We have over half a million British people of Bangladeshi origin spread across every town and city in Britain. We are nevertheless a close knit community with a strong sense of identity based on our culture and character. We are also increasingly a successful community. Our children are now achieving some of the best results in the country, almost all are going on to higher education. There is much success in the professions too; doctors, diplomats, lawyers, engineers, teachers, politicians, judges. Many of us have become wealthy through entrepreneurship and business. Some are on Britain’s Rich List. We have also made a notable contribution to culture of Britain. Thanks to our community, curry now occupies a special place in hearts and stomachs of all British people, it is perhaps the most positive identifier for multicultural Britain. The British Curry Awards is an annual national extravaganza attended by the Prime Minister. The Bangla Mela, is one of the largest music festivals in Europe attended by over 100,000 people each year. We even have our own special boat race in Oxford ‘The Nouka Bais’.
The Celebration of British Bangladeshi Culture, CoBBC, has been founded by prominent British Bangladeshis to celebrate our community and culture, especially folk and Baul music which is uniquely Bengali in character. CoBBC Ltd. has been formed as a charity limited by guarantee; we intend to register it with the Charity Commission in due course. We hope to operate CoBBC as an association of friends connected by our love of culture.
Our first event on the 3nd of August set in the beautiful surroundings of Oxfordshire, is aimed at celebrating two people who are close to the heart of our community;
Anwar Choudhury and the late legendary Baul Shah Abdul Karim.
His Excellency Anwar Choudhury, or Anwar Bhai, as many of us call him, is known to every British Bangladeshi in the UK as a member and friend of our community. His service as the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh (2004 -2008) has brought us pride. Back in UK he has touched many hearts as a tireless Ambassador for our community and culture, emphasising our British identity and our proud Bengali heritage. He now leaves us to take up his posting as the British Ambassador to Peru. We want to thank him and give him a send-off to remember which includes a tribute to his hero the Great Baul Shah Abdul Karim.
Baul Shomrat Shah Abdul Karim was an extraordinary talent and human being. The people’s Baul, despite a life in poverty and suffering, exemplified the best of the human spirit and the national character of Bangladeshis. His over 1000 songs and poems are now part of the national cultural wealth for Bangladesh and find place in the hearts of rich and poor, the young and old. Today in Britain, Karim is a feature at almost every British Bengali musical event. We British Bangladeshis love him. At this event we honour Shah Abdul Karim by holding a song competition to find the best Karim singer in UK and Europe.
This first event is only the beginning for CoBBC. We have high ambitions and many cultural icons we want to celebrate with the community in the years to come. Lalon, Tagore, Kobi Nazrul, Radha Romon, Hason Raza are on list. We are hoping to dedicate next year’s event to Lalon.
If you feel the same way as us and want to celebrate and promote British Bangladeshi community and culture, please join us. Contact any of the Founding Members listed in this brochure or go to our website CoBBC.com. We look forward to welcoming you.