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Calligraphy talks


As (S)talker is deeply interested in de-/un-schooling, his concern for children leads to a pedagogical project. A primer was developed and it is meant for the primary Bengali facilitator, who were introducing Bangla alphabets to the children below six years. The strategy adopted here for introducing target language graphemes to the Bengali children was altogether different from the usual cultural practice of introducing Bangla alphabet with sequential Sanskrit phonetic order of things that create ambiguities and confusion in the mind of learning-subjects as there was no strict one-to one correspondences between Bangla speech sounds and traditional graphemes. There might be one-many or many-one or zero –one (or vice versa) correspondences. Therefore, altogether different approach was taken to teach language art by introducing art samples already available in the Bengali culture. The simple contours of Alpana (“ritual painting in the floor of the house” mainly practiced by Bengali women at the time of religious festival; the term denotes ‘to coat with’. The idea of using Alpana in the context of learning was taken from the understanding of Satyajit Ray’s Bangla calligraphy. Graphemes were introduced to children after teaching straight lines, adjoining straight lines with dots, triangle, rectangle and circle respectively. All the geometric shapes are formed either by the way of drawing or by using clay. These basic shapes were gradually metamorphosed into the graphemic shapes and that was a strange and anew experience to the child learner. Graphemes, on the basis of their homogeneity, e.g., sounds like b, r, k, dh, jh etc. with their atomic triangular graphemic shapes or o, t, ou, oi with the basic circular shapes were put together with the contours of alpana for executing learning process. Along with this artistic learning, songs containing the sounds related to graphemes were sung with few musical instruments. Later on stories are told and performed as a play (both teachers and students participate in the extempore dramas and relevant musicking) with a view to write stories in the latter stage of learning. Thus the whole process had become a joyful bi-way “learning” process rather than that of oneway “teaching”.  In all the cases, the learning process, apart from its context-specific lingua-aesthetic content, depended on the prior knowledge of the linguistic features of Bangla language. By anticipating phonetic features, phonological rules and child language acquisition theory, the whole (open) text was built with the help of a Bengali child-learner. All thesketches of this open text were drawn by Master Akhar Bandyopadhyay (He starteddrawing when he was 3 years old and he finished learning graphemes within one and ahalf years. In case of above six-year old illiterate learners, it took 20 to 25 days to learn almost all the Bangla graphemes along with few allographs, if s/he is taught in this way.)The redundant and opaque clustered graphemes are avoided in this phono-centric lingua-aesthetic direct learning process.

(S)talker provided an account of Satyajit Ray’s calligraphic techniques. Satyajit Ray designed two English typefaces, viz., Ray Roman and Ray Bizarre. (S)talker made another paper concentrating on Ray’s artistic playing with the Bangla graphemes as it was revealed in the cine posters and cine promo-brochures’ covers (This paper excludes book-cover designs by Ray). (s)talker found deep impact of

(a) Artistic pattern of European staff notation in the graphemic syntagms;

(b) Alpana in Ray’s graphemic representations.


Thus, so-called division between classical and folk art was blurred in Ray’s representation of Bangla graphemes (Cf. FOLK AND NON-FOLK: QUESTIONING THE DICHOTOMY  Download (.pdf)). The three-tier X-height of Bangla graphemes was presented in a manner of musical map and the contours, curves in between horizontal and vertical meeting-point, follow the patterns of alpana. Authors also showed the metamorphosis of graphemes (This might be designated as “Archewriting”) as a living object/ subject in Ray’s artistic manipulation of Bangla graphemes. (s)talker also mentioned Ray’s calligraphic impact on the Bangla printing technology. Bengali children, when were to be introduced in the Language Art (especially Bangla writing system), might practice alpana with a festive mood for the easement of their finger-movements and for alpana’s affinity with the Bangla graphemes.

An archive of Bangla graphemes was made in collaboration with the Asiatic Society, Kolkata. (s)talker was the one of the principal investigators of this project.

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Digiart: Akhar Bandyopadhyay


                                                                                            –# Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay *

^ দেবপ্রসাদ বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় ^







About Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay

Debaprasad Bandyopdhyay (b. 1965), through his 25 years journey in the realm of institutionalized academics did 27 different types of works, which are someway different from the earlier paradigms or, one might say that those works are not only mere reproductions of his inherited institutionalized cultural capital or a mimicry of a colonially imposed model that leads to intellectual anorexia or rather a type falsification of earlier paradigms. However, that might be not only a lofty claim but it also hid the fact that all our information and knowledge are socially accumulated knowledge that was, it is matter of regret, posed as private property through the sign © and the wisdom is rarely available. Bandyopadhyay’s works and projects are the products of his social milieu. Bandyopadhyay is a local sub-altern public sphere academician, who avoids the technical intelligentsia (followers of Sahib’s models and they are not committed to the persons who are accommodating surplus work-time to them by performing surplus labour) or inorganic intellectuals and thus fails to be a part of academic tribe and its subsequent socialization process. Of course, that socialization process does not lead to legendary Socratic dialogue. He is also a political activist though he has not affiliated to any political parties as he was always talking about the corporatization of political parties within the money-sign-based democratic system. He is a regular participant in TV and radio talk-shows and documentary films, street-corners’ talks and International seminars on socio-political, psychological, linguistic, environmental and economic issues. He also writes editorial columns in newspapers. He is also a part of parallel academics as it is found in West Bengal’s Little Magazine Movement, though that was not counted as the part his academic pursuit by his parent institute. His parent institute justifiably does not believe in the domain of parallel academics as this unorganized sector does not directly contribute in the transactions of formal/organized print capitalist eco-enemy paper-publication. Though the dissemination of knowledge is also observed in this space of these parallel academics as all these writings in public sphere simultaneously influence the classroom-discourse and some of them are translated into English, French and Italian. Not only that, Bandyopadhyay also sought engagement with the people, who, by supplying their surplus labour, are sustaining his livelihood. Bandyopadhyay, a linguist by training and a Ph.D.-holder (1996), a junior lecturer (1999-2011) in an autonomous central government institute in India, tries his best for those from he has received and is receiving the manifestation of surplus labour by executing some self-funded projects on economic issues in West Bengal, India. Recently he has got a consolation promotion to the post of Assistant Professor. He has done following 27 research works: 1. Crippled Creativity: An inquiry into language, psyche, society: 2. VALENCY OF BANGLA VERB AND PROBLEM OF COMPOUND VERBS: 3. Archaeology of Bangla Grammar : 4. CAN COMPUTER SPEAK? 5. FUZZY LOGICAL EXPRESSION IN BANGLA : 6. FOLKLORE AND FOLK-LANGUAGE: MYTH OR REALITY? 7. HISTORICISM IN THE DISCOURSE OF BANGLA LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 8. ABHABA, ECP, DELETION AND TRACE 9. SVATVA OR MY-NESS AND ECONOMIC ENTITLEMEMT 10. TRANSLATION STUDIES 11. MASCULINITY STUDIES 12. YAYATI & BABAR COMPLEX 13. SOCIO-ECONOMIC SURVEYS IN AGRICULTURE AND INDUSTRY IN WEST BENGAL 14. CONCEPT OF BODY IN INDIAN PHILOSOPHY AND ARCHITECTURE 15. THE CONCEPT OF ERROR (KHYATI) IN MAD-(WO)MEN’S LANGUAGE 16. THE CONCEPT OF PERCEPTUAL TIME AND GRAMMATICAL TIME IN BANGLA 17. BANGLA CALLIGRAPHY, LANGUAGE ART AND LINGUISTIC PEDAGOGY 18. WO(L)D SPACES: NON-EXISTENCE OF WORDS 19. ANEKANTA METHODS 20. SILENCEME: SILENT OTHER IN LINGUISTICS 21. IMAGINED BOUDARIES AND PRE-COLONIAL INDIAN IMAGI-NATION 22. MAKING OF THE INDIAN PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 23. SEGMENTING THE SUPRASEGMENTALS : MUSICKING IN SPEAKING 24. INTERPRETING GENETIC STRUCTURE BY DEPLOYING LINGUISTIC STRUCTURE 25. GLOTTOPOLITICS OF LINGUISTIC SUBALTERNITY OR AN AGENDA FOR PLANNING FROM BELOW 26. SEMIOTICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY 27. SOCIOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY ACADEMICS
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  1. anirban das says:

    respected debuda , aapnar ka6e aami wrini …

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