Leela Majumdar (February 26, 1926 — April 5, 2007) is mentioned as a children's author. This is quite natural for a writer who has written stories like Holde Pakhir Palok, Tong Ling, and Podi Pishir Bormi Baksho. She is also remembered for her success as the editor of Sandesh, the noted Bengali children's magazine. We seldom recollect her translation of English novels like Mario Puzo's Godfather. Our selection today is also a children's story. This is a child's letter to Sandesh. Gansha is afraid that he is going to the village school where he will be transformed into a goat. He cannot prevent it, so he is getting ready for the fate.
Kajem Ali finds himself all alone at his laksha farm. He has lost his six sons, four in the Bangladeshi war of independence in 1971. His wife Asmani Khatun has also left him last year. All seven of them are buried at home. If Kajem Ali dies, no one will be there to kindle a light on the martyrs' grave, or to look after his farm. Kajem Ali is not yet ready to die. He must find an heir for his home and hearth, for his farm and for the grave-yard. So at the age of sixty-eight he marries Kulsum for another generation. This story (Parajanma) by Selina Hossain (born in 1947) expresses the human desire for procreation. She is one of the recipients of SAARC Literary Award in 2015.
Suchitra Bhattacharya (January 10, 1950 — May 12, 2015) passed away in Kolkata yesterday following a cardiac attack. Bengali readers were not at all prepared for the early departure of this writer. Her pen focussed on the complex relationships of the urban middleclass people in the wake of the rapid changes in the socioeconomic situation. Though she did not like the feminist label, women and their problems seem more dominant in her works. We are posting today one of her story from our audio library which penetrates into the mind of an aged woman when her husband fails to recognise her.
Today is Mother's Day. Let us listen to a mother's story by Syed Mujtaba Ali (September 13, 1904 — February 11, 1974). This is about a young German woman who cannot disclose the identity of her child's father. The unmarried mother is forced to send her new-born baby to an unknown famitly. Listen to the narrative for the rest of the story.
Our story for this month is about a runaway son. He remembers his father, his ritual duty to the dead man several years later when he sees other men performing family rites. He does not return like the prodigal son. But he performs his ritual duty. The author of this story, Prafulla Roy (born on January 1, 1934) had to leave his original home and hearth in present Bangladesh. He travelled throughout India. His stories have characters who have run away or been driven away from home.
A girl is born to a refugee mother at the sealdah station. Her father is missing during the migration; her mother dies within 24 hours. She is left all alone with her grandmother. this far the story is plain and simple. The reader is shocked when this girl, disguised as a boy, is seen working as a porter at the station. For the rest listen to the story posted today to remember Pratibha Basu (March 13, 1915 — October 4, 2006) on her birth centenary. Born in Bikrampur, Dhaka of undivided Bengal, this author settled in Kolkata. She did not face the poverty and distress for the partition in 1947. But she felt its humiliation.
Sanjib Chattopadhyay (born on February 28, 1936) is known for his pure humour. His stories are picked up from trivial daily experiences we often miss. We have recorded his short novel, Janardaner Jardar Kouto, for our young friends. This story is taken from the same volume. Young and old, everyone will relish Ahida and the chor's adventures.
Kirandhan Chattopadhyay (1887-1931) is better known for his poems, for the poems in Manasi O Marmabani. We found this short story of the author which shows his talent for this genre. We hope, listeners will enjoy the story written in the early part of the last century. Our young friends may remember the story before they dare anything on the Valentine's Day.
Queen Anne, the title of this story, belongs to a thoroughbred European mare, although the story is not about her. It is about a Ray Sahib, a gentleman of the zamindar class who flourished by flattering the British before independence. There was another class of people who lived on flattering these gentlemen. The satirical tone has now lost its sharp edge with the disappearance of the zamindars. Let us enjoy the story as a piece of humour, offered by the author, Bibhutibhushan Mukhopadhyay (October 24, 1894 — July 29, 1987).
AshaPoorna Debi (January 8, 1909 — July 13, 1995) was one of the most prolific story-writers in Bengali. Our story for this month is about a lost child, a favourite topic of the author. Our indifferent and self-centred mental make-up troubled her. Our previous story by AshaPoorna podcast earlier was about another lost child.
We are uploading a special story for the children, Dukhiram by UpendraKishor RayChoudhury (May 10, 1863 — December 20, 1915) at the commencement of his death centenary. UpendraKishor had a versatile genius. His skills in violin and music, his innovative works in printing technology and his keenness for design and planning are superceded by his fame for his contribution to children's literature. He was the first writer in Bengali to identify himself as a writer for children. When he wrote Chheleder Ramayan (recently published in Braille by our organisation), he was utterly dissatisfied with the printing of the book. He immediately started working on printing technology and improved halftone and colour block-making. Sandesh, the children's magazine he started, continues to be a leading children's magazine in Bengali. His works include Ramayan, Mahabharat, Tuntunir Bai (also available in Braille from our press) and many more stories and essays for children. You all have read these stories. Now listen to one of them.
Our story for this month is Banalata by Suchitra Bhattacharya (born on January 10, 1950). This story is about a lonely woman dedicated to the services of the ill-fated woman. We have some volunteers who would find a natural kinship with this woman. Our listeners would like to listen to this story, we hope.
The episode of this month is a tribute to the famous linguist Suniti Kumar chattopadhyay (26 November, 1890 — 29 May, 1977). The Bengali-speking people are going to observe the 125th birthday of Suniti Kumar Chattopadhyay later this month. Today is Rash Poornima and he was born on a Rash Purnima. This is why we have decided to podcast it today. The author of this tribute, Narayan Sanyal (26 April, 1924 — February 7, 2005) gives us an idea of the man and scholar Suniti Kumar Chattopadhyay.
One of our teacher members asked for something special for this Diwali holiday. This light-hearted story is for her and for everybody. Puja holidays are coming to the end at last with the annual exam close at hand. Some of the teachers may feel anxious; students and guardians at times become hostile. Such incidents are sporadic. Still, if Keishnendu Deb's suggestion in this story is brought into reality by an entrepreneur, these teachers may find some relief.
Babai gets angry with his father when he scolds him for his poor performance at school. Babai sends an email to is father's boss from his email account in his absence. The boss, whom Babai intimately knows as an uncle or Jethu, is known for his awkward stammering. Babai sends him some dificult tongue twisters. His father is in a fix. Babai is ultimately discovered by his Boss Jethu. What happens then? Listen to the story Boss Jethu by Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay.
Our episode for this month is a story by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay (12 September, 1894 – 1 November, 1950) on his 120th birth anniversary. Although he brought into this story Sir Albert Einstein, a real character, it is a fiction. Einstein never came to India. He received Rabindranath at his Berlin home on July 14, 1930. His statement "We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made," is often quoted as a proof of his respect to India. Travancore University, now renamed University of Kerala (not proved on record though), invited this great physicist to become its first vice-chancellor for a monthly salary of Rs 6,000 in 1937. Perhaps this enthusiasm among the scholars for Einstein inspired Bibhutibhushan to introduce him as the central character of this story.
We regret that we have to remove some podcasts (starting from the earliest) for paucity of space. So please download and save the erlier podcasts. They will include among other stories Bibhutibhushan's Bama and Budhir Bari Fera.
Gadadhar is writing a social play for acting in his locality. Ideas keep cluttering his mind. He wants to unearth the evils of the society. But where should he start? There are a lot of evil-doers in the society. He cannot decide whose crimes he should include or exclude. Can he complete the play? Listen to our this month's story by Swapnamay Chakraborty (born on January 2, 1952). Shri Chakraborty points out petty crimes and follies we often commit.
Today we present another story of Balai Chand Mukhopadhyay (19 July, 1899 — 9 February, 1979), more popularly known as Banaphool to the Bengali readers. This is the third story of this author on our site. We have to come back to him for his variety. Today's selection, Manmatha, is a funny story; although what is fun to the readers is not so to our romantic hero.
Samaresh Basu (11 December, 1924 — 12 March, 1988) has enriched Bengali literature with novels and short stories depicting his inumerable experiences in the urban and rural Bengal. His experiences in the industrial suburbs of Kolkata made a lasting impression on him. He joined the labour movement when he worked as a daily-paid worker. Today's story tells us of a peasant who is trying to earn the rent for his plot of land by killign monkeys. The governemnt pays him for it to save crop. But the last date for his rent payment is over before he can kill enough monkeys. His land is seized before his eyes when he has a gun in hand. Yet he is unable to protect his land and crop.
Today Bengali-speaking people are celebrating the 115th birth anniversary of Kaji Najrul Islam (24 May, 1899 [11 Jyaistha, 1306 according to Bengali calendar] — 29 August, 1976). Known for his rebellion against British rule and social oppression in his poetry, we have selected a short story of this poet which shows the same indomitable rebel. In this story the rebel is a woman waging war against the prejudices of the male-dominated society.
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