Politics, News,

Sorry PM! Satyajit Ray made Varanasi famous ages ago to French with his works

Here after people in France will come to know of Varanasi which may have been in oblivion but after President Marcon’s visit Varanasi will be a known name to all in France. These were the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi adressing a public gathering at Varanasi. I have my reservations and I am sure those who have a good understanding of art, culture, cinema and fashions will agree with my view. 
The city of Varanasi is already quite famous among French people and the credit goes to none other than Great Master Satyajit Ray who had a great admiration among French people. It is due to this appreciation and admiration Ray had received the Commander of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, the highest decoration in France in 1987 from French President Francois Mitterrand had come to Calcutta specially to honour Satyajit Ray. We all have watched the Great Master receiving the award at Raj Bhawan and many of us have the video and audio of his speech (archival value).   
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Coming back to context, Satyajit Ray was himself a great admirer of the picaresque locales and mesmerising beauty of city of temples Varanasi. He had shot a couple of his films in the city and explored the beauty through the lenses. Infact, he had expressed his love for this city many of his interviews.
So, no prizes for guessing that average people in France know Bengal and Kolkata if not much about India and back home people in Bengal have great admiration for French art, culture and not to forget architecture. Infact, French had first came to Pondicherry (Puducherry) and had set up colony. People in France since had been admiring the works of Satyajit Ray. Infact, he had made a special cinema ‘Piku’s Day’ for the French Television.
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People back in Bengal, also share similar love and admiration for France predominantly because of the rich art, culture, music, dance, cinema and not to forget fashions.
Music, Politics, News,

World mourns death of Girija Devi; last rites in Varanasi on Thursday

Indian classical music has lost a voice.  An era has come to end with the sudden demise of noted Indian classical singer, ‘Thumri Queen’, Girija Devi fondly called fondly known “Appa ji”.She was 88.



Born in a zamindar family at a village near Banaras on 8 May 1929, Girija Devi had taken up classical music in the very early age. An exponent of Thumri, Tappa, Chaiti, Kajri, Hori, Tarana, Sadra and other forms of Hindustani classical music,  Girija Devi was groomed in the tradition of the Benaras and Seniya gharanas. She had made her public debut on All India Radio Allahabad in 1949.

She was conferred with all three Padma awards. Girija Devi was conferred with Padma Shri in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1989 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016. She also received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship.


Girija Devi was not keeping well since long, she was suffering from various old age related ailments.  On Tuesday afternoon, Girija Devi was admitted to BM Birla Hospital in Kolkata in a critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest. Girija Devi breathed her last around 9 pm.


Noted musician and vocalist Rashid Khan said, “She was so full of warmth, I always saw her like a mother. I am deeply shocked to hear the news. I recall the special moments I have shared with her on tours and at home”.


Eminent vocalist Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty recalled his association with Girija Devi and said, “I cannot believe the news, everybody called her ‘Appa ji” while I used call her ‘Amma’. I cannot believe that ffrom tomorrow I won’t be meeting her. I know she will fill with music where ever she is.  I am loss of words”. From musicians to her disciples and numerous admirers began reaching her residence to pay their last respects.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted to mourn the demise of Girija Devi. West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee has also paid her tributes to Girija Devi. She recalled that her government had conferred the Sangit Mahasamman and Bangabibhushan awards on the singer in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

The state government has made arrangements for people to pay their last respects. Her body will be kept at Academy on Wednesday.

Her mortal remains will be consigned to flames on the banks of River Ganges (Ganga) Thursday in Varanasi.