Lipilekha Bangla Association (LBA) is a registered, not-for-profit community organization. It is organized exclusively for the promotion of charitable, cultural and educational ends. The specific purposes are geared towards: (a) promotion of Bengali language and culture; (b) supplemental instruction of Bengali (language and culture) to children; (c) humanitarian aid to disadvantaged children and elderly people of West Bengal, India as well as to those in our local community in and around New York State. Lipilekha is headquartered in Westchester County, NY – but our members are from Metro New York Area – including Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orangeand Dutchess counties from New York, and neighboring counties from New Jersey and Connecticut.

Lipilekha particularly helps US-based Bengali families regroup in order to re-affirm and then share within the larger American community the rich values, language and cultural heritage of Bengal and India.

By Subrata Das

Take a relaxing weekend drive on the scenic Taconic State Parkway in Westchester County, New York, enjoying its bucolic charm. Look for the Shrub Oak exit. A few more minutes on the local road and you could be forgiven for thinking that through some magical time warp you have been suddenly transported to a corner of the Eastern part of India. Sari clad women , children learning Bengali and perhaps a group of adults rehearsing a Tagore drama. Yes, you have arrived at the premises of the Lipilekha Bangla Association, consisting of a dedicated group of people from Bengal who are determined to uphold the culture and traditions of Bengal far away from their motherland and pass along its values to their children.
The Association had its beginning when the number of Bengalis in this area could be counted on the fingers of one hand. The year was 1982. During a sultry Saturday dinner party in July that year, the subject of Durga Puja, which was so near and dear to our hearts, came up. The only Durga Puja of any significance in the area was in the New York City. People complained of the long drive, the perfunctory treatment meted out to outsiders like us and the lack of a sense of intimacy and togetherness which everyone felt was so desirable during the Puja season. That was the impetus. We decided to organize ourselves as a loose-knit group, called the Hudson Valley Bengali Association, to inaugurate our own Durga Puja and perhaps have other cultural activities later. There was no formal structure or charter of the Association . We shared all the responsibilities together among ourselves. Our first Durga Puja was a huge success with everyone intimately involved in all the details, from planning and decoration, to the worship service and Anjali followed by an inspiring cultural performance and sumptuous dinner. For the first time after leaving India, many of us felt the blessings of Ma Durga deep within our hearts.
We continued with other ceremonies such as the Saraswati Puja, an annual picnic and an occasional cultural performance. In 1990, we decided to start a bi-monthly class to introduce our children to aspects of the Bengali language and culture. In keeping with this new initiative, our organization was re-christened as the Lipilekha Banglai Association. Soon the Association grew in stature and like a powerful magnet attracted the attention of Bengalis far and near. Children enthusiastically enrolled in the Bengali classes, our cultural performances were well-attended and everyone looked forward to our annual picnic. There was a need for a more formal organization to conduct the business of the Association. I had the honor of serving as the first President of the Lipilekha Bengali Association during its 1998 – 1999 term. Other executive committee members were Prasanta Das as the Vice President, Chitta Saha as the Secretary and Sunil Mukhopadhayay as the Treasurer.
We continue to explore new ways of expanding the scope of our activities. An example is the recent introduction of a lecture series of interest to both children and adults. Our annual highlights include Bijoya celebration, Saraswati Puja, Rabindra Jayanti/Bengali New Year, Mother’s Day/Father’s Day and a picnic. We invite everyone interested in the traditions and culture of Bengal to join and enrich this association.