Sundeep Bhutoria

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Fests and elections here and at home

Smt Sarala Birla (right)
I received a letter from Smt Sarala Birla (pic) inviting me to a photo exhibition of pictures taken by two generations of Birlas namely B K Birla (picture) and also her great grandson Aryaman Vikram Birla.
I also received an invitation from the Birla family for a book launch to mark the 69th Marriage Anniversary of B K and Sarala Birla.  
Book releases and exhibitions are a part of daily life in Kolkata. 
Mr B K Birla
In Montreal too there is a Literary Festival where the spotlight is on Indian writings. Let me mention here that 2011 is the Year of India celebrations in Canada. Many prominent writers like Amitava Ghosh, Taslima Nasreen and Bharti Mukherjee would be attending the Festival. Someone mentioned to me that both are from Bengal.
There  is no doubt that Bengal has contributed immensely in the field of literature, arts, films and culture in India and also put India in the world map. Bengal also proudly claims the maximum number of Noble laureates from the region.
Canada is also holding its federal elections on 2nd of May. Elections and the Literary Festival reminded me of the happenings at home. With the last phase of the elections due, I believe that the greatest loss that we have faced in this elections is the divide among the state's intellectuals. The way things have shaped up in the last few years - there is a clear line between `us' and `they'. We all know that Suvaprasanna  and Wasim Kapur are renowned artists. Can any leftist deny that fact that Joy Goswami is the greatest poet currently in Bengal. But then, why the rift today?
Intellectuals can always differ in their opinions and have all the reasons to express their feelings and solidarities. But in this whole political change the biggest loss Bengal has faced is the clear divide in the realm of art, culture and literature. Whether this is good or bad only time will tell.
I shall leave for New York tomorrow. 
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