History

The Begining

 

In 1975 a group of imaginative Bengalis from Kolkata-India instituted ‘Kallol of NJ´ to establish a cultural and social base here in the United States. Thriving ever since, ‘Kallol´ today now stands alone as the undisputed foremost organization of all the Bengali communities in this nation.

With a mission to bridge the societal gap between the Indian sub-continent and the United States, our involvements are geared to promote exchange of multicultural programs, to enhance literary endeavors, to encourage athletic activities, and to serve as a platform extending assistance to needy people of all ethnic backgrounds.

Milestones

 

1975 Kallol of New Jersey was formed on April 13th by 24 members. The first Executive Committee was formed on April 13 with 9 members. The Constitution was adopted in the general meeting held on October 25 and the previously formed Executive Committee and its decisions were ratified. The Committee was however expanded to 11 members. On July 7 Kallol of New Jersey was formally incorporated in the State of New Jerset. The first event was the picnic held on July 19, 1975 at the Watchung Reservation. A drama Sharmila, directed by Ajit Rakhit was staged on August 23 at Scotch Plains Fanwood high School. Bijoya Sammilanee was held on October 25 at Glenfield Park House in Montclair. On November 8 the movie Biraj Bou was screened.

 

1976 India´s Republic Day was observed by the members on January 24 at the Genfield Park House. First issue of quarterly news letter of Kallol was published on January 22, 1976. Kallol also launched the publication of its literary magazine Kallol Sahitya Patrika.

1977 Kallol, in order to meet the religious need of the growing Bengali Community of New Jersey, started the Durga Puja Celebration. Rather than keeping the celebration within its own members, Kallol organized it for the Bengali community in general and named it as New Jersey Durga Puja. Lakshmi Puja, an integral part of the Durga Puja is also celebrated.

 

1978 Several outstanding Bengali singers performed this year. The famous artist Kanika Bandopadhyay and Gora Sarbadhikari presented Rabindra Sangeet during the Lakshmi Puja. Another Rabindra Sangeet program with well known singer Dwijen Mukherjee was organized. Members also presented a Shruti Natak. Purna Da Baul presented traditional Baul songs in another event.

 

1979 A reception of Uttam Kumar and Supriya Devi was organized followed by a screening of Lalpathar and a formal dinner party.

Kallol completed the procedure to obtain the Federal Tax-exempt status.

 

1980 Fame of Kallol´s Children Dance Drama had already spread and the Federation of Indian Association invited Kallol to make a presentation at their First Annual Convention. Kallol staged the dance drama Basanta Utsab. Subsequently, the same dance drama was presented at the Paramus Unitarian Church at their request.

Sitar player Salil Shankar performed at the Durga Puja celebration.

Kallol was granted the tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service.

 

1981 Kallol participated in the 1st Annual Bengali Conference of North America with Chlidren´s dance drama Sagarika, directed by Alolika Mukherjee.

 

1982 By amendment of the Constitution, tenure of the Executive Committee was extended to two years.

Well known Sitar player Debiprosad Chatterjee performed at the Durga Puja celebration

Kallol started organizing activities for second generation. The Table Tennis tournament was organized by Arun Bhattacharya and his family. It was a grand success. An outing to Vernon Valley Action Park was also arranged.

At the invitation of Federation of Indian Associations, a team of Kallol members presented patriotic songs in a vast open air gathering during Independence day celebration.

 

1983 A Rabindra Sangeet program by famous singer Suchitra Mitra was organized. Sitar player Debiprosad Chatterjee performed once again at the Durga Puja celebration.

Kallol Sahitya Patrika took a new direction. In addition to members work, Kallol started publishing work of well known writers from Calcutta. Writers and poets like Sakti Chatterjee, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Gourkishore Ghosh, Purnendu Potree and Sanjeeb Chatterjee contributed to the publication. Purnendu Potree designed the cover for two issues.

 

1984 Kallol co-sponsored the reception of Jyoti Basu, the Chief Minister of West Bengal in New York City.

Well known singers like Supreeti Ghosh and Sumitra Sen from Calcutta performed during Durga Puja celebration.

 

1985 On June 1, Kallol celebrated its tenth anniversary with a one day celebration held in East Brunswick High School. Two renowned artists from Calcutta, Shyamal Mitra, the popular singer, and Vasanta Chowdhury, the well known actor were the star attractions with their stellar performances. Another artist of fame, Malashri Prasad presented semi-classical vocal music. Our young performers, the children of Kallol members presented Lok Nrttya Krishna Katha, a song and dance performance directed by Alolika Mukherjee. This presentation and the opening song, Esho Esho Pranero Utsabe, directed by Deepa Pal was appreciated.

The Chairman of the celebration, Parimal Banerjee, was assisted by the President of Kallol, Prativa Hore, in recognizing the past presidents. The Chief Guest, Kanak Dutta, recognized the founding President, Dr. Lal Moham Hore. The event ended with a dinner organized by the late Hiren Basu and Pranab Ghosh.

 

1986 A literary evening with Sunil Gangopadhyay was organized highlighted by a poetry reading session.

Well known Rabindra Sangeet artist Subinoy Roy and the leading Indian Classical vocalist Ajoy Chakraborty performed at the Durga Puja celebration.

 

1987 Tarun Roy with his drama group, Theater Center, performed at the Durga Puja celebration.

 

1988 In August 1988, Kallol hosted the Eighth Banga Sammelan (North American Bengali Conference). A celebration committee was formed with L. M. Hore as Chairman and Susanta Ray as General Secretary. From Kallol´s management President Sudhir Nag and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Sunil De played active roles. The event was tremendously successful and the attendance reached fourteen hundred form an average of four hundred in prior years. Above all, Banga Sammelan took a new dimension from this year and the tone and format of today´s Sammelan was set.

 

The week of celebration was proclaimed as Bengali week by State Government of New Jersey. The conference was addressed by P.N. Kaul, Indian Ambassador to the the United States, and C.R. Gharekhan, Indian Ambassador to the United Nations. Ambassador Kau; noted that cultural presentations of the Sammelan far surpassed in quality the other Indian cultural presentations outside India attended by him in his long diplomatic career.

 

Renowned singers like Lakshmi Shankar and Banani Ghosh performed in the Sammelan. The famous sculptor, Chintamoni Kar, the award winning novelist, Sirshendu Mukherjee, Wahidul Huq, well known journalist and activist from Bangladesh and famous writer, Benoy Mukherjee (Jajabar) graced the occasion with their presence and active participation.

 

For the first time in Banga Sammelan, an exhibition of Bengali heritage was displayed and it was organized by Dhriti Bagchi. Greetings and signs in Bengali language and script were used for the first time in such Sammelans. Kallol, for the first time in the history of North American Bengali Conference used the Bengali synonynm Banga Sammelan and the synonynm has become an accepted and most commonly used name of the conference. A new standard was set for the Sammelan Brochure with a multicolor imprint of a specially drawn thematic painting by Calcutta artist Ramananda Banerjee. For the first time portraits of famous Bengalis (Manishis) were prominently displayed in Banga Sammelan. Kallol´s innovative approach to the Sammelan and artistic handling of publication and decoration was highly commended by the office bearers of visiting Bengali Associations, community members and the permanent coordinating and sponsoring organization, Cultural Association of Bengal.

Kallol, as the leading Bengali organization, joined several other Indian associations in a representation to Governor, Thomas J. Kean to draw his attention to racial violence against Indians and request remedial action.

 

Noted singer Sumitra Sen performed during the Durga Puja celebration. Young Rabindra Sangeet singer Pramit Sen performed both at Banga Sammelan and Durga Puja celebration.

 

1989 Biswajit Chatterjee, the leading actor from Bombay, with his drama group performed during the Durga Puja celebration. Indian classical vocalist Sugata Margit accompanied by K. Prasantan on Tabla also performed.

 

1990 A sarode concert by famous Indian classical musician Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was organized. Chandrani Mukherjee from Bombay sang during Durga Puja celebration.

Byapika Biday, the classic comedy, directed by Siddartha Dutta was presented by Kallol at the 10th Banga Sammelan at College Park near Washington, DC.

 

1991 A sitar concert by famous Indian classical musician Budhaditya Mukherjee was organized. Salil Chaudhuri took part in poetry reading session and Sabita and Antara Chaudhuri presented popular Bengali songs.

Hori Khela, a dance drama directed by Mitra Purakayastha and performed by the children of Kallol members was presented at the 11th Banga Sammelan at Lowell near Boston, MA. Kallol at the invitation of Cultural Association of Bengal presented Byapika Biday, directed by Siddartha Dutta, at their Nababarsha celebration.

 

1992 A reception of Indian Ambassador to the United States of America, Siddartha Shankar Ray was organized.

Renowned mime Jogesh Dutta and singer Arun Banerjee, both from Calcutta performed during Durga Puja celebration.

 

1993 Actress and film Director Aparna Sen and her troupe Swajan presented the drama Je Kono Bhumikay.

Singers Alia Sharafi and Eva Mukherjee and dancer Ava Bhatnagar performed at the Durga Puja celebration.

 

1994 An Indian classical music session was organized with well known singer Girija Devi presenting Kheyal and Thumri. Antony Kabiyal, the drama directed by Siddartha Dutta was presented at the 14th Banga Sammelan in Chicago.

During this conference, Cultural Association of Bengal, the sponsor and coordinator of Banga Sammelan, made the announcement that 20th Banga Sammelan in the year 2000 and CAB´s unprecedented announcement, five years in advance.

Later on, the drama Antony Kabiyal was presented at Jersey City Durga Puja at the request of the organizers.

 

1995 On May 27, 1995, Kallol launched the celebration of its twentieth anniversary in New Brunswick High School, NJ, followed by a luncheon on the next day. The Chairman of the event, Pranab Ghosh assisted by the President of Kallol, Amitabha Bagchi, with the active participation of scores of members, put together a dazzling 12 hour show. The Chief Guest, Rabi Ghosh, delivered an eloquent address outlining Kallol´s involvement in every aspect of the community´s needs.

In addition to the outstanding performances of local artists, several well known performing artists from Calcutta also participated. Among them were Donna Ray (Odissi dance), Sudeshna Ganguly (Vocal), Indrani Sen (Vocal), Biplab Mandal (Tabla). The drama Akal Basanta, written by Indrashis Lahiri, and acted by Calcutta stars, Robi Ghosh, Tapas Pal, Dilip Roy, Dipankar De, Indrani Haldar, and Arijit Guha was highly appreciated by the audience.

Kallol organized a reception and literary seminar for noted artist and writer Purnendu Potree and well known journalist and fiction writer Dibyendu Palit.

An Indian Classical Music evening was organized with Ustad Rashid Khan presenting Kheyal and Thumri and Indraneel Bhattacharyya playing the sitar.

 

1996 A reception of well known literary critic and historian Asit Kumar Bandopadhyay was held followed by a seminar on modern Bengali Poetry.

An Indian Classical Music evening was organizedin collaboration with Hindu Milan Mandir. Famous performers from India, Pandit V.G.Jog, Pandit Ulhas Keshalkar, Subhra Guha, Anandagopal Banerjee and Samar Saha performed.

Renowned mime Jogesh Dutta and singer Arun Banerjee, both from Calcutta performed during Durga Puja celebration.

 

1997 To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Indian Independence, Kallol actively participated in the Independence Day Parade in New York city organized by the Federations of Indian Associations. A float was jointly sponsored with the Cultural Association of Bengal. This was the only float in the parade presented by any Bengali organization.

Kallol sponsored and organized the North American Premier of the award winning Bengali movie Padma Nadir Majhi. Director Gautam Ghosh attended the screening and spoke in the discussion session following the screening.

Kallol organized a classical music recital by Lakshmi Shankar for the benefit of the Balaji Temple in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Dance virtuoso Sukalyan Bhattacharya of Toronto and well known singer Amrik Singh Aurora performed at the Durga Puja celebration.

A reception of novelist and poet Sunil Gangopadhyay followed by literary discussion and dinner was organized with the help of Kallol members Sukanta and Shyamashree Sengupta. A session of poetry reading by Sunil Gangopadhyay and other Kallol members followed by a short skit and dinner was organized with the help of Kallol members Gautam and Munia Dutta.

 

1998 At the invitation of Prabasi of New England, Kallol participated in their Sawaraswati Puja celebration by staging the comedy Tulkalam directed by Arunanshu Dasgupta. The performance received a standing ovation.

In the 18th Banga Sammelan in Toronto, a dance and song composition Barshamangal directed by Arundhati Mullick and choreographed by Malabika Guha was presented.

The highlight of this Durga Puja cultural function was participation of leading classical singer Ustad Rashid Khan presenting Kheyal and Thumri and the reception of legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan.

 

1999 A two-episode drama Eki Ange Eto Rup, highlighting diverse role of women in Bengali society was presented at the 19th Banga Sammelan in San Francisco. A short story reading and literary discussion session with novelist and short story writer Swapnamoy Chakrabart was held.

Kallol started the year long celebration of its 25th anniversary with a drama presentation Basbhumi by Sayak group of Calcutta.

Well known classical singer Kankana Banerjee of Bombay and Shruti Natak and recitation artists, Partha and Gouri Ghosh of Calcutta performed during the Durga Puja celebration.

 

In 2000 Kallol hosted the biggest and grandest Banga Sammelan ever at the state-of-the-art Atlantic City Convention Center on July 7, 8 and 9, 2000. A record number of Bengalis, in excess of seven thousand attended the conference. Lal M. Hore was the chairman of NABC 2000 and Samar Saha was Kallol's president.

 

Performing arts group presented presented a stellar program with Indranil Sen, Srikanto Acharya, Swagalakshmi Dasgupta, Sipra Bose and Bratati Bandyopadyay from Calcutta, Rejwana Chaudhuri from Dhaka, Mamata Shankar Ballet Troupe and Nandan Theater Group from Calcutta. Well known Emcees like Madhumanti Maitra, Avery Dutta Chaurey and Richa Sarkar conducted the program. Promising dancer Samarpita Chanda, Baul-singer Kartik Das and Tablia Gobinda Bose took part in the program. Calcutta´s leading stagecraft artist Suresh Dutta took the responsibility of stage design. In the movie section, acclaimed movies Paromitar Ek Deen and Utsab were screened. Director Aparna Sen met the audience and took part in discussion on her film Paromiter Ek Deen.

Seminars were conducted in various fields, including, economic, literary, e-commerce and medical. In economic seminar internationally renowned economists Mukul Majumdar, Jayata Roy, Amitava Basu and Sreekanta Chatterjee spoke on the economic development of West Bengal. The Literary Seminar and the poetry reading session spread over two days. Sunil Gangopadhyay, Tarapada Roy, Anisuzzaman and Amitabha Chaudhury were active participants along with other local talents and Alolika Mukherjee and Susanta Ray from the Literary Publication and Seminar Group. Sitanshu Sekhar Mitra presented history of Bengali literature over centuries in a concise form. In a separate session, India´s most revered lighting designer, Tapas Sen, made an elaborate slide presentation and spoke on “Light and Fantassy”. E-commerce seminar was addressed by successful Bengali entrepreneurs Arya Bhattacharjee, Anindya Bose, Shantanu Das and Rahul Roy.

 

Exhibition in this Banga Sammelan moved away from the beaten track of Bengali crafts and concentrated on other fine arts. An award winning exhibition of Bengal´s own architecture developed in Santiniketan by Suren Kar under the guidance of Rabindranath was displayed along with unique alpana styles of Shantiniketan. Evolution of Bengali lifestyle and dress was exhibited. Artist Susmita Bando from Massachusetts displayed her paintings. Sample paintings of Saila Chakraborty and Kamal Chakraborty were displayed. Other exhibits included outstanding Bengali Publications of twentieth century, Bengali little magazines, famous cartoons from Bengal, copies of paintings of Anupam Banerjee based on Poet Jibananda´s Banalata Sen and Rupasi Bangla along with translations of relevant poems, photographs of Arup Dutta and Deepak Bhattacharyya and graphic compositions of Kallol´s Oorbee Roy. Decoration section presented unique creations from shoal by famous shoal artist Amar Nath Ghosh.

The publications group published two issues. One was highly acclaimed Bengali publication Satabdeer Sandhikhane and the other was “At Centuries´ juncture – Bengali Babu and Bibi in North America”. The English publication was a high level literary initiative befitting this historic occasion.

 

The Youth committee organized several seminars, an evening gala party and published for the first time in the history of Banga Sammelan a serious and well designed brochure Shristi.

The highlight of this year´s convention was galaxy of performing arts stars, noticeably smooth registration process, and cordial reception, unprecedented facility with huge space in ultra convention center and the Sammelan´s food court with wide choices of food at reasonable price, open 14 hours a day. Behind the scene efforts in management of three simultaneously operating stages and the complex facility management in vast space were unprecedented.