Our Patrons

Photo of Mr. Anwar Chowdhury

Anwar Choudhury

Patron CoBBC

I am truly delighted that members of the British Bangladeshi community have formed the Celebration of British Bangladeshi Culture, CoBBC, and that so many prominent members of the community are involved. I feel deeply honoured that you have chosen to dedicate your first event as a farewell function for me and to celebrate the work of the great baul Shah Abdul Karim. This was a man who I never met but whom meant a lot to me. For me he was the epitome of the best characteristics of the people of Bangladesh. It is through his poems and songs I got to rediscover my birthplace and also discover a little bit about myself. Now so many British Bangladeshis are also appreciating and enjoying what he has left behind. Karim was a great talent and a great soul; the story of his life and loves must be told. I am elated to hear that the CoBBC intends to make a feature film of Karim’s life. As you all know, I am genuinely proud of the British Bangladeshi community, proud of who you are and what you have achieved. I feel tremendously lucky to be part of you. Over the years, I have met so many of you and have come to see the over half a million community of British Bangladeshis as a part of my extended family. Thank you for giving me that honour. CoBBC could be the start of something important and exciting, a long term institution that facilitates the celebration of our culture and community in a forward looking way. A place where the community meets as friends, a place for those who enjoy culture and song. I want to thank all of you who have donated, sponsored and given so much of your time to create this organisation, I look forward to your continuing success and remaining a part of you from near or a far.


– Anwar Chowdhury


Mohamed Mijarul Quayes

Patron CoBBC

I am delighted that CoBBC have been able to launch the UK and Europe-wide contest for exponents of Shah Abdul Karim’s songs, and are now in the final countdown with 20 contestants. This is as much a celebration of Shah Abdul Karim as of the British Bangladeshi – and indeed – pan European Bangladeshi diaspora. Bengalis are proud of their cultural heritage, which is an essential part of the repertoire they carry along when they move overseas. The shaping of the British Bangladeshi diaspora, their strength as a community, their investment in their children’s education, their enterprise and capacity to shape opportunities within the British mainstream have taken them to where they are now. And justifiably, Bengalis in Great Britain can take pride in their talent and the excellence in the Performing arts. Here, I wish to make an observation that others may find convincing. Bengalis around the globe share common cultural attributes, no doubt. Within that common cultural heritage, there is a constant shaping of traditions, newer nuances that are born of the everyday experience of the community they live in. The socio-genesis of post-1947 realities, for example, have added value and substance to the culture of the Bengali people living in what is today Bangladesh and India. For us in Bangladesh, socio-political exigencies around our journey to statehood, have given to our creative domain elements that Bengali culture within a larger political entity like India did not experience. But then, the latter would presumably also have benefited from the proximity to the multitude of the other Indian cultures. The culture of the Bengalis in Britain, as much as Bengali as it can be, would no doubt also offer elements that have a socio-genesis in British realities. I see in the launching of the CoBBC, trajectories that would in time give us a narrative of a Third Bengal culture that would celebrate both the enduring common elements of Bengali culture and its fascinating diversity within the communities of the Bengali people. This current talent hunt for Shah Abdul Karim exponents is no doubt, a major step towards building a foundation on which British Bangladeshi culture can be celebrated in all its excellence.


– Mohamed Mijarul Quayes