Bengal is known for its rich cultural background and its literary attachment. Such a rich heritage needs to be preserved over generation which most of us fail to do, but this legacy can be only carried forward with the acceptance of its essence by the millennial. With an attempt to do so, Oxford Bookstores created India’s pioneering Bangla Literary Festival titled Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob (ABSU) in 2015. Originally the event started at the Oxford Bookstore, Park Street. And today it has been the 3rd year for ABSU which has been shifted to a bigger venue of the Apeejay Lawn, all thanks to the love and support for this growing endeavor.
Day 1, 3rd November 2017 was the inauguration ceremony of ABSU by Shankha Ghosh. Day 2, 4th November 2017 was the day which was scheduled to have 8 sessions. The very first session of the day was “Bangla Sahitya Quiz” conducted by Saurav Ranjan Dutta. It had first a preliminary round consisting of 8 teams of which the winning team won with a score of 185.
The second session of the day was “Bhromonroshik bangali” and “Bhojonroshik Bangali”. Though both of these sessions were held separately, one after the other, we are here to talk about it collectively. By birth bengalis are known to be adventurous. They were always experimental in two fields despite of the pocket pinch-travel and food. Do you Bengali really think twice before spending on food and travel? Let us find out!Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utshob took the responsibility to make us more aware by conducting two interesting events- Brahmonroshik bangali and Bhojonroshik bangali.
Speaking of the former, the respected speakers were as follows- Nandita Bagchi, Shankar Bose and Rangan Datta. The session went for forty-five minutes discussing how the passion for traveling has changed over the years-even the food craving-from “mach bhaat” to Biryani and tandoori”; from amusement and adventure; and finally coming to the evoking question “Will travelogue be ever valued as literature?” On the other hand, the latter preceding the former spoke about the eternal love for food lying deep within the heart of all bengalis. Respective speakers for this event were: Shiladitya Chowdhury, Rajib Ghosh, Debashish Mukhopadhay, Bikash Mukhopadhay. The session was followed by a meticulous discussion about the roots of different popular cuisines which we consume on a daily basis: from chilli chicken to belur math’s khichidi. The session ended with the interesting discovery about culinary culture in colonial India.
The next session after this was followed by Parama Dasgupta and Shyamali Acharya which was called “Gaaney Golpe Ponchobi”. This was a session that paid tribute to the Bengali music of the yesteryears such as Dwijendralal Roy and Rajanikanta Sen. The preceding session was one of the highlights of the Day 1, “Ordhoshodok Periye”(half a century has gone by) lead by speaker Shirshendhu Mukhopadhyay, Prafulla Ray, Samaresh Majumder and coordinator Oidiokumar Chattopadhyay. The session talked about how Bengali literature has changed over half a century and has been affecting our lives.
The following session was led by the respective speakers Shubodh Sarkar, Chumki Chattopadhyay, Rupa Majumder, Subhankar De under the coordination of Pew Roy : “Komboyoshi Bangla pora cherey diyechey”. This was a session which discussed about the most talked about short-comings of Bengali culture and literature coming to a conclusion that the younger generation is somewhat drawn towards the glitter of the modern literature rather than indulging themselves to the roots of Bangla sahitya.
Then came the session of “Ekhono comics sahitya” with the respective speakers- Sujog Bandopadhyay, Amrita Chattopadhyay, Ridhi Sen, Juran Nath; under the coordination of Anish Deb. The former session talked about different ways of how comic books has been playing a major role in preserving the Bengali literature.
The last session of the day ended with the dramatical representation of Bengali literature, along with a cosplay. This session was called “Natokiyo Sahitya” with the respective speakers : Bratya Basu, Bibhas Chakraborty, Arindam Ganguly, Arpita Ghosh; under the coordination of Pracheta Gupta. The session concluded with the point that though drama does not represent Bengali literature entirely, but Bengali literature is incomplete without drama as it helps to shape and add to its grandeur. With this, the second day of ABSU came to an end and we look forward for the final day that; i.e, 5th November 2017.