Mingling mysteries of nature with human sentiments
September 12 marked the novelist Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay's 124th birth anniversary. The novelist was born in Kalyani, Muratipur village, Nadia, West Bengal on March 30, 1894. He was an Indian author and one of the most acclaimed writers of modern Bangla literature. The Bandyopadhyay family had its roots laid in Panitar village near Basirhat of the present day West Bengal. His father Mahananda Bandyopadhyay was a Sanskrit scholar and Kathak. His great-grandfather was an Ayurvedic physician. He studied at Bongaon High School one of the oldest institutions of British India. After getting first divisions in both Entrance and IA he conducted his studies in Economics, History and Sanskrit at the Surendranath College, Kolkata. But he could not continue his studies due to financial constraints even after he got admitted to the University of Calcutta to study M.A and laws. Financial problems rigged his family from the very beginning and he had to start fending for his family. His first job was as a teacher of the same school he had studied in. Then he worked as travelling publicist for Goraksini Sabha and secretary for Khelatchandra Ghosh subsequently. While working for Khelatchandra Ghosh he managed the estates of Bhagalpur.
It was not until 1921 did his first short story titled 'Upekshita' came out in 'Probashi'- a contemporary magazine of eminence. In 1928 Bibhutibhushan's first novel 'Pather Panchali' was published in a series of periodicals. The novel, evidently an autobiography, first brought the writer into prominence. It was then incorporated into "Apu Trilogy" films by Satyajit Ray.
Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay eventually returned to the area where he spent his childhood, accepting a job as teacher at the Gopalnagar School, which he continued until his death.
Bibhutibhushan was a man of simple living and simple words and his ideologies were very visible in his writings. Realism was one of the main plots of his writings apart from the themes he picked up from the happy and sad real life experiences. He was a writer who portrayed a beautiful combination of human beings and nature and showed the peaceful aspects of life. His works are largely set in rural Bengal. Many of his novels are set in the city of Bongaon, including "Pather Panchali", "Adarsha Hindu Hotel", "Ichhamati" and "Bipiner Sansar".
Bibhutibhushan's first wife Gouri Devi died of cholera a year after their marriage. This cast Bibhutibhushan into deep melancholia. This melancholia caused a recurrence of tragic theme in many of his later works. The writer got married again at the age of 46 to Rama Chattopadhyay. With her he had a son named Taradas born in 1947. His other major works apart from Pather Panchali and Aparajita include- 'Aranyak', 'Chander Pahar', 'Heera Manik Jwale', 'Adarsha Hindu Hotel', 'Ichhamati', 'Bipiner Sangsar', 'Anubartan', 'Ichhamati', 'Kosi Pranganeyer Chitthi', 'Kajol' (Sequel of Aparajito, completed by his son Taradas).
The author breathed his last on November 1, 1950 during his stay at Ghatshila as a result of a coronary attack.
The writer is a freelance contributor.