Illuminating India, its photography and science

Illuminating India Science Museum London

London’s Science Museum isn’t the most obvious place to visit for an Indian photography exhibition, but that’s where, until 31 March, you’ll find one.

Spanning the period 1857-2017, Illuminating India is split into three sections, beginning with 1857’s Mutiny/First War of Independence/Uprising, running through the era of independence and then zooming on a whistle-stop tour up to the present day. Continue reading


India on Film – BFI programme concludes with a Satyajit Ray season

Apu Sansar World Soutmitra Chatterjee Sharmila Tagore

The BFI’s India on Film season will conclude this month with a back-to-back showing of Satyajit Ray’s renowned Apu Trilogy on Sunday 10 December.

And if the thought of seven hours or so of Bengali cinema might be a bit much for one sitting, the London Institute is also showing the films – Pather Panchali, Aparajito and (pictured above) Apu Sansar – in single showings in the following weeks. Continue reading

India on Film: Calcutta, West Bengal and other treasures from the BFI’s National Archives

Calcutta Kolkata trams BFI India on Film

I’m often amazed by the cultural riches that casually appear online for our use and enjoyment – Open Culture being an excellent contributor and curator to this trend.

Another is the British Film Institute (BFI), whose National Archives recently released a collection of newly-digitised films from India from the turn of the 20th century to partition. Continue reading


Google starts to offer Bengali / Bangla dictation

Bengali bangla handwriting

Random Ink by Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay @Flickr

Google recently made some improvements to its search app that should allow Bengali dictation, raising interesting possibilities for those of us learning the language.

Whilst I can’t currently get the changes to work on my iPhone, seeing as the update is Android-only for now, if you can do so then the change could provide a useful way to work on your pronunciation. Continue reading


Bengali / Bangla vocabulary: war, attacks

Bengali Bangla vocabulary words soldiers war Star Wars Lego

I’ve broadened my approach to learning Bengali since the time when I was over- enamoured by repeated listens of podcasts I struggled to understand.

I still struggle with NHK’s daily Bangla news podcast when I dip into it, but am trying to expand my knowledge of ‘newsy’, hence the recent post on political vocab and this one.

Even before the tragic recent events in Manchester and London this kind of military/warfare vocabulary features in the news from around the world all too often.

Continue reading


Exploring the architecture of old Calcutta

Calcutta houses Kolkata architectureChancing upon the Calcutta Houses account on Instagram (pictured above and below) could all too easily be the start of a descent down a long rabbit hole.

Calcutta Houses‘ posts of old houses of Kolkata perfectly capture some of the faded glamour and rundown charm of the city.

And it’s an quick hop, skip and a click to #calcuttahouses for more, going from there to the dormant old Calcutta (Kolkata) blog and then thoughts of a Kolkata walking tour. Continue reading


Bengali / Bangla flashcards

Bengali Bangla flashcards language learning

Picture by drcw @ Flickr

So far this year I’ve managed to be surprisingly disciplined with my Bengali study – something that usually only happens in the immediate run-up to one of our every-five-years trips to Kolkata.

One of the things I’ve found particularly helpful for is an iPhone app I’ve dabbled with before.

It’s not, sadly, a really great mobile app for learning Bengali, though I suppose Duolingo for Bengali may one day be available and that could fit the bill. Continue reading