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Reflowering of Bengali Literature – Bangla Badal

Feb 2017

Reflowering of Bengali Literature – Bangla Badal

The only Bengali session of the Kolkata Literature Festival began with Nachiketa singing some soulful tunes. The packed audience was immediately enthralled and thus started a lovely session moderated by Tridib Chattopadhyay, Managing Director of Patra Bharati group of Publications.

The panellists of the fifth session of the third day were Shirshendu  Mukhopadhyay, Srijato , Nachiketa and Pracheta Gupta. The three acclaimed authors then went on to answer the questions asked to them about “Bangla Bodol” or changes in Bengali literature.

Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay said, “Language is a very transformative element. It is never restricted to boundaries. The reason is there is always import and export between different languages. New words are incorporated into the stream. What is a concern, is whether it becomes better or worse. Nowadays I see a trend of narration returning to Bengali language. A person’s view point changing brings a change in literature and what we should do, is to welcome that with open arms. Losing patience while judging literature shouldn’t be done.” Tridib Chattopadhyay asked,” How are you keeping up with the times?” The reply? “I don’t mix much with people of my age but instead soak in everything while interacting with the younger generation. I thus try and run with the changing times,” the Sahitya Akademi award and Bangla Bibhushan award winner said.

Srijato was asked what the reason behind his huge fan following. “A lot of people neglect and dislike Facebook but standing in today’s age, we cannot say that with pride. From promotions to news, facebook gives us all of that. Fan following is like a mirage. The audience on facebook is also very judgemental and chooses their favourites amongst many. The authors who think their readers to be stupid, are never doing the right thing,” he said amidst loud cheers. He later went on to narrate one of his own poems.

Pracheta Gupta began with elucidating about his so called dislike for facebook. One of the front runners in contemporary Bengali literature, he said claimed that he does not, and went on to narrate an incident that happened in the Boimela itself. Concerning a young woman who wanted to sell a book to him, he says that there definitely are changes, but heart still remains in the same place.  Srijato added that the moulding has probably changed but the sentiments and feelings remain the same.

Nachiketa then proceeded to sing one his famous songs, “Halla bol” and thus demonstrating how the language of his songs have also undergone a transformation. “Each of my songs is a story in itself,” he said and added that Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay was a source of inspiration for him.

Poetry, music, stories and the changing Bengali language made for a highly enjoyable fifth session for all. The times change and whatever the audience can understand and interpret clearly, is what is new literature. It is not enforced from outside and the credit of an author lies in stating his thoughts without complicating it unnecessarily. That makes the author’s writing transcend time and there is nothing like “re-flowering” of literature. It is a continuous process of expressing a writer’s innermost feelings. Thus a writer should express his thoughts without attaching a great deal of importance to his readers. He should do so to remain true to his writing.

Follow the hashtag #KLF17 on social media to remain updated about the Kolkata Literature Festival.


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