Bengali vocabulary – politics words

Bengali bangla politics vocabulary

It’s a subject that features on most news broadcasts, but it’s particularly timely given the snap general election that was called earlier this week here in the UK.

I’ve come across many of these words before on the daily news (in Bengali) podcast from Japan’s NHK state media. (And perhaps we should pause for a minute to consider how cool it is that NHK puts out the news in Bengali.) Continue reading

Channel 4 goes deep into Indian music for its first 2017 film season

West Bengal Baul musician Tuning 2 You

Bengali Baul musician (pic: Souvid Datta)

Channel 4 has unveiled details of its first Indian film season for 2017 and this time around it’s all about the region’s music.

The season kicks off with Tuning 2 You, a six-part look at Indian folk music, and that’s followed by films on Ravi Shankar, Zakir Hussain and a collaboration between Wynton Marsalis and a group Pakistani musicians. Continue reading

Google recognises Bangla and improves Bengali search

Google search Bengali banglaGoogle search Bengali bangla

Whether you’re looking for Pather Panchali or a macher johl recipe, the chances are that if you’re googling for it in Bengali your search will now be easier.

The search giant this week added the language to its ‘knowledge graph’ so, to cut a long explanation short, searches should be much quicker and more the results more useful. Continue reading

Weather words and phrases in Bengali (part 1)

Monsoon in Kolkata by Opashona

Monsoon in Kolkata (Flickr: Opashona)

So far I’ve only visited India in December or January, which limits the Bengali words for weather that I need when actually on holiday.

In fact, hot, cold and fog would probably cover those needs – often within the space of the same day. Continue reading

What do books mean to you?

Gandhi_Mani_Bhavan_Mumbai

Mani Bhavan, Gandhi’s residence in Mumbai

The pages are thin and its cheap printing may have smudged the ink in places, but my copy of Gandhi’s The Story of My Experiments with Truth falls squarely in that category of books whose value is greater than the words on their pages.

As with many objects, it’s the value added by the memories associated with them. In the case of Gandhi’s book, which I’m currently reading, the memory is of buying my 50 rupee copy from Mani Bhavan in Mumbai nearly five years ago.

Continue reading

খারাপ আবহাওয়া – বাংলা দিনলিপি

Storm

গতকাল ঝড় হয়েছে ।পুব-এ বন্ধুদের সঙ্গে কথা বলে খুব বেশি বৃষ্টি দেখলাম, কিন্দু মেঘের ডাক শুনিনি, বিজলি দেখিনি ।

বিজলিটা জোরে ছিল – একটা কাছে শহরে লোক বলেছে ‘বিস্ফোরণ‘ ছিল! Continue reading

Beautiful prose

I was hugely looking forward to reading Tahmina Anam’s A Golden Age, which seems to have been on my ‘to read’ list for far too long, but I approached it with a sense of trepidation.

Given that it’s set in Bangladesh, in 1971, I worried it would offer a heart-breaking tale, and there were certainly elements of the story that make you catch your breath.

But where this book’s beautiful prose (held within beautiful covers) succeeds is in bringing a landscape of pain, suffering and hope down to a very personal level. It was  only with a short paragraph, which began, “throughout June, Tikka Khan’s soldiers made their way across the summer plains of Bangladesh”, that the author pulls back from the individual to encompass the scale of the horror the country endured during those months. Continue reading