Biggest Bengali show in Toronto from Friday

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto : The 28th annual North American Bengali Conference (NABC) begins here Friday. Over 6,000 people from North America, India, Europe and the Gulf will attend the three-day conference billed as the biggest Bengali cultural show outside of West Bengal.

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Organized by the local Prabasi Bengali Cultural Association (PBCA), the conference will showcase Bengali culture, art and literature to audiences in North America.

“At this annual gathering, we share the richness of our rich Bengali culture with our new generation born here and North American society. The three-day extravaganza will have everything – from Rabindra Sangeet to modern music to drama to films to folk dances to literary, cultural and business seminars,” Dhruba Ghosh, co-chair for funding for the conference, told IANS.

Apart from dozens of Bengali solo and group performers, the conference will also feature a large number of artists from India and elsewhere in modern vocal, classical, baul, dance, band and drama performances.

An exhibition on Satyajit Ray, a seminar on his work and screening of some of his films will be another important feature of the event.

Various seminars will discuss issues of youth, women and seniors in the North American milieu. Harinder Takhar, the Indo-Canadian minister in the Ontario provincial government, will preside over a seminar on business opportunities between India and Canada.

The spectacular opening ceremony will be performed by Sukalyan Bhattacharyya who has created his own unique dance style by fusing classical Indian dance forms with western dance movements, Ghosh said.

Dancers of Calcutta Choir will close the three-day conference, he added.

`Though we have invited Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Left Front committee chairman Biman Bose, we are told they are not coming because of the ongoing political crisis in the UPA government,” Ghosh said.

Toronto will be the venue of the conference for the third time in the past 28 years. There are about 10,000 Bengalis in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Most of them are professionals.

Many of them came here long time ago from Europe after finishing their studies in the 1960s and 1970s. Others came here just years ago after the dotcom bust and the expiry of their H1 visas in the US.