Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Subrata Kumar Das, He is the one – a comparison to himself

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Debanjana Mukherjee Bhowmik is gifting a copy of her book to Subrata Kumar Das

He is the person who, before the march of time, has proven progressively in his work that on the path of progress, he does not walk alone. He strides forward, taking many others as companions. Who is he?

In the year 2003, more than two decades before the present time, he created a website dedicated to Bengali literature (bdnovels.org). It wasn’t easy for someone to envision such a dream back then. The realization of that dream became possible for him, a visionary and focused individual. Recently, the initiation of the website has been celebrated to move forward with the goal of further enhancing it rapidly. But who is he?

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There is a reproachable saying in the name of the Bengali community that Bengalis are like crabs – if one tries to rise, others pull them down. The person we discuss today stands contrary to this stereotype. He stands tall like a mountain, guiding everyone on the path and ascending with success. But who is he?

Connecting Bengali language workers in Canada and Toronto, he has reached the international stage of the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA). The person who did this with his extraordinary organizational skills is today’s acclaimed author, noted researcher, skilled organizer, television presenter, Subrata Kumar Das. In March of 2024, he will complete sixty years of his journey. He is the recipient of the Gayatri GaMarsh Award in 2018 and the Nalanda Prize in 2023. He has organized various discussions involving Bengali authors at the TIFA World Forum. He is the main force behind the organization’s continuous efforts to celebrate love and commitment to the Bengali language. Along with many other authors I myself got chosen by Subrata as a Bengali author to take part in TIFA 2022 for my literary journey in Bengali language. I am always grateful for all these beautiful experiences that happened only for Subrata’s positive attitude towards his author friends and juniors.

With every step, he keeps proving his high intellect and understanding of the complex society. He tries in every endeavor he takes on, with unwavering belief in himself. His relentless work has brought victory again and again.

Leaving his homeland Bangladesh and settling in Canada in 2013, Subrata has spent ten beautiful years filled with laughter, joy, success, and mental peace, becoming a shining eminent human figure in the Bengali society of Toronto. In his interview-based autobiography, I, Debanjana, have extracted information about Subrata Kumar Das from the source of his life, revealing many humane qualities of this skilled organizational leader. I have questioned various aspects of his life, posed difficult questions, and Subrata has consistently distanced himself from all prejudices, intellectual dogmas, and political maneuvering, expressing his thoughts in simple, firm, and truthful language. His unwavering faith in integrity resonates with me. Day by day he has earned my respect more and more for his straightforward words.

I have seen Subrata’s dedication as an editor while publishing Asit Kumar Datta’s book on Canadian life of Bengalis in 2022. Subrata gave me the responsibilities of being the master of the ceremony (Emcee) of that very book’s inauguration. It was indeed a wonderful experience working with Subrata with all his guidance for making it a successful story. The show got telecasted in NRB TV, the Toronto-based Bengali channel to reach thousands of viewers.

In 2023 Subrata, along with his friends, organized Krishna Uthsav, in a very intellectual way involving many Bengalis to celebrate Krishna’s birth ceremony. Subrata again chose me as the presenter and anchor of the program. I closely found how magnificently the whole program was designed by Subrata and became a grand successful show. The whole program was telecasted in Canada’s NRB TV and reached millions homes and hearts.

In October, 2023, the most read Bengali newspaper in Canada, the weekly Bangla Mail, published a special Durga Puja Sharad edition from Toronto, commemorating Durga Puja’s golden anniversary with the dedicated efforts of Subrata in its editorial role. This special Sharad edition serves as a literary magazine of dignity for editor Subrata himself, reaching the hands of readers and being cherished and recognized by Bengalis in Canada.

I hope this youth of sixty, Subrata, will complete many more endeavors in the future with success. I will keep hoping to contribute to his successes as well. On his birthday, my heartfelt respect, love, and best wishes.

Debanjana Mukherjee Bhowmik, a poet and artist, lives in Mississauga, Canada.

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