Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nabarun Bhattacharya passes away at 66

It's difficult to describe Nabarun Bhattacharya as a writer. He was kind of loose cannon, but firmly anti-establishment and wrote his poetry and fiction out of his conviction. A hard-core Marxist, with an in-depth knowledge of leftist movements and literature, he brought in a fresh wind of change in Bengali literature. He was original, intense, thoughtful, even provocative but never staid, dull or without a sense of humour.

Initially, I had problem with his odd-ball characters: most are lawless creatures, almost lumpens, some subversive, even schizophrenic. They use slang freely.But they were his sticks to beat his demons with.  His demons were capitalism, consumerist culture or powers-that-be. He had profound knowledge of the Kolkata sub-culture, which I think, he was  obsessive about and fond of, in a way.

I spent the better part of this summer reading his complete collection of novels. I read Kangal Malsat for the first time. Who can forget the fyataroos, the people who can fly and stay suspended in the air for a while, and wreak havoc with the administrative structure? It was awesome as a novel. I laughed out quite a lot while reading the novel. In the guise of a fantasy, it depicted the contour of our establishment in a brilliant way.

I don't know of any other living writer, not only in Bengali literature, but in world literature as well, who is so forthright, profound and talented.

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