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Bengali calendars

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The Bengali Calendar or Bangla Calendar (বঙ্গাব্দ Bônggabdô or Banggabda) is a solar calendar used in the region of Bengal. A revised version of the calendar is the national and official calendar in Bangladesh and an earlier version of the calendar is followed in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam. The New Year in the Bengali calendar is known as Pohela Boishakh.

The Bengali era is called Bengali Sambat (BS)[1] or the Bengali year (বাংলা সন Bangla Sôn, বাংলা সাল Bangla sal, or Bangabda)[2] has a zero year that starts in 593/594 CE. It is 594 less than the AD or CE year in the Gregorian calendar if it is before Pôhela Bôishakh, or 593 less if after Pôhela Bôishakh.

A revised version of the Bengali calendar was officially adopted in Bangladesh in 1987.[3][4] Among the Bengali community in India, the tradition Bengali Hindu calendar continues to be in use, and it sets the Hindu festivals.[5]

Contents

HistoryEdit

According to Shamsuzzaman Khan,[6] and Nitish Sengupta, the origin of the Bengali calendar is unclear.[2]

Buddhist/Hindu influenceEdit

Some historians attribute the Bengali calendar to the 7th century Hindu king Shashanka.[3][6][2] The term Bangabda (Bangla year) is found too in two Shiva temples many centuries older than Akbar era, suggesting that a Bengali calendar existed long before Akbar's time.[2]

Hindus developed a calendar system in ancient times.[7] Jyotisha, one of the six ancient Vedangas,[8][9] was the Vedic era field of tracking and predicting the movements of astronomical bodies in order to keep time.[8][9][10] The ancient Indian culture developed a sophisticated time keeping methodology and calendars for Vedic rituals.[7]

The Hindu Vikrami calendar is named after king Vikramaditya and starts in 57 BCE.[11] In rural Bengali communities of India, the Bengali calendar is credited to "Bikromaditto", like many other parts of India and Nepal. However, unlike these regions where it starts in 57 BCE, the Bengali calendar starts from 593 CE suggesting that the starting reference year was adjusted at some point.[12][13]

Various dynasties whose territories extended into Bengal, prior to the 13th-century, used the Vikrami calendar. For example, Buddhist texts and inscriptions created in the Pala Empire era mention "Vikrama" and the months such as Ashvin, a system found in Sanskrit texts elsewhere in ancient and medieval Indian subcontinent.[14][15]

Hindu scholars attempted to keep time by observing and calculating the cycles of sun (Surya), moon and the planets. These calculations about the sun appears in various Sanskrit astronomical texts in Sanskrit, such as the 5th century Aryabhatiya by Aryabhata, the 6th century Romaka by Latadeva and Panca Siddhantika by Varahamihira, the 7th century Khandakhadyaka by Brahmagupta and the 8th century Sisyadhivrddida by Lalla.[16] These texts present Surya and various planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion.[16] Other texts such as Surya Siddhanta dated to have been complete sometime between the 5th century and 10th century.[16]

The current Bengali calendar in use by Bengali people in the Indian states such as West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Jharkhand is based on the Sanskrit text Surya Siddhanta. It retains the historic Sanskrit names of the months, with the first month as Baishakh.[3] Their calendar remains tied to the Hindu calendar system and is used to set the various Bengali Hindu festivals.[3]

Islamic influenceEdit

Another theory is that the calendar was first developed by Alauddin Husain Shah (reign 1494–1519), a Hussain Shahi sultan of Bengal by combining the lunar Islamic calendar (Hijri) with the solar calendar, prevalent in Bengal.[2] Yet another theory states that the Sasanka calendar was adopted by Alauddin Husain Shah when he witnessed the difficulty with collecting land revenue by the Hijra calendar.[2]

During the Mughal rule, land taxes were collected from Bengali people according to the Islamic Hijri calendar. This calendar was a lunar calendar, and its new year did not coincide with the solar agricultural cycles. According to some sources, the current Bengali calendar owes its origin in Bengal to the rule of Mughal Emperor Akbar who adopted it to time the tax year to the harvest. The Bangla year was therewith called Bangabda. Akbar asked the royal astronomer Fathullah Shirazi to create a new calendar by combining the lunar Islamic calendar and solar Hindu calendar already in use, and this was known as Fasholi shan (harvest calendar). According to some historians, this started the Bengali calendar.[3][17] According to Shamsuzzaman Khan, it could be Nawab Murshid Quli Khan, a Mughal governor, who first used the tradition of Punyaho as "a day for ceremonial land tax collection", and used Akbar's fiscal policy to start the Bangla calendar.[6][18]

It is unclear whether it was adopted by Hussain Shah or Akbar. The tradition to use the Bengali calendar may have been started by Hussain Shah before Akbar.[2] According to Amartya Sen, Akbar's official calendar "Tarikh-ilahi" with the zero year of 1556 CE was a blend of pre-existing Hindu and Islamic calendars. It was not used much in India outside of Akbar's Mughal court, and after his death the calendar he launched was abandoned. However, adds Sen, there are traces of the "Tarikh-ilahi" that survive in the Bengali calendar.[19] Regardless of who adopted the Bengali calendar and the new year, states Sengupta, it helped collect land taxes after the spring harvest based on traditional Bengali calendar, because the Islamic Hijri calendar created administrative difficulties in setting the collection date.[2]

Shamsuzzaman states, "it is called Bangla san or saal, which are Arabic and Parsee words respectively, suggests that it was introduced by a Muslim king or sultan."[6] In contrast, according to Sengupta, its traditional name is Bangabda.[2][20] In the era of the Akbar, the calendar was called as Tarikh-e-Elahi (তারিখ-ই ইলাহি). In the "Tarikh-e-Elahi" version of the calendar, each day of the month had a separate name, and the months had different names from what they have now. According to Banglapedia, Akbar's grandson Shah Jahan reformed the calendar to use a seven-day week that begins on Sunday, and the names of the months were changed at an unknown time to match the month names of the existing Saka calendar.[4] This calendar is the foundation of the calendar that has been in use by the people of Bangladesh.[5][4][2]

OrganizationEdit

The Bengali calendar is a solar calendar.[5][4]

MonthsEdit

Month name
(Bengali)
Romanization Days
(India)
Days
(Bangladesh, after 1987)
Traditional Season
in Bengal
Month name
(Gregorian calendar)
Month name
(Bengali)
Romanization
Month name
(Sanskrit, Hindu Vikrami lunar)
বৈশাখ Bôishakh 30.950 31 গ্রীষ্ম (Grishshô)
Summer
April–May বিশাখা
Bishakha
Vaisākha
জ্যৈষ্ঠ Jyôishţhô 31.429 31 May–June জ্যেষ্ঠা
Jyeshţha
Jyeshta
আষাঢ় Ashaŗh 31.638 31 বর্ষা (Bôrsha)
Wet season/Monsoon
June–July উত্তরাষাঢ়া
Uttôrashaŗha
Āshāda
শ্রাবণ Shrabôn 31.463 31 July–August শ্রবণা
Shrôbôna
Shraavana
ভাদ্র Bhadrô 31.012 31 শরৎ (Shôrôt)
Autumn
August–September পূর্বভাদ্রপদ
Purbôbhadrôpôd
Bhādra
আশ্বিন Ashshin 30.428 30 September–October অশ্বিনী
Oshshini
Ashwina
কার্তিক Kartik 29.879 30 হেমন্ত (Hemonto)
Dry season
October–November কৃত্তিকা
Krittika
Kartika
অগ্রহায়ণ Ôgrôhayôn 29.475 30 November–December মৃগশিরা (a.k.a. অগ্রহায়ণী)
Mrigoshira(a.k.a. Ogrohayoni)
Agrahayana
পৌষ Poush 29.310 30 শীত (Shīt)
Winter
December–January পুষ্যা
Pushya
Pausha
মাঘ Magh 29.457 30 January–February মঘা
Môgha
Māgha
ফাল্গুন Falgun 29.841 30 / 31 বসন্ত (Bôsôntô)
Spring
February–March উত্তরফাল্গুনী
Uttorfalguni
Phālguna
চৈত্র Chôitrô 30.377 30 March–April চিত্রা
Chitra
Chaitra

DaysEdit

The Bengali Calendar incorporates the seven-day week as used by many other calendars. The names of the days of the week in the Bengali Calendar are based on the Navagraha (Bengali: নবগ্রহ nôbôgrôhô). The day begins and ends at sunrise in the Bengali calendar, unlike in the Gregorian calendar, where the day starts at midnight.

According to some scholars, in the calendar originally introduced by Akbar in the year 1584 AD, each day of the month had a different name, but this was cumbersome, and his grandson Shah Jahan changed this to a 7-day week as in the Gregorian calendar, with the week also starting on a Sunday.[4]

Day name (Bengali) Romanization Divine figure/celestial body Day name (English) Day name (Sanskrit)
রবিবার Rôbibar Robi/Sun Sunday Ravivāsara
সোমবার Sombar Som/Moon Monday Somavāsara
মঙ্গলবার Mônggôlbar Mongol/Mars Tuesday Maṅgalavāsara
বুধবার Budhbar Budh/Mercury Wednesday Budhavāsara
বৃহস্পতিবার Brihôspôtibar Brihospoti/Jupiter Thursday Brhaspativāsara
শুক্রবার Shukrôbar Shukro/Venus Friday Śukravāsara
শনিবার Shônibar Shoni/Saturn Saturday Śanivāsara

Revised and non-revised versionsEdit

 
Two versions of the Bengali calendar. Top: the "Traditional version" followed in West Bengal; Below: the "Revised version" followed in Bangladesh.

DifferencesEdit

The current Bengali calendar in use in the Indian states is based on the Sanskrit text Surya Siddhanta. It retains the historic Sanskrit names of the months, with the first month as Baishakh.[3] Their calendar remains tied to the Hindu calendar system and is used to set the various Bengali Hindu festivals.[3]

In Bangladesh, however, the old Bengali calendar was modified in 1966 by a committee headed by Muhammad Shahidullah, making the first five months 31 days long, rest 30 days each, with the month of Falgun adjusted to 31 days in every leap year.[3] This was officially adopted by Bangladesh in 1987.[3][4]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ratan Kumar Das (1996). IASLIC Bulletin. Indian Association of Special Libraries & Information Centres. p. 76. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Nitish K. Sengupta (2011). Land of Two Rivers: A History of Bengal from the Mahabharata to Mujib. Penguin Books India. pp. 96–98. ISBN 978-0-14-341678-4. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kunal Chakrabarti; Shubhra Chakrabarti (2013). Historical Dictionary of the Bengalis. Scarecrow. pp. 114–115. ISBN 978-0-8108-8024-5. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Syed Ashraf Ali (2012). "Bangabda". In Sirajul Islam; Ahmed A. Jamal. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (2nd ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  5. ^ a b c Kunal Chakrabarti; Shubhra Chakrabarti (2013). "Calendar". Historical Dictionary of the Bengalis. Scarecrow Press. pp. 114–5. ISBN 978-0-8108-8024-5. 
  6. ^ a b c d Guhathakurta, Meghna; Schendel, Willem van (2013). The Bangladesh Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Duke University Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 9780822353188. 
  7. ^ a b Kim Plofker 2009, pp. 10, 35–36, 67.
  8. ^ a b Monier Monier-Williams (1923). A Sanskrit–English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 353. 
  9. ^ a b James Lochtefeld (2002), "Jyotisha" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, pages 326–327
  10. ^ Friedrich Max Müller (1860). A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature. Williams and Norgate. pp. 210–215. 
  11. ^ Eleanor Nesbitt (2016). Sikhism: a Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. pp. 122, 142. ISBN 978-0-19-874557-0. 
  12. ^ Morton Klass (1978). From Field to Factory: Community Structure and Industrialization in West Bengal. University Press of America. pp. 166–167. ISBN 978-0-7618-0420-8. 
  13. ^ Ralph W. Nicholas (2003). Fruits of Worship: Practical Religion in Bengal. Orient Blackswan. pp. 13–23. ISBN 978-81-8028-006-1. 
  14. ^ D. C. Sircar (1965). Indian Epigraphy. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 241, 272–273. ISBN 978-81-208-1166-9. 
  15. ^ Richard Salomon (1998). Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 148, 246–247, 346. ISBN 978-0-19-509984-3. 
  16. ^ a b c Ebenezer Burgess (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta, ed. Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. vii–xi. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2. 
  17. ^ "Pahela Baishakh". Banglapedia. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 2015. 
  18. ^ "Google Doodle Celebrates Pohela Boishakh in Bangladesh". Time. Retrieved 2017-04-17. 
  19. ^ Amartya Sen (2005). The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. pp. 319–322. ISBN 978-0-374-10583-9. 
  20. ^ Syed Ashraf Ali, Bangabda, National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit