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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

* Spring 2017!

My research article "Existential Alienation and the Indian Diaspora: An Approach to the Writings of Anita Desai, Bharati Mukherjee, Sunetra Gupta, and Jhumpa Lahiri" published in CLRI journal. Visit:

My book review of Lopa Banerjee's Thwarted Escape: An Immigrants's Wayward Journey published in Bonobology blog. Visit:

My poems "The Bermuda Triangle" and "The Last Riverine Civilization" published in Tuck Magazine. Visit:

My poem  "A Secret of Forests" published in Oddball Magazine. Visit:

My poem "Autism" (#26) published in Different Truths online anthology on Autism awareness. Visit:

"Workshop on "Songs, Roots, Inheritance: Caryapada to Gitagovinda, Samkhya to Sahajiya"
15th April 2017

On the first day of the Bengali New Year a one-day workshop on “Songs, Roots, Inheritance: Caryapada to Gitagovinda, Samkhya to Sahajiya” was organized by Shoptodina Foundation at Mahabodhi Society Hall, Kolkata.  The workshop saw three presentations starting with the playing of a song from the Caryapadas, the oldest existing text of Bengali literature. The first presentation was by Dr. Tamal Dasgupta who introduced the theme and said that song is the language that has connected human beings since ancient times. Perhaps the Neanderthals got extinct in competition because of the Homo Sapiens’ ability to sing. He went on to explicate from the 3500-year old Hurrian hymn on how the transformation of foraging culture to agrarian culture affected human beings. From Krishna’s flute to Shakti worship at Pandu Rajar Dhipi are all perhaps fertility rituals. He brought focus on Samkhya philosophy and how its development through stages of ancient, classical, Sahajiya, Tantric and other forms saw aspects of duality between Purusha and Prakiti. He also brought in psychoanalysis and logocentrism to explain the materialistic base and tragic vision of Samkhya. His thrust was on the concept that Indian civilization is Samkhya-based and not Veda-based. He then went on to elaborate on how Lakshman Sen’s court poet Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda has Sahajiya philosophy at its root.

Post lunch-break saw two presentations on Kirtan and Baul tradition by Sayantan Thakur and AnirbanMondal respectively.Sayantan Thakur interspersed his presentation with beautiful rendition of kirtans while expounding on the various types of kirtans like Naamkirtan, Lila kirtan, Suk kirtan, Gunakirtan, Dhopkirtan, etc. He said that the two prominent gharanas of kirtans viz. Garenhatigharana and Manoharsaingharana gave the 162 taals used in kirtan. He said that kirtan has six parts – Katha, Sur, Taal, Katang, Aakhor, Doha – and how Gitagovinda’staals are kholtaal and not of pakhwaj. Sayantan Thakur created an atmosphere of serenity through his excellent singing skills and knowledge of ragas. After him the presentation on Baul tradition saw AnirbanMondal elucidate on how Baul originated as an alternative to conventional religion and represented a social revolution. He said that the etymology of the word “baul” is from “batul” which means crazy. He made it pertinent that in the Baul tradition the status of woman was very high and a woman could also be a “guru” and give “diksha” to disciples. The Baul tradition attracted marginalized people across class, religion, social and economic backgrounds.

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