30 September, 2020


A master storyteller revisited

FROM idyllic Sadardi, his beloved village in Faridpur (East Bengal), to a room-and-a-half in Calcutta, from the relative comforts of familiar environs to the complexities of city life, Narendranath Mitra may not have had to strive too hard to find his Muse. But then, he extended it to unravel every aspect of the individual, society, upper class, lower class, Muslim, Hindu, village, city, and at age 59 when the master yarn-spinner of modern Bengal passed away after years as a sub-editor in Anandabazar Patrika, he had in his oeuvre some 35 novels and 500 short stories.

Bengali literary magazine Desh may have helped him along by serialising his first novel, Haribangsha, in 1942-43; Satyajit Ray may have filmed his opus on the city, Mahanagar; but Narendranath truly lives through his vibrant, varying characters. "Every writer takes something from the people he knows; but he makes things too. It seems as if the characters make themselves. A writer's joy comes from this loss of personal control. He gets from this a taste of some mystery which is hard to unravel."...



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