A Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay Evening
ALL the chairs were filled up. A full audience remained enchanted as Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay, the eminent Indian-Bangla writer spoke on various topics. Manavjamin, Durbin, Partiv, Parapar, Jao Pakhi and so many famous books have been written by this eminent writer of Kolkata. Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay came to Bangladesh on 27 March, after long 10 years. Last Saturday on 29 March in Paribagh at Smankskriti Bikash Kendro a Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay evening was organized by some of his admirers. This was an informal programme, divided into two parts-conversation with Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay and a cultural part. At the beginning of the programme noted litterateur Imdadul Hoque Milon named it 'a Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay evening'. Then he talked about Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay's birth, growing up as well as the beginning of his literary career. Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay's ancestors lived in Bikrompur but he was born in Mymensingh on 2 November 1935, and lived there up to age ten. During partition his family migrated to Kolkata.
Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay's first novel came out in 1967, named Ghunpoka. At one stage Imdadul Hoque Milon requested Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay to talk about his childhood in Bangladesh. Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay reminisced the days in Mymensingh with visible delight in his eyes. The then Mymensingh was a complete village; their house was near the river, as he recalled. Those were the days of exploring the trees, fields, and river. Those were the days to grow up in the lap of nature. In his childhood he used to eat different fruits from climbing trees and he jokingly said he used to be hungry like a cow. He said he still remembered that night when his family had left Mymensingh in a train for good.
After Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay's speech a singer presented some Rabindrasangeet. It followed the question and answer part. There was open questions from the audience which were answered by Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay.
We came to know many things from Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay. His name Shirshendu was given by his father and his nickname was Runu. He was an avid reader and thus a writer's mind evolved in him over the years. He said he has been affected by Feodor Dostoyevsky, Franz Kafka and poet T. S. Eliot; and Bankimchandra Chattapaddhay, Bivootibhushon Bandapaddhay and Jibonanonda Dash from Bangla literature. Somebody questioned him about his disciplinary of Thakur Anukul Chandra. Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay said that once he was not finding any meaning of life; living was totally meaningless to him. He was then on the verge of committing suicide. At that moment he met with Thakur Anukul Chandra and then realized the beauty of life. Thakur taught him how to look at life.
While giving tips to upcoming writers, Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay said, “Writing is a very hard job; everything is already written in the world, nothing is left for you to create. What we actually do now is retell them again in a new dimension. So, while writing a young writer must have his own thinking and thoughts, particularly in sentence making, words, language, styleeverything should be different. And always he has to keep in mind that all the great writers are his competitors. He has to defeat them, otherwise, he won't be able to create anything new.” Renowned actor Joyonto Chottopaddhay, reciter Shimul Mustafa and Robi Sankar Moitri recited poems at the function. Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay said that Bangladeshi prose has developed its own style and he said that he was glad to see that he has a large number of readers in Bangladesh compared to that in West Bengal. He also said that he had never got such warm love and reception there like he did in Bangladesh.
(The writer is a journalist.