Biographical Sketch: Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay (1898-1971) : Parabaas
With Manik and Bibhutibhushan, Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay (তারাশঙ্কর বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়) completes the famous triad of the "Banerjee"s (or Bandyopadhyays) of Bengali literature. Tarashankar was born in a zamindar family on July 23, 1898, at a village called Labhpur in the district Birbhum of West Bengal. After completing high school in the village, he went to Kolkata for higher studies. However, because of his association with the freedom fighters, the British authority had him interned in his ancestral house on two occasions. Later on, Tarashankar became an active social worker, tirelessly working often for months on end when epidemics ravaged this backward region. Thus he had the opportunity to observe very closely the people in his locality, a majority of whom belonged to the so-called lower-strata of the society --- tribals, bagdi, bauri, dom, sadgop, etc. And he did so not from a social distance; Tarashankar's love for this region continued to shine through all his writings even when he had settled in Kolkata, away from his beloved Birbhum. He successfully introduced the regional dialect into his writings.
A prolific writer of short stories and novels, Tarashankar also wrote two volumes of autobiography and reminiscences: Amar Kaler Katha (Tales of My Times, 1951) and Amar Sahitya Jiban (My Literary Life, 1953). Many films have been based upon his novels, including Abhijan and Jalsaghar ('The Music Room'), both directed by Satyajit Ray.
Tarashankar received the Jnanpith award in 1967 for his novel Ganadevata.
Published in Parabaas: November, 2001