Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An Appeal to the 75th International PEN Congress

An Appeal to the delegates
75th International PEN Congress in Linz, Austria

"I want my hands/ to learn how to heal/ myself and others,/ before I hear/ my last song." Nissim Ezekiel

Dear fellow writers, friends and colligues,

All India PEN center of International PEN ( A world wide writers community ) is in Mumbai, Maharshtra, India. The center was founded by Sophia Wadia (Sophia Camacho, c.1901-1986, of New York City), a foreigner who became an Indian through marital relation with B P Wadia, a well known theosophist, a spiritual leader and scholar. The center was from its inception in 1933 started to promote literature and follow the charter of International PEN, secretariat in London, UK. From the very beginning, the writers community in West Bengal had joined the center. This participation as members has been recorded in their biographies of many Bengali writers. Apart from this it is recrded documents can be found in many journals in Bengal and Mumbai and in internet. Mr Annada shankar Roy, born in Orrissa in1904, a famous writer, Sahitya Academy award winner, was honoured with Padmabhusan, Rabindra and Vidyasagar awards etc., was the president Of All India PEN center for almost three decades. He used to live in Kolkata, West Bengal state. He adopted completely a Bengali way of Life. Most of his books he wrote in Bengali, He himself led West Bengal Chapter of All India PEN center, he died in 2002 in Kolkata.

From !934 to 2009 a long time, 75 years. Throughout this period many became secretary of West Bengal PEN chapter.

Around 1986, I came to know Mr. Dev kr. Basu. An editor, publisher, and social worker. He was a popular name among Bengali speaking writers in India and Bangladesh. He was born in 6th Oct. 1929. he became a life member of West Bengal chapter of all India PEN center in 1977. On then, secretary of West Bengal PEN was Mr Santosh Kr. Adhikari, (b. 24 nov.1923). He lived at 81, Raja Basant Roy Road. Kol – 29. After him Mr. Dev kr Basu became the secretary of West Bengal chapter of Indian PEN; probably, it is a few years before 1993 maybe it is 1986 to 1993. Mr. Dev kr. Basu’s office was in the center of Publishing market, 9/3 Tamer lane, Kolkata -9. His office was damaged by termites several times . No pests control could have killed these paper eating insects. He has lost many documents, books, and many important things. So, we are unable to denote exact time. So far I can remember, he was secretary of West Bengal chapter of Indian PEN from 1986. this guess work might be wrong , at present we have documents from 1993 and he was holding PEN activities long before.

In the nineties, Prof Nissim Ezekiel (December 24, 1924 - January 9 2004 at age 79), won the Sahitya Akademi Award, the highest Indian literary recognition, in 1983 and the Padmashree in1988, was secretary of the Indian branch of the international writers' organisation PEN. An Editor, The Indian P.E.N., Mumbai, 1987. we had this information about Mumbai center. After them we came to know recently Ramesh sarkar and Ranjit Hoskote.

As Mr. Annada Shankar Roy, the president of All India PEN center, used to lead us the literay seminars, story and poetry reading sessions, discussions etc functions, we were not bothered about the main center in Mumbai. Besides, Mumbai is 2000 KM away from Kolkata, so, it was not easy to keep a connection with the center. And whenever we used to send mails by postal department no one from there would have replied. We were disappointed. And I think nothing ( works of an organization) were maintained officially in Mumbai and Kolkata. Otherwise Ranjit Hoskote would not speak irresponsibly.

I was involved with PEN from early nineties, as I was economically poor, I could not afford money and become a lifemember. I was a close follower of Mr. dev Kr. Basu. Mr Dev Kr. Basu always kept me within his reach, because I was professionally an artist, and author of many books. I had to make some cover design for Dev Kr Basu’s Publication. Most works I did voluntarily, as poets who used to publish books of poem were unable to pay the charge.

Probably from nineties, we have no connection with Mumbai center. After Mr. Annada Shankar Roy sad demise, we felt a need to communicate with Mumbai center. But no mail by post were being answered. We have no such money or fund to visit there either and keep a communication. Its very troublesome, little bit odd situation too. People in Mumbai speaks Marathi Language, their life style is also different. Though Hindi is Indian National Language. But No one wanted to visit there and re establish the relation. It involves a lot money. If Mumnai center can overlook us, fails to do their duty ours is not main center to be the concern, so, why we would take the labour to communicate. Apart from this we have no fund. Ours is run by our little contribution.

But Members are growing day by day. After Mr Dev Kr. Basu died in 24 Feb 2007, we felt acute coldness and completely forlorn being cutoff from Mumbai. Dr. Jagannath Ghosh, a scholar in drama, an author, editor became the successor of Late Mr. Dev Kr Basu. I felt an urgency to inform International PEN all about West Bengal chapter of Indian PEN. And Many members came in my support, Dr Jagannath Ghosh, himself would inspire me. In 29 june 2007 I sent an email to international PEN, UK. and started to communicate with all, but I failed till today, see the documents

I have been warmly responded and the executive Dirtector of International PEN, Caroline McCormick assured me she would help me to establish a new PEN Center in Kolkata. Our hope is still after this dream to materialize. We need your Help.

From 2007 to 2009 , more than two years have been passed, we are still in dark about our ( West Bengal Chapter of Indian PEN) future. So, we are being desperate to call the attention of Internatinal Communities world wide.

To go in detail and see some proof in support of my prayer given below in these links.



(And more proof is coming as I am collecting and shall post in this blog very soon.)

You can check all postings in these blogs too. We never here to pick up a fight with our fellow writers communities, but we are determined to establish our new own PEN center in Kolkata. we want to hold high the principles and charter of International PEN and follow its guidance.

Thank you

Albert Ashok

Executive Member

West Bengal chapter of Indian PEN

9133 2529 9371


1 comment:

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