Cultural convener Sithi Kana Ghatak began with a word on freedom fighters, including her own father Jitendralal Sen and uncle Manindra Chandra Sen. “We will remain indebted to those who dedicated their lives to free India,” she said.
Later, Ghatak’s daughter Dipika, recited Sesh Ghora written by Amitava Dasgupta. “I am proud to know that my grandfathers were freedom fighters but sadly even after decades of Independence we have yet to achieve freedom in the true sense “ said the budding clinical dietician.
Sukla Dasgupta sang Aye mere watan ke logon, that was originally written to commemorate soldiers who died in 1962 Indo-China war. Sumi Pal recited Swadhinata by Debabrata Singha, about the struggle of marginalised tribal people. “Most of us celebrate Independence Day by hoisting flags and wearing hues of saffron and green but there are some for whom the struggle for livelihood and survival is the biggest challenge,” said Pal, an IT professional.
Deepshikha Ghosh sang Aye watan tere liye from the movie Karma and Rita Basu recited Bhawani Prasad Mazumdar’s poem Bharatbarsho hok adorsha.
Amalabha Dutta paid tribute to freedom-fighters with special mention of Aurobindo Ghosh, who also happened to be born on August 15. “Not only was Aurobindo a freedom fighter but the world was also enlightened by his great teachings,” said Dutta. He concluded with a rendition of Dhana dhanya pushpe bhora by Dwijendralal Roy.
“I shall sing Amra Bharotbasi, a patriotic song composed in kirtan style by my teacher Shyamsundar Gayen,” said Aparna Sarkar before her rendition.
Debi Dutta recited Ashoke Mukhopadhyay’s poem Tarik Ali, Dwarik Mali based on India’s Partition.
Purba Kar kept listeners engrossed in a story-telling session. She read out a short story titled Sushama that she had written herself, based on our freedom struggle. “I wrote this in the backdrop of incidents that happened in the 1920s. These were shared and inspired by my grandfather Sudhirkrishna Sarkhel of Barishal district, who was a freedom fighter,” said Kar.
Chandrani Sanyal spoke on the horrors and tragedy of Partition. “I’ve heard from my mother that her father refused to stand up during flag hoisting on Independence Day because of the agony of eviction that he had to endure,” she said. She presented a medley of patriotic songs from movies like Roja and Pardes along with Vande Mataram and Sare jahan se achchha.
Patralekha Mukherjee recited Subodh Sarkar’s Ami Firoja, ekti Bharotiyo meye on secularism and appealed to listeners to end all kinds of discrimination. She, along with Chandrani Sanyal, compered the show.
Earlier that day. the residents had hoisted the national flag in a brief programme. “It was hoisted by the secretary of New Town Citizens Welfare Fraternity Samir Gupta and secretary of CD Block Residents Forum Arindam Mukherjee,” said Ghatak.
The day before, they held a tree plantation drive at their green verge. It was inaugurated by Debashis Sen, chairman of New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) and block president Bijon Das.