Source : Times of India
Eight of the over 200 short stories from the rich oeuvre of legendary Bengali writer Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s works have been translated into English and compiled in a book form. Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, many of whose works have been adapted into iconic films like Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar, also wrote 16 novels. The tales in Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay: Stories have been translated
by Rani Ray.
According to publisher Niyogi Books, the brilliance of Bibhutibhushan’s stories lies in his preoccupation with a whole universe of human beings discovering their destinies amid their complicated circumstances as well as for the feeling of intimacy he invokes among his readers, making even ordinary life seem extraordinary.
The stories included in the collection are Ancestral Homestead (Paitrik Bhita), The Call (Ahoban), The Colour of Mist (Kuashar Rang), The Phoolbaree of Benigi (Benigir Phoolbaree), Bangle from Tirol (Tiroler Bala), Nasu Mama and I (Nasumama ebong ami), Fakir, and Travelling Salesman Krishnalal (Canvasser Krishnalal).
For Rani Ray, translating Bibhutibhushan was an awesome task. “While I mourn the loss of lucidity and grace of the writer’s original Bengali in my English rendering, I sincerely hope I have been able to do my best to preserve the tone and force of his writings,” she says.
Bibhutibhushan’s grandson Tathagata Banerjee, who has written the introduction to the book, says one thing common in his writings is his style of narration, the tone of his voice. “Bibhutibhushan has a unique style of speaking – homely and laid-back. Listening to his voice, one thinks of things like an informal gathering of friends, lazy afternoons, rainy spells, story-telling sessions and hookahs,” he writes.
Banerjee says the stories in his volume are in no way representative of Bibhutibhushan (1894-1950) as no selection or anthology can be representative of him, because there is too little that is “typical” of him, and too much variety. “However, there is a theme weaving in and out of most of these tales, discernible somewhere in plot and somewhere in character and lending them a semblance of unity, which, for lack of better expressions, can be called a theme of ‘persistence’, ‘recalcitrance’ or ‘incorrigibility’,” he writes.