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Manik Bandyopadhyay (May 29, 1908 – December 3, 1956) marked a special place for himself in Bengali literature. His stories brought a psychological insight into human characters in Bengali fiction otherwise dominated by romantic and social themes. We have recorded for this month one of his masterpieces, Atashimami which represents his inclinations. Atashi was not just attached to her husband, she loved his music, his flute and she mastered his skill herself.

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Premendra Mitra (September, 1904 – May 3, 1988) tried several trades for his livelihood. He worked as a sales representative as well as a professor. None of these could satisfy this man of a truant nature. But it furnished him with huge experience of human life, a wealth he spent in his later successful career as a poet, novelist, writer of short story and science fiction and film director. We remember him mostly as a creator of Ghanada, Mejo Karta and some thrilling films. His poems and stories were true representations of his time. Our short story for this month, Sangsar Simante by this author, presents two characters who live just on the margin with no past, a gloomy present and an uncertain future. They together plan to start their life afresh. Listen to the story to know what happens next.

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Rahmat Sheikh is a grave-digger at a suburban cemetery. The town is advancing towards this graveyard. New houses are being built; number of dead bodies is increasing. But Rahmat Sheikh cares little for all this. He is a digging machine. He does not understand why people are so sensitive to corpses, why they react so violently when they notice a petty error on his part. This grave-digger once goes to the town and meets an accident. The victim is still alive. Rahmat Sheikh begs for help. But none has time to stand and stare. We are happy to present to our listeners this short story, Khanankari by Mainul Ahasan Sabir, a popular writer from Bangladesh.

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Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (September 26, 1820 - July 29, 1891) has permanent place in the heart of the Indians for his profound influence on social and cultural movements. We, however, hardly read his calm and sweet prose which unleashed a new prose style in Bengali literature. Everything Vidyasagar he did had a rationale behind it. He translated many stories into Bengali for developing reading habit. These stories are unique in style and theme. We remember this great man on his birthday by podcasting such a story which, we are sure, you will like.

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Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay (September 15, 1876 — January 16, 1938) touches our heart even today when the society has changed so much. Life has become too fast and complicated for us to stand and stare and think. Still when we go back to his writings, we find faith and peace. His story speaks of noble human qualities and poetic justice. Chhabi, our present selection, is a romantic story that has the typical characteristics of a Sharat Chandra story.

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Sayan, a journalist, has a peculiar assignment. His new editor has asked him to find out someone who has a vivid memory of Baishe Shraban, the date on which Rabindranath Tagore breathed his last. Sayan succeeds in tracing a nonagenarian woman whose life was profoundly influenced by the death of the poet. Though he refrains from publishing the interview, he discovers Rabindranath’s influence is as strong in 2015 as it was in 1941 on those who read his works. Listen to the end of this story by Sourabh Mukhopadhyay; otherwise you will really miss a wonderful story.

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Dasharath is a skeleton collector. He digs it out, cleans and bleaches it and brings it to the supplier. He believes that skeleton is the final and finest outcome of humanh life. Everything - skin, muscle, blood - decays; only the skeleton survives. He has one regret, he never finds a perfect skeleton. All skeletons have fractured bones somewhere. Dasharath is a happy man. He offered pinda (post-death offering) to his deceased father. His son Ram will do the same when he dies. Listen to this story by Mahasweta Debi (January 14, 1926 – July 28, 2016) to know if Dasharath's hopes are fulfilled.

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Sajal is a failure in life. He wanted to become a singer, he could not shine. He knows for certain that he is not the biological father of his legitimate son. His wife, Sulata, does everything for the family; but she is too cold. Our story for this month, Shonkur Baba, centres on the question of paternity. This is a story by one of the most renowned Bengali poets, Nirendranath Chakraborty (born on October 19, 1924). He received Sahitya Academy Award in 1974 for the book of poems Ulanga Raja. We are sure, this story will not frustrate the listeners.

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Madhusudan Majumdar (June 24, 1921 – November 29, 1981) was known for his editorial role. He was the first business Editor of Shuktara when Deb Sihitya Kutir started this children's magazine shortly after independence. His success with Shuktara thrust upon him the responsibility for Naba Kallol when it was started in March, 1960. Shri Majumdar lost his sight at the age of eight. He received his elementary education in Braille at Calcutta Blind School. Later he studied at Brahma Boys School at Jhamapukur, Kolkata and graduated from Presidency College. Despite his blindness, he continually wrote reviews for the theatre section of Naba Kallol. He was a voracious reader and maintained a very cordial relationship with writers. This quality of his character made his task easy to manage a publishing house like Deb Sahitya Kutir. He also wrote several stories and novels. He was one of the founder Vice-Presidents of Blind Persons' Association.

For this month we have selected a story, Kashmir Rani Didda from his Amar Bir Kahini. Didda (920 – 1003) was celebrated as a heroine for her defence of Kashmir. This story, though hardly supported by historical records, shows the queen’s tact and foresight. She does not hesitate to punish her royal husband to defend the kingdom.

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Pramathanath Bishi (June 11, 1901 - May 10, 1985) was known for his unique prose which helped him achieve success as a fiction-writer and editor. We have selected a typical Pramathanath story that represents his wit and humour. It has a tinge of satire upon his contemporary life, but it hardly hurts. This is a pure fiction with something solid to laugh about.

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Ranjan or Niranjan Majumdar (June 26, 1920 - December 19, 1975) joined The Pioneer in 1939 as a journalist when he was just twenty. We have selected a story of this author in which the protagonist, a highly successful man by all standards, cannot come out of the set of snob values he acquired from his Education in England. Listen to the story to see the prive he pays.

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Muhammed Zafar Iqbal (born on December 23, 1952) is one of the pioneers of science fiction in Bengali. This Bangladeshi writer and columnist is a professor of physics in Dhaka. Apart from writing articles on physics and mathematics, he has written several books of fiction, mainly for the young. His masterpiece, The Great Inventions of Sofdor Ali, the Scientist, will delight both young and aged readers for years. Today we have for you a story on Sofdor Ali. Let us hear how this scientist calculates everything in hexadecimal numbers and manipulates the system of conditioned reflex to get kacchi biriani cooked by guinea pigs.

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Angshu has come to a remote village as a representative of a science organisation. He has undertaken a mission of eradicating superstitious beliefs in charms and witchcraft among the villagers. His father died of dog bite when Angshu was hardly three. He took recourse to exorcisation instead of proper medical advice. Let us listen to this story, Timirbasana by Basudeb Malakar and see what Angshu does in the village.

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Ray Bahadur Yogendranath towers supreme over his family. His domination is challenged by his son-in-law, Bimal when the Ray Bahadur insults Bimal. Bimal cannot refrain from protesting against the arrest of a Swadeshi leader by the British colonial government. The result is a split between Bimal and Lajjabati, Yogendranath’s beloved daughter. For the rest listen to the story by Satish Chandra Mukhopadhyay, our podcast for this month.

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Tilottama Majumdar (born on January 11, 1966) has distinguished herself through her novels, short stories, poems and essays. Our selection for this month, Anna Parba,  is the story of a woman, or to be more precise, the story of a mother and son. Nandita has been misunderstood and under-rated by her family, her husband, her husband's parents and even her son shayan. She never gives up. She teaches her son to distinguish a fake incident from a real one. In the process Shayan realises the real worth of his mother.

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Neela wanted to see the sea. Her father promised to show her the sea. But he died before keeping his word. She grew up, got married, but her desire for a trip to the sea was never fulfilled. She heard of it from other visitors. Sea remained in her imagination as waves of salt water crashing against each other drowning everything. Neela’s unfulfilled desire for sea finds its relief in things that taste of salt, tear trickling down her cheeks or fresh blood coming out of a small wound. This is the story for this month, Samudrer Saadh by Manik Bandyopadhyay (May 19, 1908 – December 3, 1956). We have recorded Manik Bandyopadhyay’s masterpiece, Padmanadir Majhi for our library. Visit http://bpa.org.in/padmanadir-majhi-by-manik-bandyopadhyay/ for details.

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Ajeya Ray (August 27, 1937 – September 3, 2008) remained behind the scenes during his life time. One reason behind it is perhaps his adherence to children’s literature. Inspired by Satyajit Ray and Leela Majumdar, he wrote stories for Sandesh and Kishor Bharati. The young have always enjoyed trvelling to remote places of the Amazon, Hawaii or Madagascar with Asit in his adventure stories. We, the adults, who enjoyed Ajeya Ray’s stories during childhood would still find pleasure in listening to this Podcast on the Children's Day.

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We go to hilly stations or sea beaches during puja holidays. Gone are those days when uncles’ uncles took their nephews to moon for a trip. However, you can still enjoy listening to the experience of the trip. How? Listen to this story, Sejo Mamar Chandrayatra by Leela Majumdar (February 26, 1908 – April 5, 2007).

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Arjun Mondal is a fisherman who has to support his wife and seven daughters. He becomes liberate at the age of forty when he suddenly discovers the power of education from an incident. He does not stop there. He goes on to become first an apprentice dresser at a government hospital, then a trained compounder and finally he sets up his own practice. But it does not fulfill his unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Though fate seldom favours him, his indomitable resolve sets him up as an exemplary character. Can he triumph over his fate? This story of Banaphool (July 19, 1899 – February 9, 1979) is our present on the World Literacy Day.

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