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New year-long Bengali reading project launched by BLRC

Winners of the quiz competition and conductors of the event (behind standing) with (sitting from the left) Beatriz Hausner, writer, translator and president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada; Janet Davis, Ward 31 Councillor; Janam Mukherjee, Associate Professor of Ryerson University; Michigan physician, philosopher and patron of the year-long project, Dr. Debasish Mridha, MD; and director of the project Akbar Hussain.  -PHOTO by Mahbubul Haque Osmani

Winners of the quiz competition and conductors of the event (behind standing) with (sitting from the left) Beatriz Hausner, writer, translator and president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada; Janet Davis, Ward 31 Councillor; Janam Mukherjee, Associate Professor of Ryerson University; Michigan physician, philosopher and patron of the year-long project, Dr. Debasish Mridha, MD; and director of the project Akbar Hussain. -PHOTO by Mahbubul Haque Osmani

The East York based Bengali Literary Resource Centre (BLRC) has inaugurated a year-long “Presenting Bengali Literature in English” project in which anyone regardless of their community identity or age, can join and borrow books of Bengali literature translated into English.

Academics and local community representatives attended the launch of the project on November 18 at Albert Campbell Library.  Participants addressing the meeting included Michigan physician, philosopher and patron of the year-long project, Dr. Debasish Mridha MD; Beatriz Hausner, a writer, translator and president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada; Associate Professor at Ryerson University, Janam Mukherjee; TDSB trustee Parthi Kandavel and Ward 31 city councillor Janet Davis.  The gathering also featured a short quiz competition on Bengali literature.

The BLRC says there are at least 100,000 Bengalis living in Canada, mostly Toronto and adjacent cities.  The group wants to “introduce the next generation to the history and heritage, values and spirits of the Bengalis,” it says, so, books by memorable poets and writers from Bangladesh and West Bengal have been collected and from this month though till next August readers will be allowed to borrow books by visiting the library on the first Saturday each month from 10 am to 1 p.m., when a noted Canadian writer will also be available to meet the readers.

As part of the year-long program, teenagers and young adults will also participate in a competition. In August 2018, all 14-30 year-old participants are expected to submit an evaluation on their reading experience, with the ten best essays published in an anthology and awards given to the top three.

The library’s collection includes works by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore (the national poet of Bangladesh) and Kazi Nazrul Islam.  English translations of Mir Mosharraf Hossain, Jibanananda Das, Sukumar Roy, Sukanta Bhattacharya, Syed Waliullah, Shamsur Rahman, Syed Shamsul Huq, Samaresh Majumdar, Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay, Sunil Gangapadhyay and many more are also all being made accessible to readers living in Toronto.

Akbar Hussain, a freethinker, writer and director of BLRC, is also directing the project, while Tasmina Khan will coordinate.  Other team members include Aditi Zahir, Suchana Das Bandhan, Shammah Salma Purba, Aditi Fowzia, Suity Roy, Masuda Zabin, Md Ajwa Kabir, Ananna Oisharja Rafa, Hassib Karim, Aninda Das and Marilyn Pande.

For more information visit http://en.blrc-org.ca/ .

Photo Caption:

Winners of the quiz competition and conductors of the event (behind standing) with (sitting from the left) Beatriz Hausner, writer, translator and president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada; Janet Davis, Ward 31 Councillor; Janam Mukherjee, Associate Professor of Ryerson University; Michigan physician, philosopher and patron of the year-long project, Dr. Debasish Mridha, MD; and director of the project Akbar Hussain.  -PHOTO by Mahbubul Haque Osmani

 

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