Interviews, Features, Events, Bengali & Indian Performing Arts & Artist Reviews

Kumarajiva The Philosopher and Seer From India: International Seminar on Kumarajiva (Jik mó luó shí)

New Delhi, Feb 3, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) Buddhist savants who traveled from India to China and from China to India have contributed to the evolution of Sino–Indian cultural relations in the classical age.  They contributed not only to the spread of Buddhism but also to an understanding of social and economic relations, as torchbearers of Indian civilization to Central Asia and China. Unfortunately ancient records of India are silent about them but there are a large number of documents preserved in Chinese and Central Asian languages.

[Kumārajīva sitting on a lotus, meditating in front of the Kizil caves as a young monk]
Kumārajīva sitting on a lotus, meditating in front of the Kizil caves as a young monk. These are one of the most famous sites in Central Asia, situated on the Muzart river, where a multitude of Buddhist temples were discovered, hewn in the mountainsides. Approximately 300 caves at Kizil contained frescoes. The local name for this site ‘Ming-oi’ (1000 cells or chambers) referred to the vague figure of great magnitude.

Only a few Chinese records are so far discovered narrating the lives and works of Indian monks in China. One such record is the Gao Seng Chuan (Biographies of eminent monks) and another important work is the Kuang hungming chi (Seng chao’s obituaries).  One of the eminent scholars was Kumarajiva, who broke political, geographical, cultural and linguistic barriers with a long cherished mission: propagation of the true spirit of Buddhism.

Memorandum to US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer from India's Political Party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

Calcutta, Feb 3, 2011 - Innocent Indian students are already victims of  US University, they should not be inhumanly behaved by the US Authorities. Law of Land should prevail but also the basic Human Rights of students should not suffer. Sh.Avinash Rai Khanna, MP(Rajya Sabha) Incharge of Human Rights Cell and Sh. Sudhir Aggarwal, National Convener strongly voiced against these violations and atrocities upon Indian students duped by California based Tri Valley University and also submitted a Memorandum to the US Ambassador Mr. Timothy J. Roemer to forward these concerns to Hon’ble President of US and California State Administration.

Amar Biya Hobe Shaadi Hobe: Complete Shadi Audio Songs MP3 Download Collection

A Hindu bride during traditional wedding ceremony

Image via Wikipedia

Bengali weddings, both Hindu and Muslim weddings, have many rituals in common among a multi-day ceremony that brings joy for an extended time to the typically equally extended families of the bride and the groom.

The Ashirbad phase where elders bless the soon-to-be wed bride is rapidly taking on an added Western practice of the groom presenting the bride with a "wedding ring".  Subsequently, the bride and the groom's families separately apply turmeric on their bodies (perhaps to ward off diseases since turmeric is a proven antiseptic), followed eventually by the actual shaadi / bie (wedding) ceremony. After that, the bride is welcomed to her new home by the grooms family, and the bride and the groom live happily forever.

These, and many other beautiful events, take place over many days.

Popular wedding songs (biyer gaan / shaadi gaan) entrenched in deep roots of folk music are sung by well wishers and family members, often in chorus, all through these days - especially in rural Bengal.

Thanks to the age of the internet, many such songs are now available online for MP3 download via our affiliate Bengali audio song download service - click here to listen to free previews and download the Shadi songs and related Biyer Gaan and of course Shehnai tracks >

Here is a complete list of what songs are available ...

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Hollywood)

If you have liked to read C.S.Lewis and watched the earlier Narnia films, you would probably love to return to ‘Narnia’ once again with the Pevensies….a magical journey to the parallel world of Narnia.

Sunil Gangopadhyay's MONER MANUSH - An Audio-Book CD Collection on writings on LALON FAKIR from Bangla Beyond Borders

Germantown, Maryland, Oct 21, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Published in 2008, the novel Moner Manush is a biographical account of Lalon Fakir - the Emperor of the Bauls - through the eyes of the acclaimed Bengali poet and writer Sunil Gangopadhyay.

Fakir Lalon Shah was a folk philosopher and composer, born in 1774 in the present district of Kushtia in Bangladesh. The novel depicts the life experiences of Lalon: his childhood; the tragic separation from his family; his settlement in the forest away from locality and the growth of his follower community and his simple philosophy of life. Lalon's life and his beliefs have a huge relevance in todays world when religion has divided our society. Lalon lived between institutional religions and called for a unified approach towards realising the presence of 'God' within the human body. His songs give subliminal exposures to the reality that lies beyond the material world and show the triviality of any attempt to divide people both materially or spiritually.

Watch a video preview of the Audio-book online.

Bengali superstar Dev has now got a personal website

Bengali superstar Dev has now got a personal website

February 2, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Pen Men at Work): With the advent of modern-age technology, the distance between the stars and the fans have, somewhat, shortened. Gone are the days when a mega star used to be inaccessible and unreachable. Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, now the movie stars are just a mouse click away.

Hopes and Aspirations at a Small Town Fair In India

New Delhi, Feb 2, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) After acquiring a spacious shop to showcase his handmade footwear, Ashok Chawade is a happy micro entrepreneur today.  With the help of a loan of Rs. One Lakh from the National Scheduled Castes Finance Development Corporation (NSCFDC) which he had taken six years back,  Chawade has taken a bigger, more spacious shop and has also bought a new ‘Raapi’ machine to trim leather more efficiently. This has helped him a great deal in making many more pieces of footwear than ever before. What is more satisfying for him is that he got the loan from NSCFDC on very easy terms which he has to return in twenty years. Ashok, who is intermediate pass belongs to Ramtek, a tiny but picturesque town of Nagpur district in Maharashtra State with a population of less than half a lakh and with a modest flow of tourists who throng various temples situated in the town. “The town has lot of tourist potential if properly tapped”, Chawade contends while contemplating on ways to expand his business. He makes footwear for a large clientele as his shoes range from Rs. 100 to Rs. 600.

Hindus find Boy George's "Amazing Grace" disrespectful

Nevada, Feb 1, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Hindus have termed Boy George’s “Amazing Grace” music-video as “disrespectful” to the highly revered deities of Hinduism.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that unnecessary and inappropriate dragging and trivialization of Hindu deities to advance the commercial or other agenda could be hurtful to the devotees who worship them in temples and home shrines.