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Poila Baisakh: West Bengal Foundation Day


The West Bengal Legislative Assembly recently made a significant decision by declaring ‘Poila Baisakh,’ the first day of the Bengali calendar, as ‘Bangla Dibas’ or West Bengal Foundation Day.


Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Controversy Over West Bengal’s Foundation Day
  2. Poila Baisakh: Celebrating Bengali New Year
  3. Significance of June 20th in Bengal: Partition Decision

Controversy Over West Bengal’s Foundation Day

Background: In 2023, a significant dispute arose surrounding West Bengal’s Foundation Day. The controversy centered on the official declaration by Raj Bhavan (the Governor’s residence) that June 20 would be recognized as the State Foundation Day. However, this decision faced strong opposition and criticism from the

Chief Minister of West Bengal.
  • The Chief Minister argued vehemently that June 20th, which carries historical associations with the partition, lacks relevance to the state’s actual establishment.
  • This stance reflects the sentiment that the state’s foundation should be commemorated on a different date, one that aligns more closely with its unique history and identity.
Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ as the Official Song: Assembly’s Approval
  • In addition to the Foundation Day dispute, another significant decision was made by the West Bengal Assembly.
  • It approved the proposal to designate Rabindranath Tagore’s composition ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ as the official song of West Bengal.
  • This choice reflects the profound cultural and literary heritage of the state, with Tagore’s work being a symbol of Bengal’s rich artistic tradition.

Poila Baisakh: Celebrating Bengali New Year

  • Poila Baisakh is a significant festival observed by Bengali communities in regions like West Bengal, Tripura, Jharkhand, Assam, and Bangladesh.
  • This festival marks the commencement of the Bengali New Year and typically falls in mid-April.
  • In 2023, Poila Baisakh was celebrated on April 15th, symbolizing new beginnings and cultural richness.

Significance of June 20th in Bengal: Partition Decision

  • On June 20th, 1947, the Bengal Legislative Assembly convened to make a momentous decision regarding the future of Bengal.
  • They faced three choices: maintaining Bengal’s unity within India, dividing it into East Bengal and West Bengal based on religion (for Bengali Muslims and Hindus respectively), or splitting it between India and Pakistan.
  • Following multiple rounds of voting, the decision emerged to bifurcate Bengal into West Bengal and East Pakistan (later becoming Bangladesh).
  • The Radcliffe Line was later drawn to demarcate the boundary between these newly formed regions.
  • June 20th is historically significant in Bengal, representing a pivotal moment that shaped the political and geographical landscape during India’s independence and partition era.

-Source: The Hindu


March 2024