Mahabharata Episode 12: The Kingdom of the Pandavas and Arjuna’s Exile

Arjuna and Ulupi

Arjuna and Ulupi

Dhritarashtra offered Pandavas the land of Khandava, a barren and uninhabited piece of land, to set up their Kingdom. To everybody’s surprise, Yudhishtira accepts the offer. In Khandava, the Pandavas setup their capital in Indraprastha, a grand city build by Lord Indra himself.  Rishi Narada tells the Pandavas the story of Sunda and Upasunda and advises them to setup a rule among themselves regarding the companionship of Draupadi with her husbands. But Arjuna had to break the rule to avoid a crisis. And as his punishment Arjuna goes into exile for twelve long years where he encounters several other romantic adventures. Listen to this intriguing episode by clicking on the audio player below. The episode can also be heard on iTunes. And join our Facebook page to stay updated.

Mahabharata Episode 11: Dhritarashtra’s Dilemma

Dhritarashtra and Yudhistira

Dhritarashtra and Yudhistira

When the blind king Dritarashtra learned that the Pandavas have survived the fire in Varanavata and have gained a strong ally, King Drupada of Panchala by marrying his daughter Draupadi, he was in deep trouble. He had already declared Duryodhana to be the crown prince of Hastinapura. Now if the Pandavas come back to Hastinapura and demand the throne, what would he do? Listen to this exciting episode by clicking on the player below.

In Conversation with Binayak Bandopadhyay

Binayak Bandopadhyay at the EBC Radio Studio

Binayak Bandopadhyay at the EBC Radio Studio

Recently, Binayak Bandopadhyay took few days off from his busy schedule as a fellow at the prestigious Iowa University International Writers Program (IWP) and visited us in New Jersey. I jumped on this opportunity and invited him to our EBC Drama Club to talk about his works – poetry and prose. Binayak, who is regarded as one of the most promising writers in Bengali language, is never tired of speaking about his favorite topic – literature. In this session, Binayak reads from his works (translated to English) and talks about his experience at the IWP in Iowa which has been attended earlier by stalwarts like Sunil Ganguly, Sankha Ghosh, Joy Goswami, Kabita Singha and others. Subrata Bhaumik, a local literary enthusiast also joined us at the studio and made the discussion even livelier. Listen to this episode and don’t hesitate to give us your comment.

Mahabharata Episode 10: Draupadi’s Marriage

Draupadi's Marriage

Draupadi's Marriage

After passing Drupad’s test, Arjuna wins Draupadi as his bride. But when the Pandavas arrive at their home, their mother Kunti asks them to do something that changes their lives for ever. Listen to this amazing episode below.

Mahabharata Episode 9: Draupadi’s Swayamvara

Arjuna attempts to hit the target while Krishna, Draupadi and Drupada watch.

Arjuna attempts to hit the target while Krishna, Draupadi and Drupada watch.

Listen to another episode of the stories of Mahabharata. In this episode, we go to the city of Kampilya in Panchala, where the Pandavas attend the Swayavara of Draupadi, King Drupada’s daughter. There, Arjuna passes the most difficult test set for an archer and wins Draupadi as his bride. Listen to the podcast below. And don’t forget to join our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MahabharataPodcast.

 

Mahabharata Episode 8: The Flaming House of Varanabata

House of Varanabata

The Flaming House of Varanabata

The stories of Mahabharata continues with this eighth episode – The Flaming house of Varanabata. With the advice from Shakuni, Duryodhana comes up with a devious plan to kill the Pandavas. Dhritarashtra sends the Pandavas to Varanabata to attend a festival. But the Pandavas escape the trap set for them and flee into the forest. There Bheema encounters the demons Hidimb and Hidimbaa. Listen to this exciting episode in the podcast below.

(Story told by Sudipta Bhawmik, Audio Engineering and Sound Design by Avi Ziv)

Mahabharata Episode 7: Drona’s Revenge

Drona takes his revenge on Drupada

Drona takes his revenge on Drupada

The stories of Mahabharata are not only about kings and gods and demons. It is also a tale of ethics, morality and politics.  The needs and conflicts that drive each character are the same that drives us today. The great weapons teacher Drona Acharya was a Brahmin. A Brahmin was supposed to have the noblest of qualities and free of petty politics and trivialities of life. Their main purpose in life was to acquire wisdom and spread knowledge to their pupils.  But Drona, had his own axe to grind.  He became the royal weapons teacher of the Kuru princes with a single objective in mind. He wanted to take his revenge on Drupada, the King of Panchala, for the insult he had to tolerate in Drupada’s court. We also learn how the Kaurava brothers start planning for their next step to eliminate their arch rivals, the Pandavas.

Mahabharata Episode 6 : A Show of Arms

Kunti and Karna

Kunti and Karna

In this episode of the stories from Mahabharata, Drona arranges for a grand show where his students, the Kuru princes demonstrate their prowess with arms. Arjuna dazzles the audience by his prowess with a variety of arms and weapons. But suddenly Karna enters the arena and the story takes a dranstic turn which none could have expected. Listen to this episode on the player below, or by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes.

Mahabharata: Episode 5 – The Guru Arrives

Drona tests his students

Drona tests his students

In this episode, Guru Dronacharya arrives in Hastinapura and awes the Kuru princes with his skills. Bhishma retains him as the royal arms and weapons trainer for the Pandava and Kaurava brothers. Arjuna excels in archery. Ekalavya, a tribal boy, comes to Drona to learn from him. Drona refuses to accept him as a student. But Ekalavya masters the art of archery by practicing in front of a statue of Dronacharya for which he had to pay the ultimate guru dakshina.

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe in iTunes store (free.)

 

North America Bengali Conference 2014

Srijato

Srijato

Once again, the North America Bengali Conference (NABC) or Bongo Sammelan, is welcoming the Bengalis of the world to get together for a fun filled weekend.  This time, Orlando, Florida is hosting the NABC. Like previous years, star performers from overseas will be gracing the Hyatt Orlando stages to entertain the attendees from all over the country. I won’t get into those details since you can find all that information on NABC website. Rather, I’d like to talk to you about some of the events which receive less attention from the audience as well as the organizers. Events for which you’ll only find some sketchy details on the website, if any at all.

The first event I’d like to draw your attention to, is the Literary Seminar (as I am responsible in arranging this event). We all appreciate that literature is the primary cornerstone of any culture, and we, the Bengalis, are proud to have a great literary legacy. But in NABC these days, the literary events  happen quietly in one of the hidden meeting rooms. You’d be lucky if you can find the room. But interested people do find their way. A total of eight hours (over the two days) would be dedicated to the literary events which consists of seminars, panel discussion, poetry and prose reading sessions. This year, we have two accomplished poets from Kolkata, Srijato and Binayak Bandopadhyay.  They, along with some of our local authors, will talk about the creative process. How an inspiration gets transformed to a poem or prose, will be the topic of discussion. A panel discussion, featuring some of the most active people involved in promoting Bengali literature in USA and UK, will talk about their experiences and their challenges. We will also have poetry reading sessions, and a special Flash Fiction (or micro-story) session. So, please drop by and spend some quality time with Bengali literature.  Continue reading