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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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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