Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay (July 23, 1898 - September 14, 1971) is remembered for his unique prose and his insight into human characters, particularly the characters he met in and around the arid land of Birbhum. Our episode for this month is one of his famous short stories, Nari O Nagini, a rare kind of rivalry between snake and human-being. Khora Sheikh catches hold of a wild snake and tames it with care. The pet soon becomes his favourite, earning a golden ornament for its nose. Khora starts calling her “Bibi”, rousing jealousy in Zobaida, Khora’s wife. Bibi leaves Khora at the time of mating. But she returns to the chagrin of Zobaida and bites her.

Ruma is a physiotherapist. She has little education. This is the only profession she could resort to when her husband went away, leaving her alone with a son. Though most of her clients are women, the profession has its hazards. Sometimes she has to attend male clients. Their behavior does not always seem decent. She receives a lucrative offer from a neighbour who runs a beauty parlour. She wants her to entertain her male clients. Ruma refuses, boldly; but the humiliation hurts her. Although she considers herself a failure, a female client admires her. She fights, she suffers from insults, but she does not give up. Listen to our story on International Women’s Day, 11 Swadha by Maitree Roy Moulik. This story, first published in Desh, November 2, 2017, is included in our series “Sampratik Chhoto Galpa III”.

Sayantani Putatunda’s short story Aradhika, our episode for this month seems at first a story of cold war between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. Just follow the story to the end. You will find a beautiful reversal of feeling that refreshes our minds. This is not at all the theme of the story. It is all about singing, singing Tagore song. The singer is an aradhika, a worshipper who must render into the song her emotions and feelings, her sorrows sufferings, her aspirations and anxieties. Conforming to the lyric and tune is not enough – the song must be the singer’s own creation.

Norah Burke (1907 – 1976) spent her childhood with her father in India. Her father, Redmond St. George Burke, was a Forest Officer who often had to change his post in different jungles of India. Norah’s experience of Indian jungles and animals she gathered during her trips to various parts of the country provided her with lots of real life stories during her successful career as a writer. Our story for this month is the Bengali translation of Norah Burke’s “Leopard in the Shadow” by Sanjay Bandyopadhyay. This Bengali version was first published in the Sandesh of January 2009.

Gajendra Kumar Mitra (November 11, 1908 - October 16, 1994) won hearts of Bengali readers with the gift of his story-telling ability. This particular faculty made him a successful writer of novels and short stories. A prominent feature of his stories is the dominance of fate. Irony of sequence has played tricks with many of his characters. We have selected for this month Utsarga, a short story where both Arun and Neelima fall victim to such an irony of the inscrutable destiny.

Today is Children's Day. We present for our young friends a very uncommon story, Bandarer Daktari by Kanti P. Dutta, an animal story which you would surely enjoy. We are sorry that we could not collect any authentic information on this author.

Durgapuja is celebrated with ancestral enthusiasm everywhere in the world where a few Bengali friends have met. We cannot imagine the kind of horror associated with some of the old pujas in the past. Then human sacrifice was considered a glory. Though very few in number, some Hindu zamindars performed this brutal ritual. We are fortunate that now animal slaughter as a ritual sacrifice is no longer in vogue. We have presented one such story to our listeners this month.

Satinath Bhaduri (September 27, 1906 - March 30, 1965) is known for his lucid and elegant style of writing. What attracts most readers to his stories is his deep insight and a profound sympathy towards human weakness. We have recorded his Jagari for our audio library. We have selected a less read short story of the author in which he points to a very commmon feature of old age. An old woman, tired of waiting for death for thirty years at Kashi, everyday checks her food for poison by giving bits of it to her beloved sons.

Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay (September 15, 1876 — January 16, 1938) is still the most favourite and the most beloved author in Bengali literature. We pay our tribute to him on his 142nd birth anniversary today (according to Bengali calendar) by presenting from our audio library Niskriti, one of his most popular stories. We do not think that there is a single Bengali book lover who has not yet read this story. But we are sure, you would love to hear it. This audio book was recorded for our library by the Rotary Club of Jadabpur.

We are celebrating Rakhi (Raksha) Bandhan today all over India. This is an old custom of strengthening love and friendship. Rabindranath wanted to invoke the festival to unite Hindu and Muslim against the notorious Partition of Bengal by British rulers in 1905. We have hardly remembered the appeal of the Rakhi today. Otherwise, why do we forget to respect our sisters? Samaresh Majumdar (born on March 10, 1942) wrote of Kalu five years back. Kalu is a Muslim hooligan. But a cheap Rakhi inspires him to save the honour of an unknown sister.

Charu Chandra Chakraborty (March 23, 1902 - May 25, 1981), better known   by his pen name Jarasadha, was born in a village of Faridpur district now in Bangladesh. Always a topper, be it at Hare School or Presidency College in Kolkata, he came out top at the civil service examihation too. He was posted as a jailor in Alipore Central Jail, Kolkata. The greater parts of his writings were inspired from the lives of the prisoners in the jail. He wrote down his experiences in a note-book, with hardly any plan for publishing them. However, Shri Sagarmay Ghosh, asked him to publish  the stories. He devised the pen name Jarasandha, the mythical tyrant who imprisoned most of the kings in Mahabharata. Charu Chandra was not a tyrant. He recorded the lives of his prisoners with sincere sympathy. His first novel, Louha- Kapat, based on his notes on prisoners, was published on 1st May in the year 1953. Though he started his career quite late, his ample notes provided him with material for several books. Our story for this month, Ekush Bachhar, is not a prisoner's story.

Powalgarher kunwarsaheb (or the King of Powalgarh) was a covetted trophy for the hunters of British India in the 1920s. It survifed many attempts although two British shikaris cae fairly close to killing it. It was not just a ferocious man-eater, it was huge in size, 10 feet and 7 inches over curves. After seven years of happy hunting at Kumaon the king of Powalgarh was eventually killed by Jim Corbett (25 July, 1875 - 19 April, 1955). Our episode for this month is Mahasweta Debi’s translation of Jim Corbett’s real story “The Bachelor of Powalgarh”. It relates how Corbett tracked the tiger with his dog Robin and how he finally killed it in his second attempt.

Visually challenged readers will be delighted to know that we are getting ready with an audio fersion of The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag bby Jim Corbett, translated into Bengali by Mahasweta Debi. Keep checking our Catalogue of Audio Books at
http://bpa.org.in/audio-books/
for the next announcement.

Angurlata left her home with Nanda and Nanda leaves her in the red light area when all fun is finished. The same Nanda returns to Angurlata after a few years. Now he is sick and dying. She does her best to save him; but Nanda dies in the end. Angurlata sells everything she has, even her honour, to collect burning expenses for Nanda. Listen to Angurlata, a masterpiece of Bimal Kar (September 19, 1921 - August 26, 2003).

We have something special for this month, Russian Cat by Smt. Jyotirmala Debi. There is nothing special about this cat. The specialty lies in the discovery of this beautiful story by a little-known author and the credit of this discovery goes to the reader Smt. Supriya Majumdar. We are sorry that we could hardly collect any information about this creator of excellent prose except that she passed a sizeable portion of her life in England and France. She passed some time at Pondicherry in the close proximity of Shri Aravinda and Shri Maa at Aravinda Ashram. This proximity had a profound impact on her. This story is a part of the collection named Bilat Deshta. We shall welcome any authentic information about this author for us and our viewers.

 

 

Our story for this month, Domer Chita by Ramesh Chandra Sen, is an archetypal story straight from the Kallol Age. Flourishing in the 1920s and 1930s, writers of Kallol Age succeeded in introducing a marked shift in Bengali literature. Influenced by Freud and Marx and disturbed by the deteriorating socioeconomic conditions of Bengal, this group of writers and poets presented a totally different picture of life, devoid of all colour taste and flavor. Nature of a waterlogged space contains only hyacinth, sparsely punctuated by red lilies. Trees are leafless and barren. Haru and Badan living in this backdrop earn their living by burning corpses. One of them dies of snake bite. The other ignites his pyre, and he cannot afford to waste this fire. So, he prepares his meal on it.

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http://bpa.org.in/shrutikalpa-on-youtube/

Mahbub Ul Alam (1 May, 1898 - 7 August, 1981) is one of very few Bengali Muslim writers who have shocked the conservative Muslim society with his pen. Two of his fictional writings, Mofizon and Momener Jabanbandi, reflect the boldness with which he put into moral and religious attitudes. Our present story is on such an irony that brings Ramiz face to face with society, morality and religion. We do not, of course, want to hurt anybody's sentiment.

Gatu passed the Higher Secondary Examination on second attempt and there he had to stop. He has one consolation though; he passed the exam, many did not. He left home with a classical artist. As ill luck would have it, he died. The artist gave him an aluminum foldable ladder. Our story for this month, Moi by Smaranjit Chakraborty, is about this strange magic ladder.

What is sport to one may be fatal to another. And if this sport is hunting and if that turns out to be an addiction, sport no longer remains a mere sport. This addiction of General Zaroff is no more slaked by natural games. He wants to play with someone who is as clever as himself. The man hunt is the theme of our story this month, The Most Dangerous Game, written in 1924 by the American author and journalist, Richard Connell (October 17, 1893 - November 22, 1949). The story is clenched by the General’s statement: “One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds.“ This masterpiece like many of his stories was filmed in 1932. We have recorded a Bengali translation by Syed Mujtaba Ali (September 13, 1904 – February 11, 1974). You may listen to other stories of Syed Mujtaba Ali on this podcast page or our audio books page at http://bpa.org.in/audio-books/

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