Bibhuti Bhushan Bandyopadhyay was an Indian Bengali author and one of the leading writers of modern Bangla literature. His best-known work is the autobiographical novel, Pather Panchali (Song of the road) which was later adapted (along with Aparajito, the sequel) into The Apu Trilogy films, directed by Satyajit Ray.
Sanskrit scholar and story-teller and Bandopadhyay were the eldest of among five children. Young Bandopadhyay was a gifted student and he studied at the Bongaon High School, after which he completed a degree in Economics, History, and Sanskrit at Ripon College Kolkata.
Following his education, Bandopadhyay worked as a teacher and also as a traveling publicist. He was also associated with Khelatchandra Ghosh, a popular figure in music. Bandopadhyay coached Khelatchandra’s children and also served as a teacher at the Khelatchandra Memorial School. Later Bandopadhyay returned to his native place where he worked as a teacher at Goplanagar School.
Bandopadhyay was born in Muratipur in North 24 Parganas District in present-day West Bengal. As a writer, most of Bandopadhyay work is set in the heartland of rural Bengal. Though a lot of Bandopadhyay’s books are set in Bongaon, such as Adrash Hindu Hotel, BipinerSansar, PatherPanchali (one of his most popular works) and Ichamati.
Bandopadhyay published his first short story titled Upekshita in 1921 in Probashi, one of Bengal’s leading magazines at its time. Thought it was not until 1928 when he published his first novel PatherPanchali (Song of the Little Road) that Bandopadhyay received critical acclaim. PatherPanchali and its sequel Aparajito made Bandopadhyay a distinguished name in the world of Bengali literature and both books were translated into many languages and along with ApurSansar was even made into a celebrated film trilogy by popular filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Ray was so impressed by Bandopadhyay’s writing that he referred scriptwriting students to study the author’s work.
His novel Ichamati studies culture defined by caste and follows rural life along the banks of the Ichamati River flowing through undivided Bengal. The novel is a beautiful portrayal of indigo planters, their lives and the caste system prevalent in Bengal in colourful details. Relationships in the novel between characters have been portrayed in a sensitive manner and the double standards of the Brahmins have also been touched upon, which throws light upon the religious and social life in rural Bengal.
Bandopadhyay’s writing has received immense critical acclaim and has even been compared to the likes of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay. PatherPanchali is by far considered a work of art by the author. PatherPanchali is also part of the CBSE syllabus for students who opt for Bengali. Many readers of the book strongly believe that the book is far better than the film made on it, even though the ApuTriology is considered to be one among the best films made in the history of cinema. Popular author Amit Chaudhuri describes the book as “Unique for its tenderness and poetry. PatherPanchali rejects both nineteenth-century realism and social realism (the social milieu described in it would have logically lent itself to the latter) for an inquiry into perception and memory.” Martin Seymour Smith, a British poet, and literary critic has described Bandopadhyay as one of the finest modern Indian novelists.
This legendary writer passed away on 1st November 1950 of a heart attack; he was 55 at the time.
COMPLETE LIST OF NOVELS:
- PatherPanchali (Bengali: (Song of the Road)
- Aparajito (Bengali: (Unvanquished; sequel to Pather Panchali)
- Aranyak (Bengali: (In the Forest)
- Adarsha Hindu Hotel
- Ichhamati (RabindraPurashkar 1950–51)
- Dristi Pradeep
- Heera Manik Jale
- Bipiner Sangsar
- Kedar Raja
- Sundarbane Sat Batsar-Not completed by him
- Dui Bari
- Kajol—Sequel of Aparajito -Completed By His Son Taradas
- Maroner Danka Baje
- Mismider Kabach
- Kosi Pranganeyer Chitthi
IBHUTI BHUSHAN BANDYOPADHYAY
Born : 12 September 1894
Ghoshpara Muratipur village, Bengal, British India (now North 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, India)
Died : 1 November 1950 (aged 56)
Ghatshila, Bihar (now Jharkhand), India
Occupation: Writer, Novelist
Nationality Indian Ethnicity Bengali
Notable awards: RabindraPuraskar(posthumous) (1951)
Spouse: Gouri Devi
Children: Taradas Bandyopadhyay