A Bengali grammar book, now in Polish

December 25th, 2008 - 11:57 am ICT by IANS  

Warsaw, Dec 25 (IANS) A scholar here has published the first Bengali grammar in Polish so that people can “grasp the beauty of the language of Rabindranath Tagore and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee”.Elzbieta Waltorwa, who has been teaching Bengali at the Oriental Institute of Warsaw University for the past three decades, accomplished her life-long desire when her book hit the stands recently.

The book has been financed by the Polish Ministry of Science and Academic Institutions and 1,000 copies were printed.

“As a teacher I felt the need to have a proper grammar book for the students of Bangla. I do hope my book will assist the students to grasp the beauty of the language of Rabindranath Tagore and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.

“My book is also a dedication to my teachers at Santiniketan (Visva- Bharati university, established by Tagore) where I spent a few years of my life to learn and understand this sweet language,” Walterowa told IANS.

“It was at Santiniketan that I studied Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s historical novels for my thesis and my love for Bengali culture multiplied since then,” she added.

Walterowa is not only a teacher but also a successful translator.

She has translated Satyajit Ray’s children’s stories, Tagore’s play “Dak Bangla” and Bengali poetry into Polish.

The Tagore play has been staged several times in Poland in the past 15 years.

“Walterowa’s pioneering work is a milestone in understanding the Bengali language and culture,” said Janusz Krzyzowski, president of the India-Poland Cultural Committee.

The teaching of Bengali was started at Warsaw University in the early 1960s under the guidance of noted Bengali scholar Hiraman Ghoshal.

Since then many generations of students have passed out from this institution.

Every year two or three Polish students go to universities in West Bengal for higher studies in Bengali language and literature. They are usually sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations that donates the latest books on Bengali literature to the Oriental Institute from time to time.

Every second year, 10-12 students are granted admission to learn Bengali, though at least 100 students apply for the course.

“There is always a big demand to get admission to our courses, but our resources are very limited. So we feel sorry but we have to refuse the willing students,” said Barbara Grabowska, chairperson of the Bengali department.

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