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Punorutthan: Reviving the long lost sheen of Bengali

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By Arnab Mitra and Sreyashi Mazumdar

With globalization taking its course, vernacular languages have somewhere down the line been left behind, bearing a laggard status. Despite the end of colonialism, there is a prevalence of neo-colonial essence essentially in the form of globalization with English language holding a special stature.

Picture credit: Madanmohan Samanta

In India, vernacular languages have plummeted, especially when Indians are striving hard to get into the popular culture essentially shaped by a westernized approach. According to a national survey report in 2013, there will be no place for vernacular languages in India within a stint of 50 years.

West Bengal is one of those states which has been beleaguered by the surge of globalization. Bengali language’s preponderance has taken a downward trend owing to the onset of English as a popular and widely accepted language.

In his pursuit to rekindle the prevalence of Bengali in West Bengal, Rajib Gupta, maternal grandson of the legendary musician Pankaj Mullick, and his wife Jhinuk Gupta have been trying to enliven the status of Bengali language through music among the locals of Bengal.

In an encounter with the Gupta duo, NewsGram tried to unravel the duo’s intent behind their novel project ‘Punorutthan’ –an attempt at instilling the language’s lost flavor.

Arnab Mitra: Why did you take the initiative to revive Bengali language and culture?

Rajib Gupta: In the year 1952, five people dedicated their lives to propel Bengali language and culture. And look at us, we Bengalis are neglecting our language, it is like forsaking your own mother. Rabindranath said, “A race cannot move uprooting their roots”.

It is an alarming situation wherein you don’t learn your language properly, and you become a Benglish. I am a music composer and my wife is a singer, so we have gone through situations wherein people found it difficult to apprehend the Bengali language.

Therefore, to save our own culture and language, we took this initiative.

03 Jhinuk & Rajib practising for programme
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Jhinuk Gupta: We run an academy called Pankaj Mullik Music and Art Foundation. I observed that the students found it difficult to understand simple Bengali words and they preferred rewriting it in English. The level of degradation in terms of the language’s popularity made us start off a project like this.

Arnab Mitra: What is your concept behind this project ‘Punorutthan’?

Rajib Gupta: The project is at its initial stage and I am grateful to Dr. Kallol Guha for his huge support. We are planning to make a short film, which will be based on music, and as you know movies always have a wider reach and people can watch them through different mediums. The main theme of this movie is to make people understand the importance of Bengali language.

Jhinuk Gupta: We are working hard to finish our project before Durga Puja. Till now we have composed five songs and have planned to release the film on Panchami.

Arnab Mitra: Do you think that Punorutthan’s attempt at reviving Bengali language will end up garnering positive results?

Rajib Gupta: I can’t give my opinion on this as of now because it all depends on the people of Bengal. But as a Bengali, I think it is my duty to revive the essence of our own language and to rekindle people’s reverence towards it.

Jhinuk Gupta: Punorutthan of Bengali language will only be possible when the Bengalis start to respect their own language and culture.

Next Story

The World Economic Forum To Discuss Globalization, Climate Change

Among those coming will be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, fresh from his travels in the Middle East and more.

Switzerland, Forum
A general view shows the mountain resort of Davos, Switzerland Jan. 15, 2019. VOA

More than 3,200 government, business, academics and civil society leaders will address issues of globalization, climate change and other matters of world importance next week at the annual World Economic Forum in the plush Swiss Alpine village of Davos.

The list of participants reads like the Who’s Who of the most powerful, successful and inventive movers and shakers in the world. They will be rubbing shoulders during hundreds of formal sessions and workshops, as well as in private bilaterals on the sidelines of the meeting. They will discuss and seek solutions to some of humanity’s most vexing problems.

The theme of this year’s gathering is Globalization “4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” That refers to the emerging technology breakthroughs in such fields as artificial intelligence and robotics.


World Economic Forum
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum holds the meeting’s manifesto as he addresses a news conference ahead of the Davos annual meeting in Cologny near Geneva. VOA


Founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab says this fourth wave of globalization needs to be human-centered. He says globalization in its present form is not sustainable. He says globalization must be made more inclusive.

“Globalization produced winners and losers, and so there were many more winners in the last 24, 25, 30 years. But now we have to look after the losers — after those who have been left behind…what we need is a moralization, or re-moralization, of globalization,” he said.

The program is very wide-ranging. For example, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will discuss the state of the world. He will broach issues like climate change, fighting poverty and sustainable development. There will be special sessions by others about ways to make economic growth more inclusive, on rethinking world trade, as well as many scientific, artistic and cultural meetings.

Climate change, ice, China, emissions, Global Warming, forum
An ice crevasse is seen on the Baishui Glacier No. 1, the world’s fastest melting glacier due to its proximity to the Equator, on the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the southern province of Yunnan in China. VOA

Leaders from all regions of the world will attend. The Middle East will be represented by the presidents of Libya and Iraq. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be there. So will Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Six or seven presidents from Africa will be in attendance. And organizers of the forum say there is great interest in an appearance by the new Ethiopian prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who has established peace with Eritrea during his first six months in office.

The forum president, Borge Brende, says a strong United States delegation will attend next week’s event, although President Donald Trump canceled his participation.

Also Read:Governments Have Failed to Respond Adequately to Climate Change at The U.N. Conference: Activists

“We fully understand that, of course, President Trump will have to stay in D.C. as long as the government is facing this shutdown. We are very pleased, though, that the U.S. will be participating with key secretaries,” he said.

Brende confirms that among those coming will be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, fresh from his travels in the Middle East, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. (VOA)