International Events

Programme Date Venue
Seminar on Four Decades of Mukto Bangladesh and Indo-Bangladesh Relations 16-18-Dec,2011 Kolkata
Exhibition of Photographs titled “Glimpses of Bangladesh and International Seminar on “Indo-Bangladesh Cultural Relations” In Kolkata 28 May,2012 Kolkata
Exhibition of Photographs titled “Glimpses of Bangladesh and International Seminar on “Indo-Bangladesh Cultural Relations” In Shillong 10 Oct,2012 Shillong
Exhibition of Photographs titled “Glimpses of Bangladesh and International Seminar on “Indo-Bangladesh Cultural Relations” In Delhi 30 Nov,2012 Delhi
Exhibition of Photographs titled “Glimpses of Bangladesh” and International Seminar of “Growth and Development of Architecture of Bengal” 22 Dec,2012 Dhaka, Bangaladesh
Talk on “Indo-Myanmar Relations: New Horizon” 02-Mar,2013 ICCR, Kolkata
International Conference on "Indo-Myanmar Relations - A New Horizon" 08-09 Feb, 2014 National Library, Kolkata

The Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS), Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata and South Asian People’s Union against Fundamentalism & Communalism, Bangladesh in collaboration with Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India organized an international seminar on “Four Decades of Mukto Bangladesh and Indo-Bangladesh Relations” on 16DEC - 18 Dec’2011 at ICCR, Kolkata.

The main seminar was inaugurated by Lt. General (Retd.) J.F.R. Jacob. The session was addressed by various personalities such as:

  • Mr. Pinak Ranjan Chakraborty, Special Secretary, PD Div., MEA, Govt of India.
  • Mr. S.K. Chakraborty, Chief Post Master General, West Bengal.
  • Dr. Sreeradha Dutta, Director, MAKAIAS, Kolkata.
  • Mrs. Veena Sikri, Former High Commissioner of Bangladesh.
  • Mr. Shahriar Kabir, Writer and Film maker, Bangladesh.
  • Dr. Sarwar Ali, Trustee, Liberation War Museum, Bangladesh.
  • Sri Subhaprasanna, Artist.
  • Dr. G.P.Sandilya, Director, ISCS.
  • Mr. Arindam Mukherjee, Secretary, ISCS.

A special postal cover to commemorate the fourth anniversary of Liberation of Bangladesh was released by the Post Master General on this occasion.

A commemorative volume, containing articles by eminent writers and important documents and pictures relating to Liberation war of Bangladesh edited by Dr. Tapan kumar Pan and Mr. Arindam Mukherjee, was also released on behalf of ISCS.

The session was followed by a cultural programme.

A book exhibition cum sales counter was opened at the seminar hall by the popular publishers of Bangladesh to exhibit books on Liberation War.

Session I (17th December)

Theme: Prospect of Indo-Bangladesh Trade Relations

Speakers: :

  • Mr. Rajeet Mitter, Former High Commissioner of Bangladesh
  • Mr. Satyam Roy Chowdhury, MD, Techno India Group
  • Mr. Nirmal Kanti Guha, Secretary, Association of Iron & Steel Technologists, India
  • Ms. Bibi Russel, Eminent Fashion Designer of Bangladesh

Session II (17th December)

Theme: Indo-Bangladesh Cultural Relations

Speakers: :

  • Mr. Asish Banerjee, Advisor, INTAC
  • Dr. Swapna Bhattacharjee (Chakraborty), Prof. Dept. of South and South-East Asian Studies, Calcutta University
  • Ms. Bibi Russel, Eminent Fashion Designer of Bangladesh
  • Mr. Sarwar Ali, Trustee, Muktiyuddha Yadughar, Bangladesh

Session III (17th December)

Theme: Inter–Regional Relations and Indo-Bangladesh Relations

Speakers: :

  • Sri Sunanda Sanyal, Eminent Educationist
  • Ms. Aroma Dutta, Executive Director, PRIP Trust, Bangladesh
  • Mr. Shahriar Kabir, Eminent Writer and Journalist, Bangladesh
  • Mr. Jayanta Roy, Ex-Director, and MAKAIAS.

This session was followed by a cultural programme by Sangeet Bhawan, Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Session IV (18th December)

Theme: National Security and Indo-Bangladesh Relations

  • Mr. Manas Ghosh, Editor, Dainik Statesman
  • Mr. Shyamal Dutta, Former Director, IB, Govt. of India and Former Governor of Nagaland
  • Maj. Ziauddin Ahmed (Retd), Convener, Save Sundarban Programme, Bangladesh
  • Dr. Ms. Santishree D. Pandit, Prof. Dept. of Politics and Public Administration, University of Pune

Session V (18th December)

Theme: Environmental Issues and Indo-Bangladesh Relations


  • Dr. Jayanta Bandyopadhyay, Prof. and Head, CDEP, PP&M, IIM, Kolkata
  • Mr. Anurag Danda, Head, Sundarban, WWF
  • Maj. Ziauddin Ahmed (Retd), Liberation Warrior, Sub Sector Commander, Sector 9 and Convener, Save Sunderban Programme

The valedictory session titled “India Bangladesh Relations - the Path Ahead” was chaired by General (Retd.) Shankar Roychowdhury. The other speakers were Prof. Omprakash Mishra, Dept. of International Relations, Jadavpur University, H.E. Mr. Mustafir Rahaman, Dy. High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Prof. Muntassir Mamoon, Author, Historian and Scholar of Bangladesh, Mr. Haseem Khan, Painter, Ms. Aroma Dutta and Dr. G.P. Sandilya, Director, ISCS.

The vote of thanks was given by Mr. Aswini Pahari, Secretary, Organizing Committee.

Immediately after the session there was a show of “Duhsamayer Bandhu”, a documentary by Mr. Shahriar Kabir based on India’s contribution to Bangladesh War.

Another attraction was a five day exhibition which had two sections. One section contained rare collection of photographs and documents related to Liberation War of Bangladesh and the other section had the paintings and sculptures by the artists of India.

The Institute organized an exhibition of photographs titled “Glimpses of Bangladesh“ and an International Seminar on “Indo-Bangladesh Cultural Relations” on 28th May, 2012.

The exhibition of photographs on “Glimpses of Bangladesh” by Sri Arindam Mukherjee was inaugurated by Mr. Ganesh Haloi, an eminent painter, in the Bengal Gallery of RTC, ICCR, Kolkata. The exhibition continued for 4 days till 31-May-2012. More than 300 photographs, covering Rabindranath Thakur’s dwellings, Buddhist sites, major festivals, Shaki Piths, Zamindari mansions, Pilgrimage sites, other religious sites and misc. were displayed. All the visitors appreciated such an endeavor.

Along With this exhibition an international seminar on “Indo-Bangladesh Cultural Relation” was held at Satyajit Ray Auditorium of the RTC. More than 200 delegate of both the countries from various disciplines attended the seminar.

Sri Arindam Mukherjee, Secretary, ISCS, in his welcome speech, deliberated on the objective of holding such an exhibition and shared his experience about thousand years of old cultural heritage spread throughout Bangladesh.

In his presidential speech Justice Chittatosh Mukherjee emphasized, among other issues, the need for more such exhibitions in the context of present day situation.

Mr. Pinak Ranjan Chakraborty, Special Secretary (Public Diplomacy), Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India, in his key note address, described the evolution of Bengali as a language starting from the 11th century. He said that the use of Bangla was found in the writings of Patanjali, Batsayan and other historical texts. He also mentioned the present Government’s policy to strengthen the relation between the countries.

Smt. Bharati Roy, Vice President, ICCR and special guest of the seminar, felt proud for Bangladesh for keeping Bengali language and culture alive. She emphasized the need to motivate the young generation to understand the roots of Bengali culture and also to show respect to other religions.

Smt. Abida Islam, Dy. High Commissioner, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Kolkata cited some value-driven cultural programme in both the countries.

Mr. Shahriar Kabir, Eminent Writer and Journalist said that despite the political division of the country the people of the two parts of divided Bengal continue to feel mental affinities towards each other. Both the countries have identical roots since ancient times. But it remains the same even though it has gone through transformations over the years.

Mr. Pranab Ranjan Roy, eminent art historian and critique, explained that the reforms of religion is a part of culture of any nation, Culture relations of both the nations would remain good when people of both the countries would take it in positive attitude through continuous exchange of views.

The vote of thanks was given by Dr. G.P. Sandilya, Director of ISCS.

The Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) organized exhibition and seminar at Shillong on 10th October, 2012 as a second event under the exhibition cum seminar series in collaboration with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies (MAKAIS), Kolkata, Sri Aurobindo Institute of Indian Culture, Shillong, Calcom Cement and ICCR at Sri Aurobindo Institute of Indian Culture, Shillong.

The photo Exhibition was inaugurated by H.E. Shri Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary, Hon’ble Governor of Meghalaya. The key note address was delivered by Dr. B.B. Dutta, former Rajya Sabha M.P. and Chairman, Shri Aurobinda Institute of Indian Culture. The exhibition continued till 13th October, 2012.

The seminar was addressed by Mr. Shahriar Kabir, famous Journalist and Writer of Bangladesh and Mr. Mesbah Kamal, Prof. of History, Dhaka University and Secretary General of National Coalition for Indigenous People, Bangladesh. Other important persons who addressed the seminar were:

  • Dr. Glen Kharkongor, Vice Chancellor, Martin Luther Christian University
  • Dr. K.C. Boral, Prof. and Director, English and Foreign Language University
  • Prof. Keya Senguptsa, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management, Shillong
  • Ms. W.A.M. Booth, Director, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Shillong
  • Dr. G.P. Sandilya, Director, ISCS
  • Shri Arindam Mukherjee, Secretary, ISCS

The inaugural session was followed by two academic sessions. The first academic session was chaired by Prof. Debashis Chowdhury, Principal, Women’s College, Shillong. The following academicians read their papers:

  • Dr. B.D.R. Tewari, IAS, Director, Programme Implementation and Evaluation, Meghalaya
  • Dr. Shah Noorur Rahaman, Dept. of History, North Eastern Hill University, Shillong
  • Ms. Rimika Lanong, Research Scholar, Dept. of Creative & Cultural Studies, North Eastern Hill University
  • Mr. Shahriar Kabir, Bangladesh

At the end of the session, dinner was hosted by Mr. Charles Pyngrope, Hon’ble speaker, Meghalaya Assembly. Mr. Mukul Shangma, Hon’ble Chief Minister highlighted the necessity of organizing such programme for strengthening people-to-people contact.

The Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) in collaboration with ICCR, organized an International seminar on Indo-Bangladesh Cultural Relations followed by exhibition of photographs titled “Glimpses of Bangladesh” 30th November, 2012 at ICCR, New Delhi.

The seminar was attended by dignitaries from different spheres of activity, both from India and Bangladesh. It was inaugurated by Mr. Suresh Kumar Goel, Director General, ICCR. In his key note address, he praised the effort to maintain good relationship between these neighboring countries.The inauguration sessions was followed by an academic session.

The speakers of the seminar were

  • Dr. Syed Anwar Hussein, Prof. Dept. of History, Dhaka University
  • Mr. Rajeet Mitter, former High Commissioner of India of Bangladesh
  • Mr. Sarwar Ali, Trustee, Liberation War Museum,Vice President, Chyanat, Bangladesh
  • Mr. Manash Ghosh, Editor, Dainik Statesman, Kolkata.

All the speakers almost echoed the same view that that the reforms of religion were part of culture of any nation. Cultural relations between both the nations would remain good when people of both the countries would take it in positive attitude through continuous exchange of views.

In the evening of the same day, the photographic exhibition by Sri Arindam Mukherjee was inaugurated by DG, ICCR. The exhibition covered photographs of Buddhist sites, major festivals, Shaki Peeths, zamindari mansions, pilgrimage sites, other religious sites were displayed. All the visitors appreciated this great effort. The exhibition continued upto 5th December, 2012.

The Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) along with Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC), Dhaka and Institute of Art & Culture (IAC), Dhaka organized an international seminar on “Growth & Development of Architecture of Bengal” and a photo exhibition titled“Glimpses of Bangladesh” by Arindam Mukherjee at BRAC Centre Inn, Dhaka on 22nd December, 2012.

The seminar was inaugurated by Mr. Hasanul Haq Inu, Hon’ble Minister of Information, Govt. of Bangladesh. The key-note address was delivered by H.E. Mr. Sandeep Chakravorty, Acting High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh. Other speakers were Mr. Ankan Banerjee, Director, Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre, Ms. Ishrat Akhond, Director & Founder Trustee, Institute of Art & Culture, Dhaka and Mr. Arindam Mukherjee, Secretary, ISCS. All the speakers highlighted the importance of organizing such seminars and urged upon the need for creating awareness for preservation of the historical monuments representing the growth and development of common cultural heritage of undivided Bengal.

The Academic Session - I was chaired by Dr. Shyamal Kanti Chakraborty, former Director, Indian Museum, Kolkata and former director, National Library, Kolkata. Mr. Nurur Rahaman Khan, Architect Painter, Tania Karim of N.R. Khan & Associates presented before the audience the beauty and completeness of various ancient historical structures of Bangladesh and explained how the modern architectures were inspired by those creations.

Dr. M. Shahidul Ameen, Prof., Dept. of Architecture, Bangladesh University of Eng. and Technology (BUET) presented a paper on Architecture of Paharpur Bauddha Vihara of Bangladesh. Dr. Durga Basu, Associate Prof., Dept. of Archaeology, University of Calcutta in her paper “Growth and Development of Temple Development of West Bengal” discussed in detail the urbanization and architecture of temples in Gangetic West Bengal. Dr. Seema Haque, Prof & Chairman, Dept. of Archaeology, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka delivered a speech on the development of Buddhist Architecture in Bengal.

In the Academic Session - II, Dr. Sufi Motafizur Rahaman, Prof. of Archaeology, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, presented his paper entitled “Architecture of Wari-Bateswar”. Mr. Arindam Mukherjee, Secretary, ISCS presented his paper on “Shakti Peethas in Bangladesh with special reference to archaeological evidences” and emphasized their proper preservation.

Mr. Rajesh Purohit, Director, Allahabad Museum, Allahabad presented his paper “Sub-continental Architecture as Religious and Environmental Idioms: Study on Brick and Bamboo Architecture of Bengal” discussed about the archaeological treasures of the sub-continent and showed how the architecture became the matrix of civilization and changed with the growth of knowledge.

Dr. Shyamal Kanti Chakraborty, in his paper “Architecture in late medieval capitals and colonies of Bengal” explained the change of pattern of architecture with the change of rulers.

The photography exhibition by Arindam Mukherjee was inaugurated by Mr. Enam Ul Haque, a renowned nature photographer of Bangladesh at IAC premises, Gulshan, Dhaka.

This was a talk by U Kyaw Swe Tint, Consul General, Republic of the Union of Myanmar at Kolkata. The programme was organized on 2nd March, 2013 at ICCR, Kolkata

At the outset, Mr. U Kyaw Swe Tint expressed his deep appreciation to Dr. G. P. Sandilya, Director of Institute of Social & Cultural Studies (ISCS) and Members and organizers of this important meeting on Indo-Myanmar Relations: New Horizon.

The Institute of Social Cultural Studies (ISCS), Kolkata has organized an International Seminar on “Indo-Myanmar Relations – A New Horizon” at the National Library Auditorium Hall on 8th & 9th Feb, 2014.

Indo-Myanmar Relations

India and Myanmar are natural partners, linked by geography and history. India and Myanmar share a long land border of over 1600 km and a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Since time immemorial, these two countries are connected through regular exchange of trade, people, ideas and culture. Myanmar is the bridge between India and Southeast Asia. Both India and Myanmar got their independence from British rule in late 1940s; however process of governance. This has opened up new opportunities for India and Myanmar to strengthen and expand their historic relationship towards a new horizon.

It is in this context, the seminar was organized to explore the people to people contact between these neighboring two countries and scope of mutual cooperation and cultural exchange. The seminar was addressed by leading intellectuals of both the countries from different spheres of the society like academicians, bureaucrats, political and business persons.

The following organizations have partnered with ISCS to organize the program:

  • Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India
  • National Library, Kolkata
  • EXIM Bank

The seminar had the following sessions:

  • Inaugural Session (08-Feb-2014)
  • Academic Session-1 (08-Feb-2014) – Indo-Myanmar Cultural Relations)
  • Academic Session-2 (08-Feb-2014) – Democracy & Challenges
  • Cultural Program
  • Academic Session-3 (09-Feb-2014) – Social Development
  • Academic Session-4 (09-Feb-2014) – Indo-Myanmar Economic Cooperation
  • Academic Session-5 (09-Feb-2014) – Security Aspect
  • Valedictory Session

Besides the seminar, there was an attractive photo exhibition depicting centuries old close relationship between Bengal and Myanmar. The exhibition was inaugurated by noted actor and director Mr. Anjan Dutta and his wife.

The Inaugural Session was addressed by

  • Justice Chittatosh Mookerjee, Ex Chief Justice of Bombay HC - Chairman of the Session
  • Mr. Rajiv Bhatia, DG ICWA - Chief Guest
  • Mr. Gautam Mukhopadhaya, Ambassador of India to Myanmar - Keynote Speaker
  • General Shankar Ray Chaudhury, Ex Chief of the Army Staff - Guest of Honor
  • Dr. Khim Maung Nyunt, Eminent Academician of Myanmar - Guest of Honor
  • Mr. U. Kyaw Swe Tint, Consul General of Myanmar at Kolkata - Guest of Honor
  • Post Master General – Guest of Honor

Mr. Arindam Mukherjee, Secretary, ISCS started the program with his welcome address. Further, the institute unveiled few of their publications at this Inaugural Session:

Also, there was unveiling of special poster cover by the Postal Dept. of India.

Then after the lunch break, Mr. Sandeep Chakraborty, Deputy High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh gave an attractive presentation about the scope of cooperation between India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Academic Session-1

The theme of the Academic Session-1 was “Indo-Myanmar Cultural Relations”. This session was addressed by

  • Dr. Chittabrata Palit, Ex. Prof. of Jadavpur University - Chairman of the Session
  • Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt, Eminent Academician of Myanmar - Speaker
  • Dr. Nupur Dasgupta, Professor of Jadavpur University - Speaker
  • Mr. RK Shivachandra, Indo-Myanmar Fraternal Alliance, Imphal, Manipur - Speaker
  • Mr. Brajesh Kumar, Asst. Secretary, Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Myanmar - Speaker

Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt, former Director General, Dept of Archaeology, Myanmar threw light on the influence of India on Mynamar. He said

  • Myanmar had long been influenced by the Hindu and Vedic sciences of Astrology and Astronomy.
  • The first ruling dynasty of Burma also originated from India.
  • Indo-Myanmar relations did sustain due to geographical proximity and absence of boundaries.
  • Visiting temples of Bagan is the best way to understand the influence and intensity of Indo-Myanmar relations.
  • The arrival of Buddhism in Burma had been in four phases. Sanskrit, Hindi and Bengali texts on Astrology, Astronomy, and Arts were collected from India and translated into the local Myanmar language. Concepts of architecture and town planning were also borrowed from India.
  • The mutual cooperation exists even today. In spite of the military government and the present democratic status, India and Myanmar enjoy a cordial relation.

The second speaker, Dr Nupur Dasgupta, professor at Jadavpur University, gave a unique presentation with photos of historical relics showing the Indian influence on Myanmar and the impact of Buddhism.

Mr. R. K. Shivachandra was the next speaker, from the Indo-Myanmar Fraternal Alliance in Imphal, Manipur. He stressed on the need for promotion of tourism in Myanmar. He added that visa restrictions should be eased to facilitate Buddhist pilgrimage, and roads and routes between India and Myanmar should be made more convenient and user friendly.

Mr. Brajesh Kumar, Assistant Secretary, Hindi Sahitya Sammelan in Myanmar, said that Brahmanism and Hinduism had gone to Myanmar from India. Many socio-religious customs and rituals in Myanmar resembled those practiced by Indian Brahmins, however, with the absence of caste system, a person was respected for deeds in Myanmar.

Academic Session-2

The theme of Academic Session-2 was “Democracy & Challenges” and the speakers were

  • Amb. Rajiv Bhatia, DG, ICWA - Chairman of the Session
  • Mr. Prabodh Ch. Sinha, Ex Parliamentary Affairs Minister, WB - Speaker
  • Mr. Bo Bo Oo, Representative of NLD, Myanmar - Speaker

Amb. Rajiv Bhatia, Director General, Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) initiated the second academic session. He defined democracy as the power of the people. He highlighted that from 1948-62, Myanmar had multi-party democracy, then from 1962 to 2010, there were various forms of military rule, which was called as disciplined democracy. However, after 2010, the situation has changed and Myanmar is now on the way to a transition to democracy.

Mr Prabodh Chandra Sinha, MLA, West Bengal (Ex-Minister of Parliamentary Affairs) emphasized mainly on three challenges: 1) Fundamental Challenges, 2) Challenges of Expansion and 3) Dependent Democracy. By Fundamental Challenges, he meant that countries might not be ready for democracy. The Challenges of Expansion means not following democratic principles. Under Dependent Democracy, he described how people could be motivated to follow democratic principles. The other challenges he mentioned were corruption, poverty, terrorism, and lack of education. He advocated economic reforms, eradication of ethnic conflicts and decentralization of power by reducing military dominance, and said that India could play a vital role in this context and extend help to Myanmar.

Mr Bo Bo Oo, Representative of National League for Democracy, Myanmar, gave a detailed speech on Democracy and Challenges with special reference to Myanmar. He emphasized on the varied relations of India and Myanmar through the ages. Taking cues from Jawaharlal Nehru, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Gandhiji, he defined democracy and mentioned that after 1962 the democracy of Myanmar had succumbed to military rule. He spoke of the resulting dissatisfaction of the people of Myanmar and how Aung San Su Kyi had come to the forefront of the struggle to re-establish democracy and to call for an amendment of the constitution and the establishment of equal rights. After 2011, the conditions had changed for the better. There was an improvement of the education system. The speaker also emphasized on the eradication of poverty, development of economy and improvement in the quality of education to overcome the challenges of democracy in Myanmar.

Then at around 7 PM at the end of all business sessions on 8th, there was a cultural performance by the team “Surma Dohar’. They presented around 15 folk songs and the audience was heavily enjoyed.

Academic Session-3

The Academic Session-3 was the first session on 9th. The theme of this session was “Social Development” and the speakers were

  • Dr. Swapna Bhattacharyya, Professor of Calcutta University - Chairperson of the Session
  • Mr. Ngwe Thein, Director, Capacity Building Initiative (CBI), Myanmar - Speaker
  • Mr. Supratim (Raj) Basu, Eco Tourism Consultant - Speaker

Mr. Ngwe Thein, Director, Capacity Building Initiative, Myanmar, spoke on gradual development of the relations between India and Myanmar. He highlighted similarities between the two countries on cultural and religious customs and traditions. He also mentioned that both the countries were under the British rule and then economic relation was very satisfactory but afterwards, it had been marred, however in recent years, from 2011 the economic relations has been expanding and both the countries are trying to find out ways and means to improve the relation.

Mr. Supratim (Raj) Basu, the second speaker, emphasized the development of Indo-Myanmar relation through Tourism and Cultural activities. The modern and latest connection between these two countries was Bollywood. He cited the example of Bollywood actress Helen who came from Myanmar. He highlighted that to develop tourism between these two countries, communication through road was very important and Temple Road and Slidwell Road could be landmarks in this sphere. The traditional New Year Festival of Naga is celebrated in Namyun, Myanmar in 2014. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is regarded as the light of Asia. Netaji’s rest house in Maymyo may be converted into a Myanmar-India friendship monument. Religion was another aspect of attraction in Indo-Myanmar relations. Buddhism could bind these two countries. He pointed out that since the road connection from Mhaesae to Mandalay was established, there was trade, commerce, tourism, peace and prosperity between Myanmar and Thailand.

The Chairperson Dr. Swapna Bhattacharyya, elaborating her personal experience with the stalwarts in the educational field, highlighted language training, religious teaching, and entrepreneurship development. An interactive session followed with some interesting and important questions from the audience.

Academic Session-4

The Academic Session-4 was the first post lunch session on the second day. The theme os this session was “Indo-Myanmar Economic Cooperation” and the speakers were

  • Mr. Pinak Chakravorty, Former Secretary, MEA - Chairman of the Session
  • Mr. U Aung Myint, Executive Officer, UMFCCI, Myanmar - Speaker
  • Mr. Jasmeet Singh Narula, Representative from EXIM Bank, Myanmar - Speaker
  • Dr. Prabir De, Professor, RIS, Delhi - Speaker
  • Mr. Bernard Pe-Win, Eminent Businessman, Myanmar - Speaker

The five speakers of this session, through their fascinating presentations, astutely examined the opportunities and hurdles in Indo-Myanmar border trade potentiality, scope for increased connectivity through timely completion of road, railway and maritime projects, while emphatically focusing on the need for increased interaction in the ‘softer sectors’ of tourism, education, media and people-to-people exchanges.

With the 1643-km long land border with Myanmar, four of its Northeastern states geographically contiguous to the country and India as the fourth largest trading partner of NayPyitaw after Thailand, Singapore and China, according to India scholars, it was the lack of trade, poor connectivity, high non-tariff barriers that impeded India’s steady economic integration with Myanmar. Besides, large informal trade through smuggling of goods, including drugs and narcotics, trafficking in arms and humans, political strikes, ethnic conflicts at the border areas have been major deterrents to trade between the two countries. Proper mechanisms for tracking down such informal activities, boosting of transit operations across borders through improvement in connectivity, and timely completion of pending projects could remove the barriers to trade at borders, bring people closer and integrate the two economies.

Contrary to Indian scholars, according to Myanmar’s scholars, since borders were imaginative lines, engagement at the people-to-people level (beyond political parties and bureaucratic hurdles) and proper identification of sectors of trade and business (energy, food security and softer sectors) would remove India’s conspicuous jitters over Myanmar playing in the lap of the Chinese and further its economic integration with ASEAN, East Asia and beyond.

Myanmar, as the second largest country in Southeast Asia, boasts of vast resources in gold, silver, jade, emeralds, oil and gas resources; its fertile land and water promises sufficient production in wheat, pulses, cotton, jute, sugarcane and other agricultural practices. After President Thein Sein’s government assumed power in 2011, the country has witnessed phenomenal changes both in its political and economic front within a very short span of time. For visible political reforms, the President released most political prisoners from exile; freed Daw Aung, San Suu Kyi from house arrest; amended the electoral laws to enable her and the National League for Democracy to contest the parliamentary by-elections (Suu Kyi has joined the Parliament now as the main opposition party); freed the media and allowed civil society groups to function more freely in the country.

Even in the critical domain of ethnic relations, the President promised that his government would seek to solve the root causes of ethnic problems through political means and even organized a nation-wide ceasefire agreement to enable lasting peace among its ethnic communities. On the eve of the 21st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in 2012, Myanmar sought Indonesia’s help to resolve its Rohingya problem, where violent ethnic strife against a Rakhine Buddhist woman had killed at least 80 and displaced tens of thousands.

Myanmar’s steady transition to democracy (post 2010) enabled India to engage with her Southeast Asian neighbor in more than one sector, including border security and border connectivity in Northeastern India; India-Myanmar Naval Engagement; Capacity Building and Human Resource Development. The Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh during his visit to Myanmar in 2012, signed 12 Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs), including the one involving the setting up of the Myanmar Institute of Information Technology and other small development projects in the border region. PM Singh’s goodwill visit was reciprocated by Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to New Delhi in November 2012.

Overall, with Myanmar witnessing “a wind of change in that country” it was time India changed its foreign policy towards it. According to Mr. Pinak Ranjan Chakraborti, through proper connectivity, a long term political vision, stabilising the domestic situation in our border states and through formalising trade, New Delhi could increase its stake in Myanmar. Instead of brooding over its failure in fulfilling its energy requirements in Myanmar vis-à-vis China, New Delhi must reorient its strategy towards setting deadlines and offer better line of credit and tariffs in completion of its already negotiated projects. India Inc. must promote alternative areas of investments like pharmaceuticals, fertilisers, cement, manufacturing, agro-processing and small industries that hold immense potentiality for joint ventures. India equally needed to decide the place and role of its Northeastern states should play in its relation with its neighbors. Given the strategic importance of its northeastern frontier, New Delhi needed to decide whether it should be a gateway to both Southeast Asia and China or merely a barrier.

Academic Session-5

It was the last last Academic Session of the 2nd day. The theme of this session was “Security Aspects” and the speakers were

  • Amb. P. Stobdan, Senior Fellow, IDSA - Chairman of the Session
  • Dr. Binoda Kumar Mishra, Director, CSIRD - Speaker
  • Mr. Subir Bhaumik, Eminent Journalist - Speaker
  • Mr. Bo Bo Oo, Representative of NLD, Myanmar - Speaker

The Session was chaired by Ambassador P. Stobdan, Senior Fellow, IDSA. Amb. Stobdan drawing upon his personal experience recounted that till the recent past security was in fact the primary driver of Indo-Myanmar relations and this underlined the significance of the session.

The first speaker, Dr. Binod Kumar Mishra, Director of CSIRD started his presentation noting that India’s affinity with the democratic movement influenced the bilateral relation with repercussions on Indian security. The primary security concern for India in this regard stemmed from the insurgencies in the North-East with at least 36 insurgent groups operating from the remote areas of Myanmar which are often controlled by ethnic dissidents like the Karen. This is also the most important security concern of Myanmar. The evolving arrangements between the Myanmar government and these ethnic rebels on one hand and the Chinese effort to cultivate the tribes through training and military assistance emerged as an issue of great significance. For instance, reports suggested significant assistance in the form of military hardware to the rebels by the Chinese, including supply of helicopters to the United Wong State Army. The entry of the US in the region with its designs including the enunciation of the Indo-Pacific doctrine expands the scope and the complexity of the scenario from the hitherto triangular configuration of India-China and Myanmar. In this context the possibility of India, Myanmar and USA aligning against China remained an open question among many other such questions.

The second speaker Mr. Subir Bhaumik began by stressing the volatility of the Indian North-East and the Indian desire to secure it being the key factor for the Indian intervention in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) in 1971. The security of India’s North-East was preponderant on Myanmar even to this day. China had backed the Communist Party of Burma from 1968 till the time of Deng Xiaoping in 1978. This laid the foundation for tactical cooperation between the Indian Army and the Tatmadaw which, contrary to popular notion, was not altogether new. The difference in the expectation and the reality of cooperation for tackling the trans-border insurgency influenced India-Myanmar relations. The function of the Indian insurgent groups being a lower priority for Myanmar, and the difficult nature of the terrain which made sustained military operations difficult if not impossible, resulted in operations which were sporadic and not concerted. The changing dynamics of the narcotics trade where the bigger cartels are muscling out the smaller cartels posed a new and unfolding scenario with unforeseen implications. This also involved the dimension of human security with the rise of HIV-affected population in the North-East. This, coupled with the increasing migration of North-Eastern youths to other parts of India, was a potential human security catastrophe.

The third and the final speaker Mr. Bo Bo Oo began by remarking that he disagreed on certain aspects with the second speaker. He went on to highlight the peculiar problems faced by strategic thinkers following the end of the Cold War and the advent of globalisation. Mr. Oo emphasised the various dimensions of security and the negative fallout from the eclipse of the other dimensions by just one dimension of security, namely military security. He proceeded to opine that Myanmar needed a strategy for political defence on one hand and politics must influence strategic defence for the greater good of the nation.

Valedictory Session

Finally the two days Seminar was ended with this Valedictory Session. The speakers in this session were

  • Mr. Alok Sen, Former Ambassador of India to Myanmar
  • Mr. Tapan Mitra, Acting Director, ISCS

The speakers summarized the deliberations of various sessions and emphasized on the importance of such initiatives to improve the bilateral relationships.

The seminar created ample interest in the intelligentsia of Kolkata and was attended by persons from various fields like University teachers, University students, migrated Indian communities from old Burma etc. The press has also given good coverage of the event. Articles and features were pubished in the following newspapers:

  • The Anandabazar Patrika (Bengali)
  • Ei Samay (Bengali)

National Events

Programme Date Venue
Workshop on Socio-Economic Impact of the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2010 18-Dec-2010 Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata
Seminar on Right to Education Act 01-Nov-2010 Conference Hall of Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kolkata.
Seminar on Urban Water Resource Management 26-Mar-2011 WBUAFS Campus, Belgachia, Kolkata
Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary Commemorative Lecture 30 Nov,2012 Delhi
Exhibition of Photographs titled “Glimpses of Bangladesh” and International Seminar of “Growth and Development of Architecture of Bengal” 30-Jan-2013 Sri Aurobindo Bhaban, Kolkata
Seminar on “North East India: Different Windows on Inter-disciplinary Aspects”

The Institute of Social and Cultural Studies organized a seminar on “Socio-Economic Impact of the Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2010 on 18th December, 2010 at the seminar hall of Academy of Fine Arts to bring to foreground the purpose, motives and fall-out of the proposed amendments.

Delivering his maiden speech on the issue, Advocate Joydip Roy, Calcutta High Court, highlighted the background and present status of the bill. He opined that the amendments proposed were based on the ruling govt’s Muslim- centric vote bank politics.

Mr. Bimal Pramanick of Centre for Research in Indo-Bangladesh Relations, outlined the Enemy Property Act popularly known as Vested Property Act in Bangladesh, its socio-economic fallout and role in the mass migration of Hindus to India.

Dr. Sumanta Hira, Ex CPI(M) MLA, Secretary, Paschim Banga Ganatantrik Mancha and Secretary, Socio-Economic Research Centre, deplored the motivations behind the present amendments.

Mr. Tathagata Roy, Member, National Executive, BJP criticized the soft attitude of the ruling Govt.

Mr. Mohit Roy, consultant on Environment and Director of the Campaign against Atrocities on Minorities in Bangladesh (CAAMB), drew attention to the plight of the Hindu migrants from Bangladesh and their fight for justice.

Mr. Anirban Neogy, State General Secretary, Vivekananda Vidya Vikash Parishad, opined that the Pakistanis who had opted out to live India could not have any right over the vested property of India.

Others speakers present in the event were Mr. Ashwini Kumar Pahari, Smt. Archana Dutta, Smt. Papia Mitra, Prof. Bimal Kumar Nanda and Smt. Shanta Chhetri, MLA from Kurseong.

Mr. Arindam Mukherjee, Secretary, ISCS, lashed out at the non-cooperative attitude of the Dept. of Enemy Property for not divulging any information.

The afternoon session was conducted by Prof. Rabi Ranjan Sen.

The concluding address was delivered by Dr. Gurupada Sandilya, Director, ISCS. The vote of thanks was given by Prof. Gour Chandra Garai, Chairman, Board of Trustees, ISCS.

The Institute of Social and Cultural Studies organized a workshop on Right to Education Act on 1st November, 2010 at the conference hall of Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kolkata.

The seminar was presided over by Prof. Dilip Kumar Ghose, Ex-Registrar, Rabindra Bharati University and Ex-General Secretary, Asiatic Society. He highlighted the salient points of the Act and some hazy aspects of the presentation.

Other speakers present were Mr. Ashok Kumar Maity, State President, West Bengal Headmasters’ Association, Prof. Kalyanmoy Ganguly, Ex-Vice President, West Bengal College and University Teachers Association, Mr. G.V. Subramanium, Joint Director and Secretary, Bharatiya Bidya Bhavan, Kolkata, Father Mathew SJ, Ex-Principal, St. Xavier’s College, Mr. Nabarun De, Member of the ICSE and ISC council, Dr. Nikhilesh Guha, Retd. Prof. Kalyani University, Mr. Anirban Neogi, Secretary, Vivekananda Vidya Vikash Parishad. While some of the speakers like Father Mathew SJ referred the act as an idealistic Act for an idealistic state, other speakers like Mr. Nabarun De expressed reservations over the implementation of the several provisions of the Act. Skepticism over the implementation of the Act was expressed citing the experience of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.

Dr. Gurupada Sandilya, Director, ISCS delivered his concluding address and vote of thanks was given by Prof. Gour Chandra Garai.

Dept. of Aquatics Environment Management, WBUAFS and Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) organized a seminar on Urban Water Resource Management on 26th Match, 2011 at WBUAFS Campus, Belgachia.

At the inaugural session, Smt. Farhana Alam, Deputy Mayor of KMC, spoke about the importance of conserving water and appealed to every organizations and NGOs to save the water bodies in and around the city and outside.

Prof. C.S. Chakraborty, Vice Chancellor, West Bengal University of Animal and Fisheries Sciences, stressed the need for scientific method of data collection on water requirement and to draw the action plan for conserving the existing water resources.

Mr. Tarak Banerjee, Chairman, Municipal Affairs and Urban Development Committee, W.B. Legislative Assembly and the Guest of honor of the session, emphasized the need to raise the ground water level and also to protect the water bodies from disappearing due to anthropogenic activities. He also drew attention to the failure of Ganga Action Plan and the arsenic problem.

In his Key note address, Mr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, renowned scientist on environment, criticized the Ganga Action Plan since it never controlled the source of pollution which had gradually destroyed the fish culture industry because of the uncontrollable use of pesticides. He also regretted for not having any coordinated effort from various concerned departments on the waste water management and also not having any reliable map of water bodies of the city or any documentation of their usage pattern.

The Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, in collaboration with Sri Aurobindo Ashram, IGNOU, Kolkata and Institute of Historical Studies, Kolkata, organised Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary Commemorative Lecture on 30TH January, 2013 at Sri Aurobindo Bhaban, Kolkata delivered by Dr. Moni Bhowmik, renowned scientist to spread the spirit of Swamiji among the youth force.

The session was inaugurated by Justice Chittatosh Mookerjee, Former Chief Justice of Mumbai High Court. In his inaugural speech Justice Mookerjee gave a neat and perfect description of different aspects of activities and mission of Swamiji and urged the youth force to motivate themselves with the idealism of Swamiji.

Dr. Moni Bhowmick, in his speech on “Swami Vivekananda and Science” discussed the different elements of thoughts and expressions of the teachings of Swamiji and their implementation and effect in present day science. It is stated that no invention of science is successful until and unless we know its cause and effect, which we find in the preaching of Swamiji. Dr. Bhowmick insisted that everybody follows Swamiji ‘s thoughts in every sphere of life, given the fact that today there is chaos and confusion all around, self interest prevails over unity and integrity, love and affection are giving in to hatred and revenge.

Incidentally Dr. Bhowmick inaugurated the website of the ISCS.

The session ended with a vote of thanks followed by tea and light refreshments.

The above seminar was organized by Kolkata Society for Asian Studies in collaboration with Institute of Culture and Social Studies and IGNOU Study Centre to identify and distinguish the need and the problems of North East India by addressing the socio-cultural, socio-linguistic and socio-political issues.

The seminar was inaugurated by Prof. Samir Kumar Das, Vice Chancellor, North Bengal University. Prof. Das, in his well knitted speech, urged to pay more importance to the development of this region which was the gateway for India’s Look East Policy.

The inaugural session was presided over by Sri Dilip Kumar Ghosh, Director, Institute of Historical Studies, Coordinator, IGNOU Study Centre, Maulana Azad College and Vice President, Asiatic Society, Kolkata who welcomed the organizers for arranging seminar on such an important concept and also to find out measures to identify and distinguish the need and problem of this region through interdisciplinary methods. The key note address was delivered by Dr. Satyabrata Chakraborty.

The academic session was divided into four individual sessions on four different topics, namely

  • India’s Look East Policy and North East India.
  • North East India on its Folk and Tribal Culture: Cooperation and Confrontation with Neighboring Countries.
  • The Comparative Study of Sculptures and Paintings of North East India and its Prospects towards Exchanging Views with Other Neighboring countries.
  • Identifying Language Groups/Speech Communities of North East India along with the characteristic Features and their Future in North East India.

The chair persons of different sessions were Prof. Soumen Sen, former Prof. of NEHU and eminent researcher on inhabitants of Khasi and Jayantia Hills and Dr. Durga Basu, Reader, Dept. of Archaeology, University of Kolkata and Prof. Mahidas Bhattacharya, Prof, Linguistics, Jadavpur University.

Different speakers presented through their deliberations the needs, aspirations, cooperation, confrontation of the people in the light of folk literature/cultural practices, famous sculptures and paintings of North East India and their prosperity and development with the neighboring countries. Linguistic diversity was another issue which was reckoned by the different speakers sharing their experiences and knowledge on socio-linguistic situation.

The key speakers of the different sessions were Dr. Gorky Chakraborty of Institute of Development Studies, Dr. Binod Kumar Mishra, Director, CSIRD, Dr. Mrinal Kanti Chakma of MAKAIAS, Dr. Ratna Dhar , Anthropological Survey of India, Kolkata, Dr. Selina Thapa, Asstt. Prof., Pakuahat Degree College, Malda, Dr. Bina Gandhi Deori, Asstt. Prof., Dept. of Ancient Indian History Culture and Archaeology, Viswa Bharati, Prof. Shyamsunder Bhattacharya and Dr. Satarupa Dutta Majumder (Saha).

In the valedictory session Prof. Rajat Kanti Das, Reader, Dept. of Anthropology, Vidyasagar University summarized the deliberations of the speakers of all the sessions and appealed for giving due priority to this region.

Regional Events

Programme Date Venue
Seminar on Multifarious Contribution of Pandit Sakharam Ganesh Deuskar 25-Feb-2012 Sri Aurobindo Bhaban, Kolkata
Sudhi Sangam - 1 25-Aug-2012 Sea Explorers Institute, Kolkata
Seminar on Rishi Rajnarayan Basu 7-8th Sep-2012 Sri Aurobindo Bhaban, Kolkata
Vivekananda in Bengal – A Moving Exhibition in Tram Feb-Mar, 2013 Kolkata
Sudhi Sangam - 2” 06-Jul-2013 Sea Explorers Institute, Kolkata
Cultural Programme in Tram 05-Oct-2013 Kolkata
Sudhi Sangam - 3 19-Jul-2014 Sri Aurobindo Bhaban, Kolkata
Release of the book titled “Cleaning the Ganga: An Ecosystem Approach” By Dr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, Eminent Environmentalist 23-Aug-2014 Sea Explorers Institute, Kolkata

The institute of Social and Cultural Studies, in collaboration with Sree Aurobindo Samity and Institute of Historical Studies, organized a seminar on 25/02/2012 at Sri Aurobinda Bhavan, Kolkata to discuss the multifarious contributions of Pandit Sakharam Ganesh Deuskar. The seminar was presided over by Mr. Dilip Kumar Ghosh, Director, and Institute of Historical Studies.

Before the inauguration of the seminar flower bouquets and garlands were placed on the picture of Sakharam on behalf of the institute. Besides, Dr. Maya Bhattacharjee of National Educational Council, Ms. Dhote, Secretary of Maharashtra Bhawan, Dr. Balai Chaki (nephew of famous late revolutionist Prafulla Chaki), Secretary, Thinkers Forum, Mr. Sanjay Dey, Secretary, Sumangalam placed flour bouquets as a tribute to Pandit Sakharam.

Prof Dilip Ghosh, the president of the seminar, read a letter issued on behalf of National Education Council (Jadavpur University) where Pandit Sakharam worked as a teacher.

The subject matter, presented in the seminar, was broadly categorized into six aspects. Mr. Amalendu De, Senior Professor expressed his thought-provoking views on the subject “Sakharam and Revolutionary Movement of Bengal”. In his speech he said that Sakharam was influenced by the nationalist idealism since his student days and was highly influenced by the idealism of Rishi Rajnarayan Basu, Lokmanya Tilak and Sri Jogendra Nath Basu, head master of R. Mitra High School of Deoghar where he was a student.

Pt. Sakharam, while he was a teacher, used to discuss with his students about the fiery articles of Tilak published in the “Keshari journal” of Maharashtra. He always inspired people to use indigenous products and insisted on the industrial development of his country. His famous publication “Desher Katha” created ripples among the people, for the freedom movement not only of Bengal but also India as a whole.

In his speech on the theme of “Sakharam and Bengali Literature”, Prof .Aloke Roy evaluated the contribution of Sakharam in enriching Bengali literature. His ultimate aim was to develop Bengali language and also to add to it a flavor of nationalism. His published article really inspires us a lot.

Sri Nikhilesh Guha, Ex-prof. of History, Kalyani University, in his deliberation on the subject “Sakharam O Itihas Charcha” described Sakharam as a pioneer among the nationalist historians of India. Sakharam cautioned time and again that Indian history written by foreigners might create confusion, misinterpretation and false representation. He could not do any historical research work, nor could he complete the thesis on the historical life and works of Shibaji, his dream project, but he paid his tribute to the great warrior through various articles.

Sri Raj Kumar Sen, former Prof. of Rabindra Bharati University, while contributing on the subject “Desher Katha and Economic Thoughts of Sakharam” described how India’s economy suffered and how trade and commerce were destroyed during British regime.

Prof. Hiten Patel, Prof. of History, Rabindra Bharati University, gave a lucid deliberation on Sakharam and Hindi Literature.

Dr. Gurupada Sandilya, Director, ISCS spoke about Sakharam and Sibaji Festival.

This programme of Intellectual Meet was organized by 25th August, 2012 at the premises of Sea Explorers Institute on the bank of river Ganga. This is the first programme of the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) under Sudhi Sangam series.

It was a get-together with Sri Ramananda Bandyopadhyay, an eminent artist, to share the different odds and ends of his growing up days, his vision and his valuable pieces of advice.

At the outset, Dr. G.P. Sandilya, Director of the Institute delivered his welcome address. Sri Tapan Mitra, an eminent painter, introduced Ramananda Bandyopadhyay.

Sri Bandyopadhyay explained how he was influenced by his mother to take up painting as his profession since his childhood days, how he had joined Santiniketan and his experiences of coming in contact with legendary personalities like Acharya Nandalal Bose, Sri Binode Bihari Mukherjee etc. and also to learn under them.

He narrated how he was influenced by the thoughts of Ramakrishna during his long association with Ramakrishna Mission. Sri Bandyopadhyay emphasised the need of Guru-Sisya Parampara system in the present day social culture and expressed his shock and grief when he observed that parents today pressurized their kids to learn paintings only for achieving materialistic gain thereby compromising with quality and ethics. He shared his experiences about how, accompanied by his friend, he traveled through the villages of Bengal for years together to gather knowledge of our rich ancient architectures and paintings.

The interactive session was enlivened by the active participation of the Kala Bhaban students and Sri Bandyopadhyay. The programme was attended by nearly 50 participants and everyone appreciated the serene surroundings on the bank of river Ganges.

The session ended with a vote of thanks, followed by tea and snacks.

The Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, in collaboration with Institute of Historical Studies, Kolkata and Sri Aurobindo Centre for Research and Social Science, organized a seminar and an exhibition on the multifarious contributions of Rishi Rajnarayan Bosu on 7th and 8th September,2012 at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Kolkata and also to commemorate the 187th Birth Anniversary of the great personality.

The seminar was inaugurated by Mr. Chittatosh Mukherjee, former Chief Justice of Mumbai High Court on 7th. The inaugural speech was also delivered by Mr. Mukherjee and Mr. Shantilal Jain, The Then Chairman, Calcutta Tramways Company.

The day long academic session on the subject “Rishi Rajnarayan Bosu, his life and contemporary period” was held on 8th. In the morning session, young research associates discussed the dynamic and multifarious activities of Sri Rajnarayan Bosu. The personalities presented their papers at the discussion were Mr. Manabendra Naskar, Ms. Sujata Sarkar, Mr. Anurag Bandyopadhyay, Mr. Bimal Kumar Shit, Ms. Moumita Dutta, Ms. Avinanda Chattopadhyay and Mr. Arnab Nag. The session was conducted by Prof. Chittabrata Palit and Dr. Gurupada Sandilya, Director, ISCS.

In the afternoon session, discussion took place on “Thoughts of Rajnarayan Bosu, Grandfather of Indian Nationalism”. The participating speakers at the session were Prof. Amalendu Dey, Historian, Prof. Chittabrata Palit, Emeritus Prof., Ms. Sujaya Sarkar, Prof. of Vidyasagar University, Dr. Gurupada Sandilya and Mr. Nikhilesh Sarkar. The session was conducted by Prof. Amalendu Dey.

In the valedictory session, Prof. Ranjan Chakraborty, Vice Chancellor of Vidyasagar University summed up the issues discussed in the two sessions and also presented his views.

An exhibition was held on the valuable books, papers and manuscripts on Rishi Rajnarayan Bosu on 7th at the same venue.

To celebrate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) and Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) Ltd. jointly organized an exhibition on Swami Vivekananda in Bengal on two moving trams named “Vivek Tirtha” and “Paribrajak”. In Vivek Tirtha, photographs of various places in undivided Bengal, where Swamiji stayed in different periods of his life were displayed and the photographs of important incidents in the life of Swamiji were exhibited in Paribrajak.

These two trams with exhibited photos were inaugurated at Esplanade Tram Depot by Swami Suhitananda, General Seretary, Ramakrishna Math and Mission on 13th February, 2013. Among the guests present on this occasion were Mr. Amit Mitra, Finance Minister, Govt. of W.B., Mr. Madan Mitra, Transport and Sports Minister, Govt. of W.B. and other dignitaries.

Programmes were held at each depot where the trams stopped.

On 18th Feb, 2013, when the trams stopped at Gariahat Tram Depot, there was a small programme attended by Bhaskar Maharaj and Joydeb Maharaj (Swami Chidrupananda) of Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Golpark who spoke a few words about Swamiji. Among the dignitaries present was the famous poet Mr. Aloke Ranjan DasGupta.

When the trams reached Belgachia Tram Depot on 25th February, they were welcomed by Barun Maharaj of Udbodhan Math, Baghbazar. Maharaj gave a small speech on the idealism of Swamiji in front of a small gathering.

At Bidhannagar Tram Depot on 4th March, 2013, among the guests present were Swami Nityananda of Yogadhyan Math, Mr. Sadhan Pandey, MIC, Consumer Affairs Dept. and Mr. Pranotosh Bandhopadhya, General Secretary, R.V.R Rokeya Institute of Education & Research.

On 11th March, 2014, when the trams reached Baghbazar Depot, there was great enthusiasm among the spectators. Swami Ritananda, Chief Editor, Udbodhan Patrika spoke a few words about Swamiji’s vision and mission. Others present were Smt. Manjusree Chowdhury, Councilor, KMC, Ward – 7, Mr. Subrata Sengupta and Swami Bhabapriyananda Maharaj of RKM, Chennai.

At the Galiff Street Tram Depot on 14th March, 2014 the guests present were Swami Putananda, President, RKM, Balaram Mandir, PrabrajikaIstatma Prana, RamkrishnaSarada Mission, Vivekananda Vidya Bhaban, Dumdum Park, Mr. Subrata Roy Chowqdhury and Dr. Monturam Samanta, Principal, Monindra Chandra College. Every one spoke about the activities of Swamiji.

The Raja Bazar Tram Depot Programme on 18th March, 2013 was attended by Swami Atmalokananda of Adwaitya Ashram, Dr. Dilip Mukhopadhyay, Ex-Registrar, Viswa Bharati University, Mr. Samir Samanta, Principal, Calcutta Deaf & Dumb School and Dr. Mukul Kanti Khanna, Principal, City College, Kolkata.

The Trams on having arrived at the Park Circus Tram Depot on 21st March, 2014, were welcomed by Swami Paramatmananda of RKM, Swami Madhabananda of Bharat Sebasram Sangha and Hossainur Rahaman. Every one spoke a few words about Swamiji. A quiz contest on the life and works of Swamiji was arranged among the school students.

At Khidderpore Tram Depot on 25th March, 2014 a small programme was arranged and the dignitaries attended were Swami Arunatmananda of RKM Belur Math, Prabrajika Sudhatma Prana of Sarada Mission School, New Alipore, Mr. Sujit Kumar Das, Principal, New Alipore College, Md. Taimur Rahaman, Principal, Khidderpore College, Director, I.H.S. and Editor, Human Rights Law Review and Advocate, High Court, Kolkata.

The final celebration took place on 30th March, 2014 at Shambazar Depot, where among the present guests were Swami Puranatmananda, Secretary, RKM S.V. Ancestral House and Cultural Centre, Kazi Arindam, Guitarist, Mr. Rabin Mondal, Painter, Dr. Ram Niwas, Vice President, Myanmar-India Friendship Association, Myanmar. A cultural programme was arranged and every one participated with great devotion. At the end of the programme the guests and others visited the ancestral house of Swamiji.

At every depot, among other programmes, there was a programme on quiz contest, tree plantation etc. These programmes created an ample interest among the students, local people, religious organizations and they came, watched the photos with proper discipline showing respect to revered Swamiji.

Incidentally it is the first comprehensive exhibition on trams in the 140 years history of Calcutta Tramways Company.

This programme was organized on 6th July, 2013 at Sea Explorers Institute, Kolkata to share the experience of concurring Mt. Everest and to spread the message to the youth force interested in trekking and rock climbing games. To share their experiences the guests-in-chief present were Mr. Ujjal Roy, Mr. Debdas Nandy and Ms. Chhanda Gayen, concurrers of climbing Mt. Everest in the year 2013.

The session was presided over by Mr. Tapan Mitra, Actg. Director of the institute.

Three participants, one after another, shared their experience of journeying through treacherous rocky mountain terrains, facing avalanche and nondescript journey from base camp to the peak. The nonchalant and brave heart attitude of three mountaineers helped them to overcome all obstacles like blizzard, rugged mountain track, inclement weather etc to reach the pinnacle of success. Mr. Ujjal Roy, through his video projection, described in detail the vivid experience of the journey.

The total session was highly appreciated by the audience present in the session.

The Institute of Social & Cultural Studies (ISCS), along with Calcutta Tramways Company organized a cultural programme on a well decorated moving tram on 05-Oct-2013 on the eve of the Bengali festival of Durga Puja.

The event was inaugurated at the ground floor hall of Esplanade Tram Depot at 4-30 PM. It was attended by a galaxy of poets of Kolkata city along with members of ISCS and employees of Tram Company. This inaugural programme was coordinated by Sri Arindam Mukherjee, Secretary ISCS. Further, it was addressed by

  • Sri Tapan Mitra, Acting Director, ISCS
  • Sri Nilanjan Shandilya, MD, Calcutta Tramways Company
  • Sri Shantilal Jain, Chairman, Calcutta Tramways Company

After the inauguration, all poets and performers moved to the waiting tram. The programme was organized in the rear compartment of the tram. The front compartment was occupied by various supporting staff members of ISCS and Tram Company.

The tram moved from Esplanade depot to Raja Bazar Depot and then returned to Esplanade. The poets and singers performed within the moving tram.

The whole programme created ample interest in the media as many of them covered the programme .

The programme within the tram was coordinated by Sri Tapan Mitra, Acting Director ISCS. The following persons performed one by one.

  • Sri Pabitra
  • Smt. Shakila Bagum
  • Sri Prabal Bosu
  • Smt. Ranjana Ray
  • Smt. Jayanti Soren
  • Sri Kali Prasad Jaiswal
  • Sri Pratul Gupta
  • Sri Naser Hoosen
  • Sri Mihir Chakraborty
  • Sri Adhir Krishna Mondol
  • Sri Arindam Mukherjee
  • Sri Rana Chattopadhya
  • Smt. Namita Chaudhury
  • Sri Kali Kisore Guha
  • Sri Nilanjan Shandilya
  • Sri Arun Chakraborty.

On 19th Jul, 2014, we organized a discussion session on the subject of “India’s contribution in the field of Mathematics - from ancient age to modern age” at Sri Aurobindo Bhaban, Kolkata.

At the introductory session. Mr. Tapan Mitra, Actg. Director of ISCS in his short speech related mathematics and its application from a painter’s perspective and reminded that some of the painters of renaissance period were mathematicians and India was no exception.

In his well developed deliberation, Prof. Pradip Majumder explained that though it is stated that Egypt is called the origin of Mathematics, but India was no less far behind rather uses of mathematics was more explicit in India than that of those countries. Details about application of mathematics were also found in Rickkved and Jajurved. Uses of mathematics for counting were explained in Ramayana and Mahabharata. Buddha Sastras among other things mentioned the uses of mathematics. Jaina Granthas even discussed about the number and infinity.

It was Aryabhatta who in 499 BC wrote about number, equation, measurement and thereafter Bhaskaracharya-I and II and later Brahmagupta developed the arena of mathematics. In the Mughal period, we had seen the uses of interpolation theory of Trigonometry and Geometry.

The modern concept of mathematics was noted in British period. Calcutta Mathematical Society was formed in the year 1908 for printing research papers under the president-ship of Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee. Before that in 1857, three universities and a few numbers of colleges were opened where among other subjects mathematics was introduced

In the small interactive session Prof. Majumder crisply replied some of the questions placed before him.

Prof. Amartya Dutta, on behalf of Sri Aurobinda Seva Samity in his very neat little speech told that though we have respectable position in modern mathematics but spectacular dominating work was done in ancient time. He referred the book “Renaissance of India and Formulation of Indian Culture” by Sri Aurobinda where it is stated that “Especially in Mathematics, Astronomy and Chemistry, the chief elements of ancient science, she discovered and formulated much and well.”

Prof Dilip Kumar Sinha, Ex Vice Chancellor of Viswa Bharati University over viewed briefly the different aspects of speeches delivered by Prof. Majumder and Prof. Dutta and mentioned the contribution of Sri Aurobinda in Mathematics – spiritual reality, utility not in mundane sense but in true respect.

A vote of thanks was given by Mr Aswini Pahari on behalf of ISCS at the end of the session.

Date: August 23, 2014
Time: 5 P.M.
Venue: Sea Explorers Institute, Outram Ghat, Kolkata

The session began with the felicitation of Dr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, author of the book and Sri Bosista Kumar Sengupta, Former Director General, KMDA and the Guest-in-Chief of the session by Sri Tapan Mitra, Actg. Director of the institute.

The book was officially released by Sri Sengupta.

In his inaugural speech, Sri Tapan Mitra painted a very grim picture of the pollution of river Ganga and appreciated the author’s view and publication of such book in proper time.

Dr. Ghosh in his speech discussed the total issue from four broad angles:

  • Excessive use of agro-chemicals destroying the microbial life of the river and thereby incapacitating the self cleaning ability.
  • Destroying and uprooting of trees on both sides of the river Ganges for rehabilitation of human beings and thereby destructing the growth of natural vegetation.
  • The problem of non-point source pollution within Ganga basin area.
  • Failure of sewage treatment plants for reducing non point source pollution.

The remedies he pointed out are:

  • To re-educate the farmers about the use of proper dosage of agro-chemicals.
  • To follow the system practiced in East Calcutta Wetlands and its fisheries for recycling of nutrients.

Mr. Sengupta shared his experience in working in this field and narrated the ways and means of polluting Ganga through technical aspects. He also drew attention towards the defective policies of the Govt. implemented through different phases of Ganga Action Plans where huge amount of fund was drained out without any fruitful result.

The atmosphere and surrounding were beautiful and were ideal for releasing such book.