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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bengali Food On Poila Boishakh

Bengalee like delicious foods, especially on Poila Boishakh. So,
various hotels and restaurants arranged attractive feast for Bengalee.
AUDH 1590: arranged special items for Nabo Barsho : raan
biriyani, shahi paya biriyani, kima biriyani, shikari kel biriyani,
mahi kofta biriyani, multani kanthal biriyani etc. And juicy pineapple
raita would be there with any item of biriyani. Approx cost for 2: Rs.

Park Pavilion: special items will be there for 3 days from today.
Moglai, Bengali or Chinese, you can get any items here. And the
special items are - Murshidabad mutton biriyani, mach paturi, murgi
dum, chana mahima polao, ratna moog, mohini sorse, bhapa mach, begun
malaikari, hot garlic veg, burnt garlic hakka noodles etc. Cost Rs
1200 for 2 persons. Vat extra.

The Gateway: here you can grab food items of Bangladesh like misti
kumro phul fry, begun bhorta, patol bhorta, enchor doi, mankachur
malaikari, patoler dolma, shol mach er bhorta, macher matha salon, rui
murighonto, tiger pron, 5 foron murgi, chicken kofta, murgir roast,
lau payes, pati sapta etc.Thali will be available for three days from
today at the cost of only Rs 1000-1200/-.

Aheli of Peerless Inn: special items of veg and non-veg for April-May.

Sonnet Hotel: special items are available here like ampora sarbat,
mochar chop, kumro phuler bora, loite mach er chop, hans er dim er
devil, aam kasundi, amra bata, kachu bata with sorse-narkel, chaltar
chatni, lau patai bhapa chingri, sorse ilish, deshi murgir jhol,
enchor kofta curry, jhuri alu bhaja, narkel diye cholar daal, ghee
bhat, basanti polao, misti doi, kalo jaam etc.It will available till
tomorrow. Cost: 999/-.

K9 of Park Plaza: here you can get the selected best items of the city
in one place like posto fried chicken of Coffee House, mutton tikia
roll of Nizam, alur dum of Decker's Lane, hakka noodles of Tangra,
lamb biriyani of Arsalan, mutton ghugni of Chittaranjan Park,
rasogolla and baked mihidana of K C Das. Cost: Rs 1000/-.

A. B.

Poila Boishakh - Bengali New Year

Today is Poila Boishakh, the first day of 1421 - new Bengali year.
Bengalee of West Bengal always love to celebrate the day with
traditional joy, happiness, respect, fun and rituals.

When the first light of the day about to break, the traders rush to
Kalighat or Dakshineswar to worship goddess Kali with their red book
(খেরোর খাতা) i.e. ledger book. Not only the traders, common people of
Bengali community go to Kali temple in the morning. Till 1980, a
musical function used to held on the morning of Nabo Barsho at
Basusree cinema hall. Most of the renowned performers of Bengal like
Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Sandhya Mukhopadhyay, Dwijen Mukhopadhyay, Arati
Mukhopadhyay, Manabendra Mukhopadhyay, Pratima Bandyopadhyay, Shyamal
Mitra even Uttam Kumar used to perform here. I never had an
opportunity to present at that function, but, it was traditionally a
very popular event for which Bengalee may feel pride. Various clubs
and NGO's use to organise 'pravat pheri' with childrens to welcome
'Nabo Barsho'. Cultural programmes are being organised at the evenings
and above all, delicacy of foods, especially pure traditional Bengali
foods are the weakness of Bengalee on this Poila Boishakh.

When I was a school boy, my father used to take me with him for the
evening invitation of 'Haal khata' by traders. Wearing new dresses,
we, the brothers used to reach to the jewellery shop with our father.
And then, they welcomed us with cold drinks (orange squash). A new
Bengali calendar with a box of snacks & sweets were the main
attraction of this evening. Later, when I was in college, used to
watch 'nabo borsher boithak' on Doordarshan Kolkata. In fact, a day,
different from other 364 days, we used to enjoy very much.

A. B.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Charak Puja In Rural Bengal

Today is Charak Puja on Chaitra sankranti - the last day of Bengali
calendar year. On this occasion, Charak puja has been done this
afternoon. Here are some pics in rural Bengal, where I was present
and observed the joy of childrens too.

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Nabo Barsho Boi Utsav (নববর্ষ বই উৎসব)

Nabo Barsho Boi Utsav or a book fair would be organised for the first
time on the occasion of Bengali New Year 1421, by the Publishers &
Booksellers Guild. The book fair (নববর্ষ বই উৎসব) will run from today
for seven days (14 April-20 April, 2014). And the venue is College
Square (Vidyasagar Udyan). The pavilions would be decorated as huts of
Bengal. And not only books, - songs, adda, amusement, gift items,
heritage yard, special discount offers would delight the heart of
visitors. Today, at 5 pm, a huge rally would be there where the
eminent persons of Bengal will participate. And the fair will be
inaugurated at 6 pm today. The fair will remain open from 12 pm to 8
pm daily, from tomorrow, till 20 April, for all.

A. B.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bangla Nabo Barsho - 2 Days To Go

Bengali new year 1421 will start from 15 April, 2014. Hence, the idols
of Lord Ganesha are preparing by the clay artists. On Poila Boishakh,
the pujas of Lord Ganesha is a regular practice of traders. They also
open new ledger (খেড়োর খাতা) on this day. So, this red book is also
being prepared to fulfil the requirement of traders on Poila Boishakh.

A. B.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gajon In Kolkata

According to some sociologist, Gajon is a strategy to remain intact
the prejudices of aboriginals. So called people of higher class are
the inventor of this strategy. Once upon a time the aboriginals used
to perform their horrid customs like Baanfora (বাণফোড়া), Kantajhap
(কাঁটাঝাপ) etc. Those customs are now being performed by the lower
classes of the society. And by this way, the due honour is being paid
to them by the people of higher class.

The other section of sociologists opined that a very ancient rumour is
behind this festival. The king of demons (the untouchables in modern
sense) was Baan (বাণ রাজা). His daughter Usha fell in love in her
dream with Aniruddha - the grandson of Lord Krishna. She sent her
'sakhi' Chitralekha to Dwarka to fetch Aniruddha. Then, Usha married
him secretly. However, the news licked and the king captivated
Aniruddha. But, being informed about it, Lord Krishna attacked the
kingdom of Baan by the help of Balaram and defeated Baan after a
furious battle. The couple Aniruddha-Usha went to Dwarka with Lord
Krishna and Balaram.

Another episode in vogue at some areas of Raar Bangla (রাঢ় বাংলা) has
been added to the above story. According to that episode, at the last
part of that battle, while Baan attempted to kill Aniruddha, the
'Sudarshan Chakra' (সুদর্শন চক্র) of Lord Krishna cut his body. In his
dying prayer, Baan said to Krishna that the sons of Aniruddha-Usha
shall familiar in the society as upper-class childrens according to
Krishna's class; but, at least a day may be fixed when those
differences would be abolished and childrens of upper class will get a
chance to pay honour to their maternal (lower-class) relatives. Lord
Krishna accepted this and the day of Charak or Gajon is that
particular day when the lower class people being worshiped by higher
class people.

Some people think, this Gajon or Charak Puja was famous as the puja of
Dharma Thakur - the popular God of Hindus belonged to madieval age.
But another part of the people think, it was the puja of Baba
Panchananda (পঞ্চানন্দ) or Panchu Thakur (পাচু ঠাকুর) or Baba Thakur
(বাবা ঠাকুর). Later, all these pujas have been converted into the puja
of Lord Shiva. Perhaps, for this reason, Neel Puja (নীল পূজা) is being
performed on the day before Charak Puja.

The Charak tree use to be cleaned on the eve of Charak. The Shiva
Lingo is being kept on a container with water. It is called 'Buro
Shiv' (বুড়ো শিব). The wedding of Lord Shiva, Agun Jhap (আগুন ঝাপ),
Kanta Jhap, walking on embers, Baan Fora, swing on Charak tree etc to
be seen as the performance on the day of Charak. Arrow-needle (বাণ
শলাকা) used to perforate in many parts of the body of devotee. This
custom was very painful and inhuman too. At present, it is not only
prohibited, but a punishable offence too. For the seek of religion,
the devotees eager to earn virtue, used to perform those hard work.
But, the educated section of the society protested against the
practice and during the reign of Lord Beadon, that inhuman practice
had been abolished by law from the year 1864-65.

'Song' (সং) or Clown is another part of Gajon or Charak. Several
stories are behind it. In one story, lovelorn Lord Shiva sent Nandi to
Himalaya to fetch Parbati. In the meantime, a dancer of heaven
entertained Lord Shiva by her unique disguise and song. Lord Shiva
became very pleased to observe her disguised dance. By this way, dance
in disguise became very popular on the occasion of Gajon - two
'Sannyasi' dance in disguise as Shiva & Parbati. It is the custom of

In old Calcutta, 'Song Jatra' (সং যাত্রা) was very popular. The song
of Kasaripara, Khidderpur, Benepukur, Jelepara was very famous.

Kasaripara was the area of north Kolkata where Baranasi Ghosh Street
is now. The utensils made of metal 'kangsa' were used to make there.
The song of Kasaripara was initiated in the last part of nineteenth
century. And the organisers of song were famous kangsa trader Tarak
Pramanik and editor of 'Hindu Patriot' Krishnadas Paul. The speciality
of that song was the horse-driven chariot on which the song was
decorated. The chariot used to go through the roads of city. The car
named 'Katra'. But the 'song' had to abolish by the elite section of
the society as it was vulgar, according to them.

Song of Khiddirpur: On the third decade of twentieth century, song
jatra was performed at Khiddirpur area. That song jatra was used to
start from Manasa Tala and Narkel Bagan of Khiddirpur. For this
reason, it was named as song of M. Tala & N. Bagan. The song was used
to perform from the last day of Chaitra to second day of Boishakh. It
was the song of protests by lower-class people against the injustice
of upper-class people. That song was performed for about twenty years.
After that, it was abandoned.

'Song' of Taltala : It was used to start from the then Haari Para
(হাড়ি পাড়া). And now it is Doctor Lane. Many 'Sannyasi's of Gajon
used to take part in it too.

'Song' of Benepukur: It was used to start on the last day of Chaitra
from ancient Benepukur area (on the east of Nonapukur Tram Depot).
According to Purana, Lord Shiva was married to Neel Chandika at the
end of month Chaitra. The 'song jatra' of Benepukur was based on this

And finally the famous 'song' of Jelepara: It was one of the oldest
and longest 'song jatra' of Kolkata. A creek was used to flow from
Hooghly river through Waterloo Street, Wellington Square and Moulali.
Later, the creek was shut and the Creek Lane was formed instead. So
many fishermen used to live beside creek. Hence, it was called
Jelepara. In the year 1882, a song jatra was initiated by the
fishermen. Playwright Amritalal Basu and Dadathakur (Sharat Pandit)
used to write the songs for this 'song' too.

A. B.

Durga Puja Pandals In Kolkata

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

On 84th Birthday We're Missing Suchitra Sen

6th April 2014 is the 84th birthday of Suchitra Sen. But, for the
first time we're missing her.

A. B.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ajoy Kar Film Festival

It is very sad that there are no good photos of Ajoy Kar to use. He
was under oblivion for decades. Nandan and Tapan Sinha Foundation have
arranged Ajoy Kar film festival from 8-10 April, 2014 to mark his
birth centenary on 27 March, 2014.

Ajoy Kar had started his film career as a cameraman for Shrimati
Pictures of Kanan Devi-Haridas Bhattacharya. After a few years, he
started to direct films with pseudo name Sabyasachi. And the films
were 'Ananya' 'Bamuner Meye' and 'Mejdidi'. After that, he went to
south India as a cinematographer. As Ajoy Kar his first direction was
the film 'Jighangsa'. Then, Ajoy Kar made several popular films like
'Bardidi' 'Paresh' 'Saptapadi' 'Harano Sur' 'Prabhater Rang' 'Saat
Pake Bandha' 'Atal Jaler Ahoban' 'Kaach Kata Hire' 'Shuno Baronari'
'Datta' 'Malyadan' 'Noukadubi' 'Khelaghar' 'Saajghar' 'Grihaprabesh'
'Parineeta' etc. But most of the films have been lost for ever. He
made 'Saat Pake Bandha' with Suchitra Sen. He made 'Saptapadi' in the
year 1961 and the film entered for Moscow Film Festival. But, Suchitra
Sen was selected as best actress in Moscow Film Festival for the film
Saat Pake Bandha. Ajoy Kar's contribution in Bengali film industry is
enormous. In spite of that, he remained neglected until Nandan and
Tapan Sinha Foundation organised film festival at Nandan in April.
Some not-so-talked films of Ajoy Kar would be screened on this
occasion. They are: Saat Pake Bandha, Shyamali, Barnali, Kayaheener
Kahini, Atol Joler Ahoban,
Kaanch Kata Hire will be screened. A souvenir on Ajoy Kar, edited by
Arijit Maitra and Soumendu Dasmunshi would be published on this
occasion in which many articles on him and leaflets, posters of his
films would be included.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ladakh - The Land Of Mountain Passes

Photography & painting exhibition on Ladakh is going to be started
from 25 March, 2014 at Birla Academy Of Art & Culture for 6 days. And
if you want to decorate your walls with the natural beauty of Ladakh,
then you can buy here the photos and paintings. And it would be for a
good cause, - a portion of selling money will be deposited for CINI
(Child In Need Institute).

A. B.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

175 Year's Birth Anniversary Of Bankim Chandra

Bankim Utsav is being observed at Sharat Sadan of Howrah from 24-26
March, 2014 by various programmes to mark the 175 year's birth
anniversary of the author of 'Vandemataram' - Bankim Chandra

Seminar, recitation, dance drama, songs, musical programme and event
based on 'Anandamath' would be presented on this occasion.

It may be mentioned here that, Bankim Chandra resided here in Howrah
for several years as Collector and Magistrate for three times. Not
only that, he wrote so many novels in Howrah. He created the famous
lines of the poem 'Vandemataram' - "bahute tumi ma shakti / hridaye
tumi ma bhakti / tomari pratima gori mandire mandire" inspired by the
idol of 'hazar haat ' (thousand handed Kali) of Baje Shibpur. This
information has also written on the wall of this temple.

A. B.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Paintings Of K. G. Subramaniyan At Jorasanko Thakurbari

90 years old K. G. Subramaniyan - one of the Indian pioneer of modern
art. He is from Viswa-Bharati and recipient of Padma Shree, Kalidas
Samman, Padma Bhushan and Padma Bibhushan. And a precious event will
be initiated at Jorasanko Thakurbari on 23 March, 2014. Exhibition of
Subramaniyan's paintings will be there with combination of Padma
Bhushan Girija Devi's semi-classical songs. Saakshi Gallery and
Seagull Art Foundation jointly organised the painting exhibition of K.
G. Subramaniyan. And Ahiritola-Sutanuti Heritage Trust is the
organiser of Girija Devi's function. This joint event at Jorasanko
Thakurbari is very significant in the context of rich heritage of
music and paintings of Thakurbari, - Jadubhatta, Radhika Prasad
Goswami, Swami Vivekananda came here to perform songs. And
Abanindranath, Gaganendranath and Rabindranath used to draw paintings
here at Thakurbari.

A. B.

Live Music On Silent Film 'A Throw Of Dice'

Indo-German classic silent film of 1929 - 'A Throw Of Dice' made by
Franz Osten-Himansu Rai will be screened this evening at 5:30 pm in
Science City Mini Auditorium. But the special feature of this special
show is the live music. The film is based on a story of two kings who
want to marry princess Sunita. Two young composers - Gourav Malakar
and Suryakant Sahani will conduct the orchestra live during the show.
This programme has been organised by New Delhi based 'Blot'. The live
music would be a unique experience of analogue electronica - fusion

A. B.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Colourful Sudder Street

Sudder Street - always colourful, lively and full of fun. Many kinds
of people reside here, come here daily for various purposes. And just
for this reason, Sudder Street is totally different from any other
streets of Kolkata. Rabindranath Tagore once resided here. He wrote
the poem "Nirjharer Swapnabhanga" here.

A young batch of Jadavpur University will come here to bring more
colours, life and fun on 22 March, 2014 at 5 pm. Various colours and
modes would be adopted here by them to paint the old walls and
pavements of Sudder Street - pastels, water colour, wax etc will be
used to bring more life in this old street of Kolkata. Not only
colours, songs and music will fill the blanks. Saxophone, guitar,
flute, drums, dupki etc will accompany the singers. 'Aabra ca Dabra '
will bring a totally different evening in the routine of Sudder

A. B.

Excellence On Tour - Exhibition On Technological Research

7-day long programme and exhibition 'Excellence On Tour' will be held
in Science City auditorium of Kolkata. It will be started from 22
March, 2014. All the good works being done all over the world on this
century's ultra-modern technological researches, will be exhibited in
this programme. The works in this field by Jadavpur University, Indian
Association For Cultivation Of Science, and Indian Institute Of
Chemical Biology will also be exhibited here. Several German
Organisations would be presented here to pick young & promising
scientists of Bengal as well as of the country in general. The best
scientist according to them would be invited to work in Germany. This
'Excellence On Tour' exhibition was already held in Hyderabad and

A. B.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

One Way Cafe Near Maidan

One Way Cafe in the city of Kolkata near Maidan is a new addition in
the list of coffee shop. But it is not merely a coffee shop - it is
more than that.

You can sit here after the morning walk at Maidan and take your first
coffee. Then, you can take breakfast here with special tea, and
starters like Flat & Furious Potato, Chili-Cheese paupers, Fried
Ginger Chicken strips or with Prawn Tempura. Not only that, you can
take the day's main course here by delicious veg or non-veg dishes.
You can get veg thalis like Mushroom & Broccoli Skewers, Cottage
Cheese Steak, Layered Stuffed Paratha and non-veg dishes like Stuffed
Chicken Breast, Grilled Bhetki, Shredded Mutton, Chicken In Red Thai
Curry etc.

After the lunch, you can take soft drinks. Special Coffee Lounge,
Banquet and Conference Hall are also here for a small party or
official meeting. One can take his or her breakfast here by spending
only Rs150-200 and for the main course, you have to pay
only Rs. 225-300.

A. B.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

World Puppetry Day

UNESCO has declared 21 March as the World Puppetry Day with a view to
create awareness among masses regarding the negligence and excellence
of this ancient art form. 3-day long puppet show will be held from
19-21 March, 2014 at Tapan Theatre of south Kolkata. Courtesy:
Dhumketu Puppet Theatre. 10 teams of Puppetry like Tal Betal, Dana,
Rang Taal would be participated in the show.

A. B.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Rural Fair On The Day Of Dol Utsav

I visited a rural fair held on the occasion of Dol utsav in Bengal last evening.

A. B.