Three miles on a bicycle .. Ramnagar in 1960

First Posted on May 1, 2012 by sitardivine

I still remember the three miles on a bicycle, seating on a small seat in front of my father. Now I know it was 24 October in the year 1960. A little calculation tells me that I was then six years old. We went to Ramnagar two days earlier. I did not understand why we were there but liked the rural ambiance… the huge expanse of paddy ground.. the sunflowers… the trees everywhere.. the Magnolia tree in front of the small bungalow.  Huge playground not far from the house.. the smell of cooking of fresh chicken or hunted duck curry in the evening… the tube-well on the other side.. the blackberry and custard apple trees… the litchi tree, the olive and tamarind trees … the flowers.. the breeze.. the fresh air, clear moonlit sky far from the madding Calcutta crowd.

Papa told me that he would go somewhere a bit far from Ramnagar. I constantly went on requesting that I would like to be with him.

So, he tried to arrange some transport to accommodate me and finally managed to find a bicycle that has a small seat in the front. I was happy and took the ride with him on that little red baby seat. I remember there were quite a few others who were in the group and all on bicycles. It was a bumpy village road and too long for me on that uncomfortable seat. Still, I enjoyed the ride.. the only bicycle ride I ever had with my father!

I don’t clearly remember how Bado-Jatha [my uncle] joined us. Now I know that his presence was very important, he had to sign the gift deed on behalf of Dadu [grandfather]. He transferred the land to Papa’s name.  I remember I saw Jatha [jathA]  at Chandpara. He was there at the Sub-Registrar’s office. Jatha possibly reached there directly by train from Calcutta on the same day. I remember Arekta-Jatha [another uncle] came to the office with us. He was among us in the Ramnagar bicycle group.

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Oh yes! I forgot to tell you what Ramnagar was.  This was a name of a place that my Dadu owned. This was not far from the then Pakistan border at Bangaon. This was about three miles from Chandpara and two and a half-mile from Thakurnagar, the two close-by railway stations. This is now under the post office Ramchandrapur.  Dadu [grandfather] purchased a piece of land during early 1940s or late 1930s. I hear that it was a stretch of 4000 bighas  [1322.4 Acres  or 532.2 hectare]. After Indian independence the government introduced land ceiling and he lost a large part of the land [He never received any compensation on that though!]. However, at one point the land area came to as little as around 6.5 acres and at that point Dadu decided to gift the land to my father.  Now I can imagine, that too was not too small an area..

Back to the story and making the long story short, the land got transferred to Papa after the legal formalities and we all came back to Ramnagar.

I discovered that Gift-deed today lying in an old worn-out packet… Today is the 2012 May Day (01 May]. I thought digitization of the document is a good idea. So, I scanned the document and here it is for you.. It feels good to lay my hands over these old pieces of paper that no more possess the symbol of ownership. The land is still there but not with us… but the memory is still fresh and alive.. Enjoying the old memories!

Some updates:

My Dada [Mahiruha Shekhar Banerjee] called me after looking at the draft post and pointed out that Dadu actually purchased 1600 bighas [526.96 acre or 214.08 hectare] of land in the year 1935.

Remembering Peejush Prasanna on 01 January 2009 evening

First Posted on August 15, 2012 by sitardivine

A Report by Sanjoy Bandopadhyay [copied from ‘Family Wiki’]

It was 6:15 in the evening, the call-bell rang. I got angry because I told everyone to keep the house gate unlocked – we were expecting our people to come. I thought it was Rushai who locked the door and I was about to shout at him – just then Mim commented – “Kuttipishi [Apun] has come”. I looked down from the first floor balcony and a pleasantly surprised to discover Mim was correct. Yes, it was my sweet Kuttididi and my sweet sis was confident that the door was locked – which was actually not so. She is such a good soul, simple and true!

I gave some good thoughts on how we can observe this first day of 2009 in the family. It was not easy for me to plan and manage. Finally we decided that it may be a simple one. The first thing I did was to take the phone out of the cradle and start dialing the few numbers that were almost my own numbers. It was nice to feel the warmth. Most of them said that they will make it – a few said that they won’t be able to – I could understand – After all, it was January 1, this is a day to celebrate, to go naughty, to have a special free day — to prepare for the year long routine – But, sure I did not reach all to whom I should have – thinking formally — No, it was January 01 for me too – so ‘’ Bura na mano – New Year day hai – “ Still, I can easily see I missed many. I especially missed Apu [Sandipan Mukherjee] – I shall tell you why when the time comes –

The clocked ticked by – I started getting nervous – and praying for the next soul to arrive. To my great pleasure Dada and Didin came. We were so happy! But yes, I missed some souls here too – but took caution and remembered not to ask anything — after all it was January 01. After sometime this little house was full – and I forgot everything – and started enjoying the collective consciousness – the consciousness created in a group of similar minds. I am glad that Dadabhai [Pranab] and Didibhai [Sathi] also made it. I knew how important was the 01 January evening for them too – but they chose to join us, I was very glad.

Everyone took care to first go to the thakurghar and pay their homage. It was very simple at the Thakurghar where we garlanded Thakur and Dadu-Thakuma with thick ‘Rajanigandhar mala’. Papa’s photo was just there on the table where Rakhi spread a clean white cloth. A pack of India Kings cigarette, a match box and a 100 gram Cadbury Milk Chocolate bar were there on the table as a treat to him. Rakhi read the ‘Satyanarayaner Panchali’ before Thakur. Kuttididi [Apun] joined her during the puja.

People actually arrived after the pujas was over. All went to put their homage [Pranam] to Thakur, and also Peejush Prasanna. Then we enjoyed two and a half hours uninterrupted joy! We just forgot time – we talked about Papa, we saw 145 old photographs and tried to put our brains to discover who they were! They were all our near ones – but we could not recognize many – Here Didin was the champion, she knew many of them – Dada was not behind – he also knew many – Mejdi also tried to help – Chhordi recognized some of her own photographs – It felt so good – such an enjoyable exercise—I am happy that Didin could not leave us early – and almost missed her appointment— I thought – all must go crazy – it was January 01. In between we were served tea in small plastic cups – I don’t know from where these came – I did not get them this morning. Actually, Rushai and I went to Lake Market to buy a few things including disposables – but we did not buy plastic cups— it must be Rakhi or Ma’s magic from old stock. Then we were served ‘Bake Club’ packets. Then someone told that we should have the ‘prasad’ first. So, Rakhi started the Prasad distribution arrangement. I must not forget to mention Dipankar, my student. Let me tell you Dipankar is an excellent flautist. He came around 4 in the afternoon. Since then he was busy in all the arrangements – be it heating the Chicken Piccadilly, vegetable patties or repacking them in the box and serving us.

The day ended with many promises – we promised to assemble periodically – we should remember the dripping love and affections of our seniors and should get inspired – We should spread the message of Love. We also remembered The ‘Absolute Truth’, which Papa used to propagate amongst his closest ones.

Before closing I must not forget to mention that Rushai took all the photographs – so it has become possible to create this photo-report.

Finally us, who assembled on this evening [typed without any specific sequence]: Didin [Swagata Banerjee], Dada [Mahiruha Shekhar Banerjee], Banudi [Arundhati Chakraborty], Baudi [Suchishubhra Mukherjee], Mejdi [Sushanta Siromoni], Chhordi [Samapika Sil], Tuki [Tuki Banerjee], Aindri [Aindrila banerjee], Nandada [Nandan Sil], Kuttididi [Sharmila Sivadasan], Rajada [Sivadasan], Dadabhai [Pranab Dutta], Didibhai [Sathi Dutta], Suju [Sulata Ghosh], Arun [Arun Ghosh], Mityl [Mityl Chakravarty], Manali [Manali Chakravarty], Bubu [Kastoori Guha Siromoni], Babi [Sushmita Siromoni], Tuntu [Ashmita Siromoni], Johny [Arunima Ghosh], Ratu [Ritwik Banerjee], Soma [Soma Banerjee], Rahuli [Arijit Mukherjee], Ishita [Ishita Mukherjee], Mainak [Mainak Banerjee], Dipankar [Dipankar Mukherjee], Anjanda [Anjan Chakraborty – joined late] and we in the house — Maa [Leela Banerjee], Juam [Rakhi Banerjee], Mimmai [Shreemoyee Banerjee], Rushai [Rrik Banerjee] and I [Sanjoy Bandopadhyay]. To end let me type down Papa’s writing that I found in a tiny piece of paper. He wrote it on 13 September 1983 at Khairagarh. You may also find this included in the composed photograph above.

Religion Universal
In universal religion

Relegare has to be found

And relegere is to be done;

It is holy and blissful,

The search for relegare

That which binds

Can nothing but Truth alone,

Not the relative, the absolute one.

Read again means repeatation

The absolute truth in meditation,

This can be had from one who knows

Otherwise there is no end of toils.

Peejush Prasanna Banerjee

SB’s note:

I take the opportunity to write the meanings of two words those are not in common use.

relegere = to read or pursue together; the same root goes to legible and intelligent

relegare = to tie back, to bind fast

Aum Satyam Aum

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Peejush Prasanna my Father: A Brief Tribute

First Posted on August 15, 2012 by sitardivine

It was January 01, 2009—- a Kolkata morning

When I woke up this morning, opened my eyes on the first day of 2009 – I felt a bit strange. I was not very happy when I believed it would be a happier new year.

Today is different from the first day of 2008. On the last new-year day we were differently busy. That was the day when Papa departed us and took to the zone of timeless oneness.

Then a year passed. It was extremely eventful for me. I did many things, met with many new people, many new experiences, and many new inspirations. It gave me richer understanding of life and creations. But the ability to receive them and interpret them came from within.

I always knew that all these happened because a specific soul was here from 06 June 1920 to 01 January 2008. At times I felt Papa more closely than I had him during some of the earlier years. Some of his thoughts are gradually becoming My Thoughts. I believe this is the chain that helps Human grow.

On this day I wish to remember some of his thoughts. I wish to remember how he used to explain The Truth. How he valued the general truth of life and human deeds. I also proudly remember his never ending support to the people who needed it. I remember his voracious reading of books. He read all the books in two sections of Khairagarh University library within a few months! He read day and night without much sleep. I remember the days when he almost did not sleep for months and kept sitting on his small bed. I remember his getting very angry with little reasons. I remember the 50 eggs at Khairagarh that Papa, Rakhi, one year old Mim and I ate at dinner! That was Rakhi inspired ‘Egg Day’. Actually the idea came from a scene from the Sofia Loren’s Sunflower. I also remember his days and nights with Harry Potter!

The comments that came when this page was in ‘Family Wiki’

We Especially Remember Him Today

Today we are especially remembering him – trying to feel his presence more strongly. His affectionate Didubhai, his first grandchild has left for her office. Mim is a great follower of her Tata [grandpa]. She thought that her Tata would want it this way. But, she will be back early to join everybody in the evening. Today we are trying to run the activities as Papa would like. The Thakurbhog with some nicely cooked food, later evening Puja of Satyanarayan and the get together of the people who he loved most.
Sanjoy Bandopadhyay


More Tributes 

Through the blessings of Lord Ram Thakur, we all assembled here to pay our highest regards / Pranams to Peejush Prasanna Banerjee. :: Pranab Dutta, 01 January 2009

I met Shri Peejush Prasanna, the father of my Guruji, Shri Sanjoy Bandopadhyay in 1980 at Khairagarh, whom i was lovingly addressing as Baba. He was a very kind, straight forward person with good guidance all the time. I pray God that his soul may always rest in peace.:: Dr R.Ramkalawon,Mauritius; 04 January 2009

My Kuttimama, Peejush Prasanna Banerjee, was my favourate Mama — because he liked me very much and he was fond of music. His sense of both vocal and instrumental music was beyond limits. When he used to play sitar the atmosphere of the place used to get surcharged with something great – it’s very difficult to exactly express that — I cannot express properly —– I would say, it used to become heavenly.

I also remember that once Kuttimama commented on me to my mother “ Bardi — Dekhbi akdin O kato kichhu karbe”. Kuttimamamr kathata bhebe ami eka eka chokher jal pheli aar ami nijeke santana dei je ato baro maper manushta Maa-ke oi katha bolechhilo.

Tanika Roy, Hyderabad

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Dadu; Raisahib Rajendra Lal Banerjee


First Posted on August 15, 2012 by sitardivine

[This page was the opening note of the ‘Family Wiki’ that was live from 02 Nov 2008 to 14 August 2012.]

Note: The title is kept as ‘Dadu’ as we the grandchildren from his son’s side used to call him so.  Usual Bengali practice is, the grandchildren of the son’s side call their grandpa as ‘Thakurda’ and the grandchildren of the daughter’s side as ‘Dadu’. We used just the opposites.

Dadu, Raisahib Rajendra Lal Banerjee

Rajendra Lal Bandyopadhyaya (Bilash) also quite frequently remembered as Rai Sahib R.L. Banerjee [Ramanavami 1880 – 14 June 1965 (Ramnabami is an auspicious day for the Hindus).It is believed that the day is the birthday of Lord Ram, the eldest son of King Dasarath of Ayodhya) ] came out as a prolific personality in the society he belonged during his 85 years of life.His parents, Ramkrishna Bandyopdhyaya and Shibsundari Devi lived in their ancestral home at village Dehergati (locally pronounced as Deurgati) district Barishal, presenly in Bangladesh but he spent most of his life serving the Government in different parts of India, before finally settling down in Calcutta after retirement in 1934/1935. Rajendra Lal (The word Rajendra means the King of the Gods) did not live himself but lived with a very strong presence in the lives of hundreds in and outside his family. Around 1998 Amitabha Mukhrejee [Bubu] thought that there should be a big get together of all the members who find their root in RLB. Now again the mind-wave has showed its presence.

Raisahib Medal

The WISH of ‘Touch the Roots’ has come again alive. Mahiruha Keshari (Shekhar) Banerjee [Rintu] feeling the urge that this MUST happen. Mahiruha Shekhar called Sanjoy Bandopadhyay [Bublu] on 01 November 2008 and expressed his wish. Sanjoy also believes that there is a strong role of thought-undercurrent of ‘Knowledge about Life’. Sanjoy comments, “The philosophy, approach to life, the understandings are partly the result of the thoughts passed on to us by our ancestors —“. He says that “I talked with many members of OUR family — and I felt times without number that WE feel that we possibly have a soft-uniqueness. This may be true for all living individuals — but WE are more inclined to REDISCOVER ourselves.”

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Macmillan Publishers and Dadu’s Pen

First Posted on November 15, 2012 by sitardivine

Raisaheb Rajendra Lal Banerjee

It was mid 80′s. I first chanced to have a glimpse of Dadu’s book in one of the many book-shelves at Anjanda’s house1. The two storied building is so much packed with books that once you go in you have to almost breathe through the books. I always enjoyed this academic ambiance. Till then I did not know that Macmillan Publishers took interest in Dadu’s pen. I was very glad to discover this! I saw Dadu, my grandpa, as a saintly person in saffron, a person of very high reverence. I saw him with long white beard. A person who had very simple Bengali diet served with western cutleries. A spoon, a fork and a knife to savour machher jhol, bhaat, khichudi or shukto! Isn’t it interesting? I witnessed him spending time  in reading of the slokas from the Bhagavat Geeta loudly or  copying the Geeta with his wooden handled pen-nib taking ink from an ink-pot or running charkha or writing letters to his sons in English! I hear that one of his pass-time was to multiply nine digits with nine digits and directly getting the answer without a pen and a paper. What an unusual combination of activities!!

Back to the main story. McMillan published ‘Mensuration and Elementary Surveying’ by Raisaheb R.L. Banerjee. Another book titled ‘Elements of Surveying and Relaying’ was first published in January 1926 from The Art Press, Calcutta. Here is the book in pdf format. Thanks to my dear Anjanda who very kindly allowed me to digitize the copy of the book in his collection.

Writing continues…

When I was happy to be able to lay my hands in one of Dadu’s books, I felt a bit uncomfortable without any link to his Macmillan publication. I faintly remembered that I saw the card-board covers of that book in a huge wooden box at Ramnagar (3). I also remembered that I had a piece of outer-bind of that book. I tried to find that but could not locate easily. Last week [last week of November 2012] I was talking to Dada (2) over the phone. He was writing on Banerjee’s and was Mensuration & Elementary Surveying

looking for as many details as he could. He was happy that I digitized Dadu’s book. He asked me if Dadu wrote something about himself in that book and so on. During the discussion I mentioned to him about Dadu’s Macmillan publication. He immediately said that he had a copy. It was really very exciting! I asked him if I could digitize the book. He readily agreed. Finally he brought the book today. (4) I set the light, the camera and all… my tiny DIY set-up [Do It Yourself set-up]. Dada turned the pages, put the glass sheet over the pages and I went on clicking my LUMIX. Finally I had all the snaps and took the files to the computer. The thing got ready shortly for uploading. and here it is… Here is Dadu’s book Mensuration and Elementary Surveying by R.L. Banerjee [Rai Sahib], published by Macmillan & Co.,  Ltd, St. Martin’s Street, London published in 1934


Four years have passed by since I wrote the upper part of this page. Today is Bijoya – 2016, the precise date is October 11. We were frantically searching for some horoscopes in all our cupboards, drawers, and all possible places—but failed to find them. Suddenly, I saw a postcard and became curious why we might have kept it with so much care! Then, I discovered that it was written by Dadu. I saw that the postcard space was divided into three sections. The first part was a letter to his youngest son—that was my father, this brief next part to his six-year-old grandson—that was I, and the third part was used for writing to his daughter in law—that was my mother.  Today, in 2016, it is also interesting to see the 5 paise postcard and our Behala address written to fill the address space. I would like to share the image. Here it goes—

(1) Anjan Chakravarty  is a very serious book-collector. He is my brother-in-law and married to my cousin-sis Arundhati [Banudi]

(2) Mahiruha Shekhar Banerjee [widely known as M.S. Banerjee]

(3) Ramanagar was our farm-house near Bangaon. Click for some details.

(4) 02 December 2012

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