In these 6 years he worked for the Estate of Khilat Chandra Ghosh to reform lands by deforestation and provide the inhabitants some land for their settlement. During this period he became highly influenced by the natural beauty and the lives of dispossessed subsistence peasants, penurious Brahmins , migrant landless laborers and adivasis and this provides the impetus to compose this classic novel. A portrait of a tough courageous, speedy, neglected life. Bibhutibhushan Rachanasamagra 1, page
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Early life[ edit ] The Bandyopadhyay family originated in the Panitar village near Basirhat , located in the North 24 Parganas district of modern-day West Bengal. His father, Mahananda Bandyopadhyay, was a Sanskrit scholar and story-teller by profession.
Bandyopadhyay was the eldest of the five children of Mahananda and his wife Mrinalini. His childhood home was at Barakpur village, near Gopalnagar. Education[ edit ] Bandyopadhyay studied at Bongaon High School , one of the oldest institutions in British India , and was considered as a talented student.
Following a first division placement in the Entrance and Intermediate Arts examinations, Bandyopadhyay completed his undergraduate degree in economics, history, and sanskrit at the Surendranath College then Ripon College in Kolkata.
His first job was as a teacher, but he also served as a travelling publicist for Goraksini Sabha , and later as a secretary for Khelatchandra Ghosh , a role that included the management of his Bhagalpur estate.
He became involved with Khelatchandra, a prominent name in music and charity, while tutoring his family. He also taught at the Khelatchandra Memorial School. He started working as a teacher in the Gopalnagar School, which he continued alongside his literary work, until his death. He wrote and published Pather Panchali while staying at Ghatshila , a town in Jharkhand.
However, he did not receive any critical attention until , when his first novel Pather Panchali also known in English as Song of the Little Road was published initially as a serial, then as a book in Pather Panchali brought Bandyopadhyay to prominence in Bengali literature, and the novel and its sequel Aparajito, were subsequently translated into numerous languages.
The novel captures indigo planters, plantation life, and caste society in Bengal during the early 20th century, in vivid detail.
Relationships are sensitively portrayed in the narrative, with the author exploring the subtle nuances contained therein. Readers have praised the detailed descriptions of nature and the unselfconscious, but poetic portrayal of the flora and fauna on the banks of the Ichamati River. Ichamati has also been described as a deeply spiritual piece of writing, with Advaita Vedanta holding particular relevance to the contained dialogue.
Critical reception[ edit ] Bandyopadhyay wrote 16 novels, and over two hundred short stories. His style as a Bengali novelist has often been compared to Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.
Author Humayun Azad opined, that the novel form of Pather Panchali is superior to its cinematic rendition. The unavailability of a complete English translation of the novel creates difficulty in comparing the two separate works for the English-speaking audience the available translation by T.
Clark and Tarapada Mukherji is a truncated version. However, in the Bengali-speaking world, the stature of the novel is uncontested. Amit Chaudhuri has translated a few excerpts from the novel for inclusion in the anthology, The Picador Book of Modern Indian Literature.
In his introduction to these excerpts, Chaudhuri wrote, "Unique for its tenderness and poetry Pather Panchali 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 , in his Guide to Modern World Literature , describes Bandyopadhyay he uses the form Banerji as "perhaps the best of all modern Indian novelists", going on to write that, "probably nothing in twentieth-century Indian literature, in prose or poetry, comes to the level of Pather Panchali".
Bandyopadhyay spent his early days in abject poverty, and subsequently he supported his family financially, though the extent of his support is unknown. He had a stout build and walked miles in the woods every day, usually taking his notebook for the purpose of writing whilst surrounded by the wilderness.
His first wife Gouri Devi died of cholera , a year after their marriage. At the age of 46, he married Rama Chattopadhyay. Their son, Taradas, was born in Death[ edit ] Bandopadhyay died on 1 November , in Ghatshila. The cause of death was identified as a heart attack.
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