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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