Delhi’s oldest Bengali Club is back in action! | art and culture | Hindustan Times
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Delhi’s oldest Bengali Club is back in action!

The Bengali Club at Kashmere Gate is all set to resume its activities this weekend, after almost a decade. Located in a heritage building, the club is known for one of the biggest and oldest Durga Puja celebrations in the city. After its building collapsed due to poor maintenance, the club had to stop conducting activities.

art and culture Updated: May 14, 2016 18:02 IST
Nikita Saxena
Bengali Club

After almost a decade, Delhi’s popular Bengali Club at Kashmere Gate is set to reopen. Known for its cultural and social activities, the club stopped organising events, about nine years ago.

Around five years ago,a portion of the building which houses the club had collapsed. “We had to stop all events at the club as the building was in shambles. The club has been renovated to keep the new generation in touch with our centuries-old culture,” says Som Prakash Mitra, president of the club.

Established in 1925, this was the first Bengali club in the Capital, and is known for not just its heritage significance but also for hosting one of the biggest Durga Puja celebrations. The heritage building was built in the 18th century. It also comprised a library, the Delhi Bangiya Sahitya Sabha, which was started in the year 1894. Later, when the club was established, the library was merged with it.

It was after a long struggle by the members that the renovation process was allotted to Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). “The Bengali Club is located in a heritage building and has major historic significance. The club members personally approached us and asked us to help. We agreed to do this as we believe the public should be aware of the heritage value of this place,” says AGK Menon, convenor of the Delhi Chapter of INTACH.

The Bengali Club offered the Bengalis a place to socialise. (Ronjoy Gogoi/HT)

The various cultural events and annual excursions organised by the club are still fresh in the memory of many of its members. The club will continue to have cultural programmes once it reopens. Noboborsho (Bengali New Year) celebrations and Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday will also be part of the evening cultural programmes. “We would have celebrated Noboborsho any way and since Tagore’s birthday was on May 8, we thought we’ll celebrate both the events together,” says Mitra adding that the intention was also to save funds. “Also, people won’t have to take out time twice, if we organise both the celebration on one day.” What could be better than the reopening day!

Members of the Bengali club socialise in the library. (Ronjoy Gogoi/HT)

Performances:

• Sanjoy Sarkar’s presentation of Rabindra Sangeet. He is one of the Capital’s leading exponent of Rabindra Sangeet.

• Jayati Ghosh will sing renditions of Rabindranath Tagore and Nazrul Geeti (written and composed by Kazi Nazrul Islam - Bengali poet, writer, and musician).

WHERE: Bengali Club, Kashmere Gate

WHEN: May 14

TIMINGS: 7pm and 7.20pm