Bengali’s wait for Poila Boisakh as Sikhs cross borders for Baisakhi

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Harvesting festivals find people gearing up for celebrations while some head over to Pakistan

Bangalore, April 13, 2018: Nearly 2000 kms away from the City of Joy, Bangalore is readying itself to celebrate Poila Baisakh or Bengali New Year tomorrow on April 14 through a series of cultural programmes to be held across the city.

Aloke Kumar Das, the member of an organisation called Aalapi, a Bengali youth group formed by working professionals settled in Bangalore, said their Sunday event is set to attract more than a 100 people from the Bengali diaspora in Marathalli. “Our event is going to include cultural programmes, dance-drama and of course, Rabindra Sangeet as well,” added Aloke.

Aalapi is one of the many independent organisations who will host such events over the weekend. Arnab Mukhopadhyay of Sanskritik, another independent organisation will host their event on April 14.

“We have been hosting such cultural events on Poila Boisakh for the last four years and the response has been really good so far,” added Arnab. He also said that such cultural programmes are of particular significance since people like to go back to their roots on such occasions and interact with fellow people from the community.

In another part of the country, around 1700 Sikh pilgrims are travelling to Pakistan to celebrate Baisakhi at Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Rawalpindi district.

Baisakhi, the harbinger of the harvesting season is celebrated throughout the country especially among the Sikhs in Punjab who frequently visit Gurudwaras and pray for better harvest.

Gurdeep, a member of the World Punjabi Organisation said “Agriculture is very important in India; Baishaki is celebrated on a huge scale in Punjab. On this day, the state is lit up and people visit the temple to pray for better crop.”

Talking about the Sikhs travelling to Pakistan he said, “A lot of Punjabis are travelling to Pakistan today to celebrate festivities and Baisakhi Mela and also visit their land and ancestral homes as 70 per cent of the state’s land is on the other side of the border”.

Asad Abbas, the event leader at ‘Evacuee Trust Property Board Pakistan’ said, “The festival here will go on for a span of nine days. It will start on April 12 and go on till April 21”. During their stay they visit holy places like Gurudwara Janamesthan Nankana Sahib and Dera Sahib in Lahore.

“We are expecting around 2000 people to travel to Pakistan”, he added.

(With input from Sromona Bhattacharyya and Garima Dhawan)

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