Spring in Kolkata

West Bengal and Professor Ed O'Shea with Sanjukta DasguptaOne Fulbright award led to another: A Fulbright scholar from Kolkata spent a semester in Oswego’s English department in 2006 and inspired an Oswego professor to apply for a Fulbright-Nehru grant that took him to the Indian city in the spring of 2010.

Ed O’Shea, an internationally recognized scholar on the life and works of the seminal Irish writer W.B. Yeats, taught some Yeats at Presidency College in Kolkata as well as “everything from Greek literature through Modernist literature to critical theory,” he said, plus Indian literature in English, such as the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore.

In the early 1900s, Yeats helped the Bengali poet Tagore translate one of his works into English, O’Shea said, and Yeats viewed India and Ireland as having much in common as colonies of the British at that time. Calcutta, now Kolkata, is the modern-day capital of West Bengal. Historically it was the capital of the British Raj and became the center of the revolutionary Indian independence movement.

O’Shea stayed in the apartment of Sanjukta Dasgupta, whose Fulbright experience in Oswego planted the seed for his own application. A professor of English and dean at Kolkata University, Dasgupta plans to return to Oswego in summer 2011.

Photo: On the Sundarbans delta; inset: O’Shea and Dasgupta at Kolkata’s Tollygunge Club

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