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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We are happy to present to listeners a romantic love story after a prolonged waiting. Our selection, Chuya Chandan by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay (March 30, 1899 - September 22, 1970) is laid out at Nabadwip of early sixteenth century. This story is blessed with the author's touches of a historical fiction. It has love and conspiracy, innocence and adventure, and above all it has poetic justice because Nimai Pandit (not yet Shri Chaitanya Deb) plays the role of deus ex machina in the story.

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Mahasweta Debi (January 14, 1926 – July 28, 2016) has breathed her last just a few hours earlier. Bengali literature has lost the soul of protest with her passing away. We pay homage by podcasting her story, Champa, written in the backdrop of the Sepoy Mutiny. This is one of those anecdotes which the author collected during her trips to out-of-the-way places in North and Central India. Champa is an innocent girl who might bloom like a champa, the magnolia. She belongs to the people whose life and death depended on the mercy of the East India Company. This warm and tender girl takes up poison to avenge herself on the death of her grandfather and her husband.

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When we think of humour in Bengali literature, one of the names that come first to our mind is Shibram Chakraborty (1902 or 13 December, 1903 — 28 August, 1980). His fascination for pun sharpens his humour. The story we have selected today is a witty exploration of words by the author.

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Our story for this  month is Babar Binu Mamar Bari by Gour Kishor Ghosh (June 22, 1923 - December 15, 2000) whose experiences in different professions and particularly as a journalist gave him the opportunity for observing life in different aspects. Our present selection is the story of a quest, the quest of a father by his son. The author wants to touch his father who continually eludes him like the moonshine. His father, too, escapes to another world, the world of a so-called Binu Mama whose existence is not known to his children. It seems, Binu Mamar Bari (Uncle Binu's house) is a myth, a fairyland that both father and son are searching.

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We are going to publish Nazrul-Giti, a complete collection of songs of Kazi Nazrul Islam (May 24, 1899 — August 29, 1976) in Braille next Saturday. We were looking for something uncommon for podcast on this occasion. We found this excellent piece of memoir by Shailajananda Mukhopadhyay (March 21, 1901 — February 1, 1976) in which he has tried to provide us with some glimpses of the man Nazrul. We have little resources to evaluate Kazi Nazrul. We can only try to read about him and his works.

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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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