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End of an era in Bengali literature

Last updated on: October 23, 2012 10:13 IST

Death of Sahitya Akademi President Sunil Gangopadhyay marks the end of an era in Bengali literature.

He, along with poet late Sakti Chattopadhyay, initiated uninhibited bohemianism in literature.

A prolific novelist and storyteller, Gangopadhyay remained a dedicated servant of poetry and declared poetry to be his 'first love'. 

His Nikhilesh and Neera series of poems became slogans of the youth in the 70s.

His first novel Atmaprakash, inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the road was published in Desh magazine in 1965 and received much critical acclaim.

Satyajit Ray's films on two of his works -- Aranyer Din Ratri,  Pratidwandi were very popular and they stirred every Bengali youth's intellectual soul.

Gangopadhyay's historical fiction Sei Somoy received the Indian Sahitya Akademi Award in 1985.

Other novels penned by him that deserve special mention are Protham Alo based on Bengal Renaissance and Purbo-Paschim, based on Partition and its aftermath.

Gangopadhyay was the winner of the Bankim Puraskar (1982), and the Ananda Puraskar (twice, in 1972 and 1989).

With pen-names like Nil Lohit, Sanatan Pathak, and Nil Upadhyay, Gangopadhyay's canvas was huge and there was no dearth of hues there.

Among his children's fiction, his Kakababu series is the most talked about.

Gangopadhyay's death is an irreparable loss to literature.

Like many of his contemporaries, he was a dreamer. But what made him special is that he taught his readers to dream along with him.

As he himself said:

Sometimes, when I've looked at the sky,
I've seen a dying star.
I feel a shiver in my heart,
my eyes come down to the earth
and to the world all around.