The fifth edition of Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob was inaugurated today at Jorasankho Thakurbari, the birthplace of Gurudev Tagore in the distinguished presence of eminent writers Shankha Ghosh; Professor Syed Manjurul Islam and editor, publisher Majharul Islam from Bangladesh and Pracheta Gupta along with Prof. Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Rabindra Bharati University; Tridib Kumar Chattopadhyay, MD Patra Bharati Group of Publications and Swagat Sengupta, Director Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob and CEO Apeejay Oxford Bookstores. ABSU is presented in association with Patra Bharati Group and supported by Rabindra Bharati University.
The inauguration was preceded by a one-of-a-kind literary discussion with different Facebook Page Groups who work towards promoting new-age Bangla literature in the society; and a panel discussion tracing the evolution of Bangla Magazines to Webzines-titled Little Magazine Theke Webzine- Cholar Pothe Chine Nin- with Tapash Bhowmick (Korok), Prasun Bhowmick (Bijalpa), Debjyoti Bhattacharya (Joydhak), Dipankar Choudhury (Parobash) and moderated by Jayanta Dey. The inauguration was soon followed by interesting panel discussions on innovative and new areas of Bangla literature ranging from historical fiction to comedy. The panel – Jara Pori, Jara Porai, Dui Dol-e Somane Somane Korchi Borai! (Publishers V/s Readers) had Sudhanshu Dey, Majharaul Islam, Chumki Chattopadhyay, Rupa Majumdar and for the first time brought publishers and readers face-to-face to discuss the issues in publishing. Eta Oitihasik Sotti, Bhalo Sahityo Itihashe Bhorti! (Writing the Past: Historical Literature in Bengali) brought forth the intricacies of historical writing with Debotosh Das, Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay, Abul Kashem and Himadrikishore Dasgupta followed by the launch of Kashem’s new book. The first day sessions ended with laughter and hilarity with the panel Mojae Meje Gechi, Tai Hashite Bachi (Who’s laughing? Comedy in Bengali Literature) which brought together stalwarts of Bangla comic writing, Sanjib Chattopadhyay, Subhashish Mukhopadhyay, Saikat Mukhopadhyay, Mirchi Somak and Pracheta Gupta. The evening wrapped up with the famous Light and Sound Show, a speciality of the Jorasankho Thakurbari, tracing the history and contributions of Rabindranath Tagore.
Speaking to the reporters during the Utsob, Swagat Sengupta, CEO Oxford Bookstores & ABSU Director said, “India’s first Bangla Literary Festival, Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob created by the nearly 100 year old Oxford Bookstores in 2015 is in its 5th year. The Utsob aims to bring in new elements for its audiences since inception and one of our endeavor for our milestone fifth edition is to come up with ABSU’s own theme music. The almost 1- minute theme music is a first for Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob. Patra Bharti and Oxford Bookstores have jointly hosted ABSU inside Oxford Bookstore, moved to the much larger Apeejay House Lawns and now have the honour of hosting ABSU in the courtyard of Jorasankho Thakurbari for the second year. That the courtyard of the birth place of Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore will ring with ABSU theme music this year is a matter of great pride for us.”
Present at the occasion Mr. Tridib Kumar Chattopadhyay, Managing Director, Patra Bharati Group of Publications said, “Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob is world’s first and the only Bengali literature festival, which will be stepping onto its fifth edition this year. The Utsob starts on 22nd November, and goes on till 24th November, Sunday. Adding a unique flavour this year are five eminent authors-publishers coming from Bangladesh, the only country in the world with Bengali as its national language.”
Speaking about the special sessions in the 5th edition the Utsob Director Mr. Sengupta shared “ABSU 2019 will be our best offering so far, with 23 specially curated sessions which delve deep into topics such as heritage, poetry, music, cinema and audio of Bangla language in this pristine heritage venue invaluable to Bangla literary legacy. This year the Utsob has curated specific session to pay a tribute and homage to writer and academic late Nabaneeta Dev Sen and to celebrate birth anniversaries of social reformer Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar and eminent writer Akshaykumar Dutta. In keeping with the objective of expanding the reach of Bangla Literature through this pioneering initiative, this year we have curated a very special event – Bishesh Sahitya Premi Sommanona to recognize people and organization who have been instrumental in spreading Bangla literature in its original physical form to the book lovers”