Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) virtually inaugurated a month-long cultural festival on Sunday, initiating live cultural shows in 10 Upazilas across the country that will run till January 31.
The festival is featuring two-day cultural programmes in each Upazila where artistes from Upazila level are scheduled to showcase their cultural performances for one hour, district-based artistes will perform for 30 minutes and BSA acrobatic troupe will perform for 30 minutes.
A virtual inauguration ceremony was held on Sunday at BSA’s official Facebook page in the afternoon. Presided by BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky, the virtual inauguration ceremony was joined by Jatiya Sangsad chief whip Noor-E-Alam Chowdhury as its chief guest.
The festival was inaugurated by Simeen Hussain Rimi MP, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Cultural Affairs.
Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs Md Badrul Arefin, Madaripur District Commissioner Dr Rahima Khatun, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Shibchar Upazila in Madaripur Md Asaduzzaman and Chittagong District Shilpakala Academy's District Cultural Officer Md Moslem Uddin attended the inaugural ceremony as special guests.
According to BSA's schedule, the programmes will be held at Shibchar upazila in Madaripur district on January 4 and 5, Kapasia upazila in Gazipur on January 13 and 14, Nawabganj upazila in Dhaka district on January 22 and 23, Domar upazila in Nilphamari district and Bhandaria upazila in Pirojpur district on January 25 and 26, Melandaha upazila in Jamalpur district on January 27 and 28, Rangunia upazila in Chattogram district and Kaharole upazila in Dinajpur district on January 29 and 30, Dumuria upazila in Khulna district and Matlab upazila in Chandpur district on January 30 and 31.
Earlier, the announcement of the festival was made by BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky at a press briefing held at the National Art Gallery conference room of the Academy on Saturday.
Eminent novelist Rabeya Khatun passed away in the city on Sunday at the age of 85.
According to her family sources, Rabeya Khatun breathed her last at her Banani residence due to old-age complications.
Her body was taken to Bangla Academy premises at 12 pm on Monday and then her body was taken to the Channel-i premise at 3 pm where a namaz-e-janaza took place.
Then the novelist was buried at the Banani Graveyard after Asr prayers.
Rabyea Khatun was born to Maulavi Mohammad Mulluk Chand and Hamida Khatun on December 27, 1935 in Bikrampur in the then British India (now Munshiganj District, Bangladesh),
In her illustrious career spanning over 60 years, Rabeya Khatun wrote over 50 novels and more than 400 short-stories featuring versatile topics. She also wrote a handful of travel blogs.
Khatun's first story Proshno was published in weekly ‘Juger Dabi’ magazine and her novel ‘Rajarbagh’ was published in Begum magazine.
She wrote her first novel Madhumati in 1963, depicting the handloom artists’ struggles in a fictional narrative, which cemented her position as a novelist in the country.
Ekattorer Noy Maash (1990) is one of her most significant creations which she wrote as a memoir of the War of Liberation in 1971.
Three of her books were adopted for feature films - Kokhono Megh Kokhono Brishti (2003), Megher Pore Megh (2004) and Madhumati (2011).
Khatun also worked in Khawatin magazine edited by Jahanara Imam. She worked as the editor of the literature section of the magazine ‘Cinema’ along with legendary filmmaker Zahir Raihan and later became the editor of monthly ‘Angana’ in the 1950s.
For her immense contributions in Bengali literature, Rabeya Khatun was awarded Bangla Academy Literary Award in 1973, Ekushey Padak in 1993 and Independence Day Award in 2017.
Rabeya Khatun married ATM Fazlul Haque, a journalist, critic and filmmaker on July 23, 1,952 (passed away in 1990).
Her son Faridur Reza Sagar is the current managing director of Impress Telefilm Limited and Channel-i, daughter Keka Ferdousi is a noted chef and television cooking show host, another son Farhadur Reza Probal is an architect and her youngest daughter Farhana Kakoly is a homemaker.
The 106th birth anniversary of art maestro Zainul Abedin is being observed today (Tuesday).
The creative genius was born on December 29, 1914, in Kishoreganj and went on to become the man behind the establishment of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Dhaka University and the Folk Art Museum in Sonargaon, Narayanganj.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, his birth anniversary is being celebrated with a small number of programmes. Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Arts will arrange a virtual edition of Zainul Festival today.
The virtual event, including placing a floral wreath at the grave of the Shilpacharya by the Dhaka University vice-chancellor and faculty members at 10am followed by a virtual photography and art exhibition on the life and works of Zainul Abedin, was broadcast on the Fine Arts Faculty website www.fineart-du.com.
There will also be a virtual exhibition in collaboration with ARTCON in 3D Virtual Reality technology, featuring works by the prominent artists of the subcontinent along with the artists from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka University.
Historically known for his sketches of Bengal famine in 1943, Zainul developed his passion for art in his childhood on the banks of Brahmaputra River. He completed his graduation from the Government Art School, Kolkata in 1932. He left Kolkata and permanently returned to Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), his motherland, just after the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.
Zainul then actively worked behind the establishment of Dhaka Art Institute and became its principal in 1949. The institute later became today’s Faculty of Fine Arts.
The institute became the hub of fine arts practices in the then East Pakistan and actively participated in historical foundation events of independent Bangladesh such as the 1952 Language Movement and 1971 Liberation War under the artistic leadership of Zainul.
He willingly went on retirement from the Dhaka Art Institute in 1967 and was conferred the honorary title of Shilpacharya (great master of fine arts) by the institute.
Zainul received a two-year training from Slade School of Fine Art in London and began a new style of art called the 'Bengali style' featuring folk art forms with their geometric shapes including the usage of semi-abstract representation and primary colours. However, he lacked the sense of perspective, realising the limitations of folk art, and went back to nature, rural life and the daily struggles of people to make art that would be realistic but modern in appearance, thus being the pioneer of modern artistic style in the subcontinent.
He visited Palestinian camps in Syria and Jordan in 1970 and made 60–70 paintings of the refugees there, adding just another example of his calibre as a modern, international artist.
Known for the simple yet majestic projection of natural and social hazards, Zainul painted the 1970 Bhola cyclone that devastated then East Pakistan, portraying the effect of the cyclone through his painting ‘Monpura’.
As a fond lover of folk arts, Zainul formed Charu O Karu Shilpi Sangram Parishad and also collected a large number of traditional crafts, ceramic works, and nakshi kanthas in his lifetime which he preserved through founding the Folk Art Museum at Sonargaon, Narayanganj in 1975.
He also founded the Zainul Abedin Sangrahashala, a gallery of his own works at the Shaheeb Quarter Park on the bank of Brahmaputra River in Mymensingh the same year.
“Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin has cemented his legacy as the greatest artist of Bangladesh who got himself ecologically balanced in riverine Bangladesh. He portrayed the nature of Bengal through his imaginative inner eyes that explored more than outer vision,” renowned art critic Moinuddin Khaled told UNB.
Further explaining with examples, he added, “Many of us know about the infamous 1943 famine in the greater Bengal which happened due to the heinous acts of the British government, and we know about the havoc of that period because of Zainul’s artworks which perfectly portrayed the social situation at that time.”
In 1973, Zainul received an honorary D.Litt from Delhi University. He was declared National Professor of Bangladesh in 1975. NASA honoured the iconic artist through naming a crater on the planet Mercury after the painter, called the 'Abedin Crater' in 2009.
Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin passed away on May 28, 1976 after suffering from lung cancer.
Even if you’re not behind the meaning behind Christmas, this holiday season is all about presents, festivities and gatherings with loved ones. Secret Santas and other gift exchanges are fantastic ways to break the ice, but there are a few more ways to exchange gifts while keeping things fresh. Here are some gift exchange ideas for you to try this Christmas.
Switch, Steal, Unwrap
A couple of dice and a sizable roster of guests (minimum of 5) is all you’ll need to get this activity started. As the name suggests, depending on what is rolled on the dice, guests will either switch, steal or unwrap a gift on hand. The game starts with each guest bringing a gift (or multiple gifts) and gathering in a circle. If rolled one or two, gifts are either switched with the person to the left or right. Three and four will give the person who rolled the dice a chance to “steal” any gift within the circle, while five and six will have the person open the gift on hand. It’s a rather simple game that keeps things light and suitable for a gathering with kids involved! As an option, the dice numbers and what they represent can be printed out on a sheet of paper to make the activity simpler for all participants.
Also read: Top Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Parents
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Another simple game that only requires only two decks of playing cards! If you’re planning to do your gift exchanges in a public place or somewhere less homey, this game can easily be applied. Much like Switch, Steal, Unwrap; this game leaves everything up to chance. Everyone will place their presents on a table and the facilitator will count the number of gifts and have identical cards of that number set aside per deck. The cards selected from the first deck will then be distributed with a gift till everyone has a randomly given gift and a card. People will draw from the second deck until one person has a matched card to go first.
Also read: Top Christmas Dining Spots in Dhaka
During this person’s turn, he or she can choose whether to open the gift they have on hand or to “steal” a gift. Doing this will involve challenging the person to a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. If the challenger wins, he will trade gifts and unwrap it while the loser will keep the gift wrapped and continue with the next turn. If the challenger loses, they will open the gift they have and either trade it with the person challenged if requested or keep it for good. The game ends when everyone has opened a gift.
Left Right Poem Gift Exchange
This one will require some preparation time from the organiser as a long “poem” will have to be written beforehand. In this poem, the words “right” and left” will have to be written into a poem or a short story if that is easier. The goal is for everyone in a circle with a gift on hand and to rotate respectively when the aforementioned words are used while someone reads the poem out loud. At the end of the poem, everyone will open their gift they are holding. A very straightforward game that can be quick or long-lasting, depending on the organiser’s creativity and writing skills.
Today we are living in a free country and enjoying a peaceful life with family and friends. But do the new generations ever think how much bloody sacrifices were paid by our ancestors to earn this freedom? In this article, we are going to introduce you to Bagha Jatin, the unsung revolutionary freedom fighter of Bengal whose indomitable courage and valor threatened the then British emperors and served as a harbinger of the long-cherished independence of the Indian Sub-continent.
It was a regular day at a crowded railway platform of Siliguri, Bengal in April 1907. A Bengali young man was rushing to his compartment carrying water to serve an ill co-passenger. But he unintentionally collided with a British captain. Bearing the common grudge against the natives, the captain beat that man. After a few minutes, that brave Bengali guy returned to the captain and questioned about this rude attitude. Then he was confronted by three more British soldiers.
The rest was history. All four British men were thrashed down on the floor of the platform. Later, charges were pressed against that Bengali young man. But in the courtroom, those soldiers were admonished, as nothing could be more damaging to the fame of British rule than to acknowledge that the English military officers had been single-handedly knocked out by a Bengali boy. That brave man was none other than Jatindra Nath Mukherjee, known as Bagha Jatin.
Jatindra Nath Mukherjee was born on the 7th December 1879 in kushtia district of Bangladesh (then Bangla Presidency). The anecdote says that in 1906, Jatindra single-handedly killed a ferocious Leopard with a tiny Gorkha dagger to save the life of his cousin. After that incident people started calling him, ‘Bagha Jatin’ which refers to ‘Jatin with the strength of a Tiger.
Jatin lost his father at a very young age and was raised by his mother Sharatshashi – a dedicated social worker, and a poet. Completing the Entrance degree in 1895, Jatin learned short-hand with typewriting and got appointed as a cleric (stenographer) to the then government of Bengal under Financial Secretary Henry Wheeler. Keeping a small portion of his salary, Jatin used to send the rest amount to his family and distressed people. In 1900, Jatin got married to Indubala Banerjee of Kumarkhali Upazila in Kushtia. The couple had four children.
In student life, Jatindranath met Swami Vivekananda in a relief camp. Swami enlightened Jatin about the art of conquering libido and encouraged him to join other courageous youths who could selflessly serve the distressed people in famine, epidemic, and flood. Getting impressed by Jatin’s ardent fervor to die for a cause, Vivekananda sent him to the Ambu Guha Gymnasium, where he practiced wrestling.
In 1902, the Anushilan Samiti was formed in the Bengal region, as a coalition of the local youth groups and gyms (akhara). This organization supported the practice of revolutionary violence for ending British rule in the Indian Sub-continent. In 1903, Jatin came in touch with Sri Aurobindo Ghosh a nationalist leader who planted the seeds of revolution in Jatin’s mind against British rule.
Some sources say that Jatin played a leading role in founding the branches of Anushilan Samiti in different districts. This organization was also involved with beneficiary activities like adult night schools, homeopathic dispensaries, small scale cottage industries, agriculture, etc. Furthermore, Jatin used to send the local meritorious students abroad to acquire higher studies and learn the military craft.
In the guise of a sub-urban fitness club, Anushilan Samiti emerged as a secret revolutionary trend called ‘Jugantar’ – created with a vision to train the dedicated youths for fighting against the British. At that time, the people of the sub-continent started to stand against the British Empire in the spirit of Indian nationalism. In this wake, thousands of fearless patriotic youths joined Bagha Jatin’s movement of freedom.
Jugantar spread its units across the country and turned into a pan-India movement. Soon their activities spread overseas to South-East Asia, Europe, and America. The Indian liberation movement made a wonderful blend of cultural nationalism and socialism keeping revolution against the British at the focal point.
Image: A Commemorative Indian Postage Stage (September 9, 1970) on Bagha Jatin
Jatin dedicated himself to the cause of ‘total independence’ of India termed as, ‘Purna Swaraj’ as opposed to the proposed framework of the Indian National Congress. In 1912, Jatin met the German Crown Prince during his visit to Calcutta and asked for arms supply for carrying out the revolution of forming a socialist government in India. And, the First World War broke out in 1914.
Manabendranath Roy, the chief lieutenant of Jatin got the responsibility of receiving the weaponry in April 1915. They planned to ship the arms by German ships via the port of Sumatra, and reach the Andaman Islands. Then, form the army of liberation at Balasore in Orissa coast. Jatin was assured that a cargo filled with ammunition left towards its destination. But, the consignment had never reached the Indian shores. Unfortunately, this plan was uncovered by international spies and secret agencies. And, the British authorities got informed about this plot.
Reports suggest that a Czech spy namely EV Voska found the information regarding the delivery of German consignments at the Indian east coast. The spy sold this information to the British. Some sources said that the German agent, who was in charge of that arms consignment, was a double agent and passed the information to the British.
Image: Equestrian statue of Bagha Jatin in Kolkata, West Bengal India
Jatin and his followers took positions at Kaptipada village in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha near Balasore to take delivery of the shipload of arms consignments coming from Germany.
But when the information was passed to the British authorities, they jumped into action in no delay. In the meantime, Jatin and his group reached Balasore Railway Station walking on foot for two days through the rough terrain of Mayurbhanj. On the 9th September of 1915, they took shelter on a hillock at Chashakhand village in Balasore. The team members requested Jatin to leave the place safely; as they were guarding on another side. However, the brave-heart Jatin denied leaving his followers.
Afterward, a large battalion of British Police led by the top-ranked European police officers from Calcutta and Balasore along with an army unit from Bhadraks Chandbali approached those five revolutionaries from both sides through a pincer movement. The gunfight between the British side and the revolutionaries lasted for about two hours. While the British Police and Army officers were armed with modern rifles, Jatin’s team fought with the traditional Mauser pistols.
In the battle, Jatin was shot in the abdomen and breathed his last, at the age of 35, in Balasore city hospital on the next day, 10th September 1915. Before death, Bagha Jatin took full responsibility for the actions through a statement and asked for fair judgment for his followers. Two months later, two of his followers, Nirendranath and Manoranjan, were sentenced to death.
Charles Tegart, the famous British police officer, used to tell his fellow colleagues that if Bagha Jatin (Jatindranath Mukherjee) were an Englishman, his statue would have been built next to Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square, Central London.
Have we paid enough tribute to this brave freedom fighter against British reign in the Indian sub-continent? Recently some miscreants have vandalized the sculpture of Bagha Jatin at Kumarkhali Upazila in Kushtia which is very unfortunate for a sovereign country, like Bangladesh. To preserve the golden history of Bangladesh we must honor this forgotten hero and stand against all attempts of hatred, intolerance, and extremism.