Thirty-five years ago, a few like-minded Bengali friends felt the need of having an organization that would represent the Bengali immigrant community residing here in Winnipeg. Thus ‘Bichitra, Bengali Association of Manitoba’ was formed in the year of 1978. Later it became an ‘incorporated’ body. It is a non-sectarian, non-political and non-profit organization. Bichitra is run by a democratically elected ‘Executive Committee’. Its activities are conducted on voluntary basis following guide lines stated in the ‘By-Laws’ which were adopted by the ‘ General Body’(membership) of Bichitra. The membership is open to any person or family who are or will be interested in the goal and policies of Bichitra.
The objectives of Bichitra are to promote the rich traditions and cultural heritage of Bengal among other ethnic communities, to re-affirm these values within Bengali families, and to educate our children in Bengali language, literature and history. Culturally, Bichitra over the years has curved out its own distinctive place and shines within the multicultural mosaic of Winnipeg through its rich performing arts of song, dance, music and drama. Our major annual functions include celebration of the Bengali New Year, observations of Rabindra-Najrul jayanti, the Canada-Day, participation in Winnipeg Folklorama festival (India pavilion), week-end camping in various places outside Winnipeg like Riding mountain, Clear lake, camp Manitou near Gimli etc.
Durga puja remains closest to the heart of Bengali people irrespective of places wherever they live in Bengal, India or worldwide. We also suffered from that nostalgia in the past in Winnipeg. Bichitra has been organizing Durga puja since 1981. Our puja is one of the few in North America that is held over all four days coinciding the actual puja dates in India. A puja-magazine called ‘Agomoni’ with literary and artistic contributions from our members is published following the holiday publications of ‘puja sankhya’ back at home. It is a great pleasure that “Agomoni” is now available online.
We acknowledge our long past crowded with glorious activities only befitting to a well-run organization. The responsibility now rests with the yonger generation, naturally, the ‘old order changeth yielding place to new’. To serve Bichitra ahead, we welcome challenging ideas pursuing new endeavours consistent with the artistic and cultural heritage of Bengal.