Central Ohio Bengali Cultural Association

About Us

Mission

COBCA strives to raise, solicit, collect, and disburse funds and donations for charities, cultural, educational, and humanitarian purposes, either directly or in cooperation with other registered non-profit organizations in the U.S.A. and abroad. COBCA members are part of a diverse group of professional leaders working to address various communities and international service needs. Through community service and other means, COBCA members help promote cultural diversity and understanding throughout Central Ohio USA. Our members are our most important asset. They are the force that allows us to carry out its many humanitarian efforts and achieve its mission. The members have the opportunity to do community service such as health care, hunger, promote cultural diversity etc. COBCA promotes connection among members by working themselves to address community needs. Such promotion involves local, national and international connection and involves families of the members in service efforts.

Objectives

_v To promote appreciation and understanding of Bengali culture, language and traditions

_v To co-operate with other cultural groups and regional organizations in promoting and sharing Indian culture

_v To act as a vehicle for charitable purposes in the greater Columbus Ohio community

_v To organize and celebrate Bengali social and cultural events

_v To teach the children of the Bengali and international community, the Bengali language, culture and traditions

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COBCA 2015 Goals

 

v Promote and maintain unity of this wonderful community with appreciation for art and culture

v Take an all-inclusive approach in event organization and promote the value of volunteership

v Bring in more organized and documented approach for handling COBCA’s financial assets

v Develop a process for consolidation and safekeeping of COBCA’s physical assets

v COBCA’s esteemed image should not adversely impacted in any way

In a world consumed with materialism where technological advancement has exceeded humanity, a group of immigrant Bengalis (Asian Indian) on a late afternoon in the year 1988 debated "how to live." besides working at their regular jobs. One of them resignedly quoted what Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) once said "Everything has been figured out, except how to live." Undaunted, they debated until the choice was unanimous – appreciation of art and culture. It wasn’t a difficult choice since art & culture have always been very dear to Bengal’s heart and mind. No one can deny the fact that the giants of Bengal not only reformed and enriched India but have nourished the consciousness of the rest of the world. The thoughts of these luminaries are best expressed in the native language Bengali. In America, where English is the language for communication, the members agreed they will try to inculcate India’s rich heritage in Bengali into the minds of their children and spread this through cultural programs. Thus was formed Central Ohio Bengali Cultural Association (COBCA).

Our pledge to Bengali language and its culture

The nurturing of our rich Bengali language in every form is the main objective of BCA. On some occasions, we express doubts like "Bideshe Bangla culture niye ato matamati karar ki ache;amader anek second generations to Bangla boltei pare na.." (Why is there so much fuss about Bengali culture in a foreign land — many of our second generations cannot even speak Bengali.) Not only is this kind of reckless statement on our part misconceived, but it is also damaging to our younger generation.

First of all, do we truly realize when we are talking about the Bengali language, we are assessing a world-class language? We may all know thisis a language whose translation into English by the same author (Tagore) of the book Gitanjali brought the Nobel Prize for literature in 1912. Does every Bengali child know this was the first award of that prize to an Asiatic who was a Bengali? Do we all know Rabindranath Tagore’s Bengali song(Bharata-Bhagya-Vidhata) has passed into the common heritage of India’s national anthem and he is the only author in the world who wrote the national anthem (Amar Sonar Bangla, Ami Tomay Bhalobashi) for another country Bangladesh?

When the Bengali movie "PatherPanchali." (Song of the little road) brought India into the world map of original movie-makers, its director, humanistic movie master Satyajit Ray acknowledged much of its tumultuous success to Bibhutibhushan’s narrative. While portraying nature through sheer artistry of the language, Bibhutibhushan made art out of the overlooked. And Ray always had faith that "art wedded to truth must in the end have its reward.." Do we all know, while the average costs of Hollywood movies run into hundreds of millions of dollars, Satyajit created timeless Bengali movies with budgets ranged from $15,000 to$60,000? How much did he make for the work of writing, producing, directing, filming and composing? Typically $3,300. The rivers of feeling in Bengali classics that Satyajit presented in his films, enriched the emotional sediment of the viewers all over the world. Can anyone doubt the importance of a culture born out of such a language — a language for which millions sacrificed theirlives and formed a new independent nation — Bangladesh?

Let us not be mistaken — we are not getting mentally incapacitated by sudden outbursts of emotions. No one is suggesting aforced learning of Bengali language or its culture on our children but should we not at least, tell these proud facts of our heritage and encourage them tolearn more? No matter where we live, if WE, the parents, do not honestly feel passionate and proud about our heritage, our children never will.

Secondly, to those who grew up in India and Bangladesh and later settled in this country, almost a daily dose of Bengalimusic is a necessity. We live in a hectic world that is full of opportunity but also consumed by materialism and restlessness to the point of insanity. At the end of the day, we retreat into a culture whose lyric almost therapeutically soothes our nerves and helps us readjust our mind to the true meaning of life — life that discerns substance from superficiality, happiness from restlessness and, above all, commitment to family from individual hedonism. Younger generations who may apparently seem detached from Bengali culture and do notspeak the language, are also unknowingly benefited by observing their parents’rock solid faith in these time-tested values that this culture embodies.

Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York, once stated (not exact quotation), "United States is avery young country — she has just reached her adolescence and is yet to attain adulthood. You can expect youthful exuberance, not matured actions.." Wehave the unique opportunity to combine in our actions, this great country’s spontaneity with our time-weathered wisdom. We Bengalis, are so fortunate that the rich conduit (Bengali language) helps us reach those wise but practical thoughts from our literary reservoirs. Atul Prasad Sen after returning from England as a barrister, understood the importance of the language and created some immortal songs. What he said almost one hundred years ago became morerelevant day by day: "Moder garab moder asha, a mori Bangla bhasa.." (Our pride, our hope, Oour language Bengali!).

Thank You.