Gour Kishore Ghosh
Gour Kishore Ghosh was born in Hat Gopalpur village in the Jessore district in undivided Bengal, (presently Bangladesh), on 22 June 1923. He completed his schooling in Nabadwip, and completed his intermediate science (I.Sc.) examinations in 1945.
Due to extreme poverty, Ghosh could not continue his education further and had to become a professional soon after.
He continually changed his professions between 1941 and 1953. Amongst others, he worked as private tutor, electrician and fitter, sailor, waiter at restaurants, trade union organizer, schoolteacher, manager of a touring dance troupe, land customs clearing clerk, proof reader and others, until from an interim job as a border customs clerk he joined a new daily newspaper, Satyayuga where his distinctive writing style earned him promotion to editor of two feature sections. Thus, he settled at his chosen profession, that of a reporter / journalist.
Journalistic and literary career
Ghosh went on to author popular columns in the literary weekly Desh and in Calcutta's largest vernacular daily, Anandabazar Patrika, of which he also became senior editor. He portrayed the agony of West Bengal during the Naxalite movement from 1969 to 1971, in sharp satire, in his "News Commentary by Rupadarshi". He often wrote under his pen-name, Rupadarshi.
After the emergency was imposed upon India in 1975, Ghosh shaved his head and wrote a symbolic letter to his 13 year old son explaining his act of "bereavement" over the loss of his freedom to write. Published in Kolkata, a Bengali monthly, this letter caused his arrest, was widely circulated through the underground and became a classic of protest. Ghosh smuggled from prison two other letters on abuses of authoritarian rule before, in his cell, he suffered a third heart attack.
He did not write much fiction, but what he wrote was highly appreciated and successful. In his fiction, he has illuminated the underlying human dilemma of West Bengal—of a talented, emotional people sorely affected by deep-seated religious and political differences.
Although reinstated as a senior editor of Ananda Bazar Patrika after the emergency ended and he had recovered from his illness, Ghosh started Aajkaal (This Time), in collaboration with a few associates.
After a short stint with Aajkal, he wrote for Anandabazar Patrika till the end.
His weekly satirical column was famous, as also a series of humorous stories. His mature work chose the rather neglected field of interaction between Hindu and Muslim societies.
This humanitarian writer-journalist was presented with many awards during his lifetime. Notable among them were:
- Ananda Purashkar for Literature (1970)
- Ko Joy Uk Memorial award (1976), from the South Korean Government.
- Ramon Magsaysay Award (1981) for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts.
- Maharashtra Government Award (1981).
- Bankim Puraskar (1982).
- Hardayal Harmony Award (1993).
- Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Award (1993).
List of major works
Short story collections:
- Ei Kolkatay (1952)
- Mon Maney Na (1955)
- Sagina Mahato (1969)
- Poschimbongo Ek Promod Toroni, Ha ha! (1969)
- Aamra Jekhaney (June, 1970)
- "Prem ney"
- "Jol Porey Pata Norey
He had two daughters and a son. He was known for his spartan living.
He was arrested in 1975, as per the controversial MISA Act.
A vocal supporter and advocate of journalistic rights and right to expression, he had been in many instances in opposition to the prevailing conditions, and had to bear censure of the prevailing authorities for his struggles.
Sagina Mahato, a story written by him in remembrance of a colleague of his in his political activist past, was successfully adopted into movies in Hindi (Sagina) and Bengali (Sagina Mahato) by Tapan Sinha, with the famous thespian Dilip Kumar playing the part of the protagonist Sagina Mahato in both instances.