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Passing Moments of a Dying Editor

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Prof Chitta Ranjan Das was a creative truth seeker and transformative thinker and activist of our times who has written and worked on many aspects of human lives—education, philosophy, literature and integral human development for social transformation.

Nobody knows an Editor these days if you are not in the good book of the establishment. My own organisation NBT and sister organisation Sahitya Akademi have happily forgotten me. In my small town Puri I am a stranger these days.

I was coordinating on the surprising invitation of Delhi Odia Lekhika Sansad ( DOLS) to a Book Release function yesterday at Bhubaneswar and a book on Manoj Das was released on the occasion. There we remembered Chittabhai too as both of them were great devotees and followers of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of the same period of history. It was a great time for an editor to coordinate a meeting for the release of a book on an author of whose works I was one of the editors. Incidentally,Manoj Das himself was the illustrious editor of many magazines including The Heritage of Chandamama Group.

Prof Chitta Ranjan Das was a creative truth seeker and transformative thinker and activist of our times who has written and worked on many aspects of human lives—education, philosophy, literature and integral human development for social transformation.

Das was born on 3rd October, 1923 in Bagalpur in the undivided district of Cuttack in Odisha, India and left his mortal body on January 16, 2011. He is known to many of his friends, co-travelers and concerned publics at large in Odisha and India as Chitta Bhai.

Chitta Bhai has actively initiated many creative experiments. He founded Jeevana Vidyalya—School for Life—in Champattimunda in the 1950s. He was a pioneer in the integral education movement of Odisha and translated major works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother to Odia.  He nurtured both Agragamee,  Sikshadandhan and Nava Pallava— creative efforts in education and tribal development in Odisha.

He also wrote and translated around 250 books, a majority of them being in Odia and some of these in English.I am one of the proud Editors of his works.
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My editorial interest includes many, Art, Education, Music, Dance ,Sports etc etc.. so on and so forth.It was Sri Aurobindo Centre of Calcutta where I met Singer Kumar Sanu a decade ago courtesy Prof. Ranjan Mitter, its Secretary.

Today is the birthday of King of melodies Kedar Nath Bhattacharya better known as Kumar Sanu. Born in 1957 this day in Seenthi area of Kolkata, he was blessed to have Pasupati Bhattacharya a vocalist and composer as his father who taught him music. He was inclined to singing songs of Kishoreda from the beginning and considers him as God. Sanu Dada has sung in many languages, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Bhojpuri, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Odiya, Assamese, Punjabi, English  ,Spanish, even Chhattisgarhi!

Kumar Sanu is the first Indian playback singer to be honored by the United States in Ohio, when the mayor declared 31st March as Kumar Sanu day. He has won Filmfare five times in a row which is a record. He also holds the record of recording the most number of songs(26 songs in 24 hours) in a single day (161 songs in thirty days) . He is equally conversant with Tabla and piano.

Once he was called for a stage programme where there was a crowd of 22000 persons. He got nervous, however gathering courage he started with " Wada tera wada " a song sung by his Icon Kishore Da’, and this won him applause.

He regained his courage and sang songs one after another. He first sang for a Bangladesh film " Teen Kanya ". He was named Sanu by Kalyanji Anandji and immediately after being rechristened he got to sing for Amitabh Bachchan (Jaadugar).  This Padmashree awardee has sung over 20000 Songs for More than 350 films. He had an early affair with Meenakshi Sheshadri but his first wife came to know about it and they had to part ways.Meenakshi later left India and settled in US.

He was first married to Rita .They were blessed with three sons Jessy, Jeeko and Jaan ,and later to Saloni ( his present wife ) and is blessed with two daughters Shannon who is a pop singer and Ana from that marriage. He is the best living singer of India now with a variety of songs.

I wonder if Kumar Da’ will recognise me if we meet again in our lifetime  !
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The country is no longer in Art and Culture . Education is no more a news.Indian media , which has become a paid henpecked system,is more concerned for Price rise of vegetables and fuel and unemployment problem in Pakistan, attack on minorities in Bangladesh, food shortage in Sri Lanka and even, Power crisis in China.

If the Indian media can be believed here there is no unemployment, price of fuel and vegetables are within the reach of common man, no attack on minorities and there is no food shortage - only India slips in Hunger Index due to international consipiracy! Ours is really the happiest country in the world.

Are we going to rewrite History or cave in History ! But,Indian Historians are capable of writing a new History free from political bias if selected from all the schools of thoughts.

I was thrilled to get a WhatsApp message today from Atanu Roy, the only living illustrator from outside Calcutta of the Calcutta School of Art. Can people like Atanu Da’ survive this bad patch of History?

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