Manik Bandopadhyay Taking the road less travelled
May 19 marked the 105th birth anniversary of Bengali author Manik Bandopadhyay.
Manik is considered one of the icons of modern Bangla fiction. He produced 36 novels and 177 short stories. His significant literary works include “Padma Nadir Majhi”, “Putul Naacher Itikatha”, “Shahartali”, “Chatushkone” etc.
Manik was born in 1908 in a small town called Dumka, in the district of Santal Parganas, under the Bihar province, India. His real name was Prabodh Kumar Bandopadhyay. His pen name was derived from his pet name 'Manik'. He was the 5th of 14 children of Harihar Bandopadhyay and Niroda Devi.
For a while, young Manik studied at Kanthi Model School in Tangail. He passed the entrance examination from the Midnapore Zilla School in 1926. In the same year he got enrolled into Welleslyan Mission College at Bankura. In 1928 he passed I.Sc. He enrolled in the B.Sc. course in Mathematics at the Presidency College, Kolkata with inspiration from his father.
Manik's writing was inspired by the contrasting Marxian and Freudian philosophies. His writing stands in stark contrast to that of his contemporary luminaries like Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay who portrayed life in rural Bengal in a gentle, lyrical light. Although Manik had some common ground with Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, the former distinguished himself with his profound 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.
Manik died in 1956, at the age of 48.
Compiled by Correspondent