Banga Sammelan 2010: A Review and Some Views

by Amitava Sen

Kallol has done it again, a very successful and thoroughly enjoyable Banga Sammelan and Kallol deserves our gratitude. We needed it, a three days’ escape from humdrum of the life and for some of us from depressing economic uncertainty. Do not forget that this is a very difficult economic time in America, never encountered since thirties. It is never far from our minds. To venture into such a huge undertaking at this difficult time takes courage and boldness; Kallol accepted the challenge and succeeded under the very able leadership of Timir Hore, Sudhir Nag and Soumen Roy. Thank you.

In contrast with all other places around the country space and accommodations are at a premium in this New York metropolitan neighborhood, holding a convention here is hugely costly proposition. Compared to other years the attendance was sparse. No surprise. Foresight and wisdom on the part of the organizers contained the event to a manageable and economically viable limit. Continue reading

NABC 2010 : The Plight of the Domestic Performers

Anwesha and Abhijeet at NABC 2010Finally the 2010 NABC came to an end on Sunday July 11th at the Atlantic City convention center in New Jersey with a “blow out” performance by Abhijeet. Although his mockery of Bengali culture was not well appreciated by many Bengalees who slowly drifted away from the hall (which was not liked by the singer at all), his performance was just what was expected of a Bollywood performer – entertaining but nothing extraordinary. However, people who came to the conference went back with memories – some of which may not be very pleasant but I would think most of them would be happy memories. Memories of the wonderful performances by  Sahaj-ma and Utpal Fakir, Kaivalya Kumar and few others, memories of meeting friends, those long adda sessions and the World Cup finals.

But the people who went back with a bad taste in their mouth (no, I am not talking about the food served by Shahnawaz) were the people who came all the way to showcase their talent through dance, drama and music.  These people paid group registration for their show, paid individual registration fees for their entire troupe and spend big dollars to bring their show with the hope to share with their Bengali friends who came from around  the country. Continue reading

Divyendu Sinha : A Life Lost to Teenage Brutality

Last Friday night a horrific incident took place in an otherwise decent neighborhood in Old Bridge New Jersey. Dr. Divyendu Sinha, a forty nine year old Computer scientist, was having a walk outside his house with his wife and two sons when five teenagers came out of their car and started beating Dr. Sinha for no apparent reason. Dr. Sinha was severely injured and was later taken to the hospital where he died on Sunday morning. The brutality of this incident shocked not only the entire Indian American community, but also the society at large. The local law enforcement have arrested all the five perpetrators and have charged them with murder although their names have been withheld due to their age (between 16 and 17). Early reports classified this as a random incident, but according to recent statements from the County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan, bias crime charges will not be ruled out. In a recent meeting with the township officials, the Asian Indian community members have expressed that they have been harassed regularly by the local teenagers, and this is not a random incident at all. The township officials have instructed the community members that they should inform the police whenever they experience such behavior. I hope that the legal process takes due action and the criminals pay the highest price for their dastardly act. Continue reading