The Bengali Association of Manitoba
Forty-one years ago, a few like-minded Bengali friends felt the need of having an organization that would represent the Bengali immigrant community residing here in Winnipeg. Thus 'Bichitra - Bengali Association of Manitoba' was formed in the year of 1978. Later it became an 'incorporated' body. It is a non-sectarian, non-political and non-profit organization. Bichitra is run by a democratically elected 'Executive Committee'. Its activities are conducted on voluntary basis following guidelines stated in the ‘By-Laws' which were adopted by the 'General Body' (membership) of Bichitra. The membership is open to any person or family who are or will be interested in the goal and policies of Bichitra.
The objectives of Bichitra are to promote the rich traditions and cultural heritage of Bengal among other ethnic communities, to re-affirm these values within Bengali families, and to educate our children in Bengali language, literature and history. Culturally, Bichitra over the years has carved out its own distinctive place and shines within the multicultural mosaic of Winnipeg through its rich performing arts of song, dance, music and drama. Our major annual functions include celebration of the Bengali New Year, observations of Rabindra-Nazrul Jayanti, the Canada-Day, participation in Winnipeg Folklorama festival (India pavilion), week-end camping in various places outside Winnipeg like Riding mountain, Clear lake, camp Manitou
near Gimli etc.
Durga puja remains closest to the heart of Bengali people irrespective of places wherever they live in Bengal, India or worldwide. We also suffered from that nostalgia in the past in Winnipeg. Bichitra has been organizing Durga puja since 1980. Our puja is one of the few in North America that is held over all four days coinciding the actual puja dates in India. A puja-magazine called 'Agomoni' with literary and artistic contributions from our members is published following the holiday publications of 'puja sankhya' back at home. It is a great pleasure that “Agomoni” is now available online.
We acknowledge our long past crowded with glorious activities only befitting to a well-run organization. The responsibility now rests with the yonger generation, naturally, the 'old order changeth yielding place to new'. To serve Bichitra ahead, we welcome challenging ideas pursuing new endeavours consistent with the artistic and cultural heritage of Bengal.
Our history and heritage
In the year 1978, at the Thawani Tower, on the day of Saraswati Puja, considering the presence and urge of all community members, Dr. Samir Bhattacharya proposed to form a Bengali community club. The day was a Saturday. Next day, Sunday, Mr. Makhan Bal called up each of the community members for their opinion, and everyone cheerfully agreed to the proposal. In the same year, on the occasion of Sree Sree Ramakrishna Deb’s birthday celebration at the Hindu Society's office (Redwood & Main Street corner), ‘Bichitra’ was formed. The name 'Bichitra' was proposed by Ms. Shipra Sen. It was a Bengali club at that time. Sometime in 1979, it was renamed to 'Bichitra - The Bengali Association of Manitoba'. It soon surpassed all the dreams of having a social organisation and became a true social, cultural and intellectual hub of the Bengalis in the city and around. Since then, over the last 41 years Bichitra carved out a distinctive role in our social fabric, it remains as the oldest and most vibrant Indian Bengali organisation in Winnipeg.
Our fundamental objectives...
We are committed to sustaining and promoting our culture and heritage, supporting the society we live in and reinforcing our future generation with meaningful values. We strive to keep our rich culture and heritage alive through various religious
events, social and educational activities and cultural programs throughout the year.
We renew our festive spirits, following true Bengali traditions — our celebrations of Durga Puja in Fall and Saraswati Puja in Spring are attended in large numbers.
We attempt to bring the community together and keep them actively involved in various social events throughout the year — whether it is the Bengali New Year or our Summer picnic gala.