Saturday, August 27, 2011

Introducing Banpalashir Padabali and its author -- Sri Ramapada Chaudhuri

From this year IIPM has introduced an award in the name of Rabindranath Tagore to mark his 150th birth anniversary. For writing in the mother tongue of Tagore, this award goes to Sri Ramapada Chaudhuri for his classic novel—Banpalashir Padabali.

Ramapada Chaudhuri is the author of more than 100 short stories and about 50 novels . He has received a number of literary awards and honours. Some of them are –The Rabindra Puroskar of the West Bengal Govt, Sahitya Academi Award, Jagattarini Gold Medal of the University of Calcutta , and the honour for the highest literary achievement , the D.Litt,Honoris Causa from the University of Burdwan .

But to date, many readers of literature, especially those who are not familiar with the Bengali language and its literature, have not yet read this novel, though his short stories have been translated into English and have found a wider readership. One of his novels too has been translated into English.

Banpalashir Padabali is a stunningly vibrant and intensely human work that serves to reaffirm his reputation as a master story-teller in the Bengali language.

In the very first decade after the Independence of India, the old way of life and society began to show cracks and began to yield to the new order, and it is this breakdown of the old order and the rise of a new order that forms the backdrop of the story of a typical village in Bengal. The writer has put the story within a time frame. It starts with the return of Girijaprasad- a son of the soil, who had been serving as the headmaster of a school in the town of Deoghar. After retirement he came back to the village with his wife, younger son and two daughters in the hope of finding shelter and solace in his roots. But after coming back, he realizes through his daily interactions and petty clashes that there is a gap between him and the villagers, even with his younger brother and childhood friends. His financial, cultural and social status has created a distance which cannot be bridged and it becomes very difficult for him to continue living in the village any more. He realizes that he and his family had imperceptibly become misfits . So even before spending the second Durga Puja he leaves the village with a heavy heart to live with his elder son who had been doing well in the railway services and residing in a railway colony.
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