Thursday, 31 December 2015

Tripura CM Laments Lack of Highways in State

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Tripura chief minister (CM), Manik Sarkar, has rued the lack of quality National Highways (NHs) in his state to connect with the rest of the country. He said: “Though the foundation has been laid to convert the NH44 to double lane, it needs more expansion.”

Speaking on the sidelines of an event in the city, Sarkar said that Tripura is a landlocked state and has to depend on Assam for the chicken neck connectivity with the rest of the country. He highlighted the importance of connecting the state with mainland India through Bangladesh. Sarkar said: “Work in going on to convert the meter gauge railway to broad gauge from Sabroom to Agartala and this is expected to be completed by March 2016. Other parts of the state will also be connected by mid-2018 and the state government will extend all support in this regard. The Railway Board is happy with our support.”

The Tripura CM said that getting land for business is not a problem in the state and the revenue department will help will all relevant documents. However, the buyer has to purchase land directly from the owners and government will not mediate in this regard, he added.

Speaking on insurgency, Sarkar said that it is largely under control because of the active support and measures taken by the Bangladesh government. He believed in not depending entirely on security forces but to take support of the people and follow a holistic approach comprising ideological, political and social dimensions to deal with insurgency.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Sonakshi Launches Her Debut Single Album Ishqholic

WPC News Desk: Bollywood sensation Sonakshi Sinha aka Sona has launched her debut solo music album Ishqholiq today. Sona looked in a ravishing new avatar in it. Let's check out some of the stills from the album. 
















Abar Baithak Serves Special Turkey Platter on Christmas

Our CorrespondentKolkata: If you are a turkey lover then here is your chance to celebrate the Christmas with your favourite cuisine in Kolkata. Café Abar Baithak has been serving a special turkey platter for couple of days till 25 December.




The special dish contains roasted turkey with white sauce and turkey gravy along with butter rice, boiled veggies, mashed potato and apple sauce. Yummy, isn’t it!

The cafe would be open till midnight today. What are you waiting for! Go grab your Christmas special turkey dish.  

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Pre-Christmas Gig at Abar Baithak

Our CorrespondentKolkata: The city was about to open her arms for a late winter on that day. People had only started to enjoy the occasional chill in the air. The mist that was hindering the beloved winter to embrace the city had started to disperse silently. That was the moment when three guys began to chant the music of the season. And Abar Baithak gave them a chance to welcome the sleigh of Santa in the city through a pre-Christmas extravaganza.



Durjoy& Friends—Samrat and Ayan—came together for a musical morning and performed more than a dozen songs on the beats of the winter on 20 December. The performance featured some vintage Bob Dylans like Jokerman and Farewell Angelina along with a number of personal compositions of the three. The audience had enjoyed new compositions like Back on Road Again and I Came Here to Sell My Dreams etc the most. The performance lasted for more than an hour and the trio had left the audience spell bound.

The man in red fur coat, sitting lonely with a chucking smile, had also left his heart there for taking. One thing is sure that he has left his chariot, his bag full of candies for us to make the world a better place to live with a musical touch.     

Monday, 21 December 2015

Biswa Bangla Folk Music Festival Begins Wednesday

Aritra SinghaKolkata: The city is going to witness the Biswa Bangla Loksanskriti (folk culture) Festival for the first time on a floating stage at Lal Dighi. More than 5000 folk singers coming under the plan of Loko Prasar Prakalpa (LPP) will sing at the festival. Simultaneous to Lal Dighi the festival will also be showcased at Prinsep Ghat memorial everyday from 5 pm to 9m.

Announcing this Atri Bhattacharya, Principal Secretary, I&CA, said that many folk singers, those who have inherited this profession from their forefathers find it extremely difficult to make both ends meet, and by the grace of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, now these singers earn 1000 rupees every month and also get to perform 4-5 shows on monthly basis. He also added that almost 50,000 folk singers come under the LPP Plan introduced by the Chief Minister herself.



Bhattacharya further said that the Festival is dedicated to the rural folk singers only and those who live in cities would not be a part of it.

Indraneil Sen, singer turned politician, gracing the occasion said that all such folk singers now have their individual bank account, and members from  all the families carrying forward the legacy of folk music would be covered under LPP. He further added that the Prinsep Ghat Memorial has now become a heritage point in Kolkata after its beautification. Even Lal Dighi which was once abandoned and left as a dump yard had restored its charm after Mamata Banerjee selected that spot to be beautified and transformed it as a venue of the folk song festival.

Sen also said that alongside Loksanskriti Festival Poush Parbon will also start from December 24 and the venues will be Mohor Kunja and Madhusudhan Mancha. It will go on till January1.

The Chief Minister will inaugurate Biswa Bangla Loksanskriti Festival at Lal Dighi on December 23. 


Sunday, 20 December 2015

Phanibhusan Smriti Samsad Celebrated Life through Death

Special CorrespondentAsokenagar: Death is an element that has intrigued human mind most often. Artists have glorified the aura of death and even dared to imagine it as their beloved. The traditional Indians philosophy has always celebrated death as the beginning of a new life. And that sense of celebration has reflected in works of the great Indian artists and writers like Rabindranath Tagore.
 
Carrying that legacy forward the Phanibhusan Smriti Samsad of Asokenagar has hosted a brilliant discussion programme, called ‘Nobiner Chokhe Mrityu' (death in the eyes of the young), at the local Samsad Bhawan on 18 December. Subhasish Chakraborty has founded the Samsad in memory of his father late Phanibhusan Chakraborty. The Samsad decided to pay homage to that great soul on his death anniversary through dissecting death from several dimensions. “The idea is to convert sorrow into art” aptly said Subhasish.

Students of schools and colleges have performed with songs, recitation, read excerpts from stories and novels to describe death as they saw it. The subjective uniqueness of the programme would certainly inspire many not to consider demise as not the ultimate end of this beautiful journey known as life.         


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Abar Baithak Goes Jazz

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Café Abar Baithak hosted a musical morning solely dedicated to Jazz on 13 December. It was rightly called All that’s Jazz.




The programme featured four prominent musicians—drummer Gaurab Chatterjee aka Gabu and guitarist Mainak  Nag Chowdhury aka Bumpy from Kolkata and saxophonist Maarten Visser from Netherlands and  guitarist Matthis Muller from Germany. 

Beginning from traditional Jazz to contemporary improvisation the quattuor had left no stone unturned in the hour-long performance.
It was like revisiting the formative era of Jazz music originated among the Afro-American communities in the US in the late 19th and early 20th century.




Though the world wide appeal of Jazz has reduced at length in last few decades but a good number of hardcore Jazz lover can be found out in Kolkata till now.  Keeping that in mind the café authority planned such an exclusive programme. People thronging at the café gate on a chilly Sunday morning proved that they were quite right.

Gabu and Bumpy are quite popular face in Kolkata's music circuit now. Audience was particularly curious to listen to Visser who played with maestro A R Rahman too. Nevertheless, their overall combination was soulful. The aura of musical madness still echoes in the café for days now. 


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Image courtesy:Shoumo Banerjee
   

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Prince and Nora Playing a Game of Love!

WPC News Desk : Fake or real! Prince Narula who had shown interest in co-contestant Yuvika Chaudhary earlier is now happily moving around with Nora Fatehi in the Bigg Boss House. The duo is expressing feelings for each other openly. Though other inmates of the House are still doubtful about the reason and timing of this latest hook up but the two seem to be unmoved with criticisms. Let's look at two most cosy images of the latest love birds of Bigg Boss 9. 






    

 



Sunday, 13 December 2015

Dey’s Publishes Jyotirindranather Jibon-Smriti at Jorasanko

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Rabindranath Tagore was the brightest star among the galaxy of talents once appeared together in the Jorasanko Thakur Bari. Many were overshadowed by his aura. Jyotirindranath Tagore was one of them. He is considered as one of the most tragic characters in the world of Bengali literature. People only remember him as ‘Jyotidada’ or ‘Notundada’ of Rabindranath. All that readers know about the man behind making of Rabindranath is that he went to oblivion at an age when the world of literature was expecting outstanding works from him.

Book launch by
Chaudhury (right) and Bhattacharya (second left) with Debojit (middle) and publisher Apu Dey
  

Jyotirindranath was a multi-talented personality. He proved that through his literary and musical works. 'Jibonsmriti' of that great man is one of the few sources that help readers to explore the life and works of Jyotirindranath Tagore. Dey’s Publishing has published the book 'Jyotirindranather Jibon-Smriti' in a new form in a programme at the Jorasanko Thakur Bari on 12 December evening. The book was formally unwrapped by Professor Sabyasachi Basu Chaudhury, the Vice Chancellor of the Rabindra Bharati University, and former VC of the Visva Bharati University Professor Sabyasachi Bhattacharya. Besides the known arena the book also contains some important letters and diary entries which would give a deeper insight in to the life of this forgotten talent, Jyotirindranath.

The programme was a musical one. Conceptualised and written by Debojit Bandyopadhyay, who is also the editor of the Dey’s edition of 'Jyotirindranather Jibon-Smriti', and featured the songs of plays once performed at the 'Jorasanko Theatre'. Bandyopadhyay was accompanied by Riddhi Bandyopadhyay in songs. Debashish Basu has read the textual section of the whole script. It was aptly named as the ‘Jorasanko Manchogatha’. 

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Parties Demand Bihar Model Polling in Bengal

Our CorrespondentKolkata: The opposition parties in West Bengal have urged chief election commissioner (CEC), Nasim Zaidi, to conduct assembly elections in the state in five to seven phases.

The full bench of the Election Commission (EC), led by Zaidi, today held a series of meetings with all political parties, senior government officials and district administration representatives before initiating measures for the assembly polls due next year.

"We have requested the CEC to ensure that the elections are free and fair and all necessary steps should be taken to ensure that people can vote without any fear or intimidation. We have not specified any phases as it is too early," CPI(M) state secretariat member Rabin Deb said after the meeting. Its ally Forward Bloc has demanded elections in six phases.

The Congress delegation led by senior leader Manas Bhunia too requested the EC to ensure deployment of enough central forces ahead of the polls. "We want elections in at least five phases," he said.

The BJP delegation demanded elections in seven phases. “We told the EC that a central government official must be present in every booth. We want the Bihar model of polling arrangements in Bengal,” said  BJP MLA Shameek Bhattacharya.

The ruling Trinamool Congress delegation, led by state parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee, said they have urged the commission to ensure that all legal voters are enlisted in the voter list that will be released on 5 January.

"West Bengal is the most tolerant state where communal harmony is beyond question,” he said. State urban development affairs minister Firhad Hakim, who accompanied Chatterjee, said that the time is not yet ripe to talk about multi-phase elections.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Pt Girish Chatterjee Live at Taan Music Academy Launch

Our CorrespondentLos Angeles: The Taan Music Academy is going to open its door for music lovers on 12 December evening. It will be formally inaugurated by famous yoga guru Bikram Choudhury at the Shattoo Recreation Centre in Los Angeles.



On the occasion the Academy will host a live performance by renowned vocalist Pt Girish Chatterjee. The four-hour long session will begin at 6 pm (local time). The programme will also feature release of a music album of modern Bengali songs, ‘Surer Aakashe Sukh Tara’, by Chatterjee. Choudhury will release the album. 

The whole programme will be anchored by Ashraf Ahmed, who is also the convenor of it, and Shazia Haqq. 









Dr Moni Nag Died in Kolkata

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Dr Moni Nag, lovingly called Monida, breathed his last in Kolkata yesterday (8 December). He was suffering from several old age complications from a long time and could not return to New York where he worked for decades now.

AIDS prevention programme in Sonagachi as envisaged by Nag
Nag was a renowned anthropologist who began his career in the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata and later joined the Columbia University in 1966. He spent his formative years in the University of Calcutta and Yale.

Besides his anthropological feats Nag had dedicated his life for social work. His contribution for welfare of the sex workers of Sonagachi in Kolkata is incredible. Nag also worked with the Elmhirst Institute of Community Studies in Santiniketan.

Nag has penned a number of books on human sexuality and social impact of that. some of his key works are Sexual Behaviour and AIDS in India, Sex Workers of India, Population and Social Organisation and Factors Affecting Human Fertility in Non-industrial Societies etc. Those worked with Nag regard him as a truly inspiring character with high values.

WB BJP Submits Deputation on TMC Violence

Our CorrespondentKolkata: West Bengal governor KN Tripathi has assured BJP to take up the issue of ‘violence’ with the state government. Badsha Alam, BJP state vice-president, said that the governor has advised them to raise the issue before the Election Commission team when it visits Kolkata.

A BJP delegation, comprising senior leaders like Badsha Alam, Jay Prakash Majumdar and others, met the governor and submitted a deputation yesterday on the violent attack on BJP activists at Pundibari, Cooch Behar on 6 December, by goons allegedly backed by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).

Majumdar alleged that despite early assurances, there was no police to rein in the violent mob which attacked his party workers.

Alam said that there is extreme lawlessness in the state. Regular attacks on opposition political parties to destroy the democratic fabric are rampant in the state now. He further alleged that 70-80 houses of BJP activists were burnt by the local TMC goons of Pundibari, but the police is ignorant and is refusing to take any complaints on ruling party instructions.

Monday, 7 December 2015

No BJP-TMC Alliance for 2016 State Polls: Sinha

Our CorrespondentKolkata: West Bengal BJP president Rahul Sinha has ruled out any possible alliance between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and his party for the 2016 assembly polls in the state.

Misra alleged to the media today that Bengal is now synonymous with ‘vandalism’, and BJP under no circumstances would seek any alliance with TMC as that would disrupt the sanctity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will also affect the goodwill of his party.

Accusing chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Sinha further said: “She sports a hijab, prays like a Muslim, announces honorariums for Islamic clerics and ends her speech with either khuda hafeez or insallah. And she claims to be secular? What harm did the Hindus, Christians or Sikhs do? Even Muslims can see through her fake histrionics which is evident in thousands of them joining BJP.”

Meanwhile, speculating a TMC-BJP grand alliance for the polls, Surya Kanta Mishra, CPI(M) state secretary, said at a party rally today: “With the election approaching, Banerjee wants to join hands with BJP to keep CBI away from the Saradha and other chit fund scams probe.” Her recent Delhi visit, Misra claimed, was not just to attend the wedding of Arun Jaitely’s daughter but also to meet Modi to negotiate a hindrance in the CBI investigation.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

CMCH Junior Doctors Demand 'Liberty'

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Agitating junior doctors and nurses of Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) have submitted a deputation to the West Bengal governor for the betterment of the government-run hospital, after chief minister Mamata Banerjee tagged the death of two newborns there as a "minor incident.” They also demanded ‘liberty’ to treat patients.

It may be recalled that the newborns, including a girl child, allegedly died because of overheating of a radiant warmer apparatus at CMCH on 27 November. 

Banerjee had slammed the junior doctors and nurses agitating against suspension of their colleagues accused of not monitoring the CMCH warmers.

Subir Nag, one of the agitating doctors, said: “We can’t even write prescriptions to patients without consulting the superintendent. Even if a patient is critical, we have been given strictures that the medicines and the supporting accessories should be brought from the hospital. If the materials are not readily available, the patients suffer more.”

Speaking about the condition of the hospital, Jayanti Bagchi, an intern nurse said: “I joined here as an intern and my first experience was terrible. Some months back, a patient came with his spinal cord broke into pieces. A senior doctor with the support of superintendent told that the materials needed for his treatment was not available at the hospital, and might take over a month to be readily available. Family members of the patients were ready to get the necessary items from an outside medicine shop. But the senior doctor refused to treat the patient with materials brought from outside as he was given strict mandates from upper level.”

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Kalkatta is a Powerful City Novel about Identity and Belonging: Kunal Basu

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Kalkatta, a novel by Kunal Basu was launched at the Calcutta Club on Sunday (29 November).  In conversation with ace director Sandip Ray, the author of the novel Kunal Basu said that dark and gritty, Kalkatta is a powerful city novel about identity and belonging.
 
Kunal Basu 
Throwing more light to the novel the author said that the name of the protagonist of his novel is Jami, who is a gigolo king of Kolkata. Smuggled into India from Bangladesh and given refuge by his uncle, a leader of the ruling Communist Party. He grows up in Zakaria Street dreaming of becoming a pakka Kalkatta- wallah. When his association with his gang disqualifies him from his school, he ends up as an assistant to a passport forger, and then a masseur. Soon enough Kolkata opens its doors drawing Jami into the world of rich and famous, housewives, tourists and traveling executives, and occasionally to the high paying and dangerous parties.
 
Jami’s shadowy double life takes a turn for the unexpected when he meets Pablo, a young boy who suffers from leukemia, and his single mother Mandira. Made to oscillate between his refugee family, the neighborhood gang, his massage parlor clients and even the cultured world of Bengali intellectuals inhabited by Mandira, he succeeds in becoming a true Kalkatta- wallah, but a stranger to himself. Until his love for Pablo threatens to destroy everything, and drive him away even from his beloved Kalkatta.

Party Cannot be Blammed for Individual Corruption: Mamata

Our CorrespondentHowrah (Amta) : Virtually  beginning campaign for 2016 assembly polls Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said,  if there is an individual getting involved in  corruption or scam, this does not mean the party is  also indulging  thieves. That is individual’s problem. The party cannot be blamed for that, she added.  She was addressing an administrative meeting   at Amta in Howrah district on Monday (30 November).

Banerjee also continued her tirade against Centre and accused it of indifferent attitude towards her demand for adequate financial package to overcome the debt burden left back by the previous Left Front government. She  slammed New Delhi for not paying heed to her demand for settlement of devolution of taxes to states and retain subsidies for various development programmes.


Strongly criticising the termination or drastic reduction of central funds for several social sector projects like Mid-Day Meal, ICDS, police modernisation, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Jangalmahal development programmes etc, Banerjee demanded immediate restoration of funding of those projects.
Accusing the Centre of depriving West Bengal, despite repeated demands, of special financial packages and subsidies for various projects, Banerjee expressed her government’s inability to continue development projects in the state without adequate supply of funds. She said despite financial constraints, her state has acquired self-reliance in power and increased allocation in various projects for the minorities.

The Chief Minister’s comment draws sharp criticism from Opposition parties.  While CPIM leader Shamik Lahiri described it as the CM’s acceptance to the allegation that Madan Mitra accepted money from Saradha. Now she is trying to distance herself from Mitra and others due to next year’s assembly polls, Lahiri added. Meanwhile, Pradesh Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that  the Chief  Minister has finally admitted  that some of her party members are thieves.


Monday, 30 November 2015

Tagore Songs Rediscovered by Priyam and Ritapa

Love as defined by Tagore represents eternal truth of life. Aitrayee Sarkar in search of that imperishable feeling with Kokhon Je Basanta Gelo 

Talking about spring just ahead of winter is a bit unusual. But unlike the six seasons of the year the eternal songs of Tagore know no boundary at all. So how does it matter whether the spring is there in reality or not.

Ten songs composed by a young poet full of enthusiasm and deep rooted emotion portray a sense of aura about life. It’s a journey from the freshness of young love towards the profound sense of endless realization. All the songs had been composed at the beginning of the 19th century. Time has gone by but the appeal of these songs is still impeccable. They inspire us to move ahead towards the road to salvation beyond academic analysis and critical dissection.

We are talking about an album, ‘Kokhon Je Basanta Gelo’, by real life couple Priyam Mukhopadhyay and Ritapa Bhattacharya. Singer Swagatalaxmi has played piano for the album. The whole album has been planned and scripted by Sumita Samanta.


The album is combination of four duets and six solo songs, all belong to the category of love and devotion. But as always, here sketching line between love and separation is difficult. The album begins with ‘Gahana Kusumo Kunjo Majhe’ (within a park of lusty flowers) from Bhanusimgher Padabali. It’s followed by four solos ‘Nirobo Rajani Dekho’, ‘Tare Deho Go Ani’, ‘Sakhi Bhabona Kahare Bole’ and ‘Tui Re Basanta Samiran’. Then comes another duet ‘Sokoli Phuralo Swapana Pray’ and couple of solos—‘Aamar Praner Pore’ and ‘E Parabase Robe Ke’. The album ends with two duet songs—‘E Shudhu Oloso Maya’ and ‘Kokhon Je Basanta Gelo’. The overall arraying of the album completes the journey called love—from surge of senses to the eternal truth of life.
 
The style of rendition of both Priyam and Ritapa is apt for the songs selected. Their real life chemistry has played a strong role in the album. It seems the two are romancing with love itself. The musical arrangement is also appropriate for the occasion and presence of Swagatalaxmi has made the album stand out in the crowd.

Listeners can get overwhelmed with the concept of love as seen by the young poet. One can say that there is nothing surprisingly new in the album but like any other universal phenomenon Tagore deserves a timeless discovery. 'Kokhon Je Basanta Gelo' represents that in true sense. 




Kokhon Je Basanta Gelo 
Saptarshi Prakashan
Available at Dolly's, Abar Baithak and Subarnarekha (Shantiniketan) 
₹ 125 


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The writer is an editor of WebPressClub
 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Musical Genesis with Coffee

Our CorrespondentKolkata: A musical morning with a hot cup of coffee is the best way to celebrate a pre-winter weekend. And if the music belongs to the roots of life then one cannot ask for more. Café Abar Baithak has gifted a similar pure sun rise with Baulgaan, Mushidi and Fakiri music on 22 November. It was a prelude to the upcoming two-day Manush Mela to be held at the Patuli ground in South Kolkata from 5 December.

Gamcha Baba (left), Samrat Fakir (middle) with Photke Baba
The event featured three extraordinary traditional performers—Gamcha Baba, Photke Baba and Samrat Fakir. In a two-hour long programme the trio has exhibited their skill in full swing. They sang their heart out to impress the audience who also were in no mood to be left behind. They enjoyed the soulful music thoroughly and even participated in the performance later.
The whole performance was interactive. Beginning from the lyrics to the physical gesture of the three performers were simple yet attractive.
   


More on

Musical Genesis with Coffee || Image Gallery

Musical Genesis with Coffee || Image Gallery

Hitting the right tune





Moments before performance

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

ER to Run Special Trains for Rash Yatra Utsav

Our CorrespondentKolkata: To cater to the rush of pilgrims during Rash Yatra Utsav at Nabadwip Dham and Shantipur area, Eastern Railway will run one pair of EMU Special train for couple days, each between Sealdah & Shantipur station in Sealdah Division and between Bandel & Katwa station in Howrah Division.

The special train in Sealdah Division will run in the nights of 26/27 & 27/28 November, leaving Sealdah at 21:06 Hrs and departing Shantipur at 00:10 Hrs.. This train will stop at all stations en route. Moreover, for the convenience of the pilgrims visiting Shantipur and adjacent areas during the festival, 12 Up & 11 Down EMU locals will provide additional stoppage at Bathna Krittibas Halt station of Kalinarayanpur-Shantipur section for four days from 25 to 28 November.

In Howrah Division, one pair of EMU special train will be running between Bandel & Katwa stations on 25 & 26 November, for pilgrims visiting Nabadwip Dham and Dainhat area on the occasion of Rash Purnima fair. This special train will start from Bandel at 16:45 Hrs and from Katwa at 20:18 Hrs on those days and will stop at all stations en route.

Focal Theme Country Bolivia for the 40th IKBF

Our CorrespondentKolkata: The International Kolkata Book Fair (IKBF) 2016 will start from 27 January. It will be inaugurated on 25th of January in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.  The focal theme for this year’s fair is Bolivia, signifying 50 years of immortal struggle by Che Guevara against Imperialism. Another important highlight of this year's fair will be the 3rd Kolkata Literature Meet which will start from 4 February. A combination of distinguished writers, directors, historians, theatre personalities and pets will grace the Literature Festival.


Tridib Chatterjee, General Secretary, Publishers & Booksellers Guild (PBG), told the newsmen that IKBF is the most revered and cherished festival in Eastern India. The 40th IKBF will witness the highest number of national participation along with glorified presence of many foreign countries making it a culturally diverse event. He also informed that France has initially confirmed its participation in IKBF 2016 as the focal theme country. However, in September they had withdrawn their name due to certain shortcomings and later, Bolivia came forward and confirmed their presence as theme country, Chatterjee mentioned.  He, on behalf of PBG, thanked the book lovers, Embassies, booksellers and publishers and the Government of West Bengal for their support and contribution to IKBF and said, PBG is looking forward to host another successful innings for the most sought after event of the year in Kolkata, the cultural capital of the world.

Chatterjee also added that last year there was a total footfall of over 20 lakh, and book worth Rs. 20 crore was sold.
 
This year there will be more than 600 general book stalls along with 200 stalls for little magazines. The IKBF 2016 will witness the revered presence of new countries like Guatemala, Norway and China. The festival days will be elevated further with the participation of UK, USA, France, Japan and Latin America etc.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Story of the Nowhere People

They left their homeland in search of a better future but instead landed in hell. Prabuddha Neogi sheds light on the pitiable conditions of Bihari Muslims living in neighbouring Bangladesh 

In the days leading up to the Partition of 1947, nearly a million Urdu-speaking Muslims from Bihar migrated to the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) because of communal violence in their home state. Veteran Muslim leaders like Muhammed Ali Jinnah, at that time, made explicit mention about the great sacrifice of Muslim migrants from India to Pakistan, which contributed to the formation of the new nation.

But the woes of the ‘Bihari Muslims’—as they are referred to in Bangladesh—even after 67 years of Partition have only gone from bad to worse. Perhaps no other community from the subcontinent have been such perpetual sufferers like them, decade after decade. Everyone’s anguishes, be it that of the Hindus from Bangladesh to India in the days leading up to the 1971 war, or the Muhajirs in Pakistan, ended someday because of the fact that the former were fairly well received in India and the latter were able to forge considerable political clout in Karachi. It may be recalled that former Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, is one of most prominent Muhajirs in Pakistan, who had left India in 1947, in one of the last safe trains.

The hapless Biharis, however, continue to languish in humiliating poverty in a ghetto. They are the nowhere people and have been subject to endless persecution in the hands of the government, opposition and all other vested quarters. The ghetto is also the target of realtors and 10 Bihari Muslims were killed in June 2014, allegedly over land grabbing. The place is also a hub for other criminal activties. 


Known as the Geneva Camp, the Bihari Muslim ghetto in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur is an example of perhaps the worst possible sub-human living conditions in the world. The floors are weak and crumbling. The gaps under the staircase and on the walls expose rotting concrete and rusted steel. Houses are separated by two-feet wide passages shared by goats, chicken, pigs, and humans. A web of electrical wires hang in the alleys and are perilously frayed. With toilets marked inside 8x8feet rooms, the whole area reeks of human and animal excreta. The camp routinely floods in rains, toilets included, and the stench becomes unbearable.

Bangladeshi politicians, over the years, kept the Biharis terrorised in their camps and continue to treat them as untouchables. Self-proclaimed Bangladeshi statesmen want to return them to Pakistan. Several politicians and their agents persistently remind of the fact that the Biharis of Bangladesh adopted a pro-Pakistan stand during the 1971 Liberation War and aided the Pak army in their atrocities against the Bengali speaking people. These politicians have conveniently forgotten that the Biharis were persecuted in similar ferocity around the same time, both before and after the liberation of Bangladesh. The preferred destination of these stranded people have always been Pakistan though nothing much has realised in this regard because of the opposition from the provinces of Punjab and Sindh where they were planned to be relocated. Besides, many Pakistani politicians believe that they have no obligation to accommodate them.

The Biharis number about 2.5 lakhs. Over half a million of them have already mingled with mainstream Bengalis in Dhaka and elsewhere across the country, largely to become indistinguishable in an intolerant society. Many have left for other South Asian countries and beyond. The new generation of Bihari Muslims speaks fluent Bengali and most of them are employed in the readymade garments industry. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has passed orders in favour of granting them Bangladeshi citizenship but those have not yet been implemented.

Biharis in Bangladesh continue to remain stateless people. They lack education and are vulnerable to opportunist politicians out to extract their pound of flesh. Even the spirited civil society and intelligentsia of the country, ever so vociferous about the genocide of 1971, have largely remained silent about the Biharis’ plight. Bangladesh may not be another Pakistan or Middle East soon but the signs are ominous, especially in respect of religious tolerance and honesty of intent. 

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The writer is the chief editor of WebPressClub

Friday, 20 November 2015

Cinepolis to Have 400 Screens by 2017

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Mexican multiplex operator Cinepolis will have 400 screens operational in India by 2017. It plans to add around 300 more screens in the next 7-8 years.

Javier Sotumayor, managing director, Cinepolis India, said: "We are adding more screens and the total number will go up to 400 by 2017. There is also a healthy pipeline of 300 screens which will take seven to eight years to become operational.

Cinepolis opened its first multiplex at Acropolis Mall in the city today. It is the fourth largest multiplex operator in India after PVR, Inox and Carnival Cinemas.

Sotumayor said that Cinepolis also has megaplexes (more than 10 screens) in cities like Pune, Mumbai and Kochi. Slowdown in the Indian real estate market had put a brake on the expansion. He, however, expressed optimism about the future and is in talks with various developers. "We are signing deals with developers", he said.

The Indian operations accounts for 10 percent of the company’s global ticket sales across 13 countries. In the eastern region, the operator plans to have 45 screens, including a seven-screen multiplex at New Town. 

"We are looking at opportunities for acquisitions as the multiplex industry is in a consolidation phase in India", Sotumayor said.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Nandan to Host Retrospective of Bappaditya Bandopadhyay

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Nandan will host a three-day retrospective of recently died Bengali film director Bappaditya Bandopadhyay after the ongoing 21st International Kolkata Film Festival. The announcement came at a memorial ceremony of this 45 year old director at Nandan-3 on Tuesday (17 November). Actor Prosenjit Chattopadhyay, Paoli Dam, director Ashoke Viswanathan and Haranath Chakraborty along with Bandopadhyay’s father Debashish Bandopadhyay and brother Rajaditya and CEO of Nandan Jadav Mondal were present there.

Ace actor Prosenjit Chattopadhyay at the programme has proposed formation of an archive of films directed by Bappaditya. Recalling the young director he said Bappaditya was uncompromising in his approach towards film making. It would be great if the film lovers get a chance to remember the director through his works for a long time. Hence, a film archive should be set up, Chattopadhyay added.

Actress Paoli Dam said that Bappaditya had taught her the nitty-gritty of world cinema. She mentioned that Bappaditya used to believe in team work and always wanted to work with debutants