Report on MILITIS Activities

Ananda Sen

By Ananda Sen

Michigan Literary and Theatrical Society (MILITS) is a 501C (3) Michigan nonprofit based in the metro Detroit area. Its mission is to promote, strengthen and expand Bengali Literature, arts and culture through a cross cultural platform. It was born out of a desire to create a forum that will unite artists across the country who are dedicated to serious pursuance of literature and theater of India. Its major goal is to share the rich theatrical and literary heritage of Bengal with the American people and the immigrant Indian diaspora. The theatre wing of MILITS had been very active performing all over North America. Invited (twice) to perform in Kolkata, MILITS staged two productions in 2018 and 2019, both times in front of a captive audience, and received rave reviews.

A signature event hosted by MILITS is an annual Bengali Theater festival, called SPOTLIGHT, that has showcased performances by North American Theater troupes as well as professional groups from India. A unique feature of the festival has been the collaboration component where a respected professional theater group from India visits and stages a production jointly with MILITS where local actors work had in hand with the professionals from the group. This created an exciting learning opportunity for the local aspiring actors and created a forum for true cultural exchange.

In March of 2018, MILITS also hosted KATHAMALA, a Bengali Literary Conference. The event comprised a two-and-a-half-day celebration of both Bengals, West Bengal in India as well as Bangladesh—its literature, cinema, theatre, art and culture. It featured distinguished literary figures from India and Bangladesh and a line-up of Bengali poets, fiction and non-fiction writers, independent filmmakers and painters from both West Bengal and Bangladesh living in North America.

Apart from these annual events, MILITS hosts monthly literary meets and runs a magazine, ‘katha’ that publishes articles by writers from North America and India. With in-person production being on hold due to COVID for a year, MILITS has been engaged in making short films that had been screened in multiple festivals in USA, Canada, and India. MILITS is continuing to expand its outreach and welcomes all support in helping amalgamate the immigrant community in to the main-stream through art, culture and literature.

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