Prabasi's FAQ

isted below are answers to some of the questions we receive frequently from our visitors. If you are a new member with a burning question, or just have a simple clarification, please go through this list before you send us a mail. We constantly update this list to answer new questions from our members. Most questions from our members are common in nature, so we have put it up here for your benefit.

Apnaadeyr Proshnor Uttor


Questions about the Web-Site

Q1.

Why am I having problems with some of the web pages on your site? I see a blank page where I am supposed to get a form.

A1.

Chances are that your browser is old and does not support JavaScript1.1. Some of the features we have used on the new web-pages require a JavaScript compatible browser. If you don't have a modern browser, download it directly from the internet, and it's FREE. Our pages are best viewed with Netscape Communicator 4.0.

Q2.

I have posted a classified ad. Why don't I see my ad when I view the ads in my category?

A2.

Classified ads appear after a pre-determined time lag which is normally 24 hours. Ads are active for a specified period starting from the time when your ad is activated. You would normally specify the activation period when you are posting the ad, but the maximum is 30 days. If you want to take your ad off our database, you may delete the ad with your confirmation number. After the validity period, your ad will be purged from our database automatically.

Q3.

How do I increase the validity of my ad beyond 30 days?

A3.

You may post it again. Otherwise, you may contact the WebMaster with your confirmation number to increase it with a nominal charge of five dollars for every extra 30 days, payable to Prabasi. If you intend to do so, you must contact us before your current posting expires. Since we do not keep a record of your postings, we cannot retrieve the file after it has been purged from our system.

Q4.

I am having problems posting image files in your classified ads section. What is wrong?

A4.

The automatic posting of image files requires the file upload feature of Netscape browsers (2.0 or above). If you have a different browser, you may upgrade to the latest browser from Netscape to use this feature. Ensure that your images are NOT more that 20 KB in size. They should be as close as possible to a square shape. Images which look like long vertical or horizontal strips must be absolutely avoided. You have to make sure that your images are either in GIF (.gif) or JPEG (.jpg) format. Images in other formats can be easily converted to GIF or JPEG using any popular graphics package. If you want Prabasi to do the conversion or posting for you, please consult the WebMaster. This service is available for a nominal fee of five dollars payable to Prabasi.

Q5.

The recipient list in your form-based Email page looks so confusing. How do I decide whom to post my letter?

A5.

For all problems related to the web page and its mal-functioning, you should write to the WebMaster. If you want to communicate something related to the Prabasi's administration in general, you must write to the Chairman. For matters related to facilities and arrangements at Prabasi's functions, write to the Secretary. If you have a question, comment or idea about Prabasi's cultural events, write to the Cultural Director. Finally, if you have an article or posting for Sankha magazine, write to the Editor of Sankha magazine.

Q6.

The fonts on your web-pages look too small. Why am I having problems with your pages while all other sites look fine on my browser?

A6.

You are probably using a machine which does not have the "Comic Sans MS" font installed. Our main pages use this font. Windows based machines may already have this font installed by default, so Windows users will probably not have this problem, no matter which browser is being used. UNIX machines do not have this font, so you may have to ask your system administrator to install this font for you. If you are having trouble finding this font, just get the Truetype Comic Sans MS and Comic Sans MS Bold font and install them on your system (i.e. copy the .ttf files to your Windows\Fonts directory on Windows machines). If you do not want to bother with the installation, you may change the browser setting to use a similar font like Arial by default and our pages will look fine.

Q7.

How did you create your web-pages, specially the graphics? What tools did you use? Who did the design and who maintains it?

A7.

You can find answers to these questions in our Acknowledgements page.

Q8.

Why don't I see the Bengali fonts in your Literary section?

A8.

Most probably you are not using Netscape Communicator 4.0 or above. The Bengali Transliteration System is based on new technology which is not found in Netscape Navigator 3.0 or below. If you have Communicator, you won't need any special font on your system to view Bengali text. If you insist on using Internet Explorer on a PC, you will have to install Bengali fonts found in Bangali Adda. Internet Explorer 4.0 can, however, read the Bengali fonts through an ActiveX control that is loaded automatically when the Transliteration page is loaded. By the way, Netscape Communicator is free of cost, and is available from Netscape's Site. Sometimes you will not see Bengali fonts even if you are browsing through Netscape Communicator on your system. To fix this problem you will need to enable JavaScript and Dynamic Fonts. To do that,

  • Go to Edit->Preferences from the menu.
  • Select Advanced option, and make sure that "Enable Java" and "Enable JavaScript" are tick-marked.
  • Then select Appearance->Fonts and click on "Use document-specified fonts including Dynamic fonts"

You may need to clear the disk and memory cache before these take effect.

Q9.

How does the Bengali Transliteration System work?

A9.

The Transliteration System is a program written in JavaScript 1.2. This program takes in what you type, separates out the words and then the phonemes (demarcated with hyphens) and converts it to Bengali text. The machine-independent display is achieved through Dynamic Fonts which is the technology for transmitting font information as a resource along with the HTML file. This technology has an inbuilt trap to prevent copying - so if you try to copy the resource and put it on your web-site, it will not work! You must see all Bengali text from Prabasi's web site http://www.prabasi.org or any of its sub-directories. Just like any other program, you have to follow rules strictly. If you have a suggestion to improve the system, write to the webmaster.

Q10.

Who can submit an article in Prabasi's Internet Magazine?

A10.

Any one who can write Bengali can submit an article. You need not be a Prabasi member to submit an article. You need not even stay in the Bay Area. We accept articles from practically anyone who has access to the Web anywhere in the world. We believe the Internet has crossed all geographical barriers, and so we should not impose restrictions on anyone. Just make sure the article you submit is your original composition. If you have an unpublished article or poem you had written long back, why not submit it right away through our submission form.


Questions about Prabasi Membership

Q1.

What is the annual membership fee for being a Prabasi member?

A1.

Membership for Prabasi is annual. Since Prabasi is a non-profit organization, we try to balance our costs with our expenditure. Thus, the membership fee is adjusted every year depending on our expenditure. Membership rates are different for individuals and families. The current rates may be obtained from our membership page.

Q2.

How do I become a Prabasi member?

A2.

If you are living in the Bay Area, you become a Prabasi member and enjoy the benefit of participating in annual events like Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Saraswati Puja and Baisakhi. To become a member, you have to decide what category fits your requirements best, and fill out our membership form. Please note that membership is offered only once every year between July 1 and Durga Puja. Please, make it a point to write your Email address correctly in the form for receiving regular updates of Prabasi news and events.

Q3.

Can I participate in Prabasi's annual events without being a member?

A3.

Yes. In order to participate in Prabasi's events you have to make a contribution to cover our costs. You may participate on a per-event basis by paying a fee for each event, or become a member to participate in all four events. It is much economical to become a member and get a ticket for free participation for all Prabasi events all year round. If you are new to the Bay Area and have a few months to go for the year end, you may participate on a per-event basis till the end of the year.

Q4.

During a Puja celebration, can I just attend the puja without paying for the entire event?

A4.

Prabasi normally would not charge you money for just pratima-darshan. But remember, Prabasi is a non-profit organization which thrives on the contribution of members like you. We would expect you to help us with the minimum financial support we need to bring you quality programs. If you do not want to become a yearly member, we urge you to attend on a per-event basis. To attend a particular activity in an event, you will have to pay for the entire event to keep our accounting simple. The Durga puja event normally runs for three days and the remaining ones are one-day events.

Q5.

When does Prabasi's financial year begin?

A5.

Prabasi's financial year begins on July 1 every year. So, to become a member and stay a member for one year, the best time to join is around September, just before Durga Puja, preferably before Sep 15. We usually give discounts for early members. Watch our web-pages for the latest information about membership rates and applicable discounts.

Q6.

How do I become a Prabasi board member?

A6.

Prabasi's board members are first nominated and then elected by a voting system. Once elected, they stay till the end of their term which is three years. To become a board-member you may be asked to demonstrate prior experience with similar organizations and make some time commitments towards Prabasi. You must be nominated by someone and seconded by another person. Then you would contest an election to become a board member. Needless to say, a prospective board member must also be internet savvy since most internal communication is done through the internet and via Email (in view of Prabasi's location being near the heart of the Silicon Valley!). To apply for membership in Prabasi's Board of Directors, you must fill in the Nomination form for Director Prabasi Board and mail it to the address given at the bottom of the form.

Q7.

How often are Prabasi board meetings held?

A7.

The Prabasi board meets once every month to discuss current issues. All board members are expected to attend. In addition, Prabasi also calls a general body meeting once every year where all Prabasi members are invited. General members are asked to pose questions related to Prabasi activities, and board members try to answer the question based on their understanding. This is also an opportunity to discuss pertinent issues which require the presence of all members.

Q8.

Can I attend Prabasi events on a per-event basis without being a member?

A8.

Yes, you can. Protima-Darshan is FREE for all. However there is an entrance fee for attending the Cultural Programs. The ticket prices for the Cultural programs are decided just before the festival. For events that span multiple days (like Durga Puja), the price of the per-event tickets usually include all days to make it cost-effective to you. You may also choose to buy the ticket and attend just one cultural program, perhaps when you are only interested in a professional program on a particular day.

Q9.

How do I become a member through the web-interface?

A9.

It is really very simple. Go to our membership main page http://www.prabasi.org/Membership and click on the button which says 'Enter new membership data'. You will get a form which needs to be filled out on the screen. Once you have filled it out, press the button which says 'Calculate annual fees'. This will analyse your data and suggest a membership fees. Then press the button which says 'Generate membership number'. This will generate a unique membership number for you. It will also generate a randomly generated password for you and mail it to your Email address(es). Your data is stored in our database as an unconfirmed member. You will then need to send a check of the requested amount to the address that appears in your Email. Once we receive the check we will confirm the membership and a confirmation letter will be automatically sent to your Email address.

Q10.

How do I update my membership data?

A10.

This is a very important question because the very essence of having the membership data on the web with access to the individual is to give you the flexibility of changing your data when your profile changes. You must remember to change your profile whenever your address or Email address changes. This will help us keep in touch with you. To change your record, press the button which says 'Update old membership data using password'. You will get a screen which only asks for your membership number and your password. If you are using it for the first time, use the password which was mailed to you. After filling the required information, press 'Go, get my record'. You will get a screen which looks exactly as the entry form. Change the data that needs to be modified. You may also set a new password for yourself through this form. Once you are done, press the submit the button to record the change in Prabasi's database.

Q11.

I have not received my password. How do I change my membership data?

A11.

The reason you have not received your password is because your data was entered by someone in the Prabasi Administration on the basis of old records or through a form that was filled out by you which did not have your Email address. You can still change your data by clicking on 'Update old membership data using password' button from the main page. When asked, type your membership number correctly (which can be obtained from every mailing you receive from us). (Usually it is the number beside your name which begins with 199....). Then enter any password and you will be allowed in once to change your data. Make sure you write your correct Email address in the required field and also change your password to what you can remember in future. Then press the submit button to record the change in Prabasi's database.

Q12.

I have forgotton my password. What do I do now?

A12.

If you remember your membership number, write to the webmaster to generate a new password for you. Give all details about your membership as much you can. We would specially need to know your name, address and phone number in our record to identify yourself before we generate a new password for you.

Q13.

Can anyone else have access to my data?

A13.

Only if they know both your membership number and password. There is enough security built into the system to prevent attack by hackers. You should be careful to protect your membership number and password to prevent outsiders from accessing your data. If you have not received a password, you are specially vulnerable because we had to forego one of our security checks to allow you in for the first time. It is thus very important, to set your password as soon as you know your membership number. Once your password is set, you are as safe as anyone else is. If you entered your data yourself through the web with a correct Email address, you are secure from day one. Prabasi does not sell or distribute its membership list on principle. Last but not the least, we feel it is our duty to make you aware that, just as any other database server on the web, the Prabasi system suffers from the same security loopholes as the others might because it is accessible to virtually everyone in the world!


Questions about Forthcoming Activities

Q1.

Can anyone living in the Bay Area perform in Prabasi's cultural events?

A1.

Yes. You have to apply to Prabasi to participate in a Cultural Event. To apply, you have to use our application form for cultural events. Prabasi will go through your form and approve it if the board members are confident about the quality of the program. Prabasi will then give you a slot depending on availability of a hall, and keeping in mind your light, sound and stage requirements.

Q2.

What is the deadline for applying in Prabasi's cultural events?

A2.

The deadline for submitting forms for Durga Puja is August 1, for Kali Puja is September 1, for Saraswati Puja is January 1 and for Baishakhi is March 15. Applications may be considered after the deadline date if time/space permits and on a case-by-case basis.

Q3.

Where are Prabasi's cultural programs held?

A3.

Prabasi members stay all over the Bay Area. We try to organize our cultural events at a centrally located place so that it is convenient for all members to attend. There is no fixed place to conduct Prabasi functions and it changes for each event depending on needs and availability of auditoriums. We try to locate it near the center of mass of our members. If for some reason, a function is too far off for some members, the next function is adjusted to be nearer for the same members.


Questions about Past Activities and Followup

Q1.

What happened to the Sarovar case?

A1.

The Board of Directors of Prabasi came to know from indirect sources that Sarovar has not responded to some of your request for compensations if you were effected by the Durga Puja food poisoning incident. Please help us understand the situation, contact us if Sarovar has not responded to your request. Few members have suggested that we no longer include food during events. There is a food survey form to this effect. Your filling out this survey form will be greatly appreciated.


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