বাংলা - bengali
মোদের গরব, মোদের আশা, আ মরি বাংলা ভাষা !
মাগো তোমার কোলে, তোমার বোলে, কতই শান্তি ভালবাসা !
|Oh mother, so much peace and love in your embrace and in your words
In this language, I uttered my first words calling my mother as “Ma”
In this language, I will utter Hari’s name when my tears and laughter end forever
The Bengali language is truly our pride and hope, as in the immortal words of poet Atulprasad Sen. It is indeed our hope that our newer generations, in our new homeland, develop a love and appreciation for the Bengali language. We hope that they take pride in their heritage as they assimilate in the country of their birth or adoption.
The Bengali language class operates under the auspices of the Vidya Vikas School at DFW Hindu Temple – Ekta Mandir, in Irving, Texas, and serves students from all over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and surrounding suburbs. Classes meet every Sunday at 1:00PM.
Encouraged by parents who were searching for a way to get their children engaged with the Bengali language in the DFW Metroplex, Mrs. Sipra Chatterjee started Bangla School of Dallas Fort Worth in 1992 with about a dozen students. As it so happened, the DFW Hindu Temple opened its premises in Irving around the same time, and under the guidance of Dr. Shah, Vidya Vikas School was formed as well. It has been 25 years since the Bengali classes began at Vidya Vikas, but the passion and enthusiasm, amongst students and teachers alike, remain infinitely strong.
This Bangla class is not like any typical language class. Mrs. Sipra Chatterjee developed the methodology of this class over the course of many years teaching at the Applied Institute of Indian Studies in Kolkata, India, affiliated with the University of Chicago’s South Asian Language Program, as well as private teaching for Ford Foundation, WHO and Oxfam employees. Mrs. Chatterjee taught Bengali to American and European graduate students working on their Masters or PhD theses in India. The pioneering research of her late husband Dr. Suhas Chatterjee, a Professor at the University of Chicago whose book is available on Amazon, largely informs the curriculum of this class designed for students whose native tongue is not Bengali.
The aim of this course is not simply to create grammarians. This course is aimed for those who are already adept at one or more other languages that they primarily use. The goal is not only to enable an ability of basic reading, writing, and speaking in Bengali, but also to impart an
appreciation of Bengali literature and the performing arts and an understanding of Indian philosophy and culture. As such, the students do not endure a course of rote memorization of grammatical rules and incessant, meaningless vocabulary. Instead, we introduce them to a few consonants and vowels, enough to read and write a few words even after the very first day. As their newfound ability sparks interest, they are taught a few rhymes to reinforce their learning, inspiring immediate delight from parents and grandparents and enhanced family interest in the curriculum.
At first, the progress of the students will baffle traditionalists. But over time, the children become quite adept at the Bengali language, being able to read and write Bengali on their own using the well-known Sahaj Path series of books by Rabindranath Tagore. They are taught to understand and recite poems by luminary Bengali poets – which they perform with aplomb during the cultural part of every Saraswati Puja. The pièce de résistance, however, is the annual play the children participate in for presentation during the cultural program at Durga Puja. At first glance, the children merely enjoy the fun of the practice sessions, the snacks, the costumes, and the attention they get. Little do they know that the main goal is to imbibe them with lessons not only in the Bengali language but also in the cultural, philosophical, literary, musical, societal and historical context of their Indian heritage like no classroom instruction can.
The mark of a school is in what we leave with our students after they leave the school. As the Bangla class has been around for over twenty-five years now, we have some history. Our former students, when we meet, are appreciative of the opportunity they got to develop their Bengali language skills, through which they get to deepen their connections to their extended family and heritage. We have had former students that have extended what they learnt with college courses in Bengali. We are extremely proud that former students are returning as teachers and advisors to the Bangla class to enhance the experience for newer generations. The future is bright.
Bangla class operates less as a rigid school than as a nurturing, family-oriented environment for our students, a fun and welcoming one whose singular mission is to connect our students to their heritage and develop a love and understanding for the Bengali language and culture. Former students and their families are forever bound to the school and remain engaged with the current students and their families – much like you’d expect an extended Indian family to be. If you like our mission, and how we achieve it, won’t you come and be part of our extended family?
- For children that neither read nor write at all in Bangla
- We follow “Barna Porichoy, Pratham Bhag” text
- In vocabulary they learn words they can form with alphabet they have learned
- Personal pronouns, singular, plural
- Simple verbs, present, future and past tenses (eat, bring, say, etc.)
- Cardinal and ordinal numbers 1-50
- Some simple poems
- For children that know the Bengali alphabet at least
- We follow “Sahaj Path, Prothom Bhag” and “Nije PaRo”
- Increase vocabulary from Level 1, opposites, interrogatives, telling time.
- Increased/different categories of verbs, present continuous and past continuous tenses
- Reading, pronouncing and writing cardinal and ordinal numbers from 51-100
- Level-appropriate poems by Rabindranath Tagore, Sukumar Ray, Upendrakishore
- Introductory conversations between students and teacher
- Mandatory participation in drama performance
- We follow “Sahaj Path, Dwitiyo Bhag”, stories by Satyajit Ray, Leela Majumdar
- In vocabulary they learn kinship, days of week, direction, conjunctions, opposites
- Simple and compound verbs, verbal nouns, negative verbs
- Counting hundreds and thousands
- Modern Bengali poems
- Bengali to English and English to Bengali translation
- Mandatory participation in drama performance
- We follow “Sahaj Path, Tritiyo Bhag”, Satyajit Ray, Sunil Gangopadhyay
- Children are introduced more directly about India and their religion
- Vocabulary they learn the lunar calendar, months, seasons
- Complex verbs, causative verbs
- Units of measure
- Writing and composition in Bengali
- Mandatory participation in drama performance
- We follow “Sahaj Path, Choturtha Bhag”
- More complex forms for what is learnt in levels 1-4
- Increased focus on Indian and Bengali luminaries
- Increased focus on Indian and Bengali culture and philosophy
- Mandatory participation in drama performance.
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|Aparna Saha lives in Keller with her husband. Her daughter now lives in Austin. She has been involved with Vidya Vikas as a parent since 2001 with her 5-year-old daughter attending Bengali class. She started teaching the Bengali class in 2013. Teaching Bengali language and Bengali culture to these first-generation kids has become her passion. She just loves to volunteer. She has been involved with Bengali Association of DFW, Oncology Nursing Society of Fort Worth Chapter and different DFW Ekta Mandir events. She also enjoys Gardening, cooking, reading and watching movies. She’s looking forward to face to face classes as soon as that can be safely done.
|Debdatta Dey moved to Dallas in 2010 and has been closely affiliated with Bengali Association of DFW from 2013. She has been a frequent visitor of Ekta Mandir and got acquainted with VIdya Vikas after her son joined Bengali school, four years ago in 2018. She is a software engineer by profession and works in the Banking Industry. But dancing is her passion and she finds immense pleasure in staying connected with the Bengali community and Indian community in large through art and culture. She lives in Plano, TX with her husband, son and two fur daughters.
|Karabi Nandy, Rajesh and their daughter Rukmini, moved to Dallas in 2016. Inspired by the performance of Vidya Vikas kids in a Bengali play at Durga Puja, they decided to enroll Rukmini in the Bengali school. Ever since, they have been closely attached to the Bengali school. Karabi is a scientist and educator by profession. She is honored to be a part of Vidya Vikas and a volunteer teacher of Bengali. She finds it fulfilling to participate in a process that enriches the minds and lives of youth in our community through our rich cultural heritage.
|Subhendu Lahiri has been associated with Vidya Vikas for many years. His son, Soham Lahiri and daughter, Srinjoyi Lahiri have both successfully completed the Bengali language curriculum at Vidya Vikas as they grew up in the metroplex over the past several years. Subhendu has always been enthusiastic about Vidya Vikas and has been an active volunteer. He has provided support for presentation of cultural programs by students of Bangla School and has also served as a substitute teacher for the Bengali language classes.
|Lopamudra Ghosh Both of my daughters have attended Bengali language class since 2011. My husband and I have been volunteering in Bangla school plays every year during Durga Puja festival. I find this performing arts component of Bangla language class curriculum as a very rewarding volunteer experience. I am a substitute teacher of Frisco school district and enjoy spending quality time with children.
|Sipra Chatterjee Universally known as Thamma to the kids, she has been the de-facto local grandmother for a legion of Bengali kids for the last thirty years. Sipra Chatterjee has a BA and MA in Linguistics from University of Calcutta and University of Chicago, and originally came to the US in 1958. Along with her late husband Dr. Suhas Chatterjee, also a linguist, she has taught Bengali from the early 1970’s. She was with the Applied Institute of Indian Linguistics, and together with USIS and Ford Foundation, she taught Bengali to visiting US research students in the 70’s and 80’s. After coming to the US a second time in 1987, she was the force behind the inception of the Bangla School in 1992, which moved pretty soon after that into the Ekta Mandir complex when she worked with Dr. Shah, the primary force behind Vidya Vikas. She taught contiguously at Vidya Vikas till last year, when she retired from weekly sessions. The never-ending hugs she gets whenever she meets one of her students, or any student of Bangla School, is her cherished reward. This year (2021), a child of two of her original Bangla School students is joining Bangla School as a new student, which has brought her the biggest joy.
|Sasvata Chatterjee has been a resident of the DFW Metroplex from 1986, and has been involved with Ekta Mandir from that time, when DFW Hindu Temple used to sponsor the Bengali Community’s Durga Puja, even before there was the Irving Temple Complex. Being the son of two linguists, Sasvata has been involved with language learning ever since he can remember. The Bangla School, started by his mother, was started in his home in 1992. Initially serving as the chauffeur transporting “the” Bangla School teacher to and from the temple, Sasvata has been teaching Bengali at the school since the late ‘90s. Sasvata and his wife Surmita, both electrical engineers working in the field of telecommunications, have been a resident of Coppell since the early 90’s. Their two adult sons, Ritodhi and Purujit, both of whom are graduates of Vidya Vikas, and daughter-in-law Candice, reside in Houston. Sasvata’s biggest reward is watching his students, and all the other kids, be successful, happy youngsters brimming with knowledge and pride about their heritage and their school.