Celebrations – 2012

Completion of 175 years of Ramkrishna’s birth anniversary. Born on 18 February 1836, as Gadadhar Chattopadhyay at Kamarpukur, West Bengal, his religious school of thought, led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda. He redefined the essence of Hinduism at a crucial juncture in the history of Bengal.

150 years of Swami Vivekananada’s birth anniversary. Known as Narendra Nath Dutta in his pre-monastic life, he was born in Kolkata on 12 January 1862. the chief disciple of Ramakrishna the founder of the Ramkrishna Math and Mission, he is considered a key figure in the introduction of Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world. He is held to be a major force in the revival of Hinduism in modern India. His famous speech beginning ‘Sisters and Brothers of America’ introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago in 1893.

Death centenary of Girish Chandra Ghosh (February 28, 1844- February 8, 1912). The Thespian of Bengali theatre he co-founded the Great National Theatre, the first Bengali professional theatre company in 1872. he wrote nearly 40 plays and acted in and directed many more. He was the greatest Bengali dramatist of his time and the father of the modern Bengali stage. A sceptic, bohemian and alcoholic, he later sought refuge in spiritual life and became a noted disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.

Birth centenary of the world famous magician P.C. Sorcar (23 February 1913 to 6 January 1971). Named Protul Chandra Sorcar, he hailed from Tangail District in erstwhile East Pakistan and reached his height of fame during the 1950s and 60s. He was awarded the Title Jadusamrat and his shows were popularly named Indrajal. He died of heart attack at the age of 58 while performing at Ashaikawa, in Hokkaido in Japan.

150 years of Meghnad Badh Kabya – the most acclaimed poem by the great poet Michael Madhusudan Dutta. It is based on the assassination of Ravana’s son Meghnad who is portrayed as a hero and patriot. This is very much against the traditional epic grain of denouncing Ravana and his son as villains. The influence of Milton’s Satan in the characteriszation of Meghnad is clearly evident. The poem was first published in 1861 incidentally the year of birth of Rabindranath Thakur.

Centenary of Titanic’s tragic maiden voyage. RMS Titanic was a passenger liner, the largest ship afloat that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, US. The ship was designed to be the last word in passenger safety and comfort but unfortunately lacked enough lifeboats to accommodate all on board. Its sinking caused the death of 1514 people in one of the deadliest maritime disasters in history.

Birth centenary of Hindi literature icon Sachidananda Hirananda Vatsayan on Agyeya (March 7, 1911 to April 4, 1987). He was a pioneer of modernism not only in Hindi poetry but also in fiction, criticism and journalism. He was one of the most prominent exponents of Nayi Kavita (New Poetry) and Prayog (Experiments) in modern Hindi literature. He was honoured with the Sahitya Akademy Award (1964), Jnanpith Award (1976) and Golden Wreath Award (1983).

125th anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan, the mathematical genius. Born on 22 December 1887, he made extraordinary contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions. In recognition of his contribution the Govt. of India has declared Ramanujan’s birthday as National Mathematics Day and 2012 as the National Mathematical Year.

Centenary of the National Anthem Jana Gana Mana. was first sung in the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress on 27 December 1911 and was officially adopted by the Constituent Assembly as the Indian National Anthem on January 24, 1950. The first stanza (which is normally sung as the anthem) of the five-stanza long song that brings out the theme of unity in diversity as the essence of India. A formal rendition of the national anthem takes 52 seconds.

Birth centenary of one of the most prominent Bengali novelists, Bimal Mitra (1912-1991). He has penned more than a hundred novels and short stories. Many of his novels were translated into successful films, of which, Saheb Bibi Gulam is perhaps the best. He served in the South-Eastern Railways and spent long periods of his service at Bilaspur and Chakradharpur which later formed the setting of many of his works. His remarkable works include – Kori Diye Kinlam, Begum Mary Bishwas, Ekak Dashak Shatak, Asami Hazir, Pati Param Guru…

250 years of Gopinath Jiu, the household deity of Raja Nabakrishna Dev

Sesquicentennial birth anniversary of Dwijendralal Roy, great music composer and dramatist. Dhana Dhanya Pushpa Bhara and Banga Amar Janani Amar are two of his most popular songs. He lived at Suradham (presently a heritage property) off Vivekananda Road at 46 D.L. Roy Road. It was here that he penned some of his memorable plays, such as Shahjahan, chandragupta, Punarjanam and Anandabiday, a parody. His illustrious son Dilip Kumar was a poet, musicologist, musician and singer.

Bicentenary of the birth of two of England’s most important and influential literary figures – Charles Dickens (February 7, 1812 – June 9, 1870) and Robert Browning (May 7, 1812 – December, 1889). Generally recognized as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period, Dickens enjoyed unprecedented popularity and fame. He came to limelight with the 1836 serial publication of The Pickwick Papers and continued to garner appreciation with Oliver Twist. A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Hard Times, A Tale of Two Cities & Great Expectations. Browning’s mastery of dramatic verse especially dramatic monologues made him one of the foremost Victorian poets. His notable volumes of poems include Dramatic Lyrics, Men and Women and The Ring and the Book. Dramatic Lyrics first published in 1842 contains several of the poet’s best known pieces including My Last Duchess, Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister, Porphyria’s Lover & The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Both Dickens and Browning are immensely popular among the readers of English Literature in the Indian subcontinent.