The Bangla Studies Initiative supports the instruction in Bangla language and literature at Berkeley. Spoken both in India and Bangladesh, Bangla is the fifth most commonly spoken language in the world, and is the language of some of the world’s greatest writers and creative artists, such as Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Satyajit Ray. Yet in the United States, Bangla is regularly taught at only one institution of higher education and sporadically at a handful of other universities:
The Bangla Studies Fund allows ISAS to:
- Teach the Bangla language at the introductory, intermediate and advanced levels
- Help prepare researchers who wish to conduct field work in Bangladesh or India
- Train development practitioners, entrepreneurs and NGO activists to work in the field
- Fund scholarships
- For Berkeley students focusing on West Bengal or Bangladesh
- For Bangla or Bangladeshi graduate students pursuing graduate studies at UC Berkeley
- Create new and innovative materials to enhance the study of Bangla
- Increase Berkeley’s library holdings in Bangla literature
- Create lecture series to bring Bangla scholars, artists and performers to the Bay Area
The Bangla Studies Fund is the only one of its kind, specifically designated for the study of Bangla language and culture at an American university.
Your generous donation will initially be collected in to a current use fund which will then annually be transferred to an endowment.
An article written by Behnaz Ahmed, a former UC Berkeley Bangla student, for the Dhaka Tribune.
Experience to date
In 2004, the Institute for South Asia Studies launched the Bangla Studies fundraising drive. As a result of strong community support, introductory and intermediate level Bangla, taught by Abhijeet Pal, along with content courses on the culture, history and the society of modern Bengal, have been taught at UC Berkeley since the Fall of 2005.
The content courses on Bengal’s culture and history cover a wide range of topics: nineteenth-century Bangla social and cultural Enlightenment; nationalist and colonial struggle in Bengal and India; the Partition of India and Bengal in 1947; and the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Bangla texts in translation and Bangla films have been effective tools of instruction about Bengal’s past and present. The Bangla program, in this short time, has already been able to fulfill its unique potential through sustained student participation and scholarly engagement with Bangla language, culture and society across the borders of the two Bengals.
We are also pleased to announce the recently created lecture series – the Rajendranath Das Lecturership – as a result of the generosity of Mr. Satyen Das.
We would like to thank Chevron Corporation for their generous support of the Berkeley Bangla initiative.
South Asian Language Instruction at UC Berkeley
Administered through the Institute for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley provides comprehensive language instruction at three levels, from introductory to advanced, in six of the major literary and spoken languages of five countries in South Asia: Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bangla, Punjabi and Sanskrit. Additionally, in Fall, 2007, UC Berkeley will also begin to offer courses in Telugu. Instruction in reading, writing, conversation and literature in these languages is extensive, both in breadth and depth, and students can earn Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil and Sanskrit.
We are very grateful to all our Berkeley Bangla Studies Fund supporters in helping us kick start our Bangla Studies Fund Initiative. Many thanks especially to the following people who generously donated $5k and above: Pranab & Kalpana Bardhan, Kimi & Shankar Bhattacharya, Manisha & Somangsu Bhattacharya, Anshu & Atri Chatterjee, Sunanda & Kali Chaudhuri, Chevron Corporation (Ahmed and Leena Badruzzaman), Satyendranath Das, Kamil & Talat Hasan, Anjali Morris, Sanjay & Anuradha Ray, Ratna & Subhas Sarkar, Sengupta Family of Walnut Creek, CA, and Gita & Ashok Vaish.
For more information on giving opportunities, please contact:
Director, Subir and Malini Chowdhury Center for Bangladesh Studies
Executive Director, Institute for South Asia Studies