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The Boston Pledge Holds Its Fourth Annual Event

Anil Saigal

The Boston Pledge (TBP) held its Fourth Annual Event at Boston University on December 4th. This year’s theme was Kalighat. After welcoming remarks by Chitro Neogy, Ms. Neela Bhattacharya Saxena, who received her Ph.D from Allahabad University and is currently Assistant Professor of English, Nassau Community College, New York, gave the keynote talk. According to The Rig-Veda, the oldest poetic thoughts of this planet and the Indian subcontinent, at the root of all divine creative activity is the spark of desire that expands the universe from a primordial unity into flowering multiplicity. Neela discussed this theme and the place of the great Goddess Kali in the spiritual and cultural heritage of India in her book titled: In the Beginning IS Desire: Tracing Kali's Footprints in Indian Literature. Her talk focused on the 7 periods in history, Kali: Facing the Ultimate Terror and Ultimate Ananda, Tantra, Nasadiya: Rig Veda 10.129, Vac Sukta: 10.125, Cosmic Evolution and Devolution, Kali of the Cremation Ground and Kali the Terrible and Dance of Duality: Shiva and Kali. This book was a result of her desire to find out about Kali, what it means to women who worship her.

This was followed by recitation of Nasadiya by Laxmana Shastry, Priest from NH, in both the Rig and Yajurveda and establishing the connection between the Vedic theme and the heritage site: Kalighat by Kumar Nochur.

TBP is spearheading the effort to revive the heritage of India by leading effort to redevelop the cultural and heritage sites beginning with the "Kalighat Redevelopment Project". Rahul Pathak, whose father is leading this effort in India, talked about the Kalighat as one of India’s Ancient holy site and it as a unique symbol of India’s tolerance and openness. However, this holy site is in need of major redevelopment including clean up, visitor facilities, infrastructure and world class tourist services. The redevelopment project is being coordinated by the International Foundation for Sustainable Development at a total cost of $13M with seed money of $1M coming from the Government of India.

The event ended with a presentation by Partha Ghosh titled TBP At The Point of Inflection: The Journey Forward. Partha talked about the significance of numbers 911 and 108. On 9/11/1793 Kalighat was established and 108 years later the event of 9/11/2001 took place. TBP was established 108 days prior to the 9/11/2001 event. According to Partha, “We are in the middle of turbulence – technology, spirituality and individual human being.” “From an Era of Enlightenment (5000BC – 1000AD), we now live in a society where top 20% of the population has a per capita income of $35-50K, the other 80% have seen a decrease in their standard of living where now 1 in 5 live on less than $1 per day. This has led to an era of unintended consequences, facing the dynamics of heightened contradictions, and realigning of our divine instincts,” said Partha. TBP is a unique undertaking which brings together resources from the academia, the industry, NGOs, government bodies, students and the common people to find sustainable solutions to range of issues which help in raising hopes and preserving heritage for social good. One such effort, Kalighat Redevelopment Project has initiated a community effort to improve the ecology and environment of this Ancient Heritage site in Kolkata, India.

For further information, contact:

In The Beginning IS Desire: Southasiabooks.com or nbsaxena@yahoo.com
Kalighat project: Partha Ghosh at 978-692-9193

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