All of us Bengalis have grown up with a certain set of books.
This is an attempt to list them down.
Read any more books that should feature here? Comment below with FB-enabled comments!
Be it in the voluminous Feluda Shomogro we all have, or the Gopa Mazumder translation, or the stories included as comics in Anandamela, Feluda is one character who has touched every Bengali soul, teaching it to think rationally.
- Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen
It is also the first Bengali movie that a kid should see (Take note, parents who are fans of Dev). Follow it up with Heerok Raja’r Deshe and Gupi Bagha Phirey Elo for an afternoon of undiluted pleasure.
- Chaander Pahar
It is the first Bengali adventure novel for a lot of us. The thrills we got when Shonkor stepped out of his tent at midnight looking for Alvarez can never be replicated in any movie.
- Handa-Bhonda / Nonte-Phonte / Baatul-the-Great
You just could not let go of the books once you laid your hands on them. Be it Keltu-da’s antics, or be it their witty solutions to get out of sticky situations, or be it the feeling of enjoyment when the bad guy got what he deserved, they kept us turning the pages.
- Kakababu / Gogol / Mitin-Maashi
Gogol taught us that it doesn’t take an adult to become a goenda; Kakababu took us on journeys across India on his crutches, solving mysteries. Mitin-Mashi is a recent favourite of the kids who are growing up with Anandamela Pujabarshiki. Arguably the coolest female detective in Bengali literature.
- Netaji / Swamiji
A Bengali recalls with pride about Netaji (the one who’s still alive) leading a movement against Prof Oaten while still a student. He recalls with pride the reaction of the Americans when Swamiji said, “Brothers and Sisters of America.” His source of all this information of course is not his history book but his grandmother’s lessons, Amar Chitra Katha texts and numerous articles from any place but the school text-book.
Admit it, you have read at least one Bengali translation in your lifetime. Usually it’s Shakespeare, and sometimes it is even classics like Count of Monte Christo, Hunchback of Notre Dame and the like.
The first book we have all been made to read. Also, remember the songs that were tuned to the verses of the Bornoporichoi? “aw-e awjogor ashche tere… Aam-ti ami khabo pere.”
The book we all long for all year round. Be it the Anandamela Pujabarshiki with all its colourful glory, or the Shuktara Pujabarshiki which rather interests our grandmothers too, or the Kishor Gyan Bigyan (a personal favourite), we keep flocking to the bookshops and mag stands looking for these!
What books did you grow up with?