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Tribute: 'From a young poet, he became a phenomenon'

October 23, 2012 15:21 IST

Ace writer of Bengal Sunil Gangopadhyay is no more. His colleague and old associate Nabaneeta Dev Sen pays her tribute to the great litterateur

The fact that Sunil Gangopadhyay is no more is yet to sink in.

I lost an old friend, a great soul. Ours has been an association of 55 long years.

I met him first when I was a teenager. For youngsters, he was a romantic hero then. And, amazingly, he maintained that image till his very last day.

I grew up with him, entered adulthood appreciating his works. I watched him grow from a young poet to a phenomenon. He was a Bengali to the core, someone who took pride in his roots.

Sunil was very hard working. For the past few years, he had not been keeping well. But he never let his ill health affect the discipline of his writer's self.

He was one of the most prolific poets and writers of his age. All the modern poets of today are but offspring, they evolved out of his creations.

As the President of Sahitya Akademi, he made a meaningful contribution. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was lucky enough to receive adulation from across the globe.

I have met him in many countries and wherever he went, he was held in high esteem. People who loved his work worshipped him like a God.

He was a very special human being. Despite his overtly busy schedule, he managed to take out time for young poets and writers.

He helped them like a guardian. Sunil was extremely generous and warm to his co-writers, young and old. We have acted in plays together.

He was not a great stage persona but it is his spirit and love for plays that counted.

What a wonderful way to bid adieu to this world.

I am getting old too. As I mourn the death of a dear friend, I feel it won't be long till we meet again!

As told to Indrani Roy