|Manik Bandopadhyay |
|Born||May 19, 1908 |
Dumka, Bihar, British India
|Died||December 3, 1956 (aged 48) |
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
|Parents||Harihar Bandyopadhyay (Father) |
Neeroda Devi (Mother)
Manik Bandopadhyay (Bengali: মানিক বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়); (listen: Manik Bandopadhyay (help·info)); (19 May 1908 - 3 December 1956) was an Indian Bengali novelist and is considered one of the leading lights of modern Bangla fiction. During a short lifespan of forty-eight years, plagued simultaneously by illness and financial crisis, he produced 36 novels and 177 short-stories. His important works include Padma Nadir Majhi (The Boatman on The River Padma, 1936) and Putul Nacher Itikatha (The Puppet's Tale, 1936), Shahartali (The Suburbia, 1941) and Chatushkone (The Quadrilateral, 1948)
Manik Bandopadhay was born on 19 May 1908 in a small town called Dumka in the district of Santal Parganas in the state of Bihar in India. His real name was Prabodh Kumar Bandhopaddhay. His pen name was derived from his pet name 'Manik'. He was the fifth of the fourteen children (eight sons and six daughters) of his parents, Harihar Bandopadhyay and Niroda Devi. His father Harihar was a government official who travelled across undivided Bengal in connection with his job. This gave Manik to experience life and living of people in different parts of Bengal in his early life.
Since his childhood Manik was carefree and adventurous. And indeed, he had a sensitive mind. He lost his mother on 28 May 1924 when he was only sixteen and this bereavement left a deep mark in his psyche. After his mother's death, Manik became reckless and his ties with family grew thin.
Manik married Kamala Devi, the third daughter of Surendranath Chattopadhay and the couple had two sons and two daughters.
Manik passed Entrance examinaiton from the Midnapore Zilla School in 1926 securing first division with letter marks in both compulsory and optional Mathematics. In the same year he got admitted in Welleslyan Mission College at Bankura. Earlier he had also studied in Kanthi Model School in Tangail.
In Welleslyan College Manik came in contact with a professor called Jackson. Influenced by him, Manik read the Bible and overcame his religious inferiority. In 1928 he passed I.Sc. (Intermediate in Science) with first division.
Writing was the only source of income for Manik Bandopadhyay throughout his life and hence he languished perpetual poverty. However, for a short while he tried to enhance his earning through involvement with one or two literary magazines. He worked as editor of Nabarun for a few months in 1934. During 1937-38, he worked as Assisatnt Editor of literary magazine Bangasree. Also he had established a printing and publishing house in 1939 which turned out to be a short-lived endeavour. Also, he worked as Publicity Assistant for the Government of India in 1943.
Manik died on December 3, 1956, at the age of 48. His funeral took place at Nimtala Crematorium in North Calcutta.
Since early life he had struggled with poverty and epilepsy. The signs of epilepsy first surfaced when he was engaged in writing Padma Nadir Majhi and Putul Nacher Itikatha. Continued and unabated ailment, problems and crises devastated his mental disposition. Eventually he resorted to alcohol for respite, adding to his misery. On 3 December 1956, he collapsed and went into a coma. He was admitted to the Nilratan Government Hospital on 2 December where he died the next day.
A huge crowd attended the memorial meeting for Manik Bandopadhyay held on 7 December 1956.
 Literary life
Once while he was with his friends in their college canteen, one of his friends asked him if he could publish a story in the magazine "Bichitra". The would-be novelist replied that his first story would be good enough for the purpose. At that time, "Bichitra" was a leading periodical which carried stories only by eminent authors. One day Manik walked into the office of the periodical and dropped the story "Atashimami (Aunt Atashi)" in their letter box. At the end of the story he signed off as Manik Bandhopadhay. After four months, publication of the story (in 1928) created sensation in the literary circles of Bengal and from then on, the nom de plume stuck.
Later, Manik's contemporary Buddhadev Bose, himself a leading litterateur of Bengal, had this to say about the debut story of Manik: "He had both virtuosity and vision: he was both logical and magical; he seemed to be wanting in nothing, and we thought there was none like him, none."
His stories and novels were published in various literary magaziens of the then Bengal. They included Bichitra, Bangasree, Purbasha, AnandaBazaar Patrika, Jugantor, Satyajug, Probashi, Desh, Chaturanga, NoroNari, Notun Jiban, Bosumati, Golp-Bharati, Mouchak, Pathshala, Rang-Mashal, NoboShakti, Swadhinata, Agami, Kalantar, Parichaya, Notun Sahitya, Diganta, Sanskriti, Mukhopotro, Provati, Ononnya, Ultorath, Elomelo, Bharatbarsha, Modhyabitta, Sharodi, Sonar Bangla, Agami, Ononya, Krishak, Purnima, Rupantar and Swaraj.
During his lifetime, Manik published as many as fifty-seven volumes. He also wrote poetry, but not much is heard about his poems.
 Theme & Style
His writing stands in stark contrast to that of other contemporary luminaries like Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay who portrayed life in rural Bengal in a gentle, lyrical light. Although he had some common grounds with Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, he distinguished himself with profouond and rational analysis of the lives of ordinary people. Manik's writing dealt with the pettiness and wretchedness of existence in the context of rural Bengal. His primary concern was the dark alleyways of the human mind, even among the supposedly simple village folk, and not the serene beauty of nature that was always in the background in his novels. In Putulnacher Itikatha he took on rather savagely the hypocrisy in villages: an elderly couple are canonised as saints after committing morpheine-induced suicide; the daughter of one of the village elders gets married off to a wealthy businessman in Kolkata who treats her as a concubine ... she gets hooked to alcohol and returns home just a shadow of her former self. However, the people around her keep pretending that nothing untoward has happened. Numerous other examples abound.
 A pioneer of Bengali Novel
Shortly after making his debut in the world of fiction in 1935 through a short story titled Atshi Mami, Manik Bandopadhay embarked upon writing novels. Publication of Diba-Ratrir Kabya in 1935 and Padma Nadir Majhi and Putul Nacher Itikotha in 1936 established him as the most notable novelist Bengali literature since Bankimchandra, Rabindranath and Saratchandra. He distinguished himself with focus on the life of ordinary rural and urban people, with the colloquial language and with a neat narrative. He was a great story-teller who perfected his fiction with insight into human mind. In the earlier works he took a Freudian approach. In the later life, he showed influence of Marxist theory. His treatment of human sexuality in Chatushkone is path-breaking.
 Putul Nacher Itikatha
Putul Nacher Itikatha is one of the outstanding works of Manik Bandopadhyay. In one of his letters Manik informed that this novel was a humble protest against those who tend to play with the lives of humans as if they were puppets.
It was serialized in the Bharatbarsha from Poush 1341 to Agrahayana 1342. D. M. Library of Calcutta published it as a book in 1936. A film was produced based on this great novel in 1949. The film was directed by Asit Bandopadhyay under the banner of K. K. Productions.
 Social and Political Views
Manik carefully read Marx and Engels and became a Marxist. He became an active politician of Marxism by joining the Communist Party of India in 1944. But he regretted being part of the increasingly hollow and tyrannical organization the Communist Party, later in his life.
He wrote 34 novels and around 180 short-stories in his short,stormy yet intensely prolific literary career of 27 years.
- Janani (Tr. Mother-1935)
- Diba-Ratrir Kabya(Tr. Poetry of Days and nights-1935)
- Padma Nadir Majhi(Tr. The Boatman of River Padma1936)
- Putul Nacher Itikatha (The Puppet's Tale - 1936)
- Jiboner Jotilota (Complicacies of Life - 1936)
- Ahimsa(Non-violence - 1941)
- Dhorabandha Jiban (Quotidian Life - 1941)
- Chatushkone(The Quadrilateral - 1942)
- Protibimbo (The Reflection - 1943)
- Drapan (The Mirror - 1945)
- Shorobasher Itikotha (A Tale of City Life - 1946)
- Chinha (The Sign - 1947)
- Jiyonto (Alive - 1950)
- Pesha (The Profession - 1951)
- Swadhinotar Swad (Taste of Freedom - 1951)
- Pashapashi (Side by side - 1952)
- Sarbojonin (Universal - 1952)
- Nagpash (The Serpent's Grasp - 1953)
- Feriwala (The Street Vendor - 1953)
- Arogya (Recovery - 1953)
- Chalcholon (Lifestyle - 1953)
- Haraf (The Alphabet - 1954)
- Holud Nodi Sobuj Bon (Yellow River Green Woods - 1956)
- Mashul (The Penalty - 1956)
- Majhir Chele(a novel for the adolescent readers)
 Short Stories
- Atashi Mami (1935)
- Pragoitihashik (Tr. Pre-historic - 1937)
- Mihi O Mota Kahini (1938)
- Sarisrip (Tr. Amphibian - 1939)
- Bou (Tr. The Bride - 1940)
- Shamudrer Swad (Tr. The Taste of the Seas - 1943)
- Bhejal (Tr. Adulterated - 1944)
- Holudpora (1945)
- Poristhiti (Tr. The Situation - 1946)
- Khotian (Tr. The Report - 1947)
- Matir Mashul (Tr. Earthen Penalty - 1948)
- Choto Boro (Tr. The Big and the Small - 1948)
- Lajuklota (Tr. A shy creeper - 1953)
- Bhite-Mati (Tr. The Homestead - 1946)
- Lekhoker Katha (Tr. The Writer's Statement - 1957)
- Manik Bandopadhyay-er Kobita (Tr. The poems of Manik Bandopadhyay - 1970)
1.Diner kobita 2.Raater kobita 3.Dibaraatrir kabyo 4.Uttor dokkhin 5.gaachtolae 6.Buro santrasbadi 7.Cha 7.Prothom kobitar kahini 8.Raja o proja 8.Sundor 9.Shrabon maas 10.kishori 11.Adim kobita 12.Mod je khae se matal 13.Nastiker kotha 14.Rupkotha 15.Hae go hae
- Jugantor Chakrabarty (editor), Oprokashito Manik Bandopadhyay, 1976.
- Saroj Dutta, Ouponnasik Manik Bandopadhyay, 1993
- Nitai Basu, Manik Bandopadhyay'er Somaj Jijnasa, 1978.
- Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee, Manik Bandopadhyay: A Centenary Tribute in the Indian Literature, Nov/Dec, 2008