Sabarna Sangrahashala hosts International History and Heritage Exhibition

“It [Kolkata] is a city that is perpetually caught between what was and what could be. And everyone in the city is drowned in nostalgia about the place even when they’re there”- Anonymous

The City of Joy is a unique amalgamation of the past and the present. Nestled between the sky rises of modern architectural wonders, the people and this city have still preserved its past. Most streets and residential areas in Kolkata would see a combination of ultra-modern housing facilities as well as old colonial architectural residential buildings coexisting under the sun. The land of Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray, Sukumar Ray, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and many others still preserve the yesteryear flavors amidst the newer generation. One such heritage household in Kolkata is the Sabarna Roy Choudhury Paribar.

Each year, they throw open the doors of their ancestral household to numerous people from all over Calcutta and beyond and welcome them to Kolkata’s first ever household museum, Sabarna Sangrahashala which houses rare articles and artifacts of historical significance.  The 13th edition of the International History and Heritage Exhibition held every year in the month of February would be held from 4th to 7th February 2018 from 10 am to 9 pm. Interestingly; the idea of the family Museum and Exhibition came from the need of aiding research students and scholars and promoting awareness of preservation of one’s heritage.

This year, The International History and Heritage Exhibition focus on unpublished letters of historical figures. The theme country is Thailand. Retrospective section shall be on legendary film actor Bhanu Bandhopadhyay and singer Satya Chowdhury. A gallery on the topic Terracotta of Bengal will be an added attraction. Apart from hosting the exhibition itself, there are cultural night and guided tours through the event as well as two Quiz competitions-BarisharSabjanta and Nostalgia’18 – for students and quiz enthusiasts. The annual hand-written Magazine Saptarshi is also published during this time. Earlier, the occasion had been graced by Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Sandip Ray, Gautam Ghose, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Bickram Ghose and many others.

This year Kolkata Bloggers is honored to be the online partners for this noble cause. Our representatives would attend the Exhibition and we request all of you to attend it as well. It is an opportunity to discover and cherish the rich cultural heritage of Kolkata.

Location: Sabarna Sangrahashala

Address: Saptarshi Bhawan, Baro Bari, 67/3, Diamond Harbour Road, Barisha, Kolkata, West Bengal 700008. (Bus Stop- Barisha Sakherbazar)

Date: 4th-7th February

Time: 10 am -9 pm

Photographs Courtesy: Sabarno Sangrahashala

Spring fest Set to Rock the Nation yet Again!

Come Spring and colleges from all over the country eagerly await the announcement of Spring fest, the annual Fest of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT KGP). What started as an intra-college fest in 1960, is today one of the year’s most awaited events throughout the Nation. In fact, the 2018 Spring fest is the 59th edition of the same. This year, the overall theme for the Fest is Tribal Treble- A Primeval Folklore. It will be held from the 26th to 28th of January.

For those who are new to Spring fest, must not mistake it for a tech-fest only. Events range from music, dance, dramatics, Literary, Food Fest, Film Fest and many others. All details regarding the events can be found on the official website.

Apart from the events, one of the main attractions each year is the guest performances by celebrities. Earlier, Spring fest has been graced by the presence of celebrities like Arman Malik, Vishal Shekhar, Dead by April and many more.

Special mention must be made of the able team that has worked round the clock to put together this festival of National repute. Preparations begin months before the culmination of the actual event. From planning the central theme and the events to locking in the final dates; from approaching sponsors to finalizing judges, from sending out invitations to colleges all over India to arranging accommodation wherever applicable; all have been efficiently undertaken by the Festival team. The sheer passion and dedication of the students towards their work and co-curricular activities are what has made Spring fest so popular over the years.

This year, Kolkata Bloggers would yet again collaborate with Spring fest for two different events- A Mighty Pen and India Calling. Both events are literary events which have a social inclination to it. While Mighty Pen is all about your views on the LGBT Community; India Calling revolves around the important question regarding directorial freedom in contemporary India. The judges from Kolkata Bloggers are eagerly waiting to see the rationale coupled with creativity in the presentations made by the students participating in these events.

Photo Courtesy: IIT Kharagpur

I wish like to wish the entire management team of Spring fest all the luck and success for pulling off yet another edition of this festival. Hoping to collaborate in future too.

Photo Courtesy: IIT Kharagpur

Lions Clubs Organise Lensethon for Photo Enthusiasts

Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.”
— Anonymous 
On 21st of January, a team of 7 young, enthusiastic photographers went on a Photo walk conducted by the Lions Club of Rabindra Sarovar called Lensethon. The idea of a photo walk based on the theme Social Responsibility stemmed from the minds of the organizers due to a large number of youths associated with the Club. Moreover, photo walk enables an individual to meet like-minded people, bond over their common passion for photography – be it on mobile or DSLR, exchange tips to take photographs and share experiences and feedback. Thus, the entire team met in front of Menoka Cinema at 9 am and walked the entire stretch of the Rabindra Sarobar Lake till the walk ended at Golpark. Numerous stills were captured by the photographers and the in-house team.

The rules of Lensethon were very simple.

  1. Come for the walk.
  2. Take photographs on the theme: Social Responsibility
  3. Submit the photographs by day end without edits / with minimum edits on the official e-mail id.
  4. There was a registration fee of Rs 50 per submitted photograph.

Further, since many of the interested candidates could not join the photo walk, Lensethon was made open to online submissions as well. The rules were all the same. The photographs were judged individually in two separate categories – Online Submissions and Offline Participation. The jury consisted of Lion Swati Goswami (President) , Lion Saikat Dasgupta (Treasurer) , and Dhrubojyoti Bose ( Photographer).

Photography is all about interpreting the theme in your own way. That is exactly what the participants did, and the results were declared on the 24th of January. The winning photographs and their interpretations are discussed below.

Serenity by ARIJEET DUTTA,
1st Runner Up,
Theme – Social Responsibility,
Mobile Category

The Lions Clubs International is a leading organization with teams in every major city of the world. They believe in striving to make the global community a better place and organize various programs throughout the year to do so. Since the Club primarily aims in taking the first step in trying to make the society a better place by enlightening the people of various issues that needs immediate looking after; Social Responsibility was an apt theme for the photo competition. Moreover as Robert Frank said, “There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” Thus, the photo walk was one of their successful ventures for 2018. There will be much more to follow.

In Kolkata, I have been associated with the Lions Clubs for quite some time now and have taken part in three of their projects. I hope to continue to assist them in the future as well. If you would like to know more about the Club or want to receive regular updates regarding the events taking place keep in touch with Saheli Chakraborty, The Facebook Page and Me!

 

Getting charged to attend The Kolkata Literary Meet

“Literature is one of the most interesting and significant expressions of humanity” – P.T Barnum

Today, Literature and the literary world have expanded to new horizons. Literature is not limited to the pages of a book. It has started finding innovative expressions for it. Literature today is expressed through art forms, dance, music, performance poetry, and films and so on. In fact, literature today is way beyond the traditional genres of fiction and non-fiction; it has extended to include activism, social causes, environment, music and the like. An amalgamation of all these various art forms and its interdisciplinary approach is celebrated widely in Kolkata through The Kolkata Literary Meet. #Kalam2018 has a grand line-up of speakers and its sessions hold relevance to not only the literary sphere but addresses certain need-of-the-hour social concerns.

Speakers range from Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus to Anchal Malhotra of the Remnants of a Separation fame; from Jeet Thayil whose latest novel The Book of Chocolate Saints broke all records last year to Soumitra Chatterjee, beloved actor from the Bengali Film Industry. Music maestro Shankar Mahadevan would also be gracing the occasion with his melodious music. Stalwarts like Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Devdutt Pattanaik and Ruskin Bond would be having interesting sessions during the one-week long literary meet.

The Kolkata Literary Meet touches upon a vast range of subjects for discussion-from micro-finance to poetry, from relevance and aftermath of the Partition to performance poetry and its significance in modern times. Sessions covering history, social science, and geography in literature are also incorporated. Overall, the Kolkata Literary Meet has considered the diverse tastes of the people while planning its sessions. The organizers have made sure to include an area of interest for every attending individual. What more, keeping in tandem with the relevance of reading that needs to be nurtured since childhood, a Junior Kolkata Literary Meet has also been organized.

The Kolkata Literary Meet appeals to the people of all ages. It has a holistic approach which attracts people, especially bibliophiles. The sessions would be conducted in English; however special Bengali and English sessions have also been included, as Vernacular Literature is as important as English Literature. Also, the amazing line-up of speakers draws attention. Their views on socially pressing matters in contemporary times are of great significance for students, teachers and common people who look up to them. The ability to have a short interaction with the speakers during the book signing opportunity is something everyone looks forward to, the most.

The Kolkata Literary Festival 2018 would be held from the 22nd of January to the 27th of January at Victoria Memorial, primarily with certain sessions being held at the Calcutta Club (Please check schedule). Though an open to all events, certain session require tickets. For ticket enquiries, requesting you to get in touch with the authorities. You can read the entire schedule below.

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Disclaimer: I have been officially invited as a blogger from The Kolkata Literary Meet. I would be present on all days. Do come and Say a Hi. Also, keep a tab on my Twitter and Instagram for more photographs. Thank You.

Throwback to AKLF18

The Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) is one of the largest Literary Festivals to be held in the City of Joy each year. Spanning 5 days, with more than 180 speakers, the AKLF is eagerly awaited by many in Kolkata, especially bibliophiles. AKLF18 which was held from the 11th to 15th January saw the coming together of some of the brilliant minds in the spheres of journalism, literature, environment, and education. It was also ruled by famous Bollywood personalities who turned recent authors. The best part of the event was the chance to personally interact with one’s inspirations and well, get your books signed! Notably, there have been numerous sessions but I would highlight some of my favorite ones through this blog post.

Day 1: The Oxford Junior Literature Festival (OJLF) was inaugurated by Usha Uthup and Nandana Sen. Her lovely song ‘Kolkata Kolkata Don’t Worry Kolkata’ still reverberates in the atmosphere. It was followed by a dramatized presentation of a very interesting story by ace writer Nabaneeta Dev Sen. Nandana Sen presented her new book to the children- ‘Talky Tumble at Jumble Farm’. She even asked the children from the audience to join her during her act. Anita Agnihotri’s performance of the very famous story of the Monkey and the Crocodile and other stories was a pleasure to watch. The fluidity in her movements defined the epitome of performing arts and was an inspiration for people to earn how storytelling can be adapted into dance forms. Bookwise was a Quiz organized for the children of the various schools who had come for the event. It was followed by Metajingle- a multidisciplinary theatrical event. The OJLF is one of the few literary festivals which cater to the young minds. The habit of reading, thinking, analyzing and performing needs to be inculcated in the children from their school lives. Thus, the OJLF is just the right platform to give them the ‘food for thought’ and the right exposure to activating their grey cells.

 

Usha Uthup singing at the inauguration of the OJLF
Anita Agnihotri’s wonderful performance

The highlight event of the first day was that of acclaimed director, Mira Nair in conversation with Chandrahas Choudhury. Nair who has completed over thirty years in International Cinema spoke about her experiences in filmmaking and answered a variety of questions from the audience. Her much-loved movie Monsoon Wedding was also discussed. The dark wintry evening with a packed audience under the shamiana seemed to her like the perfect setting for the Monsoon Wedding.

Day 2: Seventeen sessions were held on the 12th of January across two main venues- St Paul’s Cathedral Church and The Tollygunge Golf Club. The highlights of the day were:

  1. Akla Chalo Re: this performance theatre answered a very crucial question- what can Tagore’s women teach today’s women? Tagore, in his writings, have often portrayed very strong female characters. His farsightedness had actually laid the foundations of what we define as women empowerment in contemporary times. It was conceptualized by Isheeta Ganguly.
  2. Joy Bangla, which explored Sudeep Chakraverti’s new book The Bengalis: A Portrait of a Community, had an outstanding panel comprising- Kalyan Ray, Mr. Ashis Nandy, Sudeep Chakravarti and Sudeep Sen. A fruitful conversation followed regarding the Bengali Community and their existence in the modern world. The concept of Probashi Bangali (NRI) was also touched upon.

    (From left) Sudeep Sen, Kalyan Ray, Ashis Nandy, Sudeep Chakraverti
  3. Out of the Woods? Last Girl First was performed by Tishani Doshi. Based on her poem was followed a conversation with Ruchira Gupta, Paromita Chakravarti, and Juhi Khatoon. The conversation highlighted the need of the hour which is to fight for women’s rights and withdraw- legally, aggressively, socially- from the clutches of the malpractices against women.

    (From Left) Paromita Chakraverti, Ruchira Gupta, Juhi Khatoon
  4. Crossing the Line: This was one of the two most revered sessions of the day. With an ace panel consisting of Vishal Bharadwaj, Aparna Sen, Mira Nair, Ratna Pathak Shah, Nandana Sen and moderated by Modhurima Sinha, the session highlighted the portrayal of women on the Big Screen. Each of the panelists had a firm view of the projection of women and how it had evolved over the ages. The perspectives and experiences were many and each of them shared it with the audience with much glee.

    (From Left) Nandana Sen, Aparna Sen, Mira Nair, Modhurima Sinha, Ratna Pathak Shah, Vishal Bharadwaj
  5. India @ 70: Held at Tollygunge Club, the session had eminent speakers like Sir Mark Tully, Bittu Sahgal, Salil Tripathi, Mira Nair and Advaita Kala. Some prominent questions regarding the Indian Democracy and the principles on which it stands today were discussed. An essential statement made by Sir Mark during the session echoed in the minds of the audience for long. They were,

‘Your belief is your belief,

My belief is my belief.

You let me believe my belief;

And I let you believe in your belief. ‘

Day 3: This day had three of the most sought-after sessions.

  1. The Big Brother Syndrome: With the ongoing files against Padmavaati/ Padmavaat, it is only understandable that the need of the hour is to openly talk about Censorship. Pertinent questions like is it necessary? To what extent should there be censorship in writing; were asked and answered by the panelists. Censorship has in fact made writers so vulnerable that statements like Censorship are the suicide of a good writer has also been made public.
  2. Nude: Vishal Bharadwaj in conversation with Pushpesh Pant while unveiling his latest book of poems. His movies have been creating magic on-screen for years and this time, he has created magic through his words.
  3. Moderately Famous? Actor and recently turned author Soha Ali Khan made her debut in the field of literature through ‘The Perils of Being Moderately Famous’. In it, she pens down her life as the daughter of Pataudi and Sharmila; the sister of Saif; and the sister-in-law of Kareena. She was in conversation with Jayant Kripalani, who has numerous movies and books to his credits. She even obliged the listeners with a few lines in fluent Bengali.

    (From Left) Soha Ali Khan, Jayant Kripalani

Day 4: 14th of January was a packed day with several sessions running simultaneously at the Max Mueller Bhavan, St Pauls Cathedral and the concluding event at the Indian Museum. The highlights of the day were:

  1. Nature Nurture: The degrading environment is very much a concern for our contemporary society. This session put forward the theory that one need not join long walks or give a lecture about the environment to instill the perception of saving the environment in people. It can be very subtle yet effectively done with the help of words.
  2. Sports and Governance: The Way Forward was an enriching session by Boria Majumdar, Justice Mukul Mudgal and Mr. Ashis Nandy. Sport is a field which cannot ever be looked beyond. Various sports-related essays, books, biopics have been written and thus it is inevitable that a session o Sports would not find a space at the AKLF.

    (From Left) Boria Majumdar, Justice Mukul Mudgal, Mr. Asish Nandy
  3. India @ 70: Towards Peace: a panel containing Mr. Ashis Nandy, Nayantara Sahgal, Kishwar Desai and Meghnad Desai; and moderated by Mr. Sanjeev Chopra marked the perfect conclusion to this much-awaited event. Held at the Indian Museum, it was the perfect setting to discuss India- its culture, heritage, peace resolutions, and policies. The concluding session began with an inspiring performance by Usha Uthup. This was followed by the panel and ended with a classical music performance.

AKLF18 was the perfect blend of environment, sports, theatre, social issues, and politics with literature. The literary world has a variety of genre, each pertaining to a specific audience or trying to convey its own thoughts. As they say, Pen is mightier than the Sword; the world of literature has the ability to shape minds and nurture the minds of the young. This is exactly what was upheld by the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival.

The fifth and the final day of the event pertained to the young minds who wanted to enter the field of entrepreneurship, journalism or event management. A series of enriching workshops organized at The Lalit Great Eastern Hotel was a boon for the young minds who are yet undecided about their careers. I will go into details about the workshops in my next post. For more details about the Festival, you can check out the official website here.

Nerolac IDEAZ: A World of Colours & Creativity

The 5th Edition of the Economic Times, Architecture and Design Summit, held at Park Plaza, Kolkata geared towards arming the audience with the revolutionary technologies in the field of interior decorations. A Blogger’s Engagement Programme was held as part of this Summit wherein they could interact and try a hands-on demo in using the new and improved paints by Nerolac.

Nerolac has been a leading business in the paint industry, providing some of the best quality paints over the years. This time it has outdone itself by associating emotions with the world of colors and paints. Colour is a very abstract term. As we saw throughout the programme that it hardly has a definition; but has many associations. For instance, Red is the color of anger, hatred, danger, love and what not. Similarly, each color is associated with an object or an emotion. This is how Nerolac decided to tap the perception of color for an individual and give it a new meaning when it came to decorating our homes with a riot of colors.

During the Summit,  Mr Rohit Goyal, Design Manager, Kansai Nerolac Paints made a short presentation, which highlighted its research objectives and results. Their aim was to portray the diversification of the Indian sub-continent through the colors that are used for decorating one’s home. During their study, a few characteristics of color preferences among Indian audience came to the forefront. India, being a country celebrating hundreds of festival across the states, tends to associate colors with culture. For instance, in the arid regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan, the houses are usually colored in the hues of light blues, pinks, beige and brown. In fact, many houses also have tribal drawings on the walls in white or black. This is a representation of their cultural ethos.

Further, being a tropical country, the people here prefer a warmer palette consisting of yellows, greens, and blues. This makes the interiors look larger, airy and improves ventilation. Moreover, color has started to become a definition of people. People are defined by what they choose to put on them, what color do they prefer, what color is their home/room and the like. In fact, it has become a reflection of their personalities, of late.

Thus, Nerolac had collected all these inspirations, stories, cultural perceptions and experiences revolving around the colors of India, to repackage them. Often, one looks towards the West for inspiration, but with the availability of local raw materials and inspiration from a land, this diverse; colors have been remodified to suit the needs of a contemporary Indian yet indigenous audience. Nerolac thus presented its new range of top coat designer finish colors called IDEAZ. The beauty of these colors is that though it takes a high drying time, it is non-drippy, easily removable (till not dried) and one can create their own designs and patterns using different household objects. Seven distinct palettes had been made for this purpose and they are :

  1. Masterpiece White
  2. Sunlight Bliss
  3. Urban Sense
  4. Exotic Escape
  5. Tropical Paradise
  6. Secret Garden
  7. Modern Monochrome
A Volunteer trying out the new range of paints.
Photo: Mr. Sagnik Karmakar

These designer paints come in various shades and are great colors to unleash your creativity into. In fact, after applying the top coat, one can play around trying to make designs on it with usual objects like a sponge, comb, cups, spoons and the like. Further, reverse painting is also applicable, where the color is directly applied to the tool and designs are created on an otherwise monochromatic background. A few volunteers from the audience were given a chance to test the properties of the paint and create a masterpiece of their own, giving everyone present a first-hand demo of the properties of this wonderful new addition to the world of Nerolac Paints.

Nerolac has been a pioneering industry when it comes to paints and the thought process and sheer research which went behind bringing out its latest range is truly commendable. With this new range, Nerolac hopes to give people the power to create their homes according to their preferences and do away with the trend of mundane wall colors by adding a bit of creativity and texture to it.

*Disclaimer: I would like to thank Kolkata Bloggers for giving me the opportunity to attend the Blogger’s Engagement Programme held during the 5th Edition of the Economic Times, Architecture and Design Summit at The Park Plaza, Kolkata on 8th December 2017. The photographs accompanying the post have been taken by Mr. Sagnik Karmakar.

Boi Toi Khabar Dabar: An Initiative by Gulmohar Resources

Early November, Gulmohar Resources embarked on a unique initiative called: Boi Toi Khabar Dabar (BTKD) . Preparations for the event had begun sometime back. From conceptualizing the event by Paroma Sengupta, founder of Gulmohar Resources; to designing an interesting invitation graphic by Manasij Dutta all added to the flavour of hosting this unique event which culminated on the 5th of November.

About Gulmohar Resources:

Gulmohar is an initiative that works on creating locale specific educational material through the use of stories, poems, games and theatre.It also takes keen interest in trying to save the already dying environment by adopting eco-friendly methods in going about its resource developments. You can know more about Gulmohar through its blog  and Instagram Page .

About Boi Toi Khabar Dabar:

Books assembled for exchanging

BTKD was a one-of-its kind event curated by Gulmohar. It was an event where book lovers gathered together to exchange old books that they would no longer require, wrapped in newspapers; to maintain the level of surprise among the audience. The guests talked about books, literature, poetry, environment, social causes and anything that they wanted to talk about. Then there was a book exchange session where one could pick up a book or two. . .three. . .four and ultimately  the gathering concluded with lovely home-made vanilla cakes, pasta and the ever-present Bangali Cha! Participants who attended the event came from all walks of life- college-goers, IT professionals, bankers and social workers. The discussions began with an introduction of the participants and then moved straight onto books, poetry, favourite authors, poets, contemporary and classical literature and much more. Many present were associated with social causes and they spoke about their initiatives as well. The participants were given postcards, Gulmohar Resources Illustrated Books and bookmarks in brilliantly made paper bags by Anushka. A donation box was also conceptualized where the guests contributed and the proceeds of which would be used to purchase books for the children of All Bengal Women’s Union.

Stills from the event I *(From Left: Paroma Di, Altaf , Monishita)

The key takeaway from the event was to meet like-minded people and talk about the joy of reading. Every individual has a different reading habit or a different genre that they favour. It was wonderful to hear such people talk so passionately about their preferences in books and why were they so. In fact, apart from books, I am sure most left the venue making a mental note a long list of books that would add to their list of To-Be-Read soon.

Who Participated?

Being a small event and the first of its kind, we had around 15 participants- Paroma Di and her mother; Anushka (researcher at JU and a fellow Volunteer at Share Stories Open Minds); Prosenjit Da and Altaf; Monishita, Ravi, Priya (fellow Xavierians); Smita Di;  Nayani Aunty ; Debjani Ma’am; Neha; Sayan and Suman Da. (Not counting Yours Truly in the list)

The Feedback:

Gulmohar was overwhelmed with the responses and feedback it garnered through the event. Prosenjit Da commented, “It was wonderful to meet so many people who are passionate about books as well as social causes! Thanks to all who organised it. The Pasta was to die for, by the way!’’ Many who could not attend the event for various reasons had also extended their warm wishes and good luck for the event.

The organisers hope to be able to bring out a Second edition of BTKD soon. If you would like to know more about this initiative, you can stay connected to them through their blog and Instagram accounts. Here is a report of the event on their blog. Alternately, you can also stay connected to regular updates through my Instagram and Twitter Profiles.  Do leave a comment if you liked this initiative and would like to be invited for the next edition (NOTE: This is open to residents of Kolkata only)

Dr Will Tuttle Speaks on Veganism in Kolkata

Mankind has degraded the land and life in their environment through lethal weapons. Yet there remains a fair chance of trying to correct the wrong by making small differences and leading a healthy life. One such small difference is welcoming veganism. Veganism is a specialised form of food habits within the purview of vegetarianism. Here, one not only gives up meat but also gives up dairy products and by products, leather, honey and all forms of products which are derived from the animals. To enlighten the people more about the concept of Veganism, The City of Joy hosted the acclaimed Vegan philosopher, Dr Will Tuttle and his wife Madeleine, early November. They discussed about Veganism, eating healthy, his much acclaimed book, World Peace Diet and lots more in a completely packed auditorium at the International Management Institute, Kolkata.

What is Veganism?

Veganism is based on the principle which translates to the meaning “to seek an end to the use of animals by man for food, commodities, work, hunting, vivisection, and by all other uses involving exploitation of animal life by man”. Vegans eat a lot of tasty foods. Their diets primarily comprise seeds, grains, beans, nuts, vegetables especially leafy ones and fruits. A direct effect of veganism falls on the medicines that are prescribed . Veganism, by no means is against prescribed medicines; however it looks forward to medicines which are not tested on animals and are not made up of lactose or gelatine. Vegans also do not support zoos and aquariums, but they do stand by animal adoption, sanctuaries and shelter homes where animals are taken good care of.

About Dr Tuttle:

Dr Tuttle with his wife Photo Courtesy: Mr Shubhasish Ghosh

Dr. Tuttle is an American visionary, author, educator, and inspirational speaker. He is the author of Amazon #1 best-seller The World Peace Diet , which has been published in 16 languages. He is also a recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award as well as The Empty Cages Award, among many others. He has created and curated several training programmes. In fact, VeganPalooza, the largest online Vegan event has been gifted to the world by him. Dr Tuttle has been featured in many documentaries like Cowspiracy, Vegan: Everyday Stories, Hope for All and others. A former Zen monk and a Dharma Master in the Korean Zen tradition, he has created eight CD albums of uplifting original piano music. With his spouse Madeleine, a Swiss visionary artist, he presents extensively throughout North America and worldwide at college campuses, spiritual centres, conferences; and peace, social justice, animal protection, health, and environmental gatherings.

His Indian Tour:

Photograph taken during Dr Tuttle’s program in Kolkata with the City Hosts . Photo Courtesy: Mr Shubhasish Ghosh

Dr Tuttle had come to India during late October and early November and gave a series of inspirational talks in major cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mangalore, Surat, Pune and others. Each of his talks were attended by hundreds of people. This highlights the fact that society is slowly becoming conscious of the concept of Veganism and is trying to find its way into adopting a healthier lifestyle. A full list of his scheduled talks can be found here . In Kolkata, he and his wife were hosted by Mr Shankar Narayan  and Mr Shubhashis Ghosh . From sharing his own experiences on being a Vegan since the 1980’s to talking about the positive aspects of veganism, Dr Tuttle enthralled the audience for over two hours.

Scepticism Regarding Veganism:

Many are a little sceptical regarding the kind of nutrition that the body gets if one adopts veganism. This is because meat is a rich source of protein. As vegetarians do not consume meat, they derive their proteins and a major portion of their nutrition from cereals and dairy products. But with the giving up of dairy products the question which haunts people is how they would derive the necessary nutrients for the body. The answer to this question lies in an in-depth analysis of Veganism and its advantages.

If you want to delve deeper into Veganism:

In fact, if you are interested to learn more about Veganism, you can definitely join the Facebook Group and keep in touch with fellow vegans. To keep in touch with Dr Tuttle you can always subscribe to his website or contact him through the form here . You would also be able to keep yourself up-to-date with his various tours and travel itineraries and be able to listen to him live if you happen to be in the same place.

Do tell me what you think of the concept of Veganism. If you are a Vegan yourself, then do enlighten me a little more from your personal experiences.

*Disclaimer: I was asked to cover the Vegan Awareness event held in Kolkata by the city host Mr Shubhashish Ghosh.

INFOSEC GLOBAL 2017: Combating Cyber Crime

Cyber-crime is that coiling invisible serpent which has found its way to the digital domain. As it is not substantial like a theft or a murder and since people are less aware of it; not much thought is being given to mobilise and make the public armed with tools to combat it. Cyber-crime may affect the society in various levels- personal, business and government and security. Thus, one needs to be armed in all three levels to be able to combat this growing terror in the society. One of the first steps to generate awareness regarding cyber –crime was undertaken by the INFOSEC GLOBAL 2017. This non-profit organisation initiated a platform which brought together individuals, government officials, police and other respective stakeholders, for the first time in Kolkata, to discuss and seek solutions for the various aspects of cyber-crime.

Held on the 3rd of November, 2017 at The Park Hotel, the INFOSEC GLOBAL 2017 saw an array of speakers like Dr Sanjay Bahl, Mr Debashis Sen, Ms Rama Vedashree, Mr Bratya Basu and Mr Hari Kusumakar who analyzed topics like ‘Cyber Security Readiness for Digital India’, ‘Creating Next Generation Cyber Warriors’; ‘Digital Forensics’, ‘Opportunities in Cyber Space’ and various other existing and emerging scope of cyber-crime and cyber security measures.

According to Mr Sushobhan Mukherjee, Chairman INFOSEC Foundation, the platform initiated a ‘cross-connect’ of people from different verticals who came together to ‘share knowledge, ideas and problems.’ He focussed on the fact that the ‘main problem is not about technology, but ignorance and over-confidence’ shown by the people. Today, anyone with a laptop and knowledge of social media or the internet calls himself a pro in cyberspace. But this is only the tip of the iceberg and he is entirely ignorant about the dangers of cyber space in his self-proclaimed overconfidence, with the limited knowledge that he has acquired. Thus, the primary step would be to make sure that ‘relevant information could reach relevant people.’

IPS (Retd) and Former Governor of Nagaland, Mr Shyamal Dutta, focussed on statistics to show how vulnerable India is as a whole to the threats of cyber security. Very correctly put forward by him was the mind-set of the people that is tuned to respond and recharge after the catastrophe has already hit, instead of aiming for its prevention in the first place. He focused on the amalgamation of private and public sector to fight against cyber-crime by maintaining a ‘digital balance of power’.

Mr Debashis Sen explains Block Chain Technology during the meeting with the Media

Mr Debashis Sen, Additional Chief Secretary IT, Government of West Bengal discussed that cyber-crime is ‘an opportunity and West Bengal Government is thinking of harnessing it in a useful manner’. He focussed on the requirement of a centre for a specialized mode of training, which according to plans would be set up soon in Rajarhat, Kolkata. It would aim at spreading education, skills and leadership to deal with the vices of the dark cyberspace. He stressed on a ‘firm partnership between the private sector and the government.’ Mr Sen went on to enlighten the audience regarding an in-house laboratory with a panel of internal experts to develop resources that can fight against the vacuum caused by growing cyber-attacks and comparatively lesser weapons against it. Another important aspect which he focused in details was the idea of alternative methods to make cyber-attacks difficult through block chain, cryptocurrency, bitcoin and the likes.

Block chain is a method of keeping registrations in distributed mechanism so that it is very difficult to hack it. Whenever you store in the State Data Centre or the National Data Centre, any person can break the firewall and get into the system. But in a block chain technology, the whole data is basically distributed amongst thousands and thousands of people and there is a public key and a private key and it is encrypted. So it is virtually impossible for anyone to make any changes in the database. It is this invincibility of this database that is being used in very innovative uses. – Mr Debashis Sen

Mr Vineet Goyal pointed out that nowadays, anyone with a mobile phone enters the cyber space. With a rough estimate of 300 million illiterates in India, who own a phone and have already entered the cyber space domain; how would people with no basic knowledge cope up with cyber-attacks? This is a challenge thrown at the Government which it has to take care of with the help of research institutions, businesses, and cyber security experts. One of the burning issues put forward by him was ‘Can the industry create a product that delivers this education to anyone who enters the cyber domain? ‘

Dr Sanjay Bahl addressing the audience

Chief Guest Dr Sanjay Bahl, Director General, Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (ICERT) deliberated on the current scenario of India vis-à-vis combatting cyber-attacks. He highlighted that risks are a part and parcel of the cyber space and it cannot be ignored, avoided or outsourced. In his Keynote Address he spoke about the various different ways in which the ICERT trains individuals to take necessary steps during a cyber-attack. Some of these steps include, The Cyber Security Act, Cyber Crisis Management Plan, Cyber Security Drills and special workshops and training.

INFOSEC 2017 brought together experts from various fields on the same platform to deliberate on combatting measures against cyber attacks. With  new and advanced emerging technologies everyday, no one method is holistic enough to fight against cyber-crime. In fact, these methods themselves need to be regularly reviewed, monitored, updated and improved in order to suit the needs of the types of the cyber-crimes occurring throughout. With this conference, INFOSEC aims to enlighten the general public in the burning issues, so that they are aware of the cyber-attacks, and know that the Government, police, private sector and educational institutions are all beside them in this battle. Thus if you remotely suspect that you are becoming a victim of cyber-crime, then do contact your nearest police station or cyber-crime expert teams to help you deal with this grave offence. To know more about INFOSEC and its undertaking, please do visit their official website.

Swad Sanskriti Brings Together Food, History Culture and People

Food forms an important aspect in culture building. When we talk of the culture of a particular place or a region, apart from the society, its practices and traditions, we never miss to mention food as an integral part of the conversation. The history and culture of a place has a profound impact on the culinary tastes of the people . Prosenjit Paul comments, “Well,the British exiled Wajid Ali Shah to Kolkata from Lucknow! And he brought his cooks who introduced Lucknow Biriyani to Kolkata. And due to paucity of funds, and availability of cheap potatoes, the present day Kolkata biriyani was born! Now exiled Bongs clamour for Calcutta style Biriyanis wherever they go in this world, and eateries/chains like Calcutta Kitchen (Delhi)/Calcutta Cabin (Bangalore)/Calcutta Street in London and many more!!” However, often food and culture are seen as different entities. According to Prantik Sengupta, “The cultural ethos and history of a place is not influenced by the gastronomic habits and preferences of the people, because both are distinct entities and neither depend upon the other for existence.” This is a debate which can go on forever like the age-old question of Who came first The Egg or the Hen?Whether food and culture are related or not is for you to opine. But to assist you in opinion building, Swad Sanskriti would be launching its innovative concept.

It will be inaugurated by The Hon’ble Minister of Culture, Government of India Dr Mahesh Sharma Organised by The Food and Beverage Buzz magazine. Swad Sanskriti, is a celebration of food, culture and philosophy.  It will be held on the 26th of November 2017 at The Radisson Blu, Paschim Vihar (Saphire 1&2), New Delhi from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Every delicacy has a strong reflection of the region it has been prepared in. Subtle differences in the methods of making or the ingredients used give it a completely different flavor.
Photo Courtesy: Swad Sanskriti

Curated by Dr Ashish Chopra, well-known culinary historian, TV Host, Author and Senior Consulting Editor of Food and Beverage Buzz magazine, Swad Sanskriti as the event will look into exploring the wisdom of our cultural philosophy through food that has shaped Indian history and which today has become the identification factor for us Indians. As Paroma Sengupta opines, “History and culture affects the food of a place. For instance, if there are Parsi settlers in a particular place then the food in that area will have a Parsi influence. Similarly, Mughals in a particular place means Mughlai food.”  Rimbik Das focuses that “both [culture and food] can work simultaneously”, influencing each other throughout its evolution. From time immemorial it has been stated that without exploring and discovering the past, the future cannot be successfully harnessed. Thus, Mr Pawan Agrawal, Chief Executive Officer of Ocean Media Private Limited, that publishes Food and Beverage Buzz, says, “Understanding our past is imperative to understand our present food habits. So, how do we come to an elaborate understanding of our cultural habits? These are some of the questions that we will look at exploring through these events.”

Destined to be one of the first conclaves of many to come, Swad Sanskriti will host the theme of Cultural Gastronomy and Diversity in its first chapter. It will explore the diversity and unity of Indian Food and how its influence has helped develop and evolve Indian culture. To discuss some key issues that pertain to Indian culinary heritage, Swad Sanskriti will bring together eminent stalwarts from various food verticals including Chefs, Hoteliers, Restaurateurs, Food Historians, Anthropologists, Researchers, FMCG, food packaging industry, representatives from the Dairy companies, E-retailers and Food app companies among others.  Shuvam Manna says that, “Food is definitely an influence on the history and culture of the place and vice versa. There’s the notion of how people who love to eat are content with their food and peace-loving, thus the diverse the cuisine is, the better the chance of a place to maintain peace. Next how cuisine is AN integral part of a culture of a place, and so if the food had not been good, the place would’ve had a bad reputation among foodies, thus hampering tourism, even if that’s to a small extent.”  This proves that food as a subject or research in an interdisciplinary one. All other disciplines like history, geography, logic, philosophy, psychology goes into the thought process behind the food of every region. Each dish has an associated history with its inception and evolution. Rummaging through the past would give answer to numerous such questions which would lead us to rediscover our culinary preferences in contemporary times Vis-a Vis their older versions.

Photo Courtesy: Swad Sankriti

The advisory board of Swad Sanskriti  includes eminent personas from the field of culinary studies, history and culture. Some of the members are, SK Misra, IAS (retd.), Chairperson, Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development, Pradyot Manikya Deb Burman (Maharaja, state of Tripura), Pramoda Devi Wadiyar (Rajmata, Royal family of Mysuru),Pushpraj Singh (Maharaja, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh),Jose Dominic, CEO, CGH Earth Group, Rakesh Mathur (Former President, Welcom Heritage by ITC group), Sanjeev Pahwa (Sr. Vice President, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group),Chef Rakesh Sethi, Corporate Executive Chef, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Steve Borgia, Chairman & Managing Director of INDeco Leisure Hotels, B.R. Oberoi aka Diamond Oberoi (Chairman, Elgin Hotels), Pritha Sen (Food Anthropologist) and Dr Pushpesh Pant (Food Historian & Critic).

Ms Urvashi Jaahnvi Agrawal, Editor-in-Chief of Food and Beverage Buzz magazine says, ““Swad Sanskriti isn’t just about discovering the culture of food and taste, it is a platform to bring together food lovers and those who are always excited about experimenting with different combination of ingredients.” If you are a patron of good food and would love to discover its evolution and future along with playing with new flavours and ingredients, then Swad Sanskriti is the event to look forward to. There is no better way to strike a conversation with people than the one happening over food. You can check out their official website for more details on Swad Sankriti.

Photographs Courtesy: Swad Sanskriti