Hemanga BISWAS (Translated and prefaced by Avishek RAY)
ABSTRACT This is a translation of the chapter “Mass-Commune” from Hemango Biswas’ original Bangla title Aabar Chin Dekhe Elam(Trip to China Again), Sribhumi Publishing Company, Kolkata, 1975. The “Translator’s Preface” at the beginning of the translation introduces the piece, attempts to situate it in history and context, and explains the rationale for the translation.
Hemango Biswas (1912-1987) was a prolific singer-musician, an unparalleled exponent of folk music in particular. He was also an active member-performer of the Indian People’s Theatre Association, the cultural wing of the Communist Party of India. His musical legacy still survives in contemporary practitioners of Indian folk music. He is known to be a Sinophile who had visited China at least twice.
Avishek Ray is nearing completion of his PhD from Trent University, Canada. He is working on an archaeology of vagabondage. He is also interested in issues concerning popular culture and cultural iterations by/on leftist political ideologues. Among other publications, he has edited a Bangla anthology on Religion and Popular Culture.