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Kalyani University Launches Centre For Bengali Diaspora

2015-06-26 20:36

Governor Kesharinath Tripathy speaking at the inaugural seminar of Centre for Bengali Diaspora at Kalyani University on Friday. Picture by ANUP KUMAR MONDAL

NfN NETWORK

Kalyani, June 26: He is a Kashmiri by birth, but Bengali by heart. Professor Rattanlal Hangloo, vice chancellor of KalyaniUniversity as a mark of his respect to the Bengali literature and culture, has decided to find out and to specify different contribution by Bengalese living across the globe.

To enumerate contribution of many unknown Bengalese, Professor Hangloo has decided to bring the Bengali Diaspora inside the University campus.

An ardent fan of Sri Asutosh Mukhopadhaya whom he considers a role model for his job as vice chancellor, Professor Hangloo with the help of Abul Kalam Azad foundation has set up a “Centre for Bengali Diaspora’ at the KalyaniUniversity - a first of its kind at any university in the country.

The functioning of the Centre for Bengali Diaspora began on Friday through an international seminar “Offspring’s of Bengal in distant land, quest of disanchored” organised by the University which was inaugurated by Governor Kesharinath Tripathy.

Hangloo said: “There are some Universities in the country where studies on Diaspora done. But, no University in the country has so far set up an independent centre for research, analysis and enumeration of Diaspora of a particular community. KalyaniUniversity so become a pioneer in this field of study in the country”.

The University has already appraised the University Grants Commission about the centre and has sought its help.

US consul general in Calcutta Helen Lafabe and Deputy high commissioner of Bangladesh in Calcutta Zokey Ahad were also present on the occasion and delivered key note speeches on the Diaspora. Both of them have also vowed to extend all necessary support to bring the contribution of the Bengali Diaspora to the university which is living in their country.

To being with, the centre will start functioning at the office of the Dean of Arts Faculty, until the centre’s own building comes up.

A large number of former students of the University have been invited to participate in this symposium to share their thoughts.

Professor Hangloo said: “The richness of Bengali literature and culture has always fascinated me. Despite its abundance, I always felt that there is a lot more remained unknown to the world. This is the contribution of the Bengali Diaspora – the Bengali people living in different countries beyond their origin. So I conceived a plan to try to bring it together. With this objective, the ‘Centre of Bengali Diaspora’ will work. While the non-resident Bengali people making their contribution to their own literature, arts and culture will get the exposure, on the other hand students, researchers and interested individuals will be able to study the aspects of Diaspora for academic purpose”.

Apart from finding its contribution to literature, art and culture, the centre would try to find extent of representation in governance and administration and other interesting aspects”. 

At the initial level, the KalyaniUniversity authorities have planned to offer certificate courses on studies on Bengali Diaspora.

“We are trying our best to introduce the certificate courses from the next academic session. Students will also be encourage to do research work on Bengali Diaspora for the Ph D and M Phil”, said an official.

Meanwhile, vice chancellor professor Hangloo has set up a committee of six professors headed by professor Sumit Mukherjee, Dean of University’s Arts faculty, who have already started the initial work to identify the Bengali Diaspora in countries like UK, USA, Australia, South Africa where Bengalese live in high number.

Professor Sumit Mukherjee said: “Our basic objective is to give exposure to the non-resident Bengalese who has been practicing their culture, making their contribution to art and literature. The centre will try to give them a platform so that their works could be recognized by others across the globe”.

“During interaction with many former Bengali students who have now settled in different parts of the globe, we have noticed a sort of identity crisis in them. They have loved their mother land, but due to isolation from it, a sort of void has been created within them. This develops the crisis further. So we have planned share their thoughts, pains and experience”, added Mukherjee.

The University has also envisaged a plan to develop the centre as an international forum for the non-resident Bengalese

Senor Professor Sukhen Biswas of Bengali literature, who is also a member of the managing committee of the Diaspora, said: “While doing studies on Bengali Diaspora, we would simultaneously like to develop the centre as a tool to bridge the gap between the non-resident Bengalese and their motherland”.

To explore this, the members have already made contacts with eminent Bengali personalities who have made their marks in the field of arts and cultures have been invited with the request to be advisor of this centre.

“We have spoken to UK based author Ketaki Kushari Dyson, Professor Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak of Columbia University, Professor Prthiwindra Mukherjee, a former member of French national centre for scientific research in Paris and many other eminent non-resident Bengalese. They have all eulogized the initiative of KalyaniUniversity and also assured help to make the endeavor successful”. Professor Biswas said.

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