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.
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