Monday, January 16, 2012

Why turn Indira Bhavan into Nazrul Bhavan?

Indira Bhavan- Nazrul Bhavan
Indira Bhavan, Kolkata
The decision of the West Bengal state Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee to turn Indira Bhavan into "Nazrul Bhawan" needs to be reconsidered. I loved her earlier decision to setup Kazi Nazrul Research Centre because previous governments had not done enough to commemorate Nazrul, whose literary works, partiotic spirits and lyrical compositions were praised throughout the country. 

The ongoing controversy on the renaming issue had raised everyone's eyebrows and made us thing that why was it necessary to rename Indira Bhavan and house the Nazrul Academy and museum in it and whether this is a right decision to do so. We know that West Bengal doesn't have a permanent Chief Ministers house which hampers the image of "Brand Bengal", so Indira Bhavan could have been turned into the chief ministers residence instead avoiding all the unnecessary controversy.

The question now arises is that: 
Why turn Indira Bhavan into Nazrul Bhavan?
  • This is undoubtedly an unwanted and unnecessary move to turn Indira Bhavan into Nazrul Bhavan. The building has its own history intact and it's totally unfair to play with it. How can the present government change the name of a Historical Building? Its's nothing more than political game-play.
  • On the other hand, its shameful that the government wants to dedicate an old and used building for Kavi Nazrul. Its disgraceful to house the Nazrul Research Centre in this old two storey building. Its a matter of shame for us, the Bengali community of West Bengal that- our leaders are now more interested in playing politics instead of doing something constructive. 
  • Why not construct a brand new modern building dedicated to our beloved rebel poet Kavi Nazrul Islam? It would be a matter of pride for the entire Bengali community. We can boast of having a modern structure equipped with all modern amenities and have an architectural design that will suit the purpose of the building. 
In the midst of this name change controversy, Nazrul kin- Misti Kazi expressed her grief saying,"Thre is no reason for such controversies. It pains us to see such debates over Kazi Nazrul Islam who is a world poet." 

Peace and Development of Bengal is all we need.

Poush Parbon & Pitha's Delight

Poush Parbon Pitha- পিঠা
Pitha | Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
The Bengali month of Poush, the winter month brings different opportunities for the Bengalis to hog on to their favourite sweet delicacies. The last day of Poush is celebrated as Poush Sankranti in West Bengal and Bangladesh. This day is considered auspicious among the Hindus and pilgrims from different parts of the country gather at Gangasagar, the point where Ganga river meets the Bay of Bengal. Pilgrims come here with the belief that- an early morning dip in the river will wash away their earthly sins, this fair is knows as "Gangasagar Mela". 

This last day of Poush is celebrated as "Poush Parbon" (Bengali: পৌষপার্বণ |Meaning: The Poush Festival) or "Pithe Parbon" (পিঠেপারবন) - this is the most awaited day for all the bengali sweet lovers as various sweet delicacies are prepared. Since olden times, mothers, grandmothers used to make  Patishapta Pithas, Puli pithas, Malpuas and various other types of pithas and these pithas are to be coupled with Nolen Gur (a exclusive jaggery that is produced by date trees or palm trees only in winter months and only in Bengal). This can be said as the festival that is purely based on the Pleasure of eating and tickling the taste buds with delightful Pithas. 

Poush Parbon - Pitha Puli
Pithas, supposed to be home made sweets though now they are commercially available during Pitha Parbon, generally it has its outer layer composed of rice or wheat flour and has inner stuffing with different saviouries like grated coconut mixed with nolen gur etc. There are various other types of Pithas which are made in the households. 

Mothers and grandmothers take charge of pithe parbon, and preparations for pitha making starts about a week before the Poush Parbon. Truely i need to mention that, technology has made preparation methods much easier and faster compared to early days.

In today's fast paced life it is not possible for every mother to prepare pithas specially if she's a working woman. Thus, keeping this into consideration "Poush Parbon" events are organized in various localities in Bengal where we get to taste not just pithas but also mouth watering Malpuas & Nolen Gurer payesh. If a person wants to enjoy the true essence of "Poush Parbon" its not the cities but the villages of Bengal that takes away all the credit. 

Enjoy Poush Parbon, stuff yourself with loads of sweets but don't forget to hit the gym the next morning !

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

District status for Siliguri

The demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland (to be carved out of West Bengal) has risen once again in the Darjeeling hills in-spite of the recent administrative setup of the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA). This calls for fresh trouble in the hills and reminds me of the politics played by some Gorkha leaders in creating differences between Gorkhas and Bengalis in the past. Though i firmly believe that the demand for separate Gorkhaland state cannot be totally ruled out; I also strongly believe Siliguri has nothing to do with Gorkhaland or the recent GTA setup and that Siliguri subdivision should be made a separate district.

City Centre Siliguri
Developing Siliguri: City Centre Mall
Siliguri (শিলিগুড়ি) is the 32nd metropolitan city of India according to the 2011 census data.  Its a thriving city and bustling business center which should not be halted by strikes or protests and in no sense the development of the city should be hampered. Prevalence of peace and unity among the residents is of utmost importance. The only solution to maintain peace and harmony in Siliguri is by the formation of a separate Siliguri District (শিলিগুড়ি জেলা).

Siliguri DistrictThe new Siliguri District (শিলিগুড়ি জেলা) should comprise of the complete Siliguri Subdivision (শিলিগুড়ি মহকুমা) which consists of Siliguri Municipal Corporation and four community development blocks namely: Matigara, Naxalbari, Phasidewa and Kharibari. The formation of this new Siliguri District will accelerate the rate of development and bring about peace in the region. Thus, it will no more be a political playground for the political outfits such as the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) and the Bangla O Bangla Bhasha Bachao Committee (BOBBC). 

Like it or not- the fact today is pretty clear: Signs of Bengal has been erased from the Gorkha dominated Darjeeling district over the years. Thus, the separation of the Bengali dominated Siliguri Subdivision from the present Darjeeling district would provide more homogeneity to the remaining Darjeeling Disctrict- which would comprise of the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseoung and Kalimpong. Thus, Siliguri will be off limits for the Gorkha Agitations, which will bring the much awaited peace back in the region and the city corporation will therefore be able to focus on the developmental issue which is for the benefit of all.