“Bethak”, a Gujarati literary group in Silicon Valley is rooted in humble beginnings. Pragnaben Dadbhawala started the group with a modest aim to keep Gujarati language alive, outside India. The group is now thriving and on April 17, 2015 celebrated an unprecedented launch of 12 books, compiled from contributions from members of “Bethak”. Each month, the group has been assigned a topic to write on. Every month members put in effort and when the group convenes at the end of the month, the members bring their writings and share with the group. A vast treasure of creativity was getting unleashed each month.
With inspiration and guidance from Shree Vijaybhai Shah from Houston, TX, Pragnaben began compiling books on each topic that was assigned to the group. With much fanfare and inspirational talks by members of the community, the 12 books published by Pragnaben, were launched on April, 17. These books are now available on www.amazon.com. Here is a brief description on some these books.
“a ra ra” – A ra ra is an exclamation used when one hears or comes upon something unexpected or untoward or unpleasant.
“subhechha Sah” – This book includes compilation of writings on what good wishes mean, how they are conveyed, and what level of depth or shallowness of relationship they may express. Here is link to one of my writings – http://bit.ly/1oYvc2C .
“jya jya nazar mari thare – Kavi Kalapi” Kalapi was one of the greatest Gujarati poets that ever lived. The treasure trove of his creations include 15,000 verses, 259 poems, 500 books, and 900 letters. Members selected one of Kalapi’s creative pieces of writings, and they wrote a critique on the poet’s work. Here’s link to one of my writeups http://bit.ly/1k1xwTx
“amne gamto Narsaiyo” – Narsinh Mehta revered as Adi Kavi of Gujarat has written some of the oldest literature verses that are still sung today. Members of “Bethak” selected one of his creations, and wrote a critique on it. Here’s link to my writeup http://bit.ly/1mhjpYb .
“mane game chhe” – In this book, the members share something about their favorite author or book or poem. They share why they like it, how it inspires them and so on.
“lili vadi jue je jan, pachhi to mrtyu utsav chhe” – This book includes writers’ perspectives on death that comes in old age. After one has lived a full life then death is not a matter of grief but is a celebration of life.
“sukh etle” – This book includes compilation of writings on what happiness means from various different perspectives. Here is link to one of my poems http://bit.ly/1r2sO4D
“thoda thav varnagi” – What does it mean to become modern? This book includes diverse perspectives on this topic; some written with humor and some in serious tone.
“prem etle ke prem” – Love has many definitions, many forms and takes many shapes. This book encompasses multifaceted aspect of love.
“to saaru” – includes compilation of something that writer feels culminated or should culminate in something good. Other books were VariShtha nagarikanu Sukh etale hakaratmak abhigam, Short story collection Hashkaro, and Prayogatmak Navatar Lakhano-TasvIr bole Che.
Pragna ben also provided plateform for the launch of Two biography Abhivyakti by Dhananjay Surati and Shabdo eTale kanku ane Chokha by Kuntaben D Shah.
Jayshreeben merchant has graced launch of Rajul ben Shah’s Novels Chinn and Anya Mrunal
It was a unique and grand day for Bethak and Milipitas as a whole.
Meeting at “Bethak” each month gave the members something to look forward to. But in addition to a social event, the members had something creative to think about and write on, during the month and something wonderful to share in the meeting. Houston’s Shree Vijaybhai Shah’s contribution and guidance was immense and very inspirational and that was combined with Pragnaben Dadbhawala’s immense efforts to bring this to fruition.
Gujarati community’s leaders and movers and shakers from Bay area in California and from outside California, graced the book launch ceremony, with their presence. Community leaders present were Shree Harikrishna Mazmudar and Shree Ba Mazmudar, Rajeshbhai Shah (reporter for various newspapers), Shree Sureshbhai Patel (mama), Shree Mahendrabhai Mehta, Jayshreeben Bhakta (owner of www.tahuko.com), Jayshreeben Merchant (well respected and highly regarded author), as well as out of state guests Shree Vijaybhai Shah (highly regarded author and inspiration behind this project and owner of http://www.gadyasarjan.wordpress.comand www.vijaydshah.com) and Rajulben Shah (very highly regarded author and owner of widely read blog (www.rajulnumanojagat.wordpress.com).
The event started after a prayer sung by Kuntaben Shah. Pragnaben welcomed all the special guests. Shree Mazmudar dada gave his blessings to the participants and said that he hopes that many more creative writings will emerge from this group. Shree Sureshbhai Patel and Mahendrabhai also gave their congratulations on such a wonderful accomplishment and gave their blessings for further progress. They said that Gujarati community can always count on their support for furthering the cause of language and literature. Jayshreeben Bhakta announced the date of Gujarati music program to support Tahuko non profit foundation. Jagrutiben Shah, prominent radio jockey for 1150FM, made an announcement of a prize that would be awarded each month, to the best writer of the month. Out of town guests Vijaybhai Shah and Rajulben Shah also congratulated the group. Pragnaben asked them to share some guidance with the members of “bethak”. Rajulben said that good and immense reading is extremely important for good and creative writing. Finally, the event ended with members feeling greatly inspired to keep up their efforts at reading and writing in Gujarati.
Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D.
Updates on Twitter @DarshanaN