Eminent Bengali writer Buddhadeb Guha is no more

Eminent Bengali writer Buddhadeb Guha is no more

Hummingbird News Desk

KOLKATA, 30 AUGUST: Buddhadeb Guha, an eminent Bengali writer who was known as Lala Da to those close to him and author of many notable works such as Madhukari (‘Honey Gatherer’), has died. He was 85.

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Guha died of post-COVID-19 complications at a private hospital here at 11.25 pm on Sunday, 29 August, after a massive cardiac arrest, family members said.

The writer, whose works of fiction reflected his closeness to nature and forests of eastern India, had been hospitalised earlier this month after complaining of breathlessness and urinary infection, they said.

He had earlier contracted COVID-19 in April and was hospitalised for 33 days.

“Buddhadev Guha is no more. He was blessed as to be one with the Divine on the night of Janmashtami (Lord Krishna’s birthday) 2021. Do join his family and friends in celebrating his life,” his elder daughter Maleni B. Guhaa said in a social media message.

Guha was predeceased by wife, eminent Rabindra Sangeet exponent Ritu Guha in 2001. He leaves behind two daughters.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressed deep grief over the passing away of eminent writer, Buddhadeb Guha.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said;

“Shri Buddhadeb Guha’s writings were multifaceted and displayed great sensitivity to the environment. His works were enjoyed across generations, particularly among youngsters. His passing away is a big loss to the literary world. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled the demise of Guha, describing him as one of the foremost writers in Bengali literature whose death will leave a void.

“Buddhadeb Guha will be remembered for Koeler Kachhe, Kojagar, Ektu Usnotar Jonyo, Madhukari, Jangalmahal, Choroibeti and other books. He is the creator of two popular fictional characters in Bengali literature Ribhu and Rijuda,” Miss Banerjee said in a condolence message.

She offered her condolences to the bereaved family and his countless readers.

Born on June 29, 1936 in Kolkata, Guha had spent his childhood in Rangpur and Barisal districts of East Bengal (now Bangladesh). His childhood experiences and travels left a deep imprint on him, which were reflected in his works later on.

His novels and short stories have been highly acclaimed by critics, winning him fans across the sub-continent and several awards, including Ananda Purashkar in 1976, Shiroman Purashkar and Sharat Puraskar.

The writer’s important works besides Madhukari, include Koeler Kachhe (‘Near the Koel River’) and Sobinoy Nibedon (‘Humble Offering’).

An award-winning Bengali film Dictionary was also made based on two of his works, Baba Howa (‘Being a Father’) and Shwami Howa (‘Being Husband’).

He was a popular children’s writer, too, creating the fictional character Rijuda, a hunter-turned-conservationist and his side-kick Rudra.

“During our adolescent days Buddhadeb Guha was one of the writers whose writings really inspired us,” poet Joy Goswami told My Kolkata. “All his works, be it Khela JokhonMadhukoriObobahikaHolud BasantaKoyeler KachheEktu Ushnotar Jonno, have kindled curiosity and creative pursuits. He is one of my favourites.

“Just like thousand others I have also been a big fan of Rijuda,” Goswami continued. “I had a very close relationship with him. In the year 1990, when I first received the Ananda Purashkar , as I walked down from the platform Buddhadeb Babu was the first to come forward and hug me. I was not aware that he was Buddhadeb Guha. He said: Amaye cheno na toh? Ami Buddhadeb Guha (You don’t know me I guess, my name is Buddhadeb Guha). I greeted him with pronam. I was very fortunate to personally hear him sing. In 1992 he visited my house one day and sang around 20 songs. He was a very humble person. Needless to say a fantastic and very talented and profound singer. He learnt puratoni gaan from Chandidas Mal, Rabindrasangeet from Dakhkhini under the guidance of Subho Guhathakurta and from Debabrata Biswas.

“I remember him singing Sohosha daalpala tor utala je, a popular Rabindrasangeet. I also remember him sing Nabaneeta Deb Sen’s favourite, Aami bandhinu tomar teere toroni amar, in her memorial service at Rabindra Sadan. He was also a good painter.”

Rupa Majumdar, editor of Nabakallol and Shuktara magazines and director of publishing house Dev Sahitya Kutir, whose magazine recently serialised Guha’s childhood memories in story form, said, He was a colossus, a literary star people used to come just to watch him when he would visit our stall at any book fair. His books, some of which we published, were all best-sellers.

Added Sabitendranath Roy, author, publisher and a friend of Guha, “He was a great writer and good friend. We used to enjoy his addas (conversations). Whenever we met, our chats always ended with him singing…he was god-gifted in many ways.”

Tags; #BuddhadebGuha #Madhukari #NarendraModi #MamataBanerjee #JoyGoswami

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