Urhalpool: A New Bengali/English Webzine

UrhalpoolA new Bengali/English webzine, Urhalpool, has been launched by the local New Jersey group Shrishti. The magazine is edited by Gautam Dutta and the first issue consists of contributions from some great writers like Sunil Ganguly, Taslima Nasreen, Sreejato, Subodh Sarkar, Maillika Sengupta, Alolika Mukherjee, Jyotirmoy Dutta and others. The issue also includes interviews of Bratya Basu, Suman Ghosh, Gautam Ghosh, Noam Chomsky and others. The cover is painted by the celebrated artist Paritosh Sen.
Urhalpool is indeed a commendable effort. But as with most magazine, be it print or online, the challenge is sustaining it for the long term. I hope the publishers of this magazine keep up their good work through perseverance and love for literature and art.

Terror in Mumbai

It is Thanksgiving eve and this dastardly scene unfolds in front of me on the Indian News networks – Mumbai under attack. Soon CNN picked it up and all news networks focused on the financial capital of India – Mumbai. It was dramatic, to say the least, to witness the Taj, Oberoi and Trident hotels on fire, gun shots and explosions, and the closeups of blood stained people and property. As I write this, the siege is still on with several hostages under the clutches of the terrorists and more than 100 people killed.

I don’t know who is doing this (although some sources are reporting that Deccan Mujaheddin has claimed responsibility) and for what purpose, but it is clear that it is a very well planned and well coordinated effort to not only shake up India, but also the entire world. India is rapidly gaining recognition as a major economic power, it’s opinions carry lot of weight in the global economy. All major economies in the world are eager to do business with India and Mumbai is their main port of call. Possibly the terrorists hope to scare off the world by trying to demonstrate Mumbai (and India) as an unsafe place to do business with. But they are grossly mistaken. They fail to understand that the world is not only watching their cowardly attacks but also the heroic efforts by the police and the army, the selfless efforts of the hotel employees who risked their lives to save their guests. The chief of anti terrorist squad, Hemant Karkare and the additional commissioner of police, Ashok Kamte laid down their lives along with several other of their compatriots to save the lives of the people of Mumbai. The entire world will be with India and thwart the efforts of the terrorists to isolate India.

Let’s all condemn these attacks and show our solidarity behind the people of Mumbai. Our deepest condolences goes to the families of the victims of this incident. We hope that the people of Mumbai and India will stay calm and not do anything rash and violent to hurt their fellow citizens ’cause that will only serve the cause of the terrorists.

Sahitya Alochona

Ananda Mandir invites you on Friday, Nov.21st , 2008 at 8:00 PM to join Sahitya O Alochana for an evening of discussion on Ritwik Ghatak. ?????? (?????) ??? the brilliant & famous bengali scriptwriter & filmaker that is compared with Satyajit Ray & Mrinal Sen. The discussion would cover his life, sense, impact influences, and manner of reinventing cinema.

All are welcome.

For further information please call 973-939-7375.

Cartoon of the Week 13: Prediction

Can you please tell me from which platform will the train depart?
Many of us are strong believers in astrology and other similar practices like palmistry, tarot cards etc. etc. that claim to predict one’s future. A huge industry runs on servicing such people and also provides employment to millions. The television and other media advertisements of such sooth sayers and fortune tellers prove that they earn enough money to invest in these marketing campaigns. The precious and semi-precious gem stone market in India depends on the belief that the negative influence of the planets and stars can be countered by wearing a specific kind of gem stone that can cost thousands of rupees. Continue reading

BSL : Bangla as a Second Language

I had often been requested to write plays for our children. With our kids in mind, few years ago I wrote a play titled BSL or Bangla as a Second Language. BSL is a hilarious short play for children (pre-teens, teens, young adults) of Bengali origin. Neil, Nick, Jay and Seema live in USA. But like all children of Bengali speaking parents, they are being forced to learn Bengali (or Bangla) against their will. Neil, the most innovative and smart kid he is, invents a device that can make one learn Bangla (or any other language) in seconds. Nick agrees to be the first guinea pig for the trials of this machine and the results are – quite unexpected to say the least. Continue reading

Cartoon of the week 12: Culture Shock

Culture ShockThe other day I was at the Union County College (UCC) to participate in a seminar/talk about immigrant issues as portrayed in works of art and literature. The topic emerged from the works of Jhumpa Lahiri, since her two books, “Interpreter of Maladies” and “The Namesake”, are being selected as the college novels for the 2008-2009 term. After my talk, few of us were chatting regarding how we deal with cultural differences in our everyday life in this country. Each of us were narrating some incidents in our life and in connection to “The Namesake” we were talking about the significance of names in different cultures, how we address each other, and how they are being interpreted. Continue reading


November 4, 2008 will go down as one of the greatest days in America’s history. Today, the Americans rose up to a new hope, to look forward to the change promised by their President elect Barack Obama. Barriers of prejudice has been shattered and the impossible has been made possible. The entire world, along with the Americans, is looking towards the new leader with the hope that America will once again prove to be the great land of opportunity, a country that lends its helping hand to all in need, and a country that inspires everybody around the globe. The following two pictures illustrate how much hope the World has on this new leader.
An Indian artist (in Ahmedabad) makes a painting of American president elect Barack Obama and Mahatma Gandhi to mark the victory of Obama (photo courtesy AP Photo/Ajit Solanki). It is interesting to see how people are relating Obama to Mahatma Gandhi – through civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr.

Congrats ObamaIn Puri (Orrisa, India) a sand sculpture congratulating US president-elect Barack Obama by the Indian sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik on a beach has become a major attraction (Photo courtsey AFP/Sanjib Mukherjee). These photos clearly indicate that the World (and India) is hoping that Obama will be able to bring in lasting peace by keeping his promise of working with the countries of the world.

Let’s all stand behind this charismatic leader and help him build a new future for all of us.

Buddhadev Bose Centenary Celebration

Cultural Association of Bengal presents
A Centenary Celebration of Buddhadev Bose’s Literary Works

On August 16, 2008
Edison Valley Playhouse, 2196 Oak Tree Road, Edison, NJ

3-4:00PM- Poetry Reading & Seminar on Buddhadev Bose’s Literary Works
4:30-5:30PM- A Play “Satya Sondho

Admission: $5 (including snacks)
Contact: 908-507-5998, 347-612-6111, 908-281-7438, 732-241-7060, 201-602-4291

Sitar and Vocal Classical Music





NUPUR LAHIRI :7328213949

Music Of India

A Musical Odyssey : Journey through history and Genres
A unique mehfil celebrating the diversity of raagdari and folk music from India’s different regions. Our journey will take us across India’s landscape, stopping at points of interest from the Himalayan Highlands to the backwaters of Kerala, from the havelis of Rajasthan to the flowing waters of Bengal, as distinguished artists perform the music of their heritage.

Ghazals, Bhajans, Taranas, Tillanas, Folk, Thumris, Dhrupad, Khayal, Kirtans, and more –

Dr. Mohan Deshpande
Mitali Banerjee-Bhawmik
Astha Shukla-Shrivastav
Kamala Ramamurthy
Bhupendra Gadhavi
Trupti Parikh
Uma Ramakrishnan
Kedar Naphade
Amod Dandawate

November 9, 2008, 4:00pm (sharp)

Hills Highlands Recreation Center/Clubhouse
75 Hansom Road, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Tel: (201) 447-6936, (908) 429-1120, (973) 539-5534
Donations of $15/adult & $7/below 18 years of age will be collected at the door. Limited seating, RSVP.
Limited parking at Venue. Street parking is allowed. Please look for the appropriate road signs.