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Bangladesh Itihas Samiti

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Bangladesh Itihas Samiti a voluntary, non-profit and non-political organisation of historians. Established in 1966, the Bangladesh Itihas Samiti pursues the following objectives: to promote study of history; to foster understanding among professional and non-professional historians; to hold seminar and conference on historical issues and problems and to publish research journals and publish books on history.

The journal of the Samiti was first published in 1968 under the title Journal of the East Pakistan History Association. In 1973, the journal was renamed as Itihas Samiti Patrika. Since 1976, the Samiti has been publishing an English journal entitled Bangladesh Historical Studies.

An executive committee manages the Samiti with a president, four vice presidents, one treasurer, one general secretary, two joint secretaries and thirty members. The general secretary is Samiti's executive head. The office of the Samiti is housed at the History Department, Arts Faculty, university of dhaka.

Its publications include Fazlul Huq Speaks in Council, 1913-16, (1976) edited by Sirajul Islam; Studies in Rural History (1976) edited by Mufakharul Islam; Bangladeshe Itihas Charcha (1987) (in Bangla) edited by Syed Anwar Hussain; Islam in Bangladesh (1983) edited by Rafiuddin Ahmed; Dinajpur: History and Heritage (1996) and Sylhet: History and Heritage (1999), both edited by Sharif Uddin Ahmed.

Revenue of the Samiti comes from subscriptions of members, sales of publications, donations and government grant-in-aid. The membership of the Samiti is open to all interested in the study of history and conforming to the objectives of the Samiti.

[Aksadul Alam]

Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 19:45

Asiatic Society

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Asiatic Society (1784) The first learned organisation in Bengal to study Asian civilisations scientifically, particularly of South Asia. The idea of founding an association for pursuing systematic research on Asia in general and South Asia in particular first came from Sir william jones (1746-1794) who joined the Calcutta Supreme Court as a Puisne Judge in 1783. Already a group of Company servants including nathaniel brassey halhed, charles wilkins, HT Colebrooke was quite actively involved in oriental studies. warren hastings, the Governor General, himself was deeply interested in Indian classical languages and literature. Therefore, Jones' proposal to set up a regular organisation for oriental studies had received enthusiastic support from other colleagues at the fort william.

On January 15, 1784, thirty such interested Europeans met in the Grand Jury Room of the Supreme Court at Calcutta and adopted the proposal of Jones for founding the institution, which was christened as "The Asiatick Society". William Jones became its first President and continued in this position until his death in 1794. Warren Hastings was made the Patron of the Society. Since then the position of the Patron was held by the Governor General and lately by the Bengal Governor down to 1947. George Hillarow Barlow was elected the first Secretary of the Society. Any European person interested in cultivating and promoting knowledge could seek membership of the Society. The membership of the Asiatic Society was thrown open to learned natives in 1829 when five of them - Prasanna Kumar Thakur, dwarkanath tagore, Shibchandra Das, Rasamoy Datta and Ram Kamal Sen - were elected members. Since then persons of all nationalities irrespective of religion, race and caste could apply for membership.

There had been considerable confusion as to the name of the Society and of its series of publications. The original name was "Asiatick Society". In 1825 the antique "K" was dropped and henceforth it became "Asiatic Society". From 1832, the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal began to be published under the editorship of james prinsep as a private concern, though it mainly published the research reports of the Asiatic Society. In 1842, the Asiatic Society acquired Prinsep's journal as its own organ, but keeping its title intact, thereby, creating confusion between the name of the organiszation and the name of its journal. An attempt was made in 1899 to change the name of the Society to "Asiatic Society of Bengal" but the proposal was voted down by the general assembly. A Royal charter was obtained in 1936 and the Society was then renamed "The Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal". At a general meeting held on January 2, 1950, the organization was again named "Asiatic Society". Confusion exists about the title of the Society's journal as well. Its unofficial organ Asiatick Researches continued from 1788 to 1849. The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal continued from 1832 to 1934. From 1935 to 1952, it was called the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal. From 1953, the Journal came to be known as the Journal of the Asiatic Society.

The most prestigious and influential work of the Asiatic Society is its publications under the Bibliotheca Indica series. It consists of an extraordinary series of oriental texts in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Bengali, Tibetan and other Asian languages and their translations. The Society's Library, Archives and Museum have rich collections.

The Asiatic Society, located now at its own site at 1, Park Street, Calcutta, had played the pioneering and most crucial role in discovering India's past. The reconstruction of the ancient Indian history is almost entirely the achievement of the Asiatic Society. The great Indologists and Orientalists like William Jones, Charles Wilkins, HT Colebrooke, BH Hodson, Francis Wilford, Samuel Davis, HH Wilson, James Prinsep, Edward Fell, had created their intellectual marvels at the Asiatic Society, which gave them a forum for their investigation through its publication facilities and Journals - Asiatick Researches, Gleanings in Science, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and various Memoirs. The proceedings and actual publications of the Society shall reveal its role in the reconstruction of the history of modern south Asia from the debris of the past.

What is particularly remarkable is the fact that the Asiatic Society had a tremendous impact on the trends of the intellectual exercises of the world. For the study of mankind, Orientalism emerged as a powerful tool to interpret civilisations. Learned organisztions like that of the Asiatic Society were springing up all over the civilised world. In 1829 was established the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland with its chapter at Bombay, called Bombay Royal Asiatic Society. Asiatic Societies were also established in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Tokyo, and America.

The organizational set-up of the Society was adopted from that of the Royal Society and is still maintained by and large. From the beginning it had a patron who had been always the head of the State. As in the past the Society has now a Council to administer its affairs with a President, a Vice President, a Treasurer, and a number of Additional Members in charge of various disciplines. The Society admits members, honorary members, associate members and corresponding members. The Council elects outstanding orientalists to fellowship. The Society's businesses are transacted in its Monthly Meetings. The Council is elected by members for a term of one year. At present the Asiatic Society is funded by the Central Government under the Asiatic Society Act, 1984 which declared 'the Asiatic Society in Calcutta to be an institution of national importance'.

Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 19:56

Bangla Academy

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Bangla Academy founded on 3 December 1955 at Burdwan House, Dhaka , was the outcome of the language movement of 1952, and, as such, a symbol of the movement and of Bengali nationalism. Since its inception, it has been playing a significant role in the development and modernisation of Bangla.

Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 20:01


Nazrul Institute

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Nazrul Institute a research and publication organisation set up by the Government of Bangladesh in February 1985 as per the Nazrul Institute Ordinance of 12 June 1984 . Some of the functions and objectives of the organisation as mentioned in the ordinance are: To conduct study and research on the writings of the poet; To compile, preserve, edit and publish poems and songs of the poet; To organise discussion meetings, lectures, seminars, conferences, etc, on the poet's life and writings; To set up a library containing books on the poet's life, literature, music, records of his songs, tapes, films, etc; To prepare musical notations and to make gramophone records, tape records, films, etc, with a view to presenting and projecting Nazrul songs correctly; To impart training in singing and reciting Nazrul songs; and T give awards to scholars for outstanding research on Nazrul Islam.

The Nazrul Institute is run by an executive director who has a trustee board to advise him. The first executive director of the Institute was Muhammad Mahfuzullah and the first chairman of the trustee board was Mohammad Nasiruddin, Editor of the Saogat.

The Nazrul Institute has been very productive in the field of research. Its publications include compilations of discussions, research papers, commemorative volumes, Bangla and English journals, new editions of the poet's original works and English translations of his works. In 1994, the Institute published an album containing 110 photographs of the poet.

The Institute has published the musical scores of Nazrul songs in 17 volumes. In 1985 a committee of experts was formed under the title 'Standardisation Committee on Nazrul's Musical Notation' to ascertain the correct words and tunes of Nazrul songs. Leila Arjumand Banu initially chaired the committee. The Institute has recently published another noteworthy book on the poet: a compilation of his lyrics based on old records. The Institute is also making cassettes of Nazrul songs by contemporary artistes and under the supervision of experts such as Sudhin Das and Sohrab Hossain. Many rare mementos of Nazrul Islam's life and literary works have been collected, including rare photographs of the poet, manuscripts of his poems, old gramophone records, etc.

The centenary of the poet's birthday was observed in 1999 with the Nazrul Institute arranging lectures, seminars, and cultural functions and bringing out special publications on the occasion.

Last Updated on Monday, 23 July 2012 20:05



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