The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has planned to set up an archive at Girish Chandra Ghosh’s house.
The KMC had also organised a meeting to celebrate Ghosh’s 172th birth anniversary. Sashi Panja, minister for social welfare, Mala Roy, chairman, KMC, Debashis Kumar, MIC Parks and Shyamal Sen, former Governor garlanded the statue of Ghosh installed in the courtyard of his house. The programme was jointly organised by the KMC and Sutradhar, a publishing house.
Girish Gatha, a book containing articles on Girish Chandra and edited by Malay Rakshit, a professor of Presidency University and published by Sutradhar was released on the occasion. The fund to set up the archive will be provided by Trinamool MP Sudip Bandopadhyay. The initiative has been taken by Trinamool councillor of ward 8 Partha Mitra.
It may be mentioned that this is for the first time when such a move was taken by the state government. Girish Chandra was the father of Bengali stage and was called the Garrick of Bengal.
Girish Chandra was the mentor of three great theatre personalities — Binodini, Tinkari and Tarasundari. In those days Girish had realised that as no woman was allowed to perform on the stage, he had to bring prostitutes whom he trained and they became actresses. This made them financially self reliant and helped them to give up their profession.
The archive will have a library where research scholars will be able to work on Bengali theatre.
There will be a small auditorium where workshops on theatre will be held. The building will be repaired and renovated. There will be two fountains and the house will be properly illuminated.
Sashi Panja said Girish Chandra had worked for women empowerment. Because of him people have started respecting women actresses.
It may be recalled that after coming to power in 2011, the state government is celebrating his birth anniversary every year. Former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, who claims to be a connoisseur of Bengali culture, never planned to set up an archive on the life and work of Girish Chandra.
He never liked Girish Chandra because of the latter’s association with Sri Ramakrishna and was also against the professional stage. In the meeting, the speakers said the work of Girish Chandra should be preserved to make the next generation aware of the rich theatre tradition and rich culture of Bengal.