Profile of Purbachal-the eastern sky

Established in 1998, Purbachal-the eastern sky is a Bangladeshi Luton-based non-political voluntary cultural organisation.

Vision Statement:

Our vision includes achieving long term goals as follows:

1. Widespread appreciation of Bangladeshi culture and heritage among Bangladeshi and other communities in Luton and beyond;

2. British Bangladeshis, including the younger generations, taking pride in their rich Bangladeshi and British heritage and enjoying their plural identities;

3. Purbachal being a dynamic vehicle for promoting the best of progressive Bangladeshiness and community cohesion in multicultural Britain.

Mission Statement:

To achieve our vision, we will:

  1. Inspire lifelong learning among the Bangladeshi and other communities through celebrations of our culture;

  2. Preserve and protect our history and heritage for our younger and future generations by sharing authentic information and launching cultural events;

  3. Create a deeper understanding and appreciation of our culture among diverse communities by inviting them to our events;

  4. Make our community stronger by enabling Bangladeshis to take genuine pride in their origin and backgrounds;

  5. Promote peace and community cohesion by being respectful of other cultures and learning wisdom from all the cultures around us.


Our values include:

  1. Our belief in the power of optimism;

  2. High quality of our programmes;

  3. Our belief in the importance of Team work;

  4. Commitment and integrity of all members;

  5. Valuing and recognising the contributions of members;

  6. Respect for authenticity of information, history and heritage, and also having an open mind and eagerness to learn new things, wisdom and skills from others;

  7. Accepting and implementing the core British values of democracy, equality, diversity, rule of law, accountability etc.;

  8. Taking responsibility to enhance the reputation of our organisation.

Mechanisms to realise the above aims/objectives: Via a constitution and delivering a work programme.

Membership: Open to all people of Bangladeshi origin. Office bearers are elected. Membership includes men and women.

Work programme: includes launching events e.g. Bangladesh Victory Day, Independence Day, International Mother Language Day, Nazrul-Rabindra Jayanti, Bangladeshi Literary Festival, exhibitions on cultural and religious heritage of Bangladesh, Fashion Show, participation in International Women’s Day events, Running Bengali programmes on Radio Ramadan (talks, radio plays, discussions, religious songs etc.), Eid reunions, staging plays of socio-economic and historical importance, cultural programmes of poetry recitation, dance, songs, music etc.

Skills-building: Script writing, play acting, directing, poetry reading, translating poems between Bengali and English, speech-making, event organising, communications skills through publicity and promotion and media involvement, enhancing assertiveness self-esteem and creative skills, especially by providing young people with opportunities for public speaking, poetry reading, writing (prose and poetry), storytelling, play acting, dancing, team building, developing partnerships etc.

Partnerships: Luton Borough Council, educational institutions, Luton Museum Service, voluntary groups and agencies.

Charitable work includes Fund raising for the needy. Examples include raising funds for a Sri Lankan project to help tsunami victims, donating to victims of the earthquake in Kashmir, donating to victims of floods and Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh.

Promoting educational achievement among children: Supported Bangladesh After School Study Support Club over a long period.

Awards: gave awards to a number of role models within the Bangladeshi community and also in other communities. Examples include: Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, Dame Yasmin Bevan, Dr Khaleda Salahuddin, Dr Anwarul Haque, Mrs Fatema Islam, Polly Islam MBE, Ashuk Ahmed MBE, Wendy Grey MBE and a community Police Officer.

Challenges: Lack of time & lack of resources. Lack of paid staff and accommodation. All work is done by members who are volunteers.

Future aspirations: To find resources to recruit staff, to have permanent accommodation, and obtain funding for translating Bengali literature into English and start a movement to introduce Bangla in primary and secondary schools and colleges, encourage contemporary writing in Bangla within the UK, make a powerful sociological and business case for promoting Bangla in the UK and to build a synergy between the mainstream community and Bangladeshi community, to further promote a positive image of Bangladesh and Bangladeshis in this country and nurture community cohesion in a robust way.

Dr N Khanum

Chair, Purbachal

20 November 2020