Premendra Mitra

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Premendra Mitra
Premendra Mitra.jpg
Premendra Mitra
Born 1904
Varanasi, India
Died 3 May 1988
Kolkata
Occupation Poet, Novelist, Short Story Writer, Science Fiction Writer, Film Director, Professor of Bengali
Notable award(s) Rabindra Puraskar
Padmashree
Sharat Puraskar
Spouse(s) Beena Mitra

Premendra Mitra (Bengali: প্রেমেন্দ্র মিত্র; 1904–1988)[1][2] was a renowned Bengali poet, novelist, short story and thrillers writer and film director. He was also Bengal's most famous practitioners of science fiction in its own language. His critique of humanity led him to believe that for it to survive, human beings had to "forget their differences and be united".[3]

Life[edit]

He was born in Varanasi, India where his father was an employee of the Indian Railways and because of that he had the opportunity to travel to many places in India. Having lost his mother, who died during his childhood, he was brought up by his grandparents in Uttar Pradesh and speant his later life in Kolkata & Dhaka. He was a student of South Suburban School (Main) and enrolled for a BA at the Scottish Church College[4] in Kolkata which he left prematurely to study agriculture in Santiniketan with a friend of Rabindranath Tagore, Leonard Elmhirst.

Not holding his interest, he returned to education first on an undergraduate course in Dhaka and in 1925 at Asutosh College in Kolkata where he assisted the research of Dinesh Chandra Sen.[5]

During his initial years, he (unsuccessfully) aspired to be a physician and studied the natural sciences. Later he started out as a school teacher. He even tried to make a career for himself as a businessman, but he was unsuccessful in that venture as well. At a time, he was working in the marketing division of a medicine producing company. After trying out the other occupations, in which he met marginal or moderate success, he rediscovered his talents for creativity in writing and eventually became a Bengali author and poet.

Married to Beena Mitra in 1930, he was, by profession, a Bengali professor at City College in north Kolkata. He spent almost his entire life in a house at Kalighat, Kolkata.

As an author and editor[edit]

In November 1923, Mitra came from Dhaka, Bangladesh and stayed in a mess at Gobinda Ghoshal Lane, Kolkata. There, he wrote 2 stories and sent them to the popular Bengali journal Prabasi (meaning: The Exile). His first published work was Shudhu Keraneein Prabasi in March 1924. In the following issue, another story, Goponcharini was published. His poems were better known for their sharpness and wit. They also expressed empathy for the sufferings of the proletariat. Five years earlier, in 1925, when Rabindranath Tagore wrote Punoshcho, the first universally accepted Bengali prose-poetry book, Mitra wrote some poetries in the magazines, Bijli, Kali Kalam, etc. which are of that kind. Buddhadeb Bosu thus wrote:

He is one of the earliest practitioners— one might say pioneers— of the prose poem.

The first book of poetry was Prothoma (1932).

His short stories were well-structured and innovative, and encompassed the diverse to the divergent in urban Indian society. The themes of poverty, degradation, caste, the intermittent conflict between religion and rationality and themes of the rural-urban divide are a thematically occurring refrain in much of his work. He experimented with the stylistic nuances of Bengali prose and tried to offer alternative linguistic parameters to the high-class elite prosaic Bengali language. It was basically an effort to make the Bengali literature free from softness, excessive romance and use of old style of writing which were prevalent in older writings. Nana Range Bona is not only a short story collection, but it is the only known autobiography of Premendra Mitra. He edited Bengali journals and news-magazines like Kollol [কল্লোল], Kali Kalam [কালি কলম], Banglar Kotha, Bongobani etc. He also wrote in Mouchak, a magazine run by Sudhir Chandra Sarkar. He was connected to the Akashbani at first as a producer, later he performed other duties.

He even wrote brilliant and innovative science fictions and thrillers. Those are based on firm scientific temperaments and facts. Two of his most well-known stories are Piprey Puran (The Story of the Ants) and Mangalbairi [মঙ্গলবৈরী] (The Martian Enemies). Although these are more popular among Bengali-speaking school children and teenagers, they are popular among an older generation of literary aficionados as well.

Ghanada[edit]

In particular, his creation of the character of Ghanada [ঘনাদা] (meaning: 'Elder brother Ghana' in Bengali) won him public recognition.[6] The character of Ghanada is an uninterested unemployed middle aged male who can apparently weave adventures almost at the drop of a hat. His adventures cover themes ranging from crime, human ingenuity, science, history, geography, metaphysics and philosophy. It is obvious that while Ghanada himself has not been involved in any of the adventures he claims to have taken part in, he is certainly a learned man with an exceptional gift for storytelling. The stories are notably accurate from a scientific point of view. Ghanada may be seen as Mitra's parody or caricature of the Bengali urban middle class celibate intellectual, who is at home in the world of books and knowledge, but has little practical experience whatsoever. It is also interesting to note that like Satyajit Ray's Feluda, the older Ghanada although not abhorring the opposite sex, is not entirely at ease with them either. He stays at an all-male hostel and maintains an almost frugal existence. Ghanada is a self-educated person and his education is mostly due to time spent at the local libraries. In a way, it could be argued that these stories also reflect larger patterns of social transformations.

Mejokorta[edit]

Another masterpice of his creation was the character of Mejokorta (meaning: 'the next brother of the eldest son of a family' in Bengali). Mejokarta was a famous "Bhoot Shikari" (meaning: Ghost-hunter in Bengali). The series of Mejokarta, although not as long as that of Ghanada, has left its prominent mark in the genre of ghost stories in Bengali.

See also: Characters

Mitra's literary works were included in the curriculum of school level, secondary, higher secondary and graduation level Bengali literature in Bangladesh & West Bengal.

List of books[edit]


Poems[edit]

  • Prothoma (First Lady)
  • Somrat (The Emperor)
  • Feraari Fouj (The Lost Army) Poetries:Phyan [ফ্যান]
  • Sagor Theke Fera (Returning From The Sea)
  • Horin Cheeta Chil (Deer, Cheetah, Kite) Poetries:Khunt [খুঁত] (Wrong)
  • Kokhono Megh (An Occasional Cloud)
  • Ananya (One-of-a-kind, Unique)
  • Khuda wahid (Allah)

Short story collections[edit]

Bengali[edit]
  • PonchoShor [পঞ্চশর] (The Five Arrows)
  • Benami Bandar [বেনামি বন্দর] (Unknown Harbour)
  • Putul O Protima [পুতুল ও প্রতিমা] (Doll And Clay Image of Goddess)
  • Mrittika [মৃত্তিকা] (Earthen image)
  • Ofuronto [অফুরন্ত] (Endless)
  • Dhuli Dhusor [ধূলি ধূসর] (Fade As Dust)
  • Mohanagar [মহানগর] (The Great City)
  • Jol Payra [জল পায়রা] (Water Pigeon)
  • Sreshto Golpo [শ্রেষ্ঠ গল্প] (Best Stories)
  • Nana Ronge Bona [নানা রঙে বোনা] (Knit with Different Colours)
  • Nirbachita [নির্বাচিত] (Selected)
English[edit]
  • Snake And Other Stories
  • Mosquito and Other Stories
  • Adventures of Ghanada
For children
  • MayurPankhi [ময়ূরপঙ্খী]
  • SagorDanri [সাগরদাঁড়ি]
  • MakorMukhi [মকরমুখী]

.

List of writings[edit]


Rhymes[edit]

  • Hariye [হারিয়ে]
  • Borong [বরং]
  • Misti Megh [মিষ্টি মেঘ] (A Sweet Cloud)
  • Onko [অঙ্ক] (Mathematics)
  • Misti [মিষ্টি] (Sweet)
  • Duti Banshi [দুটি বাঁশি] (The Two Flutes)
  • Megher Ghurhi [মেঘের ঘুড়ি] (The Kite of Cloud)

Fairy tales, ghost stories and teenager stories[edit]

  • Chorui Pakhira Kothay Jay [চড়ুই পাখিরা কোথায় যায়]
  • Lighthouse-e [লাইটহাউসে] (At the Lighthouse)
  • Satyabadi Suku [সত্যবাদী সুকু] (Suku the Truth Speaker)
  • Hatir Danter Kaj [হাতির দাঁতের কাজ] (Work Done By the Tooth of an Elephant)
  • Golper Swarge [গল্পের স্বর্গে] (At the Paradise of Stories)
  • Putuler Lorai [পুতুলের লড়াই] (The Fight of the Dolls)
  • Ramrajye Bidroha [রামরাজ্যে বিদ্রোহ]
  • Kurukshetre Bhaja Orfe Brihaddhaja [কুরুক্ষেত্রে ভজা ওরফে বৄহদ্ধজ] (Bhaja Alias Brihaddhaja at the Kurukshetra)
  • Ratan Panjali [রতন পাঞ্জালী]
  • Ko-Aai [কো-আই]
  • Porira Keno Ase Na [পরিরা কেন আসে না] (Why the Fairies Don’t Come)
  • KalRakkhos Kothay Thake? [কালরাক্ষস কোথায় থাকে?] (Where does KalRakkhos Live?)
  • Sanu O DudhRajkumar [সানু ও দুধরাজকুমার] (Sanu And DudhRajkumar)
  • KaluSardar (Kalu the Leader)
  • Gopon Bahini [গোপন বাহিনী] (The Secret Force)
  • Mahuri Kuthite Ek Rat [মাহুরি কুঠিতে এক রাত] (One Night Stand at Mahuri Kuthi)
  • Nishutipur [নিশুতিপুর]
  • Vuturhe Jahaj [ভূতুড়ে জাহাজ] (The Ghost Ship)

Ghost stories[edit]

  • Golper Sheshe (At the End of the Story)
  • Rajputanar Morute (At the Desert of the Rajputana)
  • Bromhadoityer Math (The Ground of Bromhadoityo (Ghost))

Fun stories[edit]

  • Clue [ক্লু] (The Clue)
  • Chor [চোর] (The Thief)
  • Bhupaler Kopal [ভূপালের কপাল] (The Fate of Bhupal)
  • BishwomvorBabur Bibortonbad [বিশ্বম্ভরবাবুর বিবর্তনবাদ] (The Thesis of Evolution by BishwomvorBabu)
  • Niruddesh [নিরুদ্দেশ] (Missing Person)

Science fictions[edit]

He was among the pioneers of Bengali science fiction. He started writing Science fictions to make children and preteens familiar with science.

  • Juddho Keno Thamlo [যুদ্ধ কেন থামল] (Why the War Was Stopped)
  • Pinpre Puran [পিঁপড়ে পুরাণ] (The Story of the Ants)[7]
  • Prithivir Shatru [পৄথিবীর শত্রু] (The Enemies of the Earth)
  • Kalapanir Atole [কালাপানির অতলে]
  • Mangalbairi [মঙ্গলবৈরী] (The Martian Enemies)[7]
  • Koral Kit [করাল কীট] (Horrible Insect)
  • Akasher Atonko [আকাশের আতঙ্ক] (The Danger from the Sky)
  • Manusher Protidwondi [মানুষের প্রতিদ্বন্দ্বী] (The Rival of the Man)
  • MoyDanober Dweep [ময়দানবের দ্বীপ] (The Island of MoyDanob)
  • Shomaoner Ron(g) Sada [শমনের রং সাদা] (The White Coloured Death)
  • Shukre Jara Giyechhilo [শুক্রে যারা গিয়েছিল] Who They Went to Venus; previously named as Prithibee Chhariye [পৃথিবী ছাড়িয়ে] (Beyond the Earth)

Novels[edit]

  • Paank (The Mud)
  • Michhil (The Procession)
  • Uponayon (The Ceremony)
  • Agamikal (Tomorrow)
  • Protishod (The Revenge)
  • Kuasha (The Fog)
  • Protidhwoni Fere (Echo Returns)

Characters[edit]


Ghanada (Brother Ghana)[edit]
Main article: Ghanada

Ghanada (Original name: Ghanashyam Das) is a middle-aged resident of a mess at 72, Banamali Naskar Lane in Kolkata, West Bengal with the four young members Shibu, Shishir, Gour and Sudhir (the narrator of the stories). He claims himself to be full of thrilling experience all over the globe (and, even in Mars!) to tackle conspiracies. Also, some of the stories are about Ganado (Original name: Ghonoram Das [ঘনরাম দাস]) in South America, and Bachanram Das [বচনরাম দাস] in Agra at Medieval India, his ancestors. First Ghanada story is Mosha [মশা] (The Mosquito) in 1945.

Mamababu (Maternal Uncle)[edit]

Mamababu lived in Burma on account of his service. Original name of this middle-aged man is never stated. His expeditions are written in many novels and short-stories, such as:

  • Kuhoker Deshe (In the Land of Illusion)
  • Dryagoner Nishwas (The Breath of the Dragon)
  • Mamababur Protidan (The Refund of Mamababu)
  • Abar Sei Meyeti (The Girl Again)
  • Paharer Nam Korali (The Hill Named Korali)

This character inspires Sunil Gangopadhyay to write his famous Kakababu series.

Parashor Barma[edit]

Parashor Barma is a detective but he tries to be a poet.[8] First Parashor story is Goyenda Kobi Parashor [গোয়েন্দা কবি পরাশর] (Detective Poet Parashor) in 1932. Some other stories are:

  • Hippie Songe Parashor Barma [হিপি সঙ্গে পরাশর বর্মা] (Parashor Barma in Hippie Company)
  • Premer Chokhe Parashor [প্রেমের চোখে পরাশর] (Parashor in the Eye of Love)
  • Parashor Barma O Bhanga Radio [পরাশর বর্মা ও ভাঙ্গা রেডিও] (Parashor Barma and the Broken Radio)
  • Parashor Barma O Ashlil Boi [পরাশর বর্মা ও অশ্লীল বই] (Parashor Barma and the Book of Vulger)
  • Parashor Ebar Johuri [পরাশর এবার জহুরি]

Some Ghanada story has also included this character, e.g.- Porashore Ghanaday.

Mejokorta[edit]

Like Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay's Baroda, Mejokorta is also famous for his ghost stories.

There are only 9 stories of Mejokorta in total, all are in the book Bhoot Shikari Mejo Korta Ebong... (Mejo Korta the Ghost Hunter and...). All stories are claimed by the narrator to be found in an very old hand-written manuscript, which the narrator found inside a running bus.

Accolades[edit]


  1. Sharat-Smriti Puraskar in 1954
  2. In 1957, he went to Belgium, (his first foreign tour) to attend the World Poetry Festival. He was selected the leader of the Indian team.
  3. Sahitya Akademi Award for Sagor Theke Fera in1957
  4. Rabindra Puraskar in 1958
  5. Shishu Sahitya Puraskar by Govt. of West Bengal in 1958 for Ghanada series
  6. Receiving Leader's Grant from U. S. A., he travelled U. S. A. & England in 1962.
  7. Ananda Puraskar in 1973
  8. Nehru Award from Soviet Russia in 1976
  9. D Lit from Burdwan University in 1981
  10. Jagattarini Gold Medal from University of Calcutta in 1981
  11. Vidya Sagar Puraskar in 1984
  12. Deshikottam from Visva Bharati in 16 January 1988

He was also awarded the Padmashree and the Mouchak Puraskar.

Publishers of Mitra's writings[edit]


Currently, his books are published from Shishu Sahitya Samsad, Ananda Publishers and Dey's Publishing. Ananda has published the complete collection of Ghanada, in 3 volumes: Ghanada Samagra 1, Ghanada Samagra 2, Ghanada Samagra 3 and the complete collection of Parashor Barma in a single volume: Parashor Samagra. The first-ever English translation of his Ghanada stories (Mosquito and Other Stories) was published by Penguin Books India in 2004. Some more translated works are available now-a-days.

Filmography[edit]

Direction[edit]


  • Samadhan [সমাধান] (The Solution) Bengali,1943
  • Bideshini [বিদেশিনী] (The Foreigner Lady) Bengali, 1944
  • Path Bendhe Dilo [পথ বেঁধে দিল] (The Way Is Closed) Bengali, 1945.
  • Rajlakshmi Hindi, 1945.
  • Notun Khobor [নতুন খবর] (New News) Bengali, 1947: Starred by Dhiraj Bhattacharya. Story, Screenplay by Mitra.
  • Kalo Chhaya [কালো ছায়া] (Black Shadow) Bengali, 1947: Starred by Dhiraj Bhattacharya.
  • Kuasha [কুয়াশা] (The Fog) Bengali, 1950: Based on his own novel, starring Nripati Chattopadhyay.
  • Kankantala Light Railway 1950
  • Setu 1951
  • Hanabari [হানাবাড়ি] (The Haunted House) Bengali, 1952: A Dhiraj Bhattacharya and Nabadwip Halder starred film, where the mystery of a terrible creature in a haunted building was solved by a detective in disguise of a begger. This movie was also produced by Mitra.
  • Dui Biye [দুই বিয়ে়] (Two Marriages) Bengali, 1953: Nripati Chattopadhyay and Dhiraj Bhattyacharya acted.
  • Moyla Kagaj [ময়লা কাগজ] (The Dirty Paper) Bengali, 1954: Cast by Anil Chatterjee and Nripati Chattopadhyay.
  • Dakinir Char [ডাকিনীর চর] (The Island of Witch) Bengali, 1955
  • Chupi Chupi Aashey [চুপি চুপি আসে] (Silently He Comes) Bengali, 1960; an uncredited adaptation of Agatha Christie's 'The Mousetrap'.

Story, screenplay, lyrics and dialogues[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Sibaji Bandyopadhyay. Sibaji Bandyopadhyay Reader. Worldview Publications. pp. 235–. ISBN 978-81-920651-8-2. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Mohan Lal (1 January 2006). The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature Volume Five (Sasay To Zorgot). Sahitya Akademi. pp. 3889–. ISBN 978-81-260-1221-3. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Bridges to Breakthroughs: Tracing the Genealogy of the Indian Science. Shradha Kabra, The Criterion, an International Journal in English, December 2012, Vol.III, Iss.IV, ISSN: 0976-8165
  4. ^ Some Alumni of Scottish Church College in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008, p. 590
  5. ^ Premendra Mitra Mindscape (Bengali), Sahitya Akademi, 2000
  6. ^ Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature, Sahitya Akademi, 1992
  7. ^ a b Debjani Sengupta (2003). Sadhanbabu’s Friends: Science Fiction in Bengal from 1882–1961 PDF, Sarai Reader: Shaping Technologies 3.
  8. ^ "Authors of Bengali mystery stories (গোয়েন্দা ও রহস্যকাহিনী লেখক)". Banglamystery.com. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 

Sources[edit]

  • Golpo Songroho (Collected Stories), the national text book of B.A. (pass and subsidiary) course of Bangladesh, published by University of Dhaka in 1979 (reprint in 1986).
  • Bangla Sahitya (Bengali Literature), the national text book of intermediate (college) level of Bangladesh published in 1996 by all educational boards.

External links[edit]