Our state is drained by a fascinating crisscross of rivers while the briny waves of the Bay of Bengal lap against its shores. Indeed, for our poets, writers, singers, musicians, sculptors, dramatists and filmmakers, the river and the sea have often been the Muse. But sadly enough, this creative debt has gone largely unacknowledged, as the beneficiaries have shown little concern for our rivers that continue to degenerate and perish in the midst of our collective ignorance and neglect.
The interactive Seminar on Marinescape: Creativity and Crisis of Bengal, held in February 2003, was a novel venture in which our writers and artists were brought together to take up the cause of the rivers and the seas.
The Marinescape handbook contains papers presented by distinguished writers on the theme at this event.
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Maritime activities in our country are mostly devoted to any one of the four purposes: Defence, Commercial, Academic and Sports. There are a number of courses and institutions to cater to those engaged in or aspiring to join any of these streams. Such institutions include some of the universities, the IITs, a few Government departments like the Civil Defence Department and the Ministry of Defence and a host of government-aided and approved institutions (of which SEI is a prime example).
The principal objective of the Seminar on Maritime Education and Training was to initiate a meaningful coordination and networking among these different courses and institutions so that the best synergistic effects may be realized for all of them.
The Ganga flows along the edge of Calcutta not only as a silent witness to the chequered history of the city, but also as its very lifeline. The city lives off the river.
In spite of our absolute dependence on its bounty, city-dwellers tend to show little gratitude. The outcome of this insensitivity has been that today both the city and the river of the poetâ€™s fancy, the common manâ€™s daily concern and the academicâ€™s interest are in crisis.
Drawing attention to the alarming magnitude of the problem, SEI organized the seminar on The River and the City on 17 March, 1998, with an eye towards evolving a meaningful policy and recommendation for improvement of both the river and the city.
The seminar brought together concerned academics, technocrats and policymakers from relevant government departments in order to inspire viable suggestions for resurgence.
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