Monday, July 27, 2020

Sri Tapan Ghosh: Fighter for Reclaiming West Bengal Identity

Sri Tapan Ghosh

Fighter for Reclaiming West Bengal Identity

Sachi G. Dastidar

For Partition Documentation Project, New York

Mr. Tapan Ghosh, a noted political activist passed away in Kolkata on July 13, 2020, sadly through Corona Virus infection.

Mr. Tapan Ghosh was a pioneering in his political activism. Since partition of Bengal and India in 1947, politics of both Bengals took extremist bend. Eastern Bengal or East Bengal or East Pakistan or Bangladesh took an intolerant anti-Hindu Islamist bend with millions of Hindus killed over time, with tens of millions of Hindus fleeing for partitioned West Bengal State of India. While western Bengal or West Bengal increasingly became intolerant anti-Hindu Left, also called “communal communism” ruled by Communist Party of India-Marxist or CPM, yet almost all their leaders chose not to live in Muslim-majority East Pakistan or Bangladesh, for Hindu India which gave them shelter. (CPM massacred many Hindus, most notable of them were killing of Hindu monks and nuns in the heart of Kolkata https://empireslastcasualty., and killing of thousands of oppressed-caste Bangladeshi Hindu peasant refugees in Marichjhapi island in southern West Bengal No one has been arrested for those killings, including during anti-Communist Trinamool Congress Party Government, 2010s.)

In West Bengal, India with the rise of communal Leftism – similar to racism of the West - from 1970s, and even earlier during Congress Party rule from 1947 through late 1970s, a tradition developed among Indian Bengali Hindus, including Hindu refugees who fled their Muslim majority nations of Pakistan and Bangladesh, of their identity, as not calling them Hindu, censoring anti-Hindu atrocities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, not teaching uncensored Indian history during colonial Islamic ruler and Islamic settler rulers from Central Asia, as well as during colonial British history, although anti-British history was not fully censored. They also stopped teaching ancient Indian/Hindu literature till 1800s in schools and colleges as they were “Hindu” literature as all the literature had to do with worshiping Mother Nature, plants and animals, to sun, moon and water, the six seasons, deities and more, as Hindus worshiped all of those and literature were enmeshed with those. This colonial mindset also affected millennia-old music, dance,

Surprising, a young man named Tapan Ghosh rose from that soil who openly identified himself as Hindu, and started talking of defending Hindu tradition and literature. This was something very new in 1960s through 2000s. Bengali elites termed such people as “communal” to hide their own communalism. To bridge the divide between Bengali Muslims and Hindus Mr. Ghosh made trips to Bangladesh as well and to Muslim-majority areas in West Bengal in India. In 2007 he formally developed Hindu Samhati, or Hindu Togetherness, a nationalist organization, which included all groups, to empower Hindus, especially Hindus in Hindu-majority West Bengal, India who feel oppressed by the state and elites. This is something risky in violence-ridden and censor-prone politics of West Bengal. He also opposed Neo-colonialism of the elites.

One of the taboos Hindu Samhati and Mr. Ghosh broke is to raise the censored issue of killing and destruction of Hindus and Hindu shrines in Bengal – West Bengal and Bangladesh – since non-native Islamic rulers invaded Bengal and started Islamic conversion. (This writer’s own 300-year old Kali Mandir of the Black Mother was destroyed during 1950s pogrom.) It is still a taboo, but Mr. Ghosh’s Hindu Samhati published politically-incorrect calendars documenting anti-Hindu atrocities in Bangladesh and West Bengal from earlier times till the present. Mr. Ghosh presented two of their calendars, 2018 and 2020, that document some of these atrocities to Partition Center. These are completely censored in history books of Bangladesh, West Bengal, India, America and the West, and by liberal and illiberal press.

In some ways his movement may be compared to Black Lives Matter movement in America, or Armenian Genocide remembrance movement among Armenians, or Jewish Holocaust remembrances in Europe of remembering their oppressive historical events, and give courage to victims.

Sri Ghosh visited Partition Center, and visited Partition Center volunteers in India.

Ghosh with Little Saraswati of New Jersey During His Visit to the U.S.

Let us pray for his soul, as we say “He is resting in Mothers Bosom in the Heaven.” Om Shanti! Om Peace!

His last speech was on June 20, 2020 on Paschim Banga Dibas or West Bengal (Establishment) Day, at a virtual event. The lecture is in Bengali.

Here are pages from 2018 and 2020 calendars.

2020 Calendar

(The Calendar Highlights 12 Mosques Built after Destroying Hindu Mandirs [Temples])

2018 Calendar
(The Calendar Highlights 12 Major Mass Killings of Hindus and Buddhists in Bengal in the Recent Past)

January: 1964 East Pakistan Killing

February: 1950 Dhaka Killing

March: 1971 Operation Searchlight
April: 1992 Logang Massacre
May: 1971 Chuknagar Massacre
June: 1971 Golaghat Massacre
July: 2016 Attack on Dhaka Holey Artisan Bakery
August: 1946 Great Calcutta Killing
September: 2012 Ramu Violence
October: 1946 Noakhali Genocide
November: 2001 Post Election Attacks
December: 1992 Hindu Bloodbath

Jay Hyman Tribute from Probini and Partition Project

Sri Jay Hyman

Probini Foundation and ISPaD: Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project Tribute

Sachi G. Dastidar

Probini & ISPaD: Partition Documentation Center, New York, Report

We are deeply saddened to inform you that we have lost one of our closest friends from inception of our two non-profits: Mr. Jay Hyman. We are sorry to bring this news during Jewish holy days, and during Easter weekend. Sri Hyman, as he preferred to call himself, was a Probini Foundation Board Member, and during Probini Board’s last meeting on Saturday, 7 March 2020, that he joined driving 25 miles after finishing a class, also wrote a check for the cause, though he was struggling financially. He was known to Dastidar family since 1971, and was the first person Sachi met in the States. He was the first person Shefali met in America in 1974 at the JFK airport of New York. Sachi met his family in Miami and Brooklyn, and Sri Hyman came running to meet Sachi’s mother in 1987 when she visited New York offering her a Jewish calendar giving time of sunrise and sunset helping Ma, and several Jewish mementos and food.

Probini Foundation honored him with Anath Bandhu (Friend of the Orphan) award for his dedicated help to the poor and the orphaned in Bangladesh and India. Since the award he adopted to write “Sri” (Mr./Ms.) before his name as many others do. (Sri means Mr., Ms, Mrs., beauty, elegance and more.)

Mr. Jay Hyman was a regular attendee of Partition Center’s social-cultural-political-educational events, and attended all Partition Center Conferences beginning in 2010. He donated funds for publication of ISPaD: Partition Center Journal for the past several years. He always donated Jewish, Caribbean, Hispanic food for Partition Center and Probini events that he brought from Brooklyn where he lived. At 2019 Probini Annual lunch he was the presenter of award to Mr. & Mrs. Mihir & Aamala Sen.

Mr. Hyman had a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning and a master’s in Social Work. He worked at a senior center in Brooklyn, and died of Covid-19 virus.

Please join Probini and ISPaD in offering puja and prayer for his soul! On Shanti! Om Peace!

Hyman (left) presenting Award to Mihir & Amala Sen, May 2019

India Independence and Partition Event, August 2019 (Hyman, right)


At 2018 Conference at SUNY at Old Westbury (Hyman, front right)

At 2019 Partition Center Conference and Journal Release (Hyman, 3rd from right)

Spiritual Offering for Jay at an Ashram in Bangladesh

On April 15, 2020 puja-prayer for moksha (spiritual liberation) and mukti (salvation) for Jay Hyman was conducted by Hindu Monk Rev. Swami Satyapriyananda at Pranab Ashram in Bangladesh. Hyman, a Board Member, helped the ashram build a boys’ dormitory through Probini Foundation. Swami performed stuti (devotional praise) for Hyman at the beginning of the service.

Here are a few pictures from the puja service.

Additionally, Dastidar family donated funds in his memory to feed the poor during the Covid virus lock down to Tuichawng village in Mizoram State, to Bankura orphanage, and to Kolkata city’s Majherhaat slum, all in India, and to Madaripur and Pirojpur ashrams, and to Dhaka, all in Bangladesh. Hyman helped education in all these places through Probini Foundation. 

Jay Hyman's (Samadhi) Grave at Staten Island's Hebrew Burial Ground

Visit by Dastidar Family on June 15, 2021


 Building at the Entrance of the Hebrew Burial Site

Jay Stuart Hyman Grave Site

Dastidar Family is Offering Puja Prayer Including Shriya for Her Granduncle Jay-Dadu, and Shuvo & Sumedha for Uncle Jay-Kaku

               Shuvo is Offering Tributes with Notes, Stones and Flowers for His Uncle Jay-Kaku

Staten Island Hebrew Cemetery Map

Grave (Samadhi) Location Section 90, Row 50, Grave No. 5
Below is a Gift of an Outdoor Umbrella and  Table to Shuvo, Sumedha and Shriya Lakshmi few days Before his Departure. We Call that Jay's Umbrella.


Dedication of Memorial Tablet by Dale Cohen, Jay's Sister, Brother-in-law Howard, Family & Friends
March 20, 2022

Our love to Jay, his sister Dale's family, and friends!

Tributes to Jay Hyman via Internet:

Good morning- Ghosh- I am so touched by your loving kindness with paying respects to me and my family. Thank you for your acknowledgments. 
With love, Dale and Howard
(Many old friends from 1971 call Sachi by his middle name Ghosh, as Jay Hyman did.) 
Thank you very much, Ghosh! A very nice way for all of us to remember Jay.Let us all now be safe.Alan Weissman
What a beautiful tribute to a real human being, a mensch in Hebrew. 
This was a great loss to the world and to your family in particular. I’m so sorry. 
Rev. Arlene R. Wilhelm
Minister of Word and Sacrament
Certified Spiritual Director