Gun Kills 10 at Texas High School Today!

TexasStudentsGunsTEXAS Santa Fe High School gun massacre today. At least 10 dead.

[RISE UP, AND PROTEST THIS PREHISTORIC VIOLENCE. MARCH FOR OUR LIVES — NOW!]

Guns destroy innocent lives, again here in America.

Every time there is a mass shooting in America, we cringe in disgust. People across the world hang their heads in shame.

Of course, we mourn for the loss of innocent lives, and we shed tears for them. But then what? A president — Obama, Clinton, Bush, or Trump — comes on TV, and says some meaningless “we pray for the victims” type words. Nothing substantive happens.

There is ZERO action! Media and politicians will shed their crocodile tears.

Guns sell even more in America, after each mass shooting happens. Yes, it is true!

The traders of violence — NRA and Koch Brothers and Wal-Mart and gun manufacturers — keep trading away their weapons of mass destruction. But nobody in America calls these horrific weapons that kill men, women, and children like clay birds, WMD. People can’t think that way.

There is no debate about how a civilized society, and that too, one that brags itself to be the “best country in the world”, can continue on such a legacy of barbarism and brutal genocide, a legacy that is prehistoric, and exploits loopholes in the constitution. Most of the Republicans and Democrats look the other way, as soon as the mourning and TV tears are over.

I am sure, tomorrow when I start teaching EXTREMISM to my American students, the first example of extremism we use being gun violence, there will be a lot of heated arguments. Many will find bizarre logic to justify the presence of hundreds of thousands of gun shops in USA, many more than the number of gas stations around.

We shall wait for the next gun massacre to occur in a matter of days, weeks, or months. With a frozen heart.

In complete disgust about American powers’ inaction against gun terrorism,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Gun control walkouts could mean suspension in Texas

Satyajit Ray’s Genius

Satyajit w Suhasini Mulay shooting
May 2 is Satyajit Ray’s birthday.

Most people outside of Calcutta or Bengal do not know much about this legend, this genius. Those who do know in India, America or Europe know him as a master movie director, who got an Oscar award for his lifetime achievement. Movie buffs may find out that major international film scholars and critics have included him as one of the top ten or twenty genius film directors, ever!

Great.

Yet, he was so much more than that. Not only he was also a bestseller writer, artist, and a master musician who had major expertise in both Western and Indian music, he along with some other legendary movie makers and storytellers changed the way people thought about film as an art form. We can perhaps put Kurosawa, Godard, Antonioni, Truffaut, Bergman, Di Sica, and so on.

Kurosawa RayKurosawa said this famously about Ray: “Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.”

Satyajit Ray was a major, very powerful departure from Bollywood. And he accomplished this great revolution with shoestring budgets, and often in dire financial predicaments. Especially his watershed movie “Pather Panchali” (Song of the Road, 1955) almost collapsed because of lack of funding. He sold his wife’s jewelry to continue.

Ray’s movies and his entire life’s work were symbols of progressive thinking, racial, caste and gender equality, rejecting hate, bigotry, fanaticism, and religious superstitions. He carried forward what we call “Bengal Renaissance” that challenged religious and social orthodoxy in India.

Three DaughtersIf Rabindranath Tagore was a most important lightening rod during the British Indian period, I believe Satyajit Ray played that role in modern India’s post-British era.

A comparison with Charlie Chaplin comes to mind, where they were both absolute masters in all areas of the art of film making, and combined entertainment and social education — with total, amazing ease.

Of course, his Apu Trilogy is much celebrated in the West, but if you asked me, my two other favorites were his Calcutta Trilogy, and later his anti-war, anti-fascism triology also known as the Gupi and Bagha trilogy

Today, when India, America and many parts of the world are going through a massive, scary surge of fanaticism, hate and bigotry, Satyajit Ray’s creations help us to rekindle faith in modern thinking, scientific reasoning, and employment of art as powerful social education.

Let us remember this Bengali Indian maestro.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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The Adversary

May Day: More Important Than Ever (and no, I am not a communist)

may-day-rally1
Today is May Day — International Labor Day.
Even though this special day began here in the U.S., in Chicago, corporate powers and their politicians and media have made us forget that glorious history.

And they have created this notion that celebrating the globally recognized workers’ day would automatically mean you are a communist. Celebrating together with the world community automatically would mean you are for a violent overthrow of the government. And most people have bought into that propaganda.

No, I am not a communist, but I believe May Day is very special, as it created for the first time in modern history a new consciousness for the working men and women — not just in America, but around the world. It gave working people hope and strength.

I grew up in Calcutta, and we saw May Day celebrated in a big way. All over India: but with the rise of a Trump-like, race- and religion-bashing government, it has dwindled. In the most advanced and equalized countries in Europe and Latin America, May 1 is still a very special day. People celebrate it with much fanfare, parades, music, and yes, reading books, and watching pro-people movies and theaters.

People here do not know much about the history of the labor movement — either from a global, or an American point of view. People who blast unions ALL benefit from the long and hard struggles our brothers and sisters have took on for many years: 8-hour workday, overtime, weekends off, family leave, sick day…you name it.

The one percent is now 0.0001 percent (as calculated by some of our union brothers and sisters on the last weekend’s class I teach on Long Island) — roughly a few hundred, extremely rich, powerful and violent rulers have taken the country of 330 million over. Labor union here is only 8-10%.

The calculation was like this:

(1) 330 to 3,300 people — extremely rich — have influence the election system in America with their millions of dollar, under the leadership of Koch Brothers.

(2) 330 million people live in America.

Therefore, 330 or 3,300, divided by 330 million = 0.0001 to 0.00001 percent.

(Q.E.D.)

That is the ruling class — horrific, violent, cruel, anti-worker, anti-poor, and extremely rich and powerful.

Today, to be organized with new knowledge, education, and insight, it’s even more important to celebrate May Day — to feel solidarity with the labor movement worldwide. If the corporate powers and their media can unleash their global reign of terror, we can fight back together — globally — and nonviolently.

May Dr. King and Gandhi be our guiding lights.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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May Day Protestors March For Immigration Reform

Korea’s Choose Peace. Why Can’t India and Pakistan?

Korea peaceIt’s mighty good news for people around the world who reject war and violence, and demand coexistence and peace. The Korea’s — North and South — decided to end their seventy-year-old war.

So, American propaganda to demonize North Korea did not work. Just the other day, U.S. media corporations and their mouthpiece politicians — Trump and all — declared North Korea was a demon, a major threat for world peace, and it must be destroyed. In fact, Republican and Democratic administrations for decades have told us that.

Suddenly, the two Koreas met at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, and American media and their Trumps began scratching their heads. War industries were terribly upset at the prospect of peace between the two countries.

Not only the two Koreas declared peace, but according to New York Times today, Korean Leaders Meet, Eyeing a Peace Free of Nuclear Arms!!!

Of course, war industries would be terribly upset, but let them be more upset.
__________

India Pakistan peace
Now, if only India and Pakistan could learn how to make peace! Their 24/7 media propaganda and political parties would be bankrupt, if the two countries with thousands of years of common history could realize it! Only if the people realized how their ruling class has cheated us, based on lies and concocted violence!

Yet, the situation is so strikingly similar. Just like South Korea and North Korea, India and Pakistan have been at war and major armed conflicts since the British left the subcontinent after two hundreds years of looting and ravaging one of the most peaceful and prosperous places on earth, and then cutting up the country in three different parts — causing incredibly misery and bloodshed.

Just like the Koreas, or like places in the Middle East, partitions and artificial boundaries were imposed by the occupying forces. In case of India and Pakistan, the line of partition often went through a piece of land, where the kitchen and bedroom of the same houses fell in two different countries!

All the rulers — democratically elected rulers in India and mostly military regimes in Pakistan along with a couple of elected leaders — kept the violence and armed conflicts alive. Indian and Pakistani rulers greatly benefited from this long, bloody, cruel wars and hostility that killed and impoverished millions of Hindus and Muslims.

Every time the government is in trouble, a cooked-up war would break out!

And USA powers and corporations are now deep inside India, in an unprecedented, disastrous way. American corporations have practically taken over the Indian economy. I have never seen such a complete takeover of India’s economy by foreign forces. This is neo-colonization at its peak!

American rulers have supported Pakistan for decades with arms, and they have supported military dictators in Pakistan. In 1971, with active support from Kissinger and U.S. government, Pakistani military caused havoc in Bangladesh (which was East Pakistan at that time), killing and raping hundreds of thousands of ordinary innocent men and women. They had extremist Muslims helping them on the ground.

But that’s another story. For now, if India and Pakistan take note of this peace declaration and de-nuclearization of the two Koreas, and find a way to emulate them, it would bring a very long-overdue peace in the land of Gandhi and Tagore.

We have had enough! We do not want another war. And do not war any N-bombs! 

Hands off, America! Hands off, Trump! Hands off, British and European powers!

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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tagore-gandhi

America’s New War, and Our New Year.

air-force-usa-bombing
Trump’s new war on Syria is immoral and illegal.

USA is not the world’s police, and nobody attacked USA. Trump wants to distract people from his imminent filthy problems, and that’s why the new war. And even if the bombing stops, that is no reason to believe U.S. has the right to invade and bomb other countries, whenever they like. They have been doing it for ages, since WWII — on various excuses. It’s outrageous. And as always, they have U.K. and France on their side. ONLY THEM.
________________________________
With that strong note of resistance, I’m writing about something totally different.
________________________________

April 14, and sometimes April 15 — based on the lunar calendar — is New Year’s Day in many parts of India — in various, spectacular forms. I am not an expert, but I know it’s celebrated in Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Punjab — under various names. We Bengalis call it Pahela Baisakh (the first day of Baisakh). Baisakh is the first summer month.

Our Old World New Year’s Day used to be celebrated with much fanfare — some places with flying kites, wearing new ethnic dresses (saris and kurtas in West Bengal and Bangladesh), fantastic masks and colorful costumes, AND social and religious gatherings around small sweet and samosa shops, garment tailoring shops, hair styling saloons, Indian-Chinese restaurants…or tiny goldsmith garages — you can imagine the rest…in a hugely crowded city like Calcutta, or Dhaka. People laugh unnecessarily this day, and they do it a lot. Believe it or not, they also hug each other.

Music and poetry is big — last time I checked — in both Bengals. In Bangladesh, the precious, silvery Hilsa (“Ilish”) fish features any menus, in major delight of the revelers.
Hilsa

These are places where new accounts would be officially inaugurated with sweets and fruits (ras gollas, mangoes and bananas in particular), and old accounts would be closed: all borrowed money paid up and off today (hopefully). Of course, thanks to corporate capitalism Wall Street and Wal-Mart style, they drove most small shops out of business, and those still in business would be out of business very soon. And India doesn’t have banks in most places, but its government has forced everybody to go plastic instead of cash, and it has caused havoc, beyond belief. But that’s another story.

Haalkhata

Of course in the Western world, thanks to what I call “Journalism of Exclusion,”
hardly anybody knows what we the “under-civilized” do, eat, wear, worship, or celebrate. We never existed in human civilization, and we still don’t, unless we are rich, white’ish, snob’ish, and famous — enough to donate enough to big politics, media, or both. Indian civilization to American media means new Wal-Marts, multiplexes, Pizza Huts, KFC’s, Coke, and fancy cars. Well, I believe a vast majority of Indians today think that way too.

(Human rights for the untouchables, the 24/7 rapes and murders of young women and girls, Hindu fanatics killing Muslims in India, and Muslim fanatics killing Hindus in other places — really, these are not fun stories for media or the mass: so, why bother? They tell us to be happy, and never question.)

But this Old World, forgotten civilization with its “Journalism of Exclusion” celebrations of its New Year’s Day — in some disorganized, unrehearsed, sometimes hilariously chaotic ways, keeps celebrating its history, language and cultural traditions — with absolute disregard and disrespect for the corporate media’s lack of inclusion. In fact, the people — more than one-sixth of human population — all know very well that an American-variety corporate capitalism and its sold-out politicians and media are slowly but surely crushing them to death. Some know it directly — for example the small sweet shop that ran its business for four generations, and now is about to be extinct because a big chain Reliance supermarket is selling fancier cakes and chocolates that younger people like a lot (and nobody questions what kind of sugar or preservatives were used, or how some child slaves harvested the chocolate — it’s not a part of human consciousness anymore).

But, still, ordinary people — with or without the knowledge of this new, crushing-them-to-death global corporate economy — keep celebrating their colorful, musical, food-and fun-filled social and religious celebration of their own New Year’s Day, the way many generations before them did it.

A story that I told you just now — would NOT be featured on tomorrow’s CNN, NBC, New York Times, or Wall Street Journal.

We don’t wish a Happy New Year, in case you want to know. It’s Naba Barsha in Bengal, Baisakhi in Punjab, Bisuba in Orissa, Bihu in Assam, and so on. We refuse to be a part of a media-dictated global cultural conformity.

I don’t know about you, but I am very, enormously happy to be that way.

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Bangladesh celebrates New Year

What Is Media? Really, Do You Know?

International Politics

Do you really know what media is, or how it works? Do you know media’s politics?

Here is my two cents. I have actually studied media ethics, and even got some acclaim, when I studied journalism at the well-known Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. I’d like to share my observations with you.

Media — like New York Times, CNN, Fox, BBC, Times of India, etc. — do not work for us the ordinary people. They work for, and owned by, the 1%. Murdoch, Ambani, or Disney. Or, by special interests. And they are almost always dictated by the policies of the corporations that advertise in them. Media can never go against the will of their owners, or advertisers. Outside of the small world of alternative, not-for-profit media, there is no such thing as free press.

American media, Indian media, or British media — are not free.

How do big media treat us, or rather, use us? We the 99% are their market to sell their news, and make maximum profit, and political power. News is not neutral, objective, or balanced. In fact, news is not even news. It’s an item to sell on this market, just like a car, potato chips, pizza, or say, guns or grenades. Or, private prisons. You add your list of items to buy, sell, and make profit from.

Media houses and corporations have no reason to work for us, even though there are many dedicated, honest, often risk-taking journalists working for them. But these journalists do not decide what news is, or how it is printed, aired, or broadcast. It’s the owners and their fat-cat editors who decide it. They decide what is news, and what is not. They decide how to twist and manipulate news. They decide what is first-page news, or to be aired first. They decide who is an expert, and who is not. They decide which issue to prioritize, and which issue to exclude or undermine. And we follow them, often blindly, even though privately many of us talk about how dishonest media channels are, or joke about a newspaper’s self-professed honesty.

Big media make Trump, Obama, Clinton, Blair, Queen Elizabeth, the British princes, or India’s Modi. Basically, big media always give coverage to the big parties, and their big-named leaders, who are often corrupt and extremely rich, in varying degrees. Personally corrupt, or politically corrupt. Or, as in case of Trump, both.

Leaders like Bernie Sanders are always undermined by big media: we the people do not get to hear their POV. Big media make Iraq war, Kashmir war, North Korean war…or many other wars American powers have always been involved with — for ages. Big media demonize Cuba, Palestine, Vietnam, or using a most recent example, undocumented immigrants. Big media create friends and enemies, angels or villains. Media make us forget, with their propaganda, that before Saddam Hussain was demonized, the U.S. government loved him, and gave him national honors when he visited this country.

No Lies Radio

How do media do it? They do it by journalism of inclusion (i.e., what gets in), and they do it by what I call “Journalism of Exclusion.” That is, what gets out. That is, not covering, de-prioritizing, or lying or gravely distorting about news that matter to us. Like, a union strike: why do workers strike? What are the circumstances, when workers brave the harsh winter, lack of pay, lack of health care, lack of family life, and lack of a normal life? How much does the company’s CEO make, and how much do the workers make? Why would the rich CEO and his people cut benefits and wages for the workers? Think of the ongoing Charter-Spectrum strike here in New York. The workers are striking for nine months already! Where is the media coverage?

Big media let big banks and Wall Street CEO’s off the hook, and legitimize government bailouts of the extreme rich. Our pension cut is not important news for them, and police killings of the poor is trivial news. They don’t report clearly how much the cricket players, baseball or golf players make, or film stars make, and do not report their tax evasions. They do not tell us how toxic junk foods or many prescription drugs are. Most people have no idea what they eating, drinking, or using as medications.

Big media, corporate media perpetuate an impression that this is a functioning democracy, that this is the best working system in the world, and that there are no other alternatives. It’s a political game, and it’s also a game of monopoly.

Most people do not understand their politics, or their game of profit.

I hope you use your real-life experience and intelligence to observe and analyze media.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Acknowledgement:

Cartoon from International Politics, and No Lies Radio. Used for one-time, not-for-profit purpose.

The Cricket-ball Tampering Scandal

cricket ball

Australian captain Smith’s Ball Tampering: Cricket scandal and corruption.

So, they tampered with the ball, made it more effective (using illegal means), and got caught by camera. Then, Smith and some other players were punished by their cricket board, and banished for a year or so from playing cricket.

Yet, it is so commonplace occurrence in India and Pakistan!

Why India or Pakistan is so corrupt, and Australia or New Zealand is not? Aussie and NZ people and press and governments expose the perpetrators, and bring them to justice. In India and Pakistan, they worship the corrupt as gods, hide the scandals, and pretend they are all as clean as angels. They even give them national awards. The most corrupt are the richest. Nothing — no consequences — ever happen to the rich and celebrity in India, and this complete lack of accountability has made these countries so corrupt.

Here’s a SHORT list of stories — written by other journalists and bloggers — where India and Pakistan cricket players and officials have been caught of cheating on or off the ground. Just click on the links below.

And there are many, many stories that I did not have time to include. It’s a dark, shameful history.

Sincerely,
Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York

_____________________________

[India’s star player and captain] Dhoni guilty of corrupt conduct, claims lawyer in Mudgal case

 

FIR against MS Dhoni’s wife Sakshi in multi-crore fraud case: Reports

 

Corruption in Cricket Exposes India’s Larger Failings

 

Most damning incidents of match-fixing in past 15 years

 

[Former Sri Lanka captain] Arjuna Ranatunga says India vs Sri Lanka World Cup final was fixed, wants probe

 

Was the World Cup semi-final fixed [in 2015]?

 

Just not cricket? A history of cheating claims against Pakistan

 

SACHIN TENDULKAR: FACE OF CORRUPTION IN INDIA

 

[There are many more…]

Bridge Collapse in Florida: A Third World Catastrophe

FIU bridge collapse gdb voanewsPhoto courtesy (for one-time, academic, not-for-profit use): VOANews.

Media here in the U.S. are playing their familiar role again. They are making tons of money by showing and reshowing the catastrophic bridge collapse at Florida International University. The deaths, and the destruction. Discussion on the various engineering stuff. “Why and how” the tragedy happened.

There is familiar competition among all the big media corporations: who can show more graphic pictures, who can bring in a new scoop.  How many people died, and who they are. Who can show how the cars and people are crushed beneath the huge, broken structure.

In the middle of all this, just the same-old way big media does it, there is complete silence as to the root cause of this kind of a “Third World” disaster in the so-called First World America. And that root cause is: a profit-first system that puts money first before the lives of ordinary people. And this is the latest example of that extremist, profit-before-people economic and political system.

Yes, this is an extremely unethical, extremist, profiteering system.

The “Accelerated Construction”: everybody is now talking about it. I am not an engineer, and therefore, I can’t comment on the technology aspect of it. But this is all I know. The Accelerated Construction was implemented by the authorities (likely private enterprises, I heard, bypassing the state transportation department) who decided to rush in the parts of the bridge, and put them together in a way that made sure no traffic was disrupted underneath the construction.

What does it really mean? It means no business — i.e., money making and profit — would be disrupted. They did not test the construction for its safety — the traditional way they would wait for a substantial amount of time for safety checks — before they opened it up for business. What does it really mean? It means they did not care about the lives and safety of the ordinary people who would be possible victims if such a disaster struck.

And the disaster struck. This is purely Third World catastrophe.

And now, words leaked out that engineers spotted cracks two days before the tragedy, but nothing was done to stop the traffic and pedestrians from using that bridge and the busy highway underneath it. Again, it shows how inhumane this American profit-before-people system has become.

A few years ago, in Calcutta, a similar disaster took place. Here’s a picture of that.

Calcutta Flyover Collapse India TodayPhoto courtesy (for one-time, academic, not-for-profit use): India Today.

Very similar situation. Very similar unethical construction. It’s not the first bridge Calcutta engineers put together, in case you didn’t know. The city has dozens of such bridges (some gigantic), and no others ever fell apart. This was an act of dishonest perpetrators, who are still at large. Nobody, other than some small potatoes, was ever brought to justice.

We see such extremist act of dishonesty and money-driven, greed-driven tragedies in places like India all the time. But here in USA — the self-styled “best country in the world” — we do not see such horrific disasters that happen purely because of inefficiency and dishonest, misplaced politics and economics.

In the middle of their round the clock reporting of the catastrophe, American media would completely bypass the root cause of it: extremist capitalism that puts profit before people. And soon, the place will be cleaned up, and everybody will forget about it.

Just the same way they forgot all about it in Calcutta.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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My New Book — Music Box and Moonshine

Flipping through

Music Box and Moonshine is my translation of 18 Bengali short stories — by famous authors from India and Bangladesh. Some of these authors are legendary and world famous — such as Rabindranath Tagore, Bibhuti Bhusan Bandyopadhyay, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, Syed Mujtaba Ali, and Sunil Ganguly.

The book got launched — in fact, this month, at the famous Calcutta Book Fair. My wife represented me at the ceremony, and brought back a few copies. I was very happy to see the high-quality production. Moreover, Times of India did a wonderful story on me and some of my peer writers, writing and publishing from abroad.

Bina Biswas at Rubric Publishing in New Delhi was in charge of the entire publication process. She found the best-quality paper, two great artists — one doing the cover, and the other the inside illustrations (one for each of the 18 stories), and she made sure the printing and editing were flawless. She knew of my requirements for quality.

I’d also want to share this experience with you. A colleague named Tania at work here in New York this morning saw the book, and was very impressed. She asked, “So Partha, tell me, what is the meaning of the title?” It was a very reasonable question. I paused, and replied, “Music Box stands for poetry and musicality, and Moonshine stands for humanity.” Honestly, I did not think about the instant answer: it just came out of my mouth. And yes, that is the theme of the book, indeed.

I am so happy that this book got out, after a wait for nearly ten years. I have been translating Bengali short stories, poetry, and songs for many years. For this book, however, we did not want to make it too big; therefore, we took out a few other stories — stories I plan to include later. I plan to publish at least one more volume, if not more, of this series. There are so many great writers who adorned the ocean of Bengali literature with their pearls: how can I exclude them?

Some Bengali writers

I hope the book finds some commercial success — both in India and here in America. It’s now available at Amazon.in (click on this link), and will soon be available globally at Amazon.com .

Happily, I start reading events soon: March 9 is the first event here in New York. If you want to help us out by organizing reading, please let us know.

I deeply care for the subject of the book, and I worked passionately for it. I have a feeling once you pick up a copy of the book, you won’t be able to put it down.

Thank you for taking the time to read a small sample of the vast, endless treasures of Bangla literature.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York.

MBMS 1

A Cloud-Capped Star Sets

meghe-dhaaka-taaraSuddenly, a very happy day turned out to be not so happy.

It was my wife’s birthday yesterday, and she was celebrating a special birthday in Kolkata with her friends and family (we don’t call it extended family there — it’s just family). She doesn’t get such an opportunity: here in New York, it is a year-after-year routine visit to a restaurant of her choice between the small few of us, followed by watching a movie, only to rush back home in a terribly cold weather. Not much fun. Back there, it‘s always different. Her aunt cooked tons of food, and friends fed her with the ceremonial “payesh,” or rice pudding Bengali style.

Then, on the same day, I got the news of Supriya Chowdhury’s death. Or, Supriya Devi, as she was later known.

Even though it may seem far too sentimental and detached: like, why would I even care about the death of a film star I never knew, and only admired her acting on the silver screen? There is a reason. The two most important movies Supriya acted were “The Cloud-Capped Star” (Bengali: Meghe Dhaka Tara), and “E-Flat” (Bengali: Komol Gandhar), both directed by legendary filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak.

Note: If you want to know the riches of Bengali and Indian non-Bollywood (i.e., junk) movies, watch them. I can send you a list of such movies. They are subtitled.

These two movies, like some other movies by Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Buddhadev Dasgupta, and such directors (Shyam Benegal, Ketan Mehta, Girish Kasaravalli, M. S. Sathyu are just a few others) made me what I am today — psychologically and intellectually. It made me what I am today — a progressive, democratic, socialist who believes in equality of all kinds.

The open, liberal, and progressive, intellectual Bengali consciousness I slowly got transformed to, from a closed-minded fanaticism and patriarchy that I originally had inherited — was possible because of honestly, Bengali literature, poetry, music, and yes, movies. Coupled with reading some history.

Supriya Chowdhury’s acting in Ritwik Ghatak’s movies made me appreciate the history of a bloody and traumatic British partition and its aftermath on our society, economics, and politics. It made me realize what we had lost as a nation, and what we did not gain. How the British stole our treasures, and transferred power to the rich feudals.

If Ritwik Ghatak was the writer of this script, Supriya was the personified conveyer of the message.

A picture tells a thousand words. Sure. A dark-skinned (and therefore not pretty by Indian and Bengali standards), tall, strong actress whose eyes and lips oozed sensuality (and therefore not acceptable within the prejudice of Bengali and Indian mediocrity) blew me away.

She made me a man, from a child.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York.

Supriya Chowdhury