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Manik Bandopadhyay

Manik Bandopadhyay

Born as Prabodh Kumar Bandhopadhay to Harihar Bandhopadhay and Neeroda Devi, Manik Bandopadhay (1908-1956) is one of the founding fathers of modern Bangla fiction. During a short life of forty years, plagued simultaneously with ailment and financial crisis, he produced forty two novels and more than two hundred short-stories. His important works include Padma Nadir Majhi (The Boatman of Padma River) and Putul Nacher Itikotha (The Tale of Puppet Dance) and Chatushkone (Quadrilateral)

Manik Bandopadhay was born on 19 May 1908 in a small town called Dumka in the district of Santal Paragona in the state of Bihar in India . His original name is Prabodh Kumar Bandhopadhay.

His pen name is derived from his family nick 'Manik'. He was the fifth of the fourteen children (eight sons and six daughters) of his parents. His father was Harihar Bandopadhyay and his mother was Niroda Devi. Harihar was a government official and travelled across undivided Bengal in connection with his service which gave the author to experience life and living of different peoples of Bengal , in his early life.

Since his childhood Manik was carefree and adventurous in character. But he also possessed a very sensitive soul. He lost his mother on 28 May 1924 when he was only sixteen and this berevement left a deep mark in his psyche. After his mother's death, Manik became reckless and tie with his family grew thin.

The writer married Kamala Devi, the third daughter of Surendranath Chattopadhay. He had two sons and two daughters.


Manik passed Entrance examinaiton from the Midnapore Zilla School in 1926 securing first division with letter marks in both compulsory and optional Mathematics. In the same year he got admitted in Welleslyan Mission College at Bankura. Earlier he has also studied in Kanthi Model School in Tangail.

In Welleslyan College Manik came in contact with a professor called Jackson.Being influenced by him Manik read Bible and got rid of religious inferiority. In 1928 he passed I. Sc. with first division.

He got admitted to the B.Sc. course in Mathematics at the Presidency College , Calcutta with the inspiration of his father.


Writing was the only source of income for Manik Bandopadhay throughout his life. For a short while he tried to enhance his earning through involvement with one or two literary magazines. He worked as editor of Nabarun for a few months in 1934. In 1937-38, he worked as Assisatnt Editor of literary magazine Bangasree. Also he has establsihed a printing and publishing house in 1939. It was short-lived endevour. In 1943 he worked as Publicity Assistant for the Government of India.


Manik died an untimely and unfortunate death in 1956, aged merely 48. His funeral took place at Nimtala Shmashan Ghat. Since early life he struggled with poverty and eplilepsy. The sign of epilipsy first surfaced when he was engaged in writing Padma Nadir Majhi ) and Putul Nacher Itikotha. Continued and unabated ailment, problems and crisis devasated his mental disposition and eventually he resorted to alcohol for respite, adding to his misery. On 30 November of 1956, the author fainted and fell into coma. He was admitted to the Nilratan Government Hospital on 2nd of December where he died the following day. Following his death, a mourning meeting was held on 7th December particpated by a huge crowd.

Literary life

One day when he was sitting with his friends in their college canteen one of his friend told could he publish the story in "Bichitra" paper he said that he could publish his first story "Atshi mami". In those days "Bichitra" paper was famous & only famous writer could write. One day he went to "Bichitra" paper's office & posted the story on the editor's letter box.At the end of the story he wrote his name as Manik Bandhopadhay. After four months the story was published & the story became famous in Kolkata & from then he was popularly known as Manik Bandhopadhay.

His stories and novels were published in various literary magaziens of the then Bengal . They included Bichitra, Bangasree, Purbasha, AnandaBazaar Patrika, Jugantor, Satyajug, Probashi, Desh, Chaturanga, NoroNari, Notun Jiban, Bosumati, Golp-Bharati, Mouchak, Pathshala, Rang-Mashal, NoboShakti, Swadhinata, Agami, Kalantar, Parichaya, Notun Sahitya, Diganta, Sanskriti, Mukhopotro, Provati, Ononnya, Ultorath, Elomelo, Bharatbarsha, Modhyabitta, Sharodi, Sonar Bangla, Agami, Ononya, Krishak, Purnima, Rupantar and Swaraj.

During his lifetime, Manik published as many as fifty seven titles. He has also taken shots at composing poetry.

Theme & Style

His writing stands in stark contrast to that of other luminaries like Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay who portrayed life in rural Bengal in a gentle, lyrical light. Manik's writing dealt with the pettiness and wretchedness of existence in a village context. His primary concern was the dark alleyways of the human mind, even among the supposedly simple village folk, and not the serene beauty of nature that was always in the background in his novels. In Putulnacher Itikotha he took on rather savagely the touchy topic of hypocrisy in villages: an elderly couple are canonised as saints after committing morpheine - induced suicide; the daughter of one of the village's elders gets married off to a wealthy businessman in Kolkata who treats her as a 'kept'woman, she develops a drinking habit and comes back to her old home just a shadow of her former self. However, the people around her keep pretending that nothing untoward has happened. Numerous other examples abound.

A pioneer of Bengali Novel

Shortly after making his debut in the world of fiction in 1935 through a short story titled Atshi Mami, Manik Bandopadhay embarked upon writing novels. Publication of Diba-Ratrir Kabya in 1935 and Padma Nadir Majhi and Putul Nacher Itikotha in 1936 established him as the most notable novelist Bengali literature since Bankimchandra, Rabindranath and Saratchandra. He distinguished himself with focus on the life of ordinary rural and urban people, with tthe colloquial language and with a neat narrative. He was a great story-teller who perfected his fiction with insight into human mind. In the earlier works he took a Freudian approach. In the later life, he showed influence of Marxist theory. His treatment of human sexuality in Chatushkone is path-breaking.

Putul Nacher Itikotha

Putul Nacher Itikotha is one of the most outstanding work of Manik Bandopadhyaya. In one of his letters Manik informed that this novel is an humble protest to those who tend to play with the life of humanbeings as if they are puppets.

It was serilzied in the Bharatbarsha from Poush 1341 to Agrahayana 1342. D. M. Library of Calcutta published it in book form first in 1936. A movie was produced based on this great novel in 1949. The film was directed by Asit Bandopadhyay and produced by K. K. Productions.

Social and Political Views

Manik carefully read Marx and Engels and became a Marxist. He became an active politician of Marxism by joining the Communist Party of India in 1944.


  • Janani ( Mother-1935)
  • Diba-Ratrir Kabya( Poetry of Days and nights-1935)
  • Padma Nadir Majhi( The Boatman of River Padma1936)
  • Putul Nacher Itikatha (The Tale of Puppet Dance - 1936)
  • Jiboner Jotilota (Complicacies of Life - 1936)
  • Ahinsa(1941)
  • Dhorabandha Jiban ( Routine Life - 1941)
  • Chatushkone( Quadrilateral - 1942)
  • Protibimbo (The Reflection - 1943)
  • Drapan (The Mirror - 1945)
  • Shorobasher Itikotha ( A Tale of City Life - 1946)
  • Chinha ( The Sign - 1947)
  • Jiyonto ( Alive - 1950)
  • Pesha ( The Profession - 1951)
  • Swadhinotar Swad ( Taste of Freedom - 1951)
  • Pashapashi ( Side by side - 1952)
  • Sarbojonin ( Universal - 1952)
  • Nagpash ( Serpent's Grasp - 1953)
  • Feriwala ( Vendor on foot - 1953)
  • Arogya ( Recovery - 1953)
  • Chalcholon ( Life style - 1953)
  • Haraf ( The Alphabet - 1954)
  • Holud Nodi Sobuj Bon ( Yellow River Green Woods - 1956)
  • Mashul (The Penalty - 1956)

Short Stories

  • Atshi Mami (1935)
  • Pragoitihashik (Pre-historic - 1937)
  • Mihi O Mota Kahini(1938)
  • Sarisrip ( Amphibian - 1939)
  • Bou ( The Bride - 1940)
  • Shamudrer Swad ( The Taste of the Seas - 1943)
  • Bhejal ( Adulterated - 1944)
  • Holudpora (1945)
  • Poristhiti ( The Situaiton - 1946)
  • Khotian ( The Reprot - 1947)
  • Matir Mashul ( Earthen Penalty - 1948)
  • Choto Boro ( The Big and the Small - 1948)
  • Lajuklota ( A shy creeper - 1953)


Bhite-Mati (Tr. The Homestead - 1946)


Lekhoker Katha (Tr. The Writer's Statement - 1957)


Manik Bandopadhyay-er Kobita (Tr. The poems of Manik Bandopadhyay - 1970)


  • Jugantor Chakrabarty (editor), Oprokashito Manik Bandopadhyay, 1976.
  • Saroj Dutta, Ouponnasik Manik Bandopadhyay, 1993
  • Nitai Basu, Manik Bandopadhyay'er Somaj Jijnasa, 1978.

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