The Financial Express

New Year\'s Day celebration overshadowed

| Updated: October 22, 2017 05:03:37

New Year\'s Day celebration overshadowed
The world has changed since the terror attack on Paris on November 13 last. Its lingering shadow has disrupted celebration of the New Year in cities across Europe. In Munich the yearly celebration was cancelled only hours before on receiving an imminent threat of ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) attack on the German city. Two railway stations in the city had to be evacuated on account of the threat.
Paris and Brussels did not cancel their celebrations but they had to make do without fireworks. In the Western cities, the celebration of the New Year's Day is simply unimaginable without spectacular fireworks. The looming threat of attack similar to the one on Paris on the occasion forced such curtailing of programmes or even abandonment of the celebration itself.   
Clearly, even the more deadly and simultaneous 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and few other establishments in the United States of America did not strike terror in the hearts of the West so deep and widespread. Not only in the West but also in Asia and Africa the year 2016 was welcomed on high security alert. How heightened the security was can be gauged by the fact that the French government felt compelled to deploy a total of 100,000 law enforcers for ensuring security of the celebrations throughout France. 
Even in Bangladesh, the police had to beef up security in the capital and clamp restrictions on celebration of the occasion at night. Evidently, the security concerns have dampened to a large extent the enthusiasm and spontaneity of people willing to enjoy the day in an unhindered spirit. Fear psychosis got the better of a popular and high-spirited occasion everywhere. 
Yet there were moments to be cherished when 'fanush' (flying lamp or lantern) lit, along with fireworks, the sky of the capital. One after another such flying object took off from somewhere and soared high as if to lift the spirit of the Dhakaites who had to give up their public gathering at night and revelling. It surely was better than the revellers' frolicking and the giving in to excesses. 
Let it be recorded, the concept of fanush originates from this part of the world, with North Calcutta of the days of yore claiming to have perfected the art. Its translation into English as sky lantern does not quite seem to be precise. Another version of lantern (akash pradip) hoisted on tall bamboos in the Bangla month of Kartick until the worship of Hindu god Lord Kartikeya is completed may be called sky lamp or lantern. That lamp continues to burn throughout the night. But fanush rises up in the sky and lasts for a brief period. But during its brief life, it lights up the sky in so effervescent a manner that the beholders suppress their breath ruing over why it did not stay in the sky a little longer. 
So transient is its life that it can be symbolic of human life. Life can be short but art has to be long. The message is, live a life that is meaningful and magnificent no matter if it is not long. Prodigies illustrate the fact better than anyone else.

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