Biography of Sunil Gangopadhyay
Sunil Gangopadhyay (Shunil Gônggopaddhae), is an Indian poet and novelist.
He was born in Faridpur in what is now Bangladesh. He studied at the Surendranath College, Dumdum Motizhil College, City College, Kolkata - all affiliated with the University of Calcutta. Thereafter, he obtained his Master's degree in Bengali from the University of Calcutta in 1954.
He was the founder editor of Krittibas, a seminal poetry magazine started publishing from 1953, that became a platform for a new generation of poets experimenting with many new forms in poetic themes, rhythms, and words. Later, he started writing for various publications of the Ananda Bazar group, a major publishing house in Kolkata and has been continuing it for many years. He became friends with the beat poet Allen Ginsberg while he was traveling in India.
Ginsberg mentioned Gangopadhyay most notedly in his poem September on Jessore Road. Gangopadhyay in return mentioned Ginsberg in some of his prose work. After serving five years as the Vice President, he was elected the President of the Sahitya Akademi on February 20, 2008.
Sunil, along with Tarun Sanyal, Jyotirmoy Datta and Satrajit Dutta had volunteered to be defense witnesses in the famous trial of "Hungryalism" poet Malay Roy Choudhury.
He married Swati Bandopadhyay on February 26, 1967. Their only son, Sauvik was born on November 20, 1967.
Author of well over 200 books, Sunil is a prolific writer who has excelled in different genres but declares poetry to be his "first love". His Nikhilesh and Neera series of poems (some of which have been translated as For You, Neera and Murmur in the Woods) have been extremely popular.
As in poetry, Sunil is known for his unique style in prose. His first novel was 'atmaprakash' and it was also the first writing from a new comer in literature published in the prestigious magazine- 'desh' (1965). It was critically acclaimed but some controversy arises for its aggressive and 'obscene' style. Sunil said that he was afraid of this novel and went away from calcutta for a few days. Satyajit ray, the iconic film-maker thought to make a film on it but it wasn't possible for reasons. The central character of 'Atmaprakash' is a young man of core-calcutta'- sunil, who leads a bohemian life-style. The novel had inspiration from ' On the road' by Jack Kerouac, the beat generation writer. 'Arjun, Pratidwandi, filmed by Satyajit Ray (English title: The Adversary), Aranyer Din-Raatri (The Days and Nights of the Forest, also filmed by Satyajit Ray), Ekaa ebong Koyekjon are some of his well known works of fiction. His historical fiction Sei Somoy (translated into English by Aruna Chakravorty as Those Days) received the Indian Sahitya Akademi award in 1985. Sei Somoy continues to be a best seller more than two decade after its first publication. The same is true for Pratham Alo (also translated recently by Aruna Chakravorty as First Light), another best selling historical fiction and Purbo-Paschim, a raw depiction of the partition and its aftermath seen through the eyes of three generations of Bengalis in West Bengal, Bangladesh and elsewhere. He is also the winner of the Bankim Puraskar (1982), and the Ananda Puraskar (twice, in 1972 and 1989).
Sunil has written (and still writes) in many other genres including travelogues, children's fiction, short stories, features, and essays. Among his pen-names are: Nil Lohit, Sanatan Pathak, and Nil Upadhyay.
Though he has written all types of children's fiction, one character created by him that stands out above the rest, is Kakababu, the crippled adventurist, accompanied by his young adult nephew Santu, and his friend Jojo. Since 1974, Sunil Gangopadhyay has written over 35 novels of this popular series, most of which appeared in Anandamela magazine.
One of Sunil Gangopadhyay's cult poems, Smritir Shohor has been turned into a song for the film Iti Mrinalini (2011) directed by Aparna Sen.
Sunil Gangopadhyay's Works:
Hathat Nirar Janya
Sada Prishtha tomar sange
Sei Muhurte Nira
Bandhubandhab - an unusual work on friendship
Purba-Paschim (in two parts) - an epic novel on east and west Bengal
Jeeban Je Rakam
Eka Ebong Koekjon - Bengal & India during early 20th century up to Independence
Pratham Alo (in two parts) - an epic novel on Bengal Renaissance where Tagore & Swami Vivekananda are two of the few main protagonists. Their journey through life as teenagers to grow up being the man they eventually did marks this epic as a literary masterpiece.
Ranu O Bhanu
Moner Manush-made into a motion film by Goutam Ghose, starring Prosenjit as Lalon Fakir, a famous and iconic baul poet of early 18th-19th Century Bengal.
Sabuj Dwiper Raja
Kakababu O Sindukrahasya
Kakababu O Bajralama
Santu Kothay,Kakababu Kothay
Jangaler Modhe Ek Hotel
Santu O Ak Tukro Chand
Kakababu Herey Gelen?
Pahar Churae Atanka
Khali Jahajer Rohosyo
Agun Pakhir Rohoshyo
Kakababu O Chorashikari
"Sadhubabar haat(Short Story)"
"Kakababu O Ek Chhodmobeshi"
"Ebar Kakababur Protishodh"
"Mishor Rohoshsho (Mystery in Egypt)"
"Kakababu O Ashchorjo Dweep"
"Agneyogirir peter madhye"
Kakababu O Jaladashu
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Sunil Gangopadhyay Poems
A Truth Bound Sentiment
This hand has touched Neera's face, could I use this hand to commit a sin, ever again? In the late evening glow
Neera, sometimes, it seems you are more distant than even the day I was born.
With ease I make a million flowers bloom, All at once I light up some suns, moons, stars, In a passing whim I blow out the moonlight
This Hand Has Touched
This golden figurine- oh dear, will she ceaselessly crumble away, In the night, in the sun, in the rain in the arms of another man? Her nipples two bared switches,- switches? Hands tremble at their touch.
Neera, sometimes, it seems
you are more distant
than even the day I was born.
You walk alone --
in the autumn-woods.
The rustle of leaves
under your tender feet,
fill the air!
The mountains, sloped like a bullock's neck