Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay:The Icon of Bengali Literature: A Reminiscence on his 144th Birth Anniversary

“Simple living but high thinking” was the one and only motto of his life. Though born in a place of Hoogly , far away from the razzle dazzle of the urban life, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay was never coy in imbibing the ethos of the urban social life. A good student who failed to carry on with his higher studies owing to the financial crunch of his family. But this simply could not refrain him from flaunting his genius before the mass. And with the passage of time Sarat became a known figure in the Bengali literary circle and his creations and contributions were highly eulogised for touching the various degrees of human emotions which had either recreated or destroyed their sustenance in the social realm!
The author’s stories primarily focus on the tragedy, pains and sufferings of the human race. He was also the painter of the same souls who invested their heart and soul to break the coccon ,escape and indulge in a long walk towards freedom! But he was not unromantic either. His much acclaimed novel “Devdas”, which the author didnot like though, speaks of the quintessence of love and romance between Devdas and Parvati. But the tragic overtones run through the common thread of the novel. Parvati was married off, Devdas and Chandramukhi wove a fragile love story and finally the death of the hero, which might appear to be quite quaint to some of the traditional and staunch lovers of literature. But it is never a limerick to invite the blows of sharp condemnation from others. On the other hand his novels “Choritrohin” “Pandit Masai” “Chirokumar Sabha” show the random display of social colours as they manage to change from one to another. The question of character, the tale of epidemic that shattered the life of millions and the presence of subdued humour that might have tickled the funny bone carry some of the deepest messages to the society at large. You literary plunge into the ocean and undertake an odyssey like Ulysses to unravel the true intention of Sarat Chandra in penning such novels of immense interest and popularity. Moreover, Sarat Chandra was no less patriotic. His pen was actually a symbol of revolt against the British Clan in India. “Pather Dabi’s”protagonist Sabyasachi simply cannot be forgotten by the Indian blood! The cunning, intelligent and extremely shrewd Sabyasachi could not be tracked by the British, despite their best efforts! But eventually Lady Luck didnot smile upon him and his mission mercilessly failed to reach the desired destination. Tears make their conspicuous presence as Sabyasachi left behind everything to begin anew, to show the new sunrise , to move the people in a new direction for achieving complete freedom( Purna Swaraj)! Accolades were showered upon him as he moved from one milestone to another in his literary career. It is worth mentioning all his novels had been adapted for films during the golden era of cinema!
Celebrating his 144 birthday is of paramount importance to us. Sarat Chandra was such an author who made a journey into the human soul, leaving behind his contemporaries! The Bengali literature of today truly needs an individual like him who would be a guiding light in the all- pervasive darkness! After all the ‘Path’ is important to walk on and reach the summit of tomorrow!!

Kunal Roy

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