrible pollution problem. Every day chemical and household waste, sewage, medical waste, and mountains of plastic continue to pollute Buriganga. Besides, hundreds of plastic recycling factories have been built on both sides of the river. This photo taken on Saturday shows, recycled plastic is being dried in the sun along the banks of the river. Agency photo ** Prisoner dies after being sent to Pabna jail ** FBI searches Biden’s vacation home ** Messi acknowledges Bangladesh's love ** Infection found in 28 districts ** 2 US officials to visit Dhaka this month ** Book Fair sees huge crowd on weekend ** Adani’s $108b crisis shakes investors’ faith in India ** BNP's divisional rallies today ** Shell reports highest profits in 115 years ** Dhaka, Colombo seek greater cooperation through promoting shipping, air connectivity ** People’s sufferings do not move this government ** BERC jacks up LPG price by Tk 266 per 12kg cylinder ** Many motorcyclists chose to ride on the footpaths of Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Sarani amid severe traffic congestion in the capital on Thursday, disrupting movement of pedestrians. Agency photo ** A mushroom cultivator plants mushrooms in polythene bags stuffed with sawdust, wheat husk and jute sticks inside a shade made of cogon grass, bamboo in Natore's Jugipara area on Thursday. NN photo ** Export earnings rise by 5.89pc in Jan ** ‘DCs, UNOs run country’ ** Missing B’baria by-polls candidate Asif returns home ** HAAB announces Tk 6.72 lakh private hajj package **

New Year 2022 and Our Youth Consciousness

01 January 2022
New Year 2022 and Our Youth Consciousness

Prof Dr Md Mahmudul Hassan :
The idea of celebrating the English New Year dates back to 2000 BC.  According to many, New Year's celebration in Rome began in 153 BC.  Later, in 46 BC, Emperor Julius Caesar introduced a new calendar.  This is the Julian calendar.  In Rome, the first day of the year in the Julian calendar is dedicated to the God Janus.  Janus is the god of entrance or initiation.  The first month of the year is named after him.
This was before the birth of Jesus.  Pope Gregory XIII revised the calendar in 1582, counting the years after the birth of Jesus Christ, which is known as the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is now practically used as a calendar in most countries of the world.
New Year's celebrations officially began in the 19th century.  New Year's Eve is the day before the new year i.e. 31st December.  On this day, with the arrival of the new year, a festive atmosphere prevails in different countries of the world.
In many countries, New Year's Day is celebrated as a public holiday.  Every year on 31st December at 12 o'clock at one minute the frenzy of New Year celebration starts.  The light of fireworks spread in the sky.  In the modern world, International New Year's Day has become a universal tradition.
New Year is celebrated in different cultural ways in different countries such as; As soon as the signal was given at 12 noon on December 31 at Big Ben in London, the sky over the river Thames was filled with fireworks.  Hogmen is the name of the New Year's Eve in Scotland.  There was a street party on Princess Street in Edinburgh.
The level of New Year celebrations in Greece and Cyprus is a little different.  They turn off the lights on the first night of the year and cut the Vasilopita (basil pie).  There is a coin inside this pie.  Anyone who falls in love with this coin is considered lucky for the rest of the year.
The people of France consider the weather to be a New Year's prophecy.  According to them, the wind gives a hint about the receipt of the coming year.  If the wind blows in the east then this year's fruit production will be good, if it blows in the west then fish production will be good, if it blows in the north then crop production will not be good.
In Canada, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Netherlands, on New Year's Day, people rush to the beach or to the water.  This celebration is sometimes called Polar Beer Panjes.  Various organizations also sometimes organize polar beer panjes to raise money for charitable services.
In our country, as in the West, the English New Year is being welcomed with great enthusiasm.  On 31st December and at the beginning of the year various cultural programs, concerts, parties etc. are organized.  There is also a special attraction in television, radio and entertainment media.
The new year comes with new expectations.  The corona pandemic was cut off in 2020 and 2021, and again in 2022, as the heat of the COVID-19 did not decrease, the vapor of Omicron began to fly.  However, people are now moving forward with the challenge and they are playing an enterprising role in continuing economic and educational-cultural activities knowing all kinds of risks as the new normal.
The Bengali nation is a nation very much interested in entertainment, taste and celebration of festivals.  In the history of the world, more festivals are held in Bangladesh.  Due to the coexistence of people of different religions and castes in this country, everyone has to celebrate national festivals in the spirit of brotherhood.  In foreign cultures, the people of our country start the English New Year by celebrating 31st night just like the western countries.  This day is celebrated with fireworks, balloons, lanterns, various coloured lights etc.
At no time did the 31st of December or the 1st of January have any special meaning in our lives.  This 'New Year' was a celebration of the elite class.  The main thing was the participation of the youth of that class.  Ordinary Bengalis were only distant spectators.  However, there was some practice in middle class families, especially those whose heads were employed.  Because, the first day of the new year was a holiday.  And on this day some lavish foods were eaten at home.  The Bengali middle class remembered the English New Year from the source of these foods. As a result of the massive globalization of the post-nineties of the last century, the trend of celebrating English New Year has entered the life of Bengalis like a flood.  Not only the urban people, but also the rural residents have created an atmosphere to celebrate the New Year on the 1st of January.  
The trend of New Year celebrations is largely youth dependent.  From eating out, messaging, giving gifts in the new year, young people can be seen in the front row in all its events.  The right of young people to ride around the city in a jeep or a jacket with friends in the middle of the night in a brightly decorated city is the right of the youth.  Since the adults are cautious, the open sky of the rooftop restaurant is too much for them, they celebrate this day with a festive mood.  
Does the madness seen among the youth in celebrating this day really be in line with the fair culture of our country?  Many geniuses and intellectuals have a negative view on this.  Exchanging New Year's greetings can be part of a healthy culture.  There is nothing wrong with having fun on the first day of the year.  The fault occurs only when it is seen that the insanity, nudity, and arrogance of the youth in the name of concert is going on in different places.  The negative side of the night has more impact on the life of students, young people, young men and women than the positive side.  What kind of consciousness is the slogan 'Happy New Year' on the streets when women, children, old and idealistic people are fast asleep, bursting with firecrackers, beating drums and setting off fireworks?  That is not understandable.  We can practice the culture of foreigners or others, but we have to make sure that it does not jeopardize our native culture.  Syed Abul Maqsood, a well-known secular intellectual, well-known thinker and writer, was compelled to write earlier:  It didn't have the slightest artificiality, it didn't have to be fake or showy, it was done spontaneously, with the joy of life and genuine nationalist sentiments, because 50 percent of the people in this society are very poor.  Everybody eats what they get every day. Those who eat pantabhat and hilsa curry, murighanta while standing in the street, are actually committing a kind of cultural crime.
We see poor and miserable people starving to death near the edifice.  What a great inhuman and immoral festival to spend thousands of money for food and drinks in one day a year at the luxurious style, which is undoubtedly a mockery of the poor. Can't the young people who are going to the festival in different places ignoring the extreme cold, stand by the cold sufferer, naked people or hand out a handful of food to the starving people?  But young people are not seen doing those things.  Young people, young men and women must be the best in quality.  Children will learn by watching them.  Parents also need to educate their children in a responsible manner.  The responsibility does not end with admission in the educational institution.  Because, besides formal education, there is a lack of morality in the family.
Today there is unrest everywhere.  Let us not fall into the clutches of subcultures and distort our own culture, destroy our beliefs, values, clean tastes etc.  So in our country, as in other countries, since the reckoning, the days of education, the day-to-day activities, and the reckoning of the year, it is quite inappropriate to ignore the English New Year celebrations.  We will celebrate but we must be aware that it does not transgress the boundaries and awaken the youth consciousness towards it.
Happy New Year! May the year 2022 be a year of joy for all and let Bangladesh be filled with peace, prosperity, happiness and fragrance.

(Prof Dr Md Mahmudul Hassan is Principal, Daffodil International School, Dhaka and President, Bangladesh Smart Education Network.)

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