Listen to the first part first.

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Today we are remembering Satyajit Ray (May 2, 1921 — April 23, 1992) on his 96th birthday by presenting to our listeners Master Angshuman, a typical Satyajit Ray story. Angshyuman is a child artist whose maiden experience of shooting is the story. You will learn many unknown things about shooting. But the principal attraction is the stunt man, Keshtada whose courage and intelligence unearth the mysterious theft of a rare jewel. The shooting of an advernture film becomes the witness of a real adventure.

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We found this story in an old issue of Falakshirsha, a quarterly we published before. This is a children's story about the ritual of Kumari Puja during Annapurna Puja. Many people are observing it today in West Bengal, particularly in Bardhaman district. We hope, our members will enjoy listening to the experience of a child who suddenly rises in self-esteem. (They may also miss the old Falakshirsha, a magazine we had to stop publishing due to unavoidable circumstances.)

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Bimal Kar (September 19, 1921 - August 26, 2003) is known for his unique style. It has a depth, a tragic undertone that touches our heart; at the same time it has a detached sense of humour. The idea will be clear if you follow both Pari and Sahana in our story of this month.

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Habu is a hawker with simple needs. He sells tea at Dharmatala. He has only a small room in the slum near Mallik Bazar. He has no one to care of, and even no furniture to bother about in his room. Now he wants to marry; but his would-be mother-in-law is not willing to marry her daughter to Habu because he does not have parents. The problem is solved like a fairy tale, and that is the beauty of the story. It has a small subplot with Ranjan. It is better to ignore the subplot if you want to feel happy after listening to this story by Sayantani Bhattacharya.

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Today is the International Language Day. It was on this day (the 21st of February, 1952) Bengali students at Dhaka rose up in protest against the Pakistani government for declaring Urdu as the national language. About 54% of the Pakistani citizens were Bengali. The students organised a rally defying section 144. Police resorted to firing to stop this rally in and around Dhaka University and medical college. When a group of students tried to enter the legislative assembly building, police opened fire and killed a number of students. Abdus Salam, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, Abul Barkat, Abdul Jabbar and many others died for the sake of their mother-tongue. Our episode today is just a glimpse of the feeling behind all this, as depicted by Selina Hossain (born on June 14, 1947).

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Bani Basu (March 11, 1939) has earned a distinct place for herself through her different mode of writing. We have already recorded two of her famous novels, Gandharbi and Maitreya Jatak, for the audio book section of our library. We podcast her Kantachua before. This episode, KakJyotsna, has been selected for its odd style. Crows are the most common birds in a metropolis like Kolkata. In some localities crows are the only birds noticeable. It is natural that our thoughts are too often associated with crows.

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Our story for this month is Chinnamasta by AshaPoorna Debi (January 8, 1909 — July 13, 1995). The screen opens when Jayabati, the proud mother of Bimalendu, is preparing to receive her new daughter-in-law Pratibha. The conflict sets in soon. Pratibha, a town-bred girl, utterly dislikes her mother-in-law's tastes. Even she scoffs at her widow's food. Jayabati soon starts disliking her. Bimalendu, for whose attention and favour these two women fight each other, dies in an accident. Pratibha is now forced to observe the same food restrictions imposed upon widows by the society. The author is silent about Pratibha's acceptance of her fate. For Jayabati's reaction, listen to the story.

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Jagadish Gupta (July, 1886 — April 15, 1957) started writing poems in his early career. But soon he found his real talent in stories. Though a contemporary of Sharat Chandra, he presented a different view of life. His realistic representations of the hard realities and portrayal of strange characters earned him a distinct position in Bengali literature. Perhaps his readers were not yet ready for so cruel a reality. Our present selection will give you an idea of his characterization. Kabiraj Krishnakanta has found out a strange way of earning, a way adopted by many Bengali fathers of marriageable sons. The poetic justice of the story lies in the consolation that his son Bhutnath discovers his father's trick, protests and saves his third wife.

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Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay (born on November 2, 1935) is eighty today. We are happy to share on this occasion a little-read story of this author. This is about a child who escorts his beggar father in the train, but at the same time he dreams of a golden horse, waiting in the prison of a deserted palace. When he reaches near it, the horse eludes him. Tired and exhausted, the child falls asleep and then he rides the long-desired horse. Let us hope, the octogenarian writer will present us with many more stories like this.

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King Yudhisthir performs the Rajasuya rite to wash off all sins. But a humble animal, a mongoose, half flesh and half gold, tells him that all his sacrifices have failed. If his rite was successful, the remaining flesh of his body would have been turned into gold by its ashes. It begins another quest of Yudhisthir for truth. He has to wait for years until he meets the author in Kolkata. He realises that man is half physical, and his other half is his perseverance, his quest for thruth. Listen to this month's story and find more for yourself.

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Listen to the first part first.

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Anuradha has the typpical characteristics of Sharat Chandra stories, the motherly instinct and disposition of the heroine and the unique narrative style. She is forsaken by all, simply waiting for her fate, her marriage to an old man whom she is going to marry for mere food and shelder. Yet she remains cool and calm, looking after her nephew and an unrelated child. Anuradha is hardly remembered as one of the author's best stories. We have selected it as a tribute to the author (September 15, 1876 — January 16, 1938) on his 139th birth anniversary (birth anniversary according to Bengali calendar) to listen to a long-forgotten narrative.

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Lovers of Bengali drama are paying homage to Shambhu Mitra (August 22, 1915 — May 19, 1997) on his birth anniversary today. His direction and acting created history in Bengali theatre. In the midst of all these great successes like Oedipus, Raktakarabi and so on, we forget the height he reached in radio drama. Many of his plays are still broadcast from Akashbani. Many of our members are fond of his acting in these plays. He came to one of our programmes at RabindraSadan in 1992 in spite of his severe illness. We podcast today a short story of this noted actor and director which reflects some of his painful experiences in the theatre.

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Lipika is a unique creation of Rabindranath Tagore (May 7, 1861 - August 7 , 1941) where borderlines of prose and poetry are blurred. One of the best pieces of Lipika, Punarabritti, is recorded as a tribute to the poet on his 74th death anniversary (Shraban 22 according to Bengali calendar). This is a simple story of love between two children, Ruchira and Koushik. Like the king we all wich them to get united; but circumstances seem to prevent it. However, we are relieved that the king's initiative unites them in the end.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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