English is fast developing a dynamism all its own in the non-English-speaking world, says former Indian Administrative Service officer, writer and noted theatre personality Bhaskar Ghose, whose first novel is a tale of two bureaucrats.‘With new playwrights and writers enquiring into the evolution of the language through their writings, the language now has an identity of its own,’ Ghose said at the launch of his third book, The Teller of Tales, his first work of fiction. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘We in our own time had a British influence. But the language is not that any more. It is acquiring a regional colour – growing in its own way in South India; in the eastern part of the country; and in northern India… And each of these versions of the English language is different,’ Ghose said.Ghose’s novel draws from his experience as a senior bureaucrat for 36 years, his 50-odd years on the stage as one of the driving forces behind ‘Yatrik’ – one of the oldest theatre groups in the capital, his days in St Stephen’s College, when he experienced India in all its diversity. ‘When you read it, you will notice the similarities. Basically, it centres around two friends who grew up in the services (IAS) together,’ Ghose said. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe writer, who was educated in Mumbai and Delhi, joined the IAS in 1960. He served as director general of Doordrashan and had been secretary of the ministry of culture, and human resource development and the ministry of information and broadcasting.The book explores the lives of two friends, Arunava Varman, a semi-autobiographical character modelled on the writer, and fellow bureaucrat Tapan. Arunava’s tales, crafted with intelligence and ingenuity, offer excitement to Tapan, whose life is otherwise quite dull and grey. But the stories begin to fray as Arunava’s character reveals itself. There are disturbing gaps in Arunava’s anecdotes. ‘After his second drink, Arunava Varman became more expansive and mellow… His usual style was to top every st0ory or anecdote with something even more dramatic or even more epic,’ Ghose says of his character. Early in life, Ghose had once used the name Arunava Varman (replacing his own) to write an article in The Illustrated Weekly.‘It was not exactly a pen-name. Arunava is another of my names (it means the same as Bhaskar, the sun) and Varman is my community name,’ the writer said.The book took off under a strange set of circumstances, Ghose recalled. ‘Penguin had asked me to write a set of anecdotes. The editor then suggested that I get them together into a novel. That was three years ago,’ Ghose said. It started ‘developing a life of its own,’ Ghose said, of the book. The stage too is integral to the book.‘I spent 40 years of my life staging plays and worked for Yatrik as an actor and director. I started acting in St Stephen’s. My first role was an eight-line part in Macbeth,’ Ghose said. Ghose’s theatre troupe, Yatrik, appears in his book in the incarnation of ‘Delhi Players’. The theatre ensemble is the backdrop for a romantic tangle between Arunava, Tapan and the ‘attractive Jaishree Kapur’, a talented actor with a flawless complexion. The story moves across an arc of interesting terrain – from Mandu and Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh to Jalpaiguri in north Bengal and the Himalayas, places that the writer visited as an IAS officer.‘The book is about the people who were on the stage with him for the last four decades and those who helped him serve the country as a bureaucrat,’ the writer said.‘The Teller of Tales,’ published by Penguin-India, was released Friday.
Surprised by the mushrooming metal rock culture in India, visiting metal ensembles from the Maldives, France and the United Arab Emirates hope to make headway in their countries even as threats of piracy and the availability of free music online loom large. Struggling to find a foothold in the global rock scenario, metal rock bands Nothnegal from Male, the capital of Maldives, Hacride from Poitiers (France) and Point of View from Dubai (UAE) are wowed by the ‘overwhelming response’ to their brand of music in India. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘The response has been very positive in India. I was very surprised that India has such a growing rock scene. I never expected to see so many fans of metal,’ lead vocalist Luis Roux of Hacride said on the sidelines of a metal concert here.‘We know India for its Bollywood, but we had no idea that metal is growing so much,’ Roux added.Despite Europe’s contribution to rock music, metal is still on the fringes in France.‘It’s a marginal genre. It’s popular among young people, but it’s not recognised in the media – it’s not on the TV, it’s not on the radio. It used to be looked as a country that did not have any metal bands but it’s getting recognition now,’ Roux pointed out. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixRoux, who describes the tenor of Hacride’s music as ‘groovy and progressive’, said that metal is facing stiff competition from a huge profusion of new music and artists thanks to the internet that gives a chance to musicians from across the world.‘With the internet, music is accessible to all. That is a good thing but there are so many artists out there on the web..it’s a huge competition,’ rued Roux.Lead guitarist Hilarl of Nothnegal felt similarly, though the cyberworld has been instrumental in popularising the band’s songs.‘We have toured almost 20 countries in Asia and Europe. Our music is more popular in Europe. This is largely due to our compositions which can be found online,’ said Hilarl.He confessed that the Maldives is yet to recognise the metal genre but hoped that just like India, the island nation in the Indian Ocean will also have a healthy rock scene in the future.‘It is still on the fringes…it’s underground. But we were astonished that India has a developed rock scene. We can definitely hope for the better for our nation,’ said Hilarl.However, piracy has dealt a heavy blow to the budding musicians.Chirodeep Lahiri of Kolkata, who plays the drums for Dubai-based ensemble Point of View, felt piracy is the dark side of the internet that otherwise provides a huge boost to newcomers.‘It’s got both sides. Because of piracy and indiscriminate music downloads, album sales drop. In one way it is a boon as music reaches a lot of people,’ said Lahiri. Despite the negatives, Lahiri reckons metal will ‘prosper and only continue to grow’.
Leading up to the Independence Day celebrations in the Capital, an art gallery has come up with a treasure trove of artifacts that would definitely attract art lovers and history lovers from across the city. As the title Recalling Pre-Independence suggests, the works of the artist on display are from the 1940’s to 1960’s. The concept behind this show is to showcase the timeline of the Pre & Post Independence. The show is on till the end of this month and the works are up for sale at very competent prices. The exhibition opens on 8th August Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’A few important works from this collection will also be part of the upcoming Auction by Art Bull.The Statesman dated 15 August, 1947, confidential Letters from Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru to the first chief minister of West Bengal Dr. Prafulla Chandra Ghosh after the partition of India, photographs by Bidyut Ganguly, Bourne & Shephard, Julian Rust, Sunil Jana, 1940’s works by M. F Husain and paintings, drawings and prints by Abanindranath Tagore, Balendra, Chittaprosad Bhattacharya, Devi Prasad Roy Choudhary, Gaganendranath Tagore, Gauri, Gopal Ghose, Haren Das, Hemen Mazumdar, Jamini Roy, K. A. Sethna, Lalit Mohan Sen, M. V. Dhrandhar, Manindra Bhushan Dey, Manindra Bhushan Gupta, Mukul Dey, M F Husain, Nikhl Biswas, Niren Sen, Paritosh Sen, Prankrishna Pal, Ramendra Chakravarty, Rashmi Sengupta, Sanchar Chand Sharma, Satish Sinha, Satya Ranjan Mazumdar, Sauren Sen, Sushil Sen, Vasant Pandit and some more artists will be on display at the exhibition. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixTwo centuries of British rule in India ended at the midnight on 15 August, 1947. The stalwarts of Indian art during Pre-Independence era were all carrying forward their nationalist ideals at the time of freedom struggle. Unlike the more obvious impact of westernization which was seen in Ravi Varma’s paintings, the pre-independence era artists exhibited the growth of national consciousness. Art for them meant evolving a truly indigenous culture, stripped of its western moorings. The indigenous artistic revival movement started with Havell meeting the young Bengali painter, Abanindranath who together formed an ideology which later was known as the new Bengal School. In the twentieth century, Gaganendranath brought creative changes through his cartoons and grotesque characters. Chittaprosad also as an illustrator brought social consciousness and campaigning for the freedom struggle into the subject of art by capturing the poverty, famines and massacres by the Britishers through his drawings and graphics. Jamini Roy on the other hand drew his inspirations from Indian mythology and traditional folk art. Other prominent revivalist artists were Nandalal Bose, D.P. Roy Choudhury, Ramkinker Baij, A.K. Haldar, Kshitindranath Mazumdar, Sarada Ukil and A.R. Chugtai.During 1943, Bengal was ravaged by unprecedented famine killing millions. This manmade disaster pushed many artists to find a new language to express their understanding of what was happening around them. Few artists rejected the idealism practiced earlier and formed Calcutta Group. There artists were Pradosh Dasgupta andKamala Dasgupta, Gopal Ghose, Nirode Majumdar, Paritosh Sen, and Subho Tagore and later joined in by Pran Krishna Pal, Goverdhan Ash and many more.Where: Art Bull, F-213C First Floor, S.I.S. House, Lado SaraiWHEN: 8 – 29 August, 11 am to 7 pm
Some children spread colours in their own unique way, some were covered in colours themselves, the joy of Diwali brimmed the faces of these children playing with colour. Singing and dancing added further more joy to the hearts of orphan children celebrating Diwali at Bal Bhwan.Occasion was Diwali celebration for underprivileged children that comes under the Gramin Vikas Sewa Samiti. The event organised by Premia Group started with rangoli competition with the Diwali theme. Children not only made colourful rangolis to celebrate spirit of festival of light but also painted diyas and took part in various activities orgainsed for them. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Children from all caste and religion gathered to celebrate Diwali in great spirit. ‘I was touched when I learnt about that this orphanage based in Beebi Fatima ki Mazaar, Jama Majid- Adhchini village is doing such a great job for these underprivileged children by helping them to grow and by giving them basic needs like education, shelter and food and making them good human beings,’ said Tarun Shienh, CMD Premia Group, while he was playing with children, helping them out with their rangolis. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe evening started with singing songs by children followed by rangoli competition and lighting the diyas but it was much about the fun children had at Bal Bhawan doing all this. It was a refreshing change for everybody present there. Children’s took back ample clothes, toys and crackers as Diwali gift. ‘I am very happy to organise a small celebration for these children, this is such irony in our society that some of the children are not getting their basic needs fulfilled. Being an entrepreneur, it is my primary responsibility to help the society in all ways I can,’ added Shienh.
Kolkata: Harindra Rao, General Manager, Eastern Railway in a recently held performance review meeting advised all the principal heads of the departments and divisional railway managers to review their performance, especially in safety, punctuality, freight loading and cleanliness with respect to other Railways. Rao said good performance of Eastern Railway was helping in originating passenger traffic, commissioning of new lines, periodic overhauling of out-turn coaches and electric loco, reduction in rail fractures and wagon detachment, specific fuel consumption and in telecommunication failure. In the meeting, Rao advised all principal heads of the departments and divisional railway managers to improve all the parameters so that performance of Eastern Railway remains remarkable at the end of current financial year. In Eastern Railway, ticket checking drives have been launched vigorously and an additional earning of Rs 37 lakh has been generated in the month of April itself.General Manager advised the divisional railway managers and principal heads of the departments to undertake a special drive from 15 May, targeting improvement of safety at manned/unmanned level crossings all over Eastern Railway. During the period, a massive public awareness campaign will also be undertaken to educate and counsel road users through various means like posters, pamphlets and educative awareness advertisements through print & electronic media. Eastern Railway’s main focus is safety and punctuality. GM also advised all concerned to take adequate steps to ensure punctuality of summer special trains, adequate arrangements for drinking water and smooth functioning of air-conditioning machines in trains during the summer season.
Kolkata: The agitating Calcutta Medical College and Hospital(CMCH) students lifted their indefinite hunger strike on the 14th day today after a college council meeting decided to give in to their demands and accomodate senior students in two floors of the new 11-storied hostel. The college council meeting decided that students of second to fourth years will be alloted rooms in the two floors of the new hostel builing, a CMCH spokesman said. The indefinite fast was launched by six students of the premier institute, on July 10 and were joined by 15 others on July 19. The agitation was withdrawn at 2 pm this noon, he said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life Three of the protesting students fell ill during the indefinite hunger strike and one of them had been admitted to the hospital. He was discharged today and the condition of the other two is stable. They were seen celebrating with their friends after the fast was withdrawn. Sayantan Mukuty, a student supporting the stir, said the authorities have assured to accomodate the senior students in the new hostel building soon and make public the list of the allotted seats. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed The strike over hostel rooms was launched after the authorities at the state-run college notified that the new 11-storey building would be allotted only to freshers and refused to relent to the requests of the senior students . The old hostel, the protesters alleged, was in a “dilapidated” condition and did not have sufficient space to accommodate all senior students. Today’s college council meeting had been convened by the new officiating principal Ashok Bhadra and was attended by heads of departments and other officials. It decided that the modalities of allotment of seats in the new hostel building will be chalked out in consultation with the students soon. The Director of Medical Education (DME) Prof Debashis Bhattacharya and the college principal had appealed to the students to end the stir. The DME had in a statement yesterday assured the students that measures were being taken to improve and renovate the hostel rooms and requested them to withdraw the hunger strike. Bhadra took over as the officiating principal as his predecessor R Sinha resigned on July 20. Sinha himself had taken charge only on July 17 after former principal Uchhal Bhadra fell sick in his office during the students’ agitation and was admitted to SSKM hospital. Several health organizations affiliated to Left parties held a convention yesterday infront of the administrative block of the medical college in support of the agitating students. Thespian Soumitra Chatterjee in an audio message on Sunday alleged that the administration was not sensitive to the condition of the protesters and said that the students “had to resort to fast to press for their rights is unfortunate.”
Kolkata: Firhad Hakim became a councillor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) on Wednesday, after a landslide victory in the ward 82 by-election, defeating his nearest rival from BJP by over 13,000 votes.He will take the oath of secrecy as a councillor on Thursday, which will be conducted by KMC chairperson Mala Roy. Hakim was nominated as the Mayor by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after Sovan Chatterjee resigned from the post in 2018. As per the KMC Act, Hakim had to become a councillor to become the Mayor. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalThe by-election became necessary after the sitting Trinamool councillor of ward 82 Pranab Biswas resigned on health grounds. Hakim said: “People have supported the development projects taken up by Mamata Banerjee. I dedicate my victory to Ma, Mati, Manus. I will do my level best to serve the people of Kolkata.” Hakim defeated BJP candidate Jiban Sen by 13,987 votes. Sen got 2,577 votes, being a distant second. The CPI candidate got 1,735 votes, while the Congress candidate got 537 votes in the bypoll. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedPranab Biswas had defeated his rival by around 7,000 votes in 2015, a margin which has been nearly doubled by Hakim. Hakim was elected as a councillor in 2000. Later, he became member, Mayor-in-Council (Road) in 2010. He resigned to become an MLA in 2011. “I have been working with the people of Chetla over the past four decades. They know that they will get me by their side in times of need. I was born in this area and many people have seen me growing up,” Hakim said. Hakim is known as a hard task master. After becoming Mayor he has taken up several important steps, which include preparing schemes to collect house tax arrears, amounting to around Rs 4,000 crore. He has also decided to take up a drive against illegal billboards in the city. As the Municipal Affairs ministers, Hakim has replaced all the garbage vats in the city by compactors.
Scientists have composed new music on the Indian snake charmer’s flute that can help boost brain development of premature infants in intensive care. While advances in neonatal medicine now extremely premature babies a good chance of survival, these children remain at high risk of developing neuropsychological disorders. To help the brains of these fragile newborns develop as well as possible despite the stressful environment of intensive care, researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) in Switzerland created music written especially for them. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in the US, shows that the neural networks of premature infants who have listened to this music, and in particular a network involved in many sensory and cognitive functions, are developing much better. “At birth, these babies’ brains are still immature. Brain development must therefore continue in the intensive care unit, in an incubator, under very different conditions than if they were still in their mother’s womb,” said Petra Huppi, a professor at the UNIGE, who directed this work. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”Brain immaturity, combined with a disturbing sensory environment, explains why neural networks do not develop normally,” Huppi said. The researchers hypothesised that since the neural deficits of premature babies are due, at least in part, to unexpected and stressful stimuli as well as to a lack of stimuli adapted to their condition, their environment should be enriched by introducing pleasant and structuring stimuli. As the hearing system is functional early on, music appeared to be a good candidate, researchers said. “Luckily, we met the composer Andreas Vollenweider, who had already conducted musical projects with fragile populations and who showed great interest in creating music suitable for premature children,” said Huppi. “We wanted to structure the day with pleasant stimuli at appropriate times: a music to accompany their awakening, a music to accompany their falling asleep, and a music to interact during the awakening phases,” said Lara Lordier, a researcher at the HUG and UNIGE, unfolds the musical creation process. To choose instruments suitable for these very young patients, Andreas Vollenweider played many kinds of instruments to the babies, in the presence of a nurse specialised in developmental support care. “The instrument that generated the most reactions was the Indian snake charmers’ flute (the punji),” said Lordier. “Very agitated children calmed down almost instantly, their attention was drawn to the music,” she said. The composer thus wrote three sound environments of eight minutes each, with punji, harp and bells pieces. The study was conducted with a group of premature infants who listened to the music, a control group of premature infants, and a control group of full-term newborns. Researchers wanted to assess whether the brain development of premature infants who had listened to the music would be more similar to that of full-term babies. Scientists used functional MRI at rest on all three groups of children. Without music, premature babies generally had poorer functional connectivity between brain areas than full-term babies, confirming the negative effect of prematurity. “The most affected network is the salience network which detects information and evaluates its relevance at a specific time, and then makes the link with the other brain networks that must act,” said Lordier. “This network is essential, both for learning and performing cognitive tasks as well as in social relationships or emotional management,” she said. The first children enrolled in the project are now six years old, at which age cognitive problems begin to be detectable. Scientists will now meet again their young patients to conduct a full cognitive and socio-emotional assessment and observe whether the positive outcomes measured in their first weeks of life have been sustained.