Category Archives: Leaders

CM to give awards to nine at fest


The chief minister will present Banga Ratna to nine persons from north Bengal for their contribution in different fields at the inauguration of the Uttar Banga Utsav here on Monday.

Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to launch the eight-day cultural fest at Kanchenjungha Stadium here.

Official sources have said among the recipients of the Banga Ratna are Manas Dasgupta (economist from Darjeeling), Dinesh Chandra Roy (researcher on folk culture of the region from Jalpaiguri), Prem Kumar Bhutia (social worker of Kalimpong) and Debkumar Mukherjee (educationist from Cooch Behar).

The others are Malin Das (folk music instrumentalist of Cooch Behar), Dilip Kumar Roy (writer from Alipurduar), Prem Bihari Thakur (retired teacher from North Dinajpur), Tapas Kundu (researcher on Molecular Biology from South Dinajpur) and Radhagobinda Roy (social worker of Malda).

“Each award will carry a prize of Rs 1 lakh, a shawl and a certificate.

Apart from the awards, a total of 54 meritorious students from eight districts of north Bengal will get Rs 10,000 each from the chief minister.

Thirteen of them will get the assistance at the inaugural and the rest will be provided with the amounts by the administrations of their respective districts,” an official of the organising committee of the festival said.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> West Bengal / by Bireswar Banerjee / January 08th, 2018

Gratitude to genius behind Boson

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to S.N. Bose (below) on his 125th birth anniversary
via video-conferencing from New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)


Physics was his calling but he could play a complex classical raga on the esraj with as much dexterity as he could read out a French novel in impromptu English translation.

Stories highlighting the multifaceted genius of Satyendra Nath Bose, after whom the Boson particle is named, on Monday filled the curtain-raiser to a yearlong commemoration of his 125th birth anniversary.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the event from Delhi through video-conferencing, reminding the audience at the SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences in Salt Lake that “just as a quantum particle does not exist in isolation, we should also get out of isolation”.

Modi said the scientific ecosystem needed to connect with innovators, entrepreneurs and technocrats to work on artificial intelligence, big data analytics, machine learning, genomics and electrical vehicles. “These are some of the rising technologies on which we need to get ahead,” he pointed out, holding up Bose as the inspiration to test new frontiers.

Born on January 1, 1894, Bose had collaborated with Albert Einstein to create what came to be called the “Bose-Einstein Condensation”. Physicist and author Partha Ghose, who did his PhD under Bose, recounted one among many instances of how humble he could be despite his brilliance.

“He was in a reflective mood one day and spoke about the ‘photon spin’ aspect in his derivation of Planck’s law. But then, with a mischievous smile, he said, “But the old man (Einstein) struck it off”.

Ghose said the anecdote left him flabbergasted because Nobel laureate C.V. Raman’s research later vindicated Bose’s derivation.

“When I asked him why he didn’t claim credit for his discovery, he said, ” Ki ba eshe gelo? Ke baar korechhilo tatey ki eshe jaye? Baar to hoyechhilo (How does it matter? Who discovered it is not the main thing, is it? At least it was discovered)’,” he reminisced.

Planck’s law is the basis of quantum theory.

In his speech, the Prime Minister said many Nobel prizes had been won for work based on Bose’s research.

Union science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan also paid tribute to Bose.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Anasuya Basu / January 02nd, 2018

IIM reunion kicks off


The IIM Calcutta’s 1992 alumni returned to the campus on Saturday to relive their student days with batchmates Sonya Dutta Chowdhury and Swati Kaushal who chucked corporate careers to turn authors.

Each year, winter marks the homecoming of the batch that graduated from Joka 25 years ago. And the occasion is called “Reminiscence”.

The reunion started with a two-day carnival that would include a guided tour of the campus, a discussion with the director and dean, interaction with former professors and current students among others.

“I cannot imagine being a writer without my stint in the management school,” Kaushal told her batchmates. “Because I went to management school, worked with Nestle, interacted with advertising agencies, I was subjected to a lot of communication… that’s what brand management is about.”

Dutta Chowdhury said: “MBA teaches you a lot of communication, writing, analysis and storytelling.”

Instances of IIM graduates shunning corporate careers to turn authors is not new, though. Amish Tripathi, who was at IIM Calcutta to collect the distinguished alumnus award on November 14, is perhaps the most successful example with his Shiva trilogy.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Special Correspondent / December 24th, 2017

Saturday history at high court


When Justices Joymalya Bagchi and Rajarshi Bharadwaj took their seats in Court 308 at 10.30am on Saturday, history was made at Calcutta High Court.

For the first time in its 155 years, the court had opened on a Saturday, nudged by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to clear its backlog of about 1.5 lakh criminal cases.

A handful of lawyers, law clerks and court employees had shown up, and the usual buzz along the corridors was missing. The tea stalls outside were shut.

The bench disposed of 17 cases – appeals against lower court convictions and sentences – hearing them all for the first time and taking about 10 minutes over each. Some of these had been pending since 2005, with the convicts close to completing their impugned sentences but unable to afford lawyers to present their case.

On Saturday, lawyers appointed by the state legal aid services represented them.

In the day’s first case, CRA 531 of 2010, the bench upheld the sex crime conviction of Rajkumar Barman but ordered his release since he had served out his seven-year term.

The bench freed one more convict, reduced the fine against two, and dismissed several appeals. Seventeen cases isn’t much but lawyers hailed the “new beginning”.

The last order was passed at 1.42pm, 12 minutes behind schedule. “I’m late by 12 minutes,” Justice Bagchi joked, and the lawyers tittered.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> India / by Kinsuk Basu / December 17th, 2017

The Great Escape car story

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Great Escape car, the 1937 Wanderer, was taken apart – on slides – and its restoration story told at the Calcutta Club on Saturday.

Restorer Pallab Ray (right in picture by Sanat Kr Sinha) gave an audiovisual presentation on how he was picked to restore the vintage car that was part of “such a thrilling history”.

In fact, the Bose family had two cars – a Studebaker President and the Wanderer. Apparently, Netaji wanted to escape in the Studebaker. But the Wanderer was chosen as everyone thought people would easily recognise the Studebaker.

Netaji’s nephew Sisir Bose ran an endurance test with the Wanderer till Burdwan.

On the night of the Escape, the Wanderer made a noisy start as it moved out of the Elgin Road house, turned right and then again right to get on to Allenby Road. Netaji held on to his door tightly without closing it so that anyone who was awake would hear only one door being shut. He shut the door after the car had crossed Allenby Road.

On the 75th anniversary of the Great Escape, the restored Wanderer (top in picture by Pradip Sanyal) was unveiled by then President Pranab Mukherjee.

The car had been on display at the Netaji Research Bureau (NRB) since 1970.

The NRB director appointed Audi Calcutta for its restoration. As Wanderer was built by Auto Union, which Audi bought later, they had been contracted to do the job. The Audi Calcutta CEO zeroed in on Ray who had restored his family’s Studebaker President.

Ray said he found the car in a shambles. He was asked to do just a visual restoration, but he decided to make it run again. And he did that with the help of his team. From overhauling the engine to working on the transmission and unique Wanderer suspensions, rebuilding the dashboard and stitching the upholstery, Ray restored the vehicle completely.

Reporting by Anasuya Basu
source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Anasuya Basu / December 06th, 2017

Veteran Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi passes away

Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi

He had been in coma since 2008.

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi passed away on Monday at a private hospital in New Delhi. He was 72.

Mr. Dasmunsi suffered a massive stroke and paralysis in October 2008 and slipped to comatose. He was treated in Apollo Hospital in New Delhi since 2009. “He breathed his last at 12:10 pm. He developed chest infection last month and it worsened his condition,” sources in the hospital said.

“I just received the news of sad demise of former Union Minister, former West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee President and our beloved leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi,” State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury stated in a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

“Our deepest condolences on the passing of respected Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, our veteran Congress leader and former union minister. He will be greatly remembered for his contributions, especially to Indian Football,” @INCIndia, the official Twitter account of the Congress tweeted.

Mr. Dasmunsi served as the president of the All India Football Federation for nearly two deacdes. A West Bengal strongman, he represented Raiganj from 1999 till he fell ill. He was the I&B Minister during Monmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government. It was during his term Fashion TV was briefly banned for showing “obscene” content.

Mr. Dasmunsi was the West Bengal State Congress president from 1970 to 1971.

He is survived by wife Deepa, a Congress politician, and son Priyadeep.

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Other States / by Staff Reporter / Kolkata – November 20th, 2017

The Indian in the Yasukuni Shrine

Plaque in Yasukuni Shrine, northwest of Tokyo’s imperial palace, features a large black and white photograph of an Indian judge: Radha Binod Pal (1886-1967).

To the northwest of Tokyo’s imperial palace, the Yasukuni Shrine is a 148-year old complex of memorials and cherry tree-dotted grounds, commemorating those who died in the service of Japan between 1869 and 1947.

It has emerged as the symbol of Japan’s fraught relations with its neighbouring countries and its own uncomfortable relationship with its Second World War history. Among the two million people buried there are 1,068 convicted war criminals. Fourteen of these are categorised as ‘Class A’ criminals, found guilty of a special category of “crimes against peace and humanity” by the 11-member team of justices from Allied countries that made up the 1946 Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal.

Visits to Yasukuni by senior Japanese politicians are viewed by neighbouring countries, in particular China and South Korea, as provocations, tantamount to a denial of war crimes. Japanese nationalists believe Yasukuni visits to be a justified exercise of sovereignty, indicating a moving on from what they consider to be an overly apologetic stance to the war. On the day this correspondent visited, there were scant traces of these bitter recriminations. A series of memorials dedicated to military horses, pigeon carriers and dogs charmed camera-wielding tourists. But the plaque attracting the tightest knots of visitors featured a large black and white photograph of an Indian judge: Radha Binod Pal.

In Japan, this Bengali jurist elicits the kind of recognition and reverence that other countries reserve for the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. Biographical mini series about the judge are aired on Japanese TV, memorials to him have been erected in Tokyo and Kyoto, and books debating his legacy are published every few years. The average Indian would be hard-pressed to identify Justice Pal at all. Until the war, he was best known for his contributions to the Indian Income Tax Act, 1922. His international profile comes from his participation in, and eventual dissent from, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal.

Twenty-five of Japan’s top wartime leaders were convicted by the tribunal of the new category of ‘Class A’ charges. Going against the grain of Allied judgment, Pal issued a 1,235-page dissent in which he rejected the creation of the ‘Class A’ category as ex post facto law. He further slammed the trials as the “sham employment of legal process for the satisfaction of a thirst for revenge”. And he argued that the nuclear incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should also be counted as major war crimes.

Procedural flaws

The Indian judge tends to be valorised by Japanese nationalists and historical revisionists who seek to deny Japan’s wartime culpability. But in fact the jurist did not absolve Japan. His intention was rather to highlight the flaws in the legal process of the trial. Since all the judges were appointed by victor nations, the Indian justice thought the trial to be biased and motivated by revenge.

In his 2007 book on Pal, Takashi Nakajima, an Associate Professor at Hokkaido University’s Public Policy School, criticises right-wing supporters of Pal for relying on out-of-context quotes from the dissenting judgment. Pal’s dissent ran to a quarter of a million words, but Prof. Nakajima says that only a handful of quotes tend to be used by historical revisionists as ballast for their agenda.

Back at the shrine, a Japanese tourist gazed at the Pal memorial, silently mouthing the words written on the plaque: “When Time shall have softened passion and prejudice… then Justice, holding evenly her scales, will require much of past censure and praise to change places.”

(Pallavi Aiyar is an author and journalist based in Tokyo)

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Tokyo Despatch – International / Pallavi Aiyar / November 18th, 2017

Policing feather in city girl cap

Millie Banerjee


Calcutta-born Millie Banerjee has been appointed the new chairman of the UK’s College of Policing.

Actually, she has been interim chairman since November last year so her appointment was today made permanent by the home secretary, Amber Rudd.

“Working with Millie over the last year I have been impressed by the insight she brings from her time leading other public and commercial organisations, including the British Transport Police,” Rudd said on Thursday.

Millie’s responsibilities are highly sensitive – keep an eye on “standards in policing” across the 43 police forces in England and Wales; developing knowledge and “what works”; and assisting with education and career development.

It is possible she will want to exchange notes on policing in Calcutta.

“Millie” is really her nickname but it has come to stay as she has become part of the great and good in Britain. She was born Urmila Ray-Chaudhuri in Calcutta on June 30, 1946, and is friendly with a number of prominent figures in the city, among them the physicist Bikash Sinha.

Millie, who was honoured with a CBE on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2002 and was High Sheriff of Greater London in 2012-13, was chairman of the British Transport Police Authority for seven years and spent 30 years in the telecommunications and satellite industries. This included 25 years with BT in senior positions.

She is currently the chairman of NHS Blood and Transplant and a board member of East London NHS Foundation Trust.

Reacting to her confirmation, Millie said: “I have spent many years in policing and it has been a privilege to witness the dedication and compassion of officers and staff to protect the public. This is evident when I see that public approval for police has remained high despite officers and staff being faced with ever more complex crime, a reduced workforce and greater demand.

“We are dedicated to providing access to the best knowledge and skills which sits behind the bravery, dedication and compassion shown by police on a daily basis. We have ambitious plans ahead and I intend on working with people across policing to continue building a professional body that supports all officers and staff.”

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcuttu / by Amit Roy / November 17th, 2017

FIFA President Infantino Thanks West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has thanked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for successfully organising the matches at various stages and the final of the Under-17 World Cup last month.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino. (Getty Images)


FIFA president Gianni Infantino has thanked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for successfully organising the matches at various stages and the final of the Under-17 World Cup last month.

In a letter from FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Infantino also praised Banerjee for the way the tournament was hosted at the Salt Lake Stadium including the final.

“I would like to congratulate your government on its role in your country’s successful hosting of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup. I would also like to thank you on behalf of the entire FIFA delegation for affording us such a cordial welcome and warm hospitality,” he wrote to Banerjee.

The FIFA president also praised Banerjee’s vision about the game in breaking down the cultural and social barriers and making the game accessible to all.

He also thanked the West Bengal government for the development of football and promoting the values of the game in India.

Promising all assistance from FIFA in developing the game in the region, Infantino lauded Banerjee for deciding on providing 15-acre of land to the AIFF for the National Centre of Excellence for Football near here.

The Salt Lake Stadium here had hosted 11 matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, including the final. Kolkata co-hosted the mega event along with New Delhi, Guwahati, Navi Mumbai, Kochi and Margao.

source: / / Home> Football / PTI / November 04th, 2017

Oldest Birla school celebrates rich legacy


Eight schools, 20,000 students and a rich history of 70 years.

It all started in 1946, when industrialist and philanthropist Basant Kumar Birla and his wife Late Sarala Birla forayed into the field of education with Mahadevi Birla Shishu Vihar. It is now a part of the Ashok Hall Group of Schools.

From its inception, the school has transcended many barriers and now, it has arrived at the threshold of yet another celebration – a time to commemorate the legacy and carry forward the good work.

On Thursday, the celebrations began with the staging of ‘Jubilant Memoirs’ — a 90-minute production by students, ex-students, teachers and staff of the school. It presented a blend of music, drama, dance and visuals. The journey of the school was shared through the eyes of generations who have been part of the legacy.

Damien Syed, consul general of France, was the chief guest on the first day of the event.

“The thought of setting up of the school came when they were looking for a play school for their son Late Aditya Vikram Birla. They wanted to form a play school where the child would learn to adjust to the environment and be sensitive to others. Their three-year old son had been the first student of the school along five others,” said principal Sonali Sarkar. From Aditya Vikram Birla to Kumar Mangalam Birla – the school had been a destination for several other stalwarts from the family.

Sulekha Pal, who was a teacher between 1965 and 1979, remembers how she went to the Birla Park to teach ‘Kumar’. “He was very well-behaved. I remember him as a toddler who was fond of games,” she said.

Julia Bailey, the director of education in the Ashok Hall Group of Schools, added, “Manjushree Khaitan, the chairperson of the school, wants to make sure that the administration is up-to-date with all new technologies. Our main aim is to keep the quality of teaching high”

As part of the celebrations, two walks will be organised where students, alumni, teachers, ex-teachers and staff, totaling about 700, will take part to raise awareness on women empowerment and issues related to the environment and education.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / TNN / November 03rd, 2017