Banglanatak Dot Com was established in 2000 by a group of people from diverse backgrounds - engineering, sociology, media, fine arts, literature, economics and theatre. The organization works across India for fostering community led development using culture based approaches. Key areas of work are Communication for Development (C4D), and development of community-based enterprise offering products and services based on heritage skills in performance arts and crafts. The organization's motto is "To preserve art, let the artists survive".

Banglanatak Dot Com is an accredited NGO for providing advisory services to the intangible cultural heritage committee of UNESCO, Paris 2010. It is involved in promotion and preservation of ICH like Chhau Dance, Jhumur, Baul and Fakiri, Patachitra, Gambhira and Domni. The organisation works around the areas of Purulia, Bankura where the Chhau dance is practised. In Nadia and Mushidabad, it works for the promotion of Baul and Fakiri. Conservation of the Patachitra technique is its priority in East and West Midnapur, while in Malda, the efforts are towards conservation of Gambhira and Domni.

The organization has conducted studies and published two documentary films named Pater Panchali (on patachitra) and A Journey of Jhumur (on Jhumur songs and dance). CDs of Darbari Jhumur songs, Pater gan (storytelling through songs), Jhumur gan of Bankura and Baul – Fakiri gaan of Nadia have been developed. Folk festivals are organized regularly at local, state, regional, national and international levels. To experiment with new marketing strategies and create new targets, youth festivals are also organized in schools and colleges. In six districts of their outreach, folk art hubs have been established which serve as the community centres for practising the art as well as for promoting heritage tourism.

Traditional guru-sishya parampara has been revived by the organization among the artists' community at the regional level. The strategy is to involve a master of the particular ICH in training and guiding a group. The organisation also arranges for trainings on advanced techniques required for documentation and recording of folk arts.

A project called 'Art for Life' was launched in 2004 by the organisation, which aimed at community development, with regional cultural heritage as a means of livelihood and empowerment. UNTWO and UNESCO are documenting the AFL model as best practice in developing creative Industries and responsible cultural heritage tourism. This model is also being nationally endorsed and is in the process of being implemented in Bihar and Goa. The initiative was initially supported by MoRD/EZCC, GoI and subsequently by the Europian Union.

Contact
Banglanatak.Com
58/114, Prince Anwar Shah Road,
Kolkata-700045, West Bengal, India
Phone: 91-33-24178516,
Email: banglanatak@gmail.com

Website: www.banglanatak.com

Source: Interview of Ms Syantani Raychaudhuri, Banglanatak Dot Com by Atashi Ray, CEE Kolkata

Contributed by Aditya, CEE Ahmedabad.

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