Prabasi History : প্রবাসীর ইতিহাস

Prabasi History

How Prabasi was formed?

One fine afternoon at San Pablo Dam of May 1974, the Bengalis in the Bay Area kicked around the idea of having a Bengali organization while having a beautiful time at the picnic. Some senior members of the community, Ramen Chakraborty and late Jnanen Tarafder, asked Satya Ray to organize a Bengali organization as he did Tagore society in Boston, Massachusetts. Tagore society was purely a leisurely conversation over a cup of tea which, incidentally, is a great Bengali tradition. At that moment Prabasi was conceived.  The first meeting was called at the apartment of Lincoln Ave, Alameda where about forty enthusiastic Bengalis met to nurture the conceived idea of forming a Bengali Association. After long deliberations, an interim name Tagore Society was given. This sounded like a national chain of Bengali organizations started at many other places at that time. This was a pure coincidence and resulted from our love, affection, and respect for Rabindra Nath Tagore.

The final moment came when we gathered on July of 1974 to witness the birth of baby Prabasi. As a member of a traditional society, we started with a traditional structure which is very common in India. The first president was Sri Ramen Chakraborty as a head of the organization, and Sri Satya Ray was the first general secretary and the chief executive officer. We used to conduct all our businesses through the elected area representatives who would decide how many people would attend from an area, how much food would have to be prepared by the delegated members and the like.  We kicked off Prabasi's program with a celebration of independence day on 15th August and a colorful children sports. A Bengali School was formed by Mrs. Sumitra Ray, and Mrs. Sarbani Ghosal at El Cerrito residence of Tushar Ray. The Bengali community was very small those days, about seventy families or so, and it was like a big family where everyone used to participate in Puja, cultural programs, cooking, etc. according to their area of interest.

In 1978 under the presidency of Sri Mritunjoy Ghosh the structure of the organization was amended to the present form where the president is the chief executive officer who selects his team to execute the affairs of the organization.

The next significant move for Prabasi was in 1983 when she got herself registered as a non-profit organization in California to give some tax incentive to its members, and was registered as Bay Area Prabasi Incorporated The state of California requires a permanent body to deal with the organization; so the Board of Directors was formed in 1984 to handle liaison with the government, auditing, and organizing unscheduled programs. The execution of yearly scheduled programs are conducted by the president.

Past and present Chairman of the Board:

1984-1987: Apurba Mukherjee 1991-1992: Ardendhu Raha 1996: Ramen Chatterjee
1988: Ranjit Chakravorty 1993-1994: Satya Ray 1997-2001: Shyamal Choudhury
1989-1990: Amal Sinha 1995: Sakti Basu 2001 - 2005: Surajit Sengupta
2005-2006: Dr. Alok Chatterjee 2007-2009: Pradip Banerjee 2010-2011: Ashis K Sengupta
2011-2012: Dipa Mondal (Acting) 2012-2016: Subrata Dey

Past Presidents:

1974:Ramen Chakraborty 1982:Chunilal Saha 1990:Mili Roy
1975:Jnanen Tarafder 1983:Apurba Mukherjee 1991:Subha Datta
1976:Aruna Sarkar 1984:Salil Banerjee 1992:Monojit Dasgupta
1977:Satya Ray 1985:Asoke Sengupta 1993:Shelly Roy
1978:Mrityunjoy Ghosh 1986:Ardendhu Raha 1994:Ramen Chatterjee
1979:Arun Saha 1987:Mili Roy 1995:Shyamal Choudhury
1980:Aparna Sarkar 1988:Sakti Basu 1996:Shyamal Choudhury
1981:Somnath Sen 1989:Subendhu Banerjee