Rutgers University Offers Training in Indian Music and Dance

The Mason Gross School of Arts at the Rutgers University in New Jersey is opening up a whole new department of Indian Dance and Music.  The program is being introduced with a concert of Indian music and dance on Sunday, June 28th from 2 to 3.45 p.m. at Nicolas Center, Cook Douglass Campus, Rutgers University, NJ featuring most of the faculty. The concert will be followed by a summer camp from Monday June 29th through Friday July 3rd with a daily schedule covering 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.   

The program is headed by Samir Chatterjee. The faculty includes:


Archana Joglekar Muley, Kathak

Arun Ramamurthy, Violin

Bani Roy, Odissi

Dibyarka Chatterjee, Percussion

Hidayat Khan, Sitar

Kalyani Ramani, Carnatic vocal

Kedar Naphade, Harmonium

Mitali Banerjee Bhawmik, Hindustani vocal

Samir Chatterjee, Tabla

Sanghamitra Chatterjee, Popular vocal

Steve Gorn, Bansuri

Sudha Devulapalli, Bharatanatyam

Suresh Ramachandram, Mridangam

Samir Chatterjee will teach rhythm and yoga in addition to leading the audio-visual and discussion sessions.

Community News Bites : Jhumpa Lahiri, Urhalpool and Bhool Rasta

  • On Thursday, April 30th, Jhumpa Lahirithe internationally renowned writer, will  have a book signing ceremony at the Barnes & Nobles book store at Menlo Park, New Jersey at 7 P.M. Sushmita Dutta, a co-editor of our Ananda Sangbad will be covering a special report of this event with a possible interview.
  • Tickets for Banaprastha, ECTA’s new play, are now available on-line at
  • Urhalpool, the online Bengali webzine’s second edition is delayed due to some technical difficulties. It will be published soon.
  • Raj Basu’s film “Piyalir Password” had a successful premiere in New Jersey. The producers of the film are looking for more screening opportunities in New York and New Jersey.
  • ECTA is staging a “members only” event – “Putuler Chithi”, a one woman show by Abanti Chakraborty from Kolkata. The script is by Bibhas Chakraborty and is based on Nora of Ibsen’s Doll’s House. The play will be staged on May 3rd.
  • NJISACF had a successful Spring Film Festival. The hightlight of the festival was the screening of “Kaalbela”, a film by Gautam Ghosh based on the novel by Samaresh Majumdar. The director was present to answer questions from a full house.
  • Subhashis Das and Tandra Das will perform Badal Sircar’s “Bhool Rasta” on May 2nd at the South Brunswick Senior center.  They are also looking to perform this theatrical storytelling show at different venues and festivals. All proceeds will go to the benefit of Badal Sircar and his group Satabdi. 

Banaprastha and AIDS – The Genesis

HIV AIDS Red RibbonI think it was in 2004 when I met Pranay Dutta, an AIDS activist from Calcutta who was on a world tour attending several AIDS conferences in Europe, Asia and America. Pranay Dutta was then (and I understand he still is) the secretary of Sonata Foundation, an NGO in Calcutta who was trying to spread AIDS awareness in West Bengal and India through music, documentaries and performing arts. His theory was that HIV/AIDS awareness through print media was bound to be a failure in India where the majority of the affected people are illiterate. He thought that if this message can be spread out using music and performing arts then it could have the greatest impact. During my discussions with Pranay, he told me numerous incidents of how HIV and AIDS are affecting the poor Indian population. But what struck me most was the fact that how this disease was surreptitiously spreading amongst the educated, urban middle class. He told me several incidents of well-to-do middle class families affected with HIV and their attempts to hush it up, just like the way people used to do in the early half of the twentieth century when people got infected with TB or Leprosy or something similar. The fear of social back lash was more than the disease itself. Anybody infected with HIV is immediately branded as an immoral social outcast – some one who does not have the right to exist amongst the social elite. Most middle class family consider themselves immune to HIV and think that this is only a poor man’s disease. As Pranay says in one of his interviews with Voice of America, people in our society doesn’t care about HIV until someone in their family is infected. It is difficult to make someone aware when he or she doesn’t want to be.

Continue reading

Rabindranath – Universe and Beyond, 2009


Over MAY 15, 16 & 17, IIPA, New Jersey will be celebrating “Rabindranath – Universe and Beyond, 2009” at The Community Presbyterian Church of Sand Hill, South Brunswick, New Jersey.The three-day celebration is an attempt to expand the boundaries of appreciation of Tagore’s literary and musical works through a variety of presentations:

Friday, MAY 15 – Screening of Movie “Teen Konya.” 
Saturday, MAY 16 – Interactive talks with audio visual illustrations. 
Topics: Rabindranath’s Poetic Vision: A Synthesis of Arts & Sciences; Rabindranath in Translation; Disconnected Genius: Rabindranath, Dwarakanath; and Rabindranath & Folk Culture.

Sunday, MAY 17 – Rabindra Sangeet Soiree.

Tickets and Details: Please contact any of the following persons: 
Hirak Guha:(732) 821-8719, Subhodev Das:(609) 924-6709, Surya Dutta: (732) 422-0599, Dhriti Bagchi: (732) 577-9575, Jhum Basu:(732) 817-0264, Sushmita Dutta:732-658-1643, Priyoranjan Das: (732) 274-9654, Krishna Bhattacharya: (732) 536-6325, Narayan Ray:(908) 561-9766, and Zafar Billah:(732) 951-9962.

Freedom Writers

Hilary SwankJust finished watching the movie “Freedom Writers”. It is such an intense, moving and at the same time inspiring film that I’d recommend it to everyone who loves movies. Based on a true story about an LA school, the film depicts how a teacher can change the lives of his or her students. Hilary Swank gives an wonderful performance (if I recall correctly, she was nominated for an Oscar for this role) and so does her students. If you haven’t seen the film, pick up a DVD copy and watch it right away.

Bengali New Year Celebration at NY City Hall

New York City Council
Speaker Christine C. Quinne
Councilman Jim Gennaro
District leader Uma Sengupta
cordially invite you to
Bengali New Year’s Celebration!

Type: Music/Arts – Performance
Date: Friday, April 24, 2009
Time: 6:45pm – 9:00pm
Location: New York City Hall
260 Broadway ( Park Place)
Manhattan, NY

Join us for dinner, performances, and honoring members of our community in the historic City Hall Chambers!

This event is free. Please extend this invitation to your friends and family.

Event on Facebook @

For further information call:

Uma Sen Gupta

Roger Sen Gupta

Thank you & Regards,

Roger Sen Gupta
201 864 4190

The House Formula

Hugh Laurie Gregory House MD in Fox networks show HouseI kind of like Gregory House, MD. And who doesn’t? House is one of the most popular TV shows that has catapulted Fox network to lead the popularity ratings (along with 24 and other shows). The quirky, obnoxious and ill mannered medical genius has become everybody’s dream doctor.  We the New Jersey viewers specially feel his absence in real life since Gregory House works in this fictitious “Princeton-Plainsboro” hospital and to whom people come crossing the rough seas risking their lives (no pun intended) to get treated.  How lucky we would have been to have such a doctor in real life. And a hospital like “Princeton-Plainsboro” where doctors do everything – they serve not only as doctors and surgeons, but they draw blood, they set up IV lines, they give the patients their pills, they feed them, they operate the MRI, CT Scan and other diagnostic machines.  There are hardly any nurses or technicians. In real life hospitals, I have seen the doctors come in to visit their patient only with one objective – how soon they can leave. They spend more time in front of the computer screens looking at the charts and filling up their billing codes than with the patient.  But in Princeton-Plainsboro, Dr. House’s team is like Scotland Yard, deeply engaged in finding the culprit – in this case the cause of the disease. Continue reading

Want to Outsource that Term Paper Assignment?

Just heard this news on the radio. Now you can outsource your term paper to some online company who employs writers in India, Philippines, Pakistan and other countries to write original essays for you. Note, that these essays are not plagiarized versions, rather they are crisp original and custom made. Although in some cases they have raised suspicion because some of the essay’s quality were far better than what the teachers expect of the student. Not only short term papers and essays, these enterprising writers can write an entire dissertation for you. In one case (I understand it was for an MIT student) the online essay mill delivered a dissertation on aerospace engineering (read rocket science). These companies charge anywhere from $10 to $75 per page and the students spend hundreds of dollars to get them. They are located off-shore but they typically have a fake US address. In the case of one company, EssayWriters, they used a Virginia address while the company was located in Philippines.

But was the essay mill the culprit here or the folks who purchase their products?

Limbaugh’s Slumdogs

Rush Limbaugh once again pushed the limit of political correctness – this time referring to workers handling outsourced jobs in India as “slumdogs”.

Responding to a listener’s call about flight of jobs, Limbaugh referred to President Obama’s statement that the jobs aren’t coming back to US. He said, “They’re outsourced for a reason, an economic reason, and they’re not coming back. If you’re sitting out waiting for a job that’s now being done by a slumdog in India, and you’re waiting for that job to be cancelled, for the slumdog to be thrown out of work, and you to get the job, it ain’t going to happen.”
The news has been widely published by the Indian media and has raised a storm of protests.

Limbaugh is not new to controversy. He has mocked Obama on his program, including playing a parody song titled ‘Barack the Magic Negro’. This is a free country and Rush has the right to say whatever he wants. But we the listeners are also free to tune off from Limbuagh’s show, boycott the merchants who advertise on his show, as well as raise our voice.