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Pragati Lekhak Sangha


Pragati Lekhak Sangha (est. 1939) The Indian Progressive Writers' Association was set up in London in 1935. Following it, a group of progressive writers established the Writers' Association in Kolkata in July 1936. Another group called All India Writers' Association was set up in Lucknow in the same year under the leadership of Syed Sajjad Zahir. These groups were anti-imperialistic and progressive, and sought to enlighten people through their writings about the nature of social injustice and backwardness of the country.

The Pragati Lekhak Sangha of Dhaka was also inspired by the same progressive ideology and the principles of equality and humanism. somen chanda, Satish Pakrashi, Kiron Shankar Sengupta, Ranesh Das Gupta, Amrita Kumar Dutta, Jyotirmay Sen were associated with the group from the beginning. The group met at the Pragati Pathagar of south Maisendi to discuss and read papers. Kranti, a compilation of essays read at their literary meetings, was published in 1940. Pratirodh, the fortnightly magazine of the group, was brought out in 1942.

The first conference of the Pragati Lekhak Sangha was held at Gandaria High School in 1940 under the Chairmanship of kazi abdul wadud. Ranesh Das Gupta was elected general secretary and Somen Chanda assistant general secretary. After the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, the group organised a weeklong Soviet Fair in protest. Somen Chanda-the main architect of the association- was killed by hooligans at a procession of rail workers on 8 March 1942. This provoked countrywide protests.

Around this time the Pragati Lekhak Sangha changed its name to Fascist-Birodhi Lekhak O Shilpi Sangha (Association of Anti-Fascist Writers and Artists). After three years of its operation, it went back to its original name. However, with the change in both national and international politics, the group had to face considerable operational difficulties. After the partition of the subcontinent and the creation of India and Pakistan, the Progressive Writers Movement declined. With the migration of many of its writers and members, the activities of the Pragati Lekhak Sangha virtually stopped. [Wakil Ahmed]