Since February 2020, COVID-19 has indiscriminately broken into the homes of families and replaced food, warmth, and peace with starvation, panic, and grief. From Italy to New York to Bangladesh, Bangladeshi communities across the world have confronted COVID-19 and endured the effects of the crisis. Despite quarantine and social distancing regulations, the pandemic did not stop Connect Bangla from envisioning the magic of Bengali New Year being felt in the homes of all Bangladeshis.
In light of the COVID-19 crisis in Bangladesh and abroad, Bangladeshi students of Harvard University teamed with Connect Bangla to organize the world’s first online Pohela Boishakh charity event. Conducted by Tasriqul Islam Nibir, Abiba Imam Dyuti, and Kingshuk Kundu, the live telecast was aired via Facebook Live on April 14th and has been viewed over 70,000 times since.
Bangladesh’s renown music artists Bappa Mazumder, Fahmida Nabi, Dinat Munni, Sharmin Moyna, Writer Anisul Haque, Reciter Shimul Mustapha, Ahkam Ullah, Farzana Karim, and dancer Ridy Sheikh joined the telecast to promote social distancing while raising funds for food distribution by charities such as “Bidyananda Foundation (Ek Takay Ahar)” and “Food Package for Day Laborer.” Student organizations and individuals throughout the globe also participated alongside artists to showcase their Boishakh spirit and experiences with COVID-19.
“Pohela Boishakh fills my heart with joy. It is a time for my people to celebrate our colorful culture with friends and family, and I myself feel inspired with a positive outlook when the new year comes. I am happy to have created a platform to awaken the spirit of Pohela Boishakh despite the tragedy that has occured with COVID-19,” said Tasriqul Islam Nibir, Harvard University graduate student and Director of Connect Bangla, in reflection of his inspiration behind the event.
Through art, beneficence, and the unconditional support of our community, Bangladeshis will remain a united front against any tragedy that comes our way.