Jamdani saree, an emblem of Bangladeshi tradition, symbolises cultural richness and artisanal finesse. Distinguishing a real Jamdani from cheaper replicas necessitates keen attention to intricate details and a deep understanding of its defining characteristics. This ensures preservation of the material’s true essence and craftsmanship. Why Jamdani Saree is Unique The Jamdani saree originated from the Bengal region. It represents the pinnacle of meticulous craftsmanship. Crafted with fine cotton, it boasts intricate designs often inspired by nature or folklore, defining its renowned elegance and desirability. An authentic Jamdani saree is a masterpiece. It showcases exquisite craftsmanship, with seamlessly woven intricate motifs that reflect the expertise of skilled artisans and the traditional weaving technique. This hallmark garment is coveted for its delicate patterns and holds an essence that resonates deeply with its authenticity. Read more: Personal Grooming Tips and Tricks for Better Life and Career Tips to Recognise an Authentic Jamdani Saree To discern the authenticity of a Jamdani saree, careful scrutiny of various elements is essential. Weaving The weave is a critical factor. Authentic Jamdani sarees are distinguished by their supplementary weft technique. It boasts flawless structure, free from loose threads or irregularities. They show the diligent interlacing of extra weft threads. An authentic Jamdani’s borders are a testament to supreme craftsmanship. They feature distinct patterns that complement the overall design flawlessly, devoid of fraying or uneven edges. Rough or uneven designs may hint at a saree's lack of authenticity. Read more: Gemstones Guide: Precious, Semi-precious Stones Used in Jewellery
The history of the Bengali Calendar holds a vital place in the Bengali culture in both Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. In both words and numbers, this timekeeper tells a tale of change that goes back centuries. This article looks at where it started, its journey through history, and the ways it transformed to become what it is today. Let’s uncover the captivating story of how the Bengali Calendar began, influenced cultures, and still marks important times today. Historical Evolution of the Bengali Calendar The origins of the Bengali calendar can be traced back to ancient Hindu calendar systems and the practice of timekeeping in the Indian subcontinent. Jyotisha, one of the six ancient Vedangas, focused on observing and predicting celestial movements to track time accurately. Within this context, the Hindu Vikrami calendar, named after King Vikramaditya and starting from 57 BCE, played a role in shaping timekeeping practices. In rural Bengali communities, the Bengali calendar, credited to "Bikromaditto," held significance. Various dynasties that held sway over Bengal prior to the 13th century used the Vikrami calendar. Buddhist texts and inscriptions from the Pala Empire era referenced months such as Ashvin. They align with Sanskrit texts from different regions of the Indian subcontinent. Read more: Top 10 Historic Places, Landmarks in Dhaka Hindu scholars engaged in rigorous calculations to track the cycles of celestial bodies. Sanskrit astronomical texts, spanning centuries, contributed to this effort. The works of Aryabhata, Latadeva, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, and Lalla presented calculations of planetary motions and characteristics. Surya Siddhanta, with a completion date ranging up to the 10th century, contained vital insights into solar calculations. The foundation of the current Bengali calendar, as used in Indian states like West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, and Jharkhand, can be traced back to the Sanskrit text Surya Siddhanta. Modifications introduced during the reign of Shashanka, the first independent ruler of Gauda, enriched this version. The calendar's historical connection to Shashanka's ascension to sovereignty corresponds with the inception of the Bangabda era. This calendar retains the original Sanskrit month names, with Baishakh as the first month. This anchored it to the Hindu calendar system and governed the timing of Bengali Hindu festivals. Additionally, it's theorized that Alauddin Husain Shah, a Hussain Shahi Sultan of Bengal, might have amalgamated the lunar Islamic calendar with the solar calendar. Alternatively, the calendar could have originated from Emperor Shashanka or Nawab Murshid Quli Khan's fiscal policies during Mughal rule. In the Mughal period, land taxes were collected from the Bengali populace based on the Islamic Hijri calendar, which followed a lunar cycle. This misalignment with the solar agricultural cycle, prompting the need for calendar reform. Mughal Emperor Akbar took up the task, commissioning the creation of a new calendar that integrated elements from both the lunar Islamic and solar Hindu calendars. The resultant "Fasholi shan," or harvest calendar, marked the potential starting point of the Bengali calendar. Read more: 100 Years of Rocket Paddle Steamer: A Pride and Heritage of Bangladesh Development and Transformation of the Bengali Calendar The "Tarikh-e-Elahi" calendar, introduced during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, represents a pivotal juncture in the evolution of the Bengali calendar. This hybrid calendar was a testament to Akbar's innovative governance approach, aiming to harmonize administrative and fiscal needs with agricultural cycles. By blending elements of the lunar Islamic calendar and the solar Hindu calendar, the "Tarikh-e-Elahi" sought to create a functional timekeeping tool that addressed diverse societal requirements. Notably, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's reign brought further refinement to the calendar. His adjustments, which included a seven-day week commencing on Sunday and the synchronization of month names with the Saka calendar, laid the groundwork for the calendar's continued relevance. These modifications not only facilitated tax collection but also transformed the calendar into a cultural reference point for the people of Bengal. Read more: Ukraine: UNESCO World Heritage Sites Recent Changes and Revisions in the Bengali Calendar Recent times have witnessed efforts to modernize and enhance the Bengali calendar's accuracy and functionality. In 2018, Bangladesh embarked on a calendar reform aimed at aligning national days with Western dates. This endeavor resulted in adjustments that included the shifting of Kartik's start and a corresponding delay in the Hemanta season. These modifications illustrate the calendar's responsiveness to contemporary needs and its ongoing relevance. Presently, the year is designated as 1426 in the Bengali calendar. The realignment of national days is a noteworthy outcome of the reform. Key observances such as the Language Martyrs' Day, Independence Day, and Victory Day, commemorated on 21 February, 26 March, and 16 December respectively, will consistently fall on Falgun 8, Chaitra 12, and Poush 1 of the Bengali calendar for the next century. This adjustment ensures that cultural and historical commemorations remain consistent and synchronized. Read more: What Was Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Childhood Like? Historical Attempts at Calendar Reform The history of the Bengali calendar is punctuated by notable attempts at reform. Dr. Meghnad Saha's and Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah's efforts in the 1950s and 1963 respectively mark crucial steps towards enhancing the calendar's accuracy and functionality. These initiatives laid the foundation for subsequent improvements and demonstrated a commitment to scientific precision. In 1957, the introduction of the National Calendar in India marked a significant stride in standardizing calendars. This calendar, which amalgamated elements from the Surya Siddhanta and underwent substantial modifications, exemplified the ongoing quest for precision. While not extensively adopted outside official circles, it underscored the importance of regional calendars in cultural and administrative contexts. Read more: Top 10 Historical Mosques in Bangladesh Implementation of Calendar Reform in Bangladesh Bangladesh's journey towards calendar reform gained momentum in 1987. The decision to adopt a more accurate and internationally aligned calendar underscored the country's commitment to modernization and synchronization with global standards. This reform initiative aimed to rectify historical inconsistencies and align the calendar with contemporary expectations. To address these concerns, committees were formed in 1995 and 2015, comprising experts in linguistics, mathematics, physics, and culture. The recommendations of these committees aimed to refine the calendar's accuracy and structure. Proposals such as designating Falgun as a leap-year month and adjusting month lengths were key components of these reform efforts, which sought to blend scientific precision with cultural significance. The culmination of these endeavors resulted in the official preparation of the calendar in 2019. This modernized calendar, rooted in historical heritage yet adapted for the present, serves as a symbol of the nation's commitment to accuracy and cultural continuity. Bottom Line The history of the Bengali Calendar is a captivating journey through time. From its inception to modern reforms, it has remained a crucial aspect of the Bengal region's cultural identity. As the calendar continues to evolve, its resilience and adaptability reflect its enduring significance in shaping the rhythm of life for people across generations. Read more: Top 15 Heritage Sites of Bangladesh
The Bangla language has always been at the forefront of our national identity. Amar Ekushey Boi Mela (Book Fair) is a significant part of Bangladesh’s history, culture and literature. Every year, the book fair is held in the month of February. It is the biggest book fair in the country where publishers display and sell printed books under diverse categories. This fair offers great opportunities for the readers to meet their favourite writers, poets, novelists, and publishers face-to-face. Besides serving as a platform to encourage readers to read and buy books, the Boi Mela also works as a monthlong cultural hub – showcasing the diversity of Bangladesh. Let’s look into the history of the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela. CHITTARANJAN SAHA: STARTING BOI MELA FROM A MAT AT BANGLA ACADEMY PREMISES Chittaranjan Saha was born in the Noakhali district in 1927. His publishing house Punthighar Prokashoni, located at Banglabazar in Dhaka, was burnt down in 1971. Chittaranjan Saha left Dhaka after March 26. He took shelter in Agartala and then moved to Calcutta (Kolkata) during the Liberation War. During the Liberation War, many prominent writers, artists, and journalists from Bangladesh had to stay in Calcutta as refugees. During that period, Chittaranjan arranged a meeting with some of the most prominent litterateurs residing in Calcutta. They decided to write and publish about the injustice and war in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). Thus, Muktodhara was born. In February, 1972, Chittaranjan Saha laid a mat under the tree in front of the Bangla Academy building and put on display about 32 (33 according to some sources) books as a homage to the Language Movement martyrs of 1952. Though Chittaranjan Saha initiated the Boi Mela from a humble beginning, according to some sources, he was not the first person who started selling books at Bangla Academy premises in February. Ruhul Amin Nizami of Standard Publishers started displaying Russian books. Those books were very popular at that time for their rich content and affordable prices. Read More: Ekushey Book Fair to span entire February again after two years HISTORY BEHIND THE FIRST BOOK FAIR IN BANGLADESH Though Chittaranjan Saha is recognised as the initiator of Ekushey Boi Mela, the root of the book fair goes deeper. The first book fair in then East Pakistan was held in 1965. The initiative was taken by Sardar Jainuddin, who was born in 1918 in Pabna. In 1965, he started displaying some children’s books on the ground floor of the Dhaka University Library. At that time, he was working on a project for UNESCO regarding children’s books. In 1970, Jainuddin organised a book fair in Narayanganj in association with Narayanganj Club. As UNESCO declared 1972 the ‘International Book Year’, in December, Jainuddin took initiative to arrange a book fair inside Bangla Academy. Since then, Bangla Academy got directly involved with book fair events. Read More: Bangabandhu Memorial Museum: Witness to History and Tragedy THE JOURNEY OF EKUSHEY BOI MELA Chittaranjan Saha continued putting books on display and selling them at the Bangla Academy premises for a few more years. In 1976, getting inspired by this idea of selling books, other publishers came together and joined in. Bangla Academy merged with this initiative in 1978. Ashraf Siddiqui was the director general of Bangla Academy at that time, and he had an active role in the association of academy with the book fair. Bangla Academy’s association took Boi Mela to another level. In 1979, a book fair was held at the courtyard of Bangla Academy with the collaboration of ‘Bangladesh Pustok Bikreta O Prokashok Samity’ (founded by Chittaranjan Saha) and the Bangla Academy authority. Read More: Top Sculptures in Dhaka City
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has organised an art camp as part of its Brand Bangladesh initiative, in addition to its core focus to promote the apparel industry. Sixty-two renowned artists, including Monirul Islam, Shahabuddin Ahmed, Hashem Khan, Abul Barq Alvi, Abdus Shakoor Shah, Abdul Mannan, Mohammad Eunus, Jamal Ahmed, Shishir Bhattacharjee, Farida Zaman, Hamiduzzaman Khan, Naima Haque, Rokeya Sultana, Dhali Al Mamoon, Shahid Kabir, Ahmed Shamsuddoha, Hossain Sheikh Afzal, Mohammad Iqbal, Mostafizul Haque, Mostafa Zaman Mithu, Afrozaa Jamil Konka, and Sohana Shahreen joined the "Made in Bangladesh with Pride Art Camp 2023" in Dhaka Sunday. BGMEA President Faruque Hassan inaugurated the camp which was organised by the organisation in collaboration with Arcadia Arts Gallery.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid on Thursday said Jatiya Pitha Utsab (National Rice Cake Festival) is an original and integral concept representing Bengali culture. And festivals like this should be spread all over the country, he added. "We plan to hold this festival at the district level in the future, and the upazila level as well." Read more: Art exhibition, Pitha Utsab held at FSA The state minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 10-day Sixteenth Jatiya Pitha Utsab organised by the National Pitha Utsab Udjapan Parishad and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) at the BSA premises in the capital. Liaquat Ali Lucky, director general of the BSA and convener of the 16th National Pitha Utsav Udjapan Parishad 1429, presided over the inauguration ceremony. Dance maestro Amanul Haque was also present. M Hamid, cultural personality and president of the Jatiya Pitha Utsab Udjapan Parishad, joined the event as the main speaker. Read more: Pitha sales surge as winter nears Fifty stalls are showcasing more than 200 pithas (traditional cakes) at the 16th Jatiya Pitha Utsab, and the festival is open to all from 3pm to 9pm till January 28.
The 10th edition of Dhaka Lit Fest, which took place over four days featuring a wide range of the world's top authors, filmmakers, singers, and artists, has been concluded at the Bangla Academy with a reaffirmation of its dedication to promoting Bangladeshi literature, culture, and arts. The festival concluded on Sunday with an enthralling closing ceremony, featuring performances by Coke Studio Bangla artistes Animes Roy, Ritu Raj, Pantha Kanai, Boga Taleb, Momotaz, Rubayat Rehman and its other artistes. With ‘Nasek Nasek’, the debut track of Coke Studio in Bangladesh, the 10th edition of the literary festival bids its adieu. Read more: Episodes of her Gaze: Maksuda Iqbal Nipa's resplendent art collective launched at DLF The formal closing act was conducted at the Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad (AKSB) auditorium before that, and it started with a dynamic dance and recital performance by Jatrik named "Women Rise" about women's emancipation. The adversity and persistence against women in the Indian subcontinent were portrayed through the performance of classical and modern dance forms, choreographed by Naila Azad Nupur with recitals by DLF director-producer Sadaf Saaz and Nupur herself. Booker Prize-winning Indian author Gitanjalee Shree, eminent Somalian novelist Nuruddin Farah, Dhaka Tribune editor Zafar Sobhan, City Bank managing director and CEO Mashrur Arefin, and Dhaka Lit Fest director and producer Sadaf Saaz spoke at the closing ceremony, sharing their remarks bidding adieus and expressing their gratitude to everyone.
Bangladesh's initiative to encourage a culture of innovation by instituting the UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Award earned plaudits recently, at the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development, or Mondiacult 2022, held in Mexico, The final declaration got adopted by the world leaders who agreed to establish an innovation economy, among other things. Organized with the global goal of establishing the role of culture in sustainable development, this international conference was attended by 136 cultural affairs ministers and state minister level leaders, diplomats, cultural activists, organizers and civil society individuals from 150 countries of the world. A delegation of 3 members led by Bangladesh's State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Ambassador of Bangladesh to France and UNESCO Khandaker M Talha and First Secretary Md. Walid bin Kashem participated in the conference. At the conference, Khalid was invited to share his speech at the 'Future of Innovation Economy' Minister-level round table meeting, he thanked UNESCO for formulating the 'UNESCO-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman International Award' in the innovation economy sector in 2020. “The innovation economy will play a role as a renewable regulator in the implementation of sustainable development goals and will play an effective role in protecting neglected cultural heritage in different parts of the world,” KM Khalid said at the meeting. Read: Bangladesh elected to UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage committee for 4 years He also called for cooperation among international leaders to develop a culture that is safe, accountable, and controlled. A proposal has been made for the teaching of culture in educational institutions as a response to the conference's identification of education and culture as complementary to one another. Additionally, in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, all nations are urged to develop cultural policies and update them as needed. In Bangladesh, the National Culture Policy was formulated in 2006 and is currently undergoing modernization. Mondiacult 2022 was organized by UNESCO as a continuation of the detailed action plan conducted globally to implement the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The last international cultural conference of this scale was held in Mexico in 1982.
President Abdul Hamid on Thursday called for greater practice of culture to end militancy, fundamentalism, violence and hatred from the root level of society. "The more culture is practiced at every level from the village to the city, from the lower class to the upper class, the more enlightened the society will be," he said. "An enlightened society can build a humane society, ensure the desired prosperity and welfare of a country and nation," he added. The president was speaking at Shilpakala Padak (award) distribution function at Bangladesh Shilapakala Academy's National Theater Hall auditorium. He joined the event virtually as the chief guest. Also read: PM Hasina invites US president to visit Bangladesh Hamid said there have been many changes in the society over the time which has also affected "our own culture." "Foreign culture is constantly infiltrating our cultural arena due to satellite..." he said. So the mentality of grabbing everything if it is foreign or attractive must be avoided, he also said. He added " We have to accept whatever is compatible with our culture and tradition. Everything unnecessary, foreign and uncultured should be discarded." The president said that the development of infrastructure and facilities is an important element in the development of indigenous culture but it is not everything. In order to develop culture, we need to make everyone aware of the culture and traditions of our modern age, regardless of caste and religion at the grass root level. Hamid said that initiatives should be taken at the grass root level to develop non-sectarian and liberation war spirited culture. Saying 'the development and tradition of our culture tells us how advanced and modern we are as a nation,' he said youths should be involved in cultural activities to turn them into modern, skilled and cultural minded manpower as culture can play the role of the main weapon against militancy and terrorism. Also read: President congratulates Bangladesh women's team: New SAFF champions "Earlier every family used to practice various cultural activities including music in the morning. But with the development of urban civilization, the wide spread of information technology and the busy schedule of urban life, the practice of culture at the family level is gradually decreasing. Children and youth are ... chasing various apps like Facebook, YouTube, Tik Tok, games etc. Mobiles and laptops are the main entertainment and sports equipment for them. If they continue like this, they will forget their history and heritage one day, " he warned. Hamid added that healthy culture should be developed at individual, family, social and national levels to develop them as healthy and humane citizens. He also put emphasis on the start of practice of culture from the grassroots, especially from the family. Shilpakala Academy director general Liaquat Ali Lucky, on behalf of the President, handed over the prestigious Shilpakala Padak to 20 recipients for the calendar years 2020 and 2019. A total of 18 cultural luminaries and two revered cultural organizations received the award. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and Cultural Affairs Secretary Md Abul Monsur spoke as the special guests, while State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid presided over the ceremony. The 2020 award winning cultural personalities are - Malay Bhowmick (dramatics), Mahmudur Rahman Benu (vocalist), Shahid Kabir (fine arts), Shameem Akhtar (film), Shibli Mohammad (dance), Shah Alam Sarkar (folklore), Shamsur Rahman (instrumental/shehnai), Shafiqul Islam Swapan (photography), Dahlia Ahmed (recitation), and Dinajpur Natya Samity (creative cultural unit). The recipients of 2019 award are - Masud Ali Khan (dramatics), Hasina Momtaz (vocalist), Abdul Mannan (fine arts), Anupam Hayat (film), Lubna Marium (dance), Shamvu Acharaya (folklore), Mohammad Moniruzzaman (instrumental - flute), M A Taher (photography), Hasan Arif (recitation), and cultural institution Chhayanaut (creative cultural unit). Each awardee got a gold medal, a cheque for Tk 1 lakh, and a certificate. The award has been conferred on deserving creative personalities for their continuous contributions in several fields of arts, culture, entertainment and literature since 2013.
Once the most valuable fabric on Earth, Dhaka muslin has now become almost extinct. Centuries on, researchers in Bangladesh have resurrected the forgotten enigmatic fabric after six years of effort -- this time, not in Dhaka but in Cumilla. Once an attire of kings and queens, muslin is a light cotton fabric of plain weave. It got its name from the ancient city of Mosul in Iraq where it was first produced. Read: Recovering Muslin is our great achievement: Textile and Jute minister According to the researchers, at least 30 metric counts of cotton fibre are needed to produce a reeled or handwoven muslin yarn. And the yarn produced in this way is so fine that a muslin saree can pass through a ring. But, somehow muslin became extinct by the end of the 18th century. At present, over 200 women are producing muslin yarn in Sonapur and Rampur villages of Cumilla’s Chandina and Debidwar upazilas under a project monitored by the Bangladesh Handloom Board (BHB). Read Recovering Muslin is our great achievement: Textile and Jute minister
State Minister for Cultural Affairs K M Khalid has said they have been working towards achieving a culturally sustainable Bangladesh and working with different development partners like the British Council and UNESCO. “We truly believe that these international collaborations are the heart of our work for a culturally balanced sustainable Bangladesh,” said Khalid who is representing Bangladesh at the grand cultural exchange at the Scottish Parliament. The British Council has partnered with the sixth Edinburgh International Culture Summit, being held on the occasion of Edinburgh’s 75th anniversary as a “Festival City” at the Scottish Parliament from August 26-28. The State Minister said a “whole-of-society” approach has been adopted to accelerate the SDGs implementation.