Monday, July 16, 2012

Banpalashir Padabali by Ramapada Chaudhuri

Ramapada Chaudhuri is fondly called Ramapada Jethu by us and Rama-da by our parents. Our families share a long stretch of memories, many of which are documented in my father's autobiography.


Ramapada Chaudhuri is the author of more than 100 short stories and about 50 novels. He has received a number of literary awards and honors. Some of them are –The Rabindra Puroskar of the West Bengal Govt, Sahitya Academi Award, Jagattarini Gold Medal of the University of Calcutta , and the honor for the highest literary achievement , the D.Litt,Honoris Causa from the University of Burdwan .

From 2011, IIPM has introduced an award in the name of Rabindranath Tagore to mark his 150th birth anniversary. For writing in the mother tongue of Tagore, the first of this award went to Ramapada Chaudhuri for his classic novel — Banpalashir Padabali.

Banpalashir Padabali is a stunningly vibrant and intensely human work that serves to reaffirm his reputation as a master story-teller in the Bengali language.

Read the whole post on the novel over at Surajit Dasgupta's blog>>

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hariprobha Takeda and the Azad Hind Fauz

The Statesman featured an article on my aunt,  Hariprobha Takeda and her contribution to the Azad Hind Fauj, on May 6, 2012. An excerpt.

This “exceptional” story of Hariprobha Basu Mallik, the first woman from the Indian subcontinent to write a book in Bengali on Japan in 1915, whose life has been recreated on the celluloid by veteran Bangladeshi director Tanvir Mokammel in his latest documentary “Japani Bodhu” (The Japanese Wife) that is scheduled to premiere in India in June. After her marriage to Takeda, who had set up a soap- making factory in Dhaka, Hariprobha Basu Mallik became Hariprobha Takeda and travelled to Tokyo in 1912. Born in 1890, Hariprobha would have remained unsung and largely forgotten but for her “Bangamahilar Japan Jatra” (The Journey of a Bengali Woman to Japan), a memoir of her journey to Japan in 1912, the first book on that country by any woman from Indian subcontinent, said Mokammel adding the book was first published from Dhaka in 1915.

When Hariprobha went to Japan with her husband in 1912, it was an opportunity for her to not only meet her in-laws but also see the Japanese socio-cultural life. She wrote a memoir, a kind of travelogue about the then Japan which, as portrayed in Hariprobha's book, is a different country altogether hundred years back, said Mokammel.

Read the whole story at The Statesman.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bongo-Mohilar Japan Jatra: Hariprobha Takeda

Bongo-Mohilar Japan Jatra (1912)


A documentary film on my aunt, Hariprobha Takeda, a remarkable woman who was far ahead of her times, made by a Bangladeshi filmmaker, Tanvir Mokammel (The River Named Modhumati, Lalon, Quiet Flows The River Chitra, Lalsalu, etc.) premieres in Dhaka next month. Here is a news item from The Daily Star.

From a nondescript woman in Dhaka to Tokyo, where she read news in Bangla on radio for Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Azad Hind Fauj, travelling in the dead of night every day risking her life through bomb-ravaged streets of Tokyo during the Second World War.

That is the exceptional story of Hariprobha Basu Mallik, who married a Japanese entrepreneur Wemon Takeda, and travelled to Tokyo in 1912, and whose life has been recreated on the celluloid by eminent Bangladeshi director Tanvir Mokammel in his latest documentary, “Japani Bodhu” (The Japanese Wife) set to be premiered in Dhaka next month.

Born in 1890, Hariprobha would have remained a largely forgotten figure but for her “Bongo Mohilar Japan Jatra”, a memoir of her journey to Japan in 1912, considered the first book on that country by any woman from the subcontinent. The book was first published from Dhaka in 1915, Mokammel told The Daily Star.
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