Aakhar Bengal : Tapan Bandhopadhyay & Shyamal Bhattacharya

A perfect literary atmosphere is not the only prime necessity to imbed love for literature in a child’s mind. Sahitya Academy Award winner Tapan Bandopadhyay sets the example of exception against this conventional concept. 

Recipient of Sahitya Academy Award 2022 for his novel ‘Birbal, Shri Tapan Bandopadhyay shared every nook and corner of his professional career that had inevitable influence over his literary journey in the platform of Aakhar Kolkata an initiative of Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with Purba Paschim. Another contemporary litterateur Shyamal Bhattacharya was in conversation with his veteran poet par short story writer par novelist. 

Lady detective of Bengali literature ‘Goyenda Gargi’is the brain-child of Tapan Bandopadhyay. The author spent his childhood in a small village near Bashirhat. There was no library around 10 miles from his residence. Children’s book for class III students ‘Kishalaya’ was the first window that helped him have a glance of the literary world. First introduction with poets like Kumudranjan Mallick, Satyendranath Dutta, Kalidas Roy was through his text books. Childhood rhymes first invoked his love for poetry and literature. Math notebook was the witness of his first poem. 

In class V when the author was admitted in high school, he had to walk a couple of miles to reach school. In the middle of his way there was a sub-registry office, where he first saw a newspaper. The author had no previous idea about what the newspaper actually was. It revealed the outer world in front of that little school boy. Gradually he developed a regular newspaper reading habit. There only he got to know about renowned author Premendra Mitra when he was awarded Sahitya Academy Award. That news sparked interest for literature in the child’s mind. He started composing phrases, poems in a regular manner from his school days. Parallelly started archiving collected books in the home library. 

‘Sonar Tori’ was the first thread that started weaving connections with Rabindranath Tagore. The author organised Tagore’s birth centenary in 1961 when he was in class IX. But it took many more years to imbibe and realise Rabindranath and his creations. 

Author Tapan Bandopadhyay completed his masters in Mathematics. First, he joined as a teacher, later was appointed in bank and finally he cracked WBCS exam and was posted as B.D.O. His professional life was full of challenges and risky experiences, that was reflected in his write ups. Eight years in Sunderbans was really memorable episode of his career. 

Initially he started his literary journey as a poet later concentrated on story writing. His first popular story ‘Hariner Mangsho’ was published in 1979. To illustrate the breadth of life and elaborate real life experiences stories were more convincing than poetry, author asserted. Socio-political crime was the influencing plot behind his major creations. Several times he had to face life-threats. ‘Jongoler Raja’, ‘Ekti Joruri File’ are few of such literary works. 

Perilous experiences in Sunderbans enriched his novels like, ‘Baba Dokkhinray Er Chokh’, ‘Ma Bonobibir Hajar Bahon’. Tale of a snake-charmer and his companion a cobra was depicted in Mr Bandopadhyay’s novel ‘Byabhicharini’. ‘Rajyopaler Osudh’, ‘Mukhyamantrir Upahaar’portrayed fragile, corrupted social, political scenario in the form of satire. 

In 2010 Tapan Bandopadhyay delegated Beijing 17th International Book fair, as an Indian author. His notable literary contribution is highly acclaimed and honoured with prestigious awards like, Bankim Purashkar (2002), Panchajanya Award (2003), BFJA Award (2004), Rupashi Bangla Award (2009), Sahitya Academy Award (2022).