Samar Sen

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Samar Sen (Bengali: সমর সেন;)(10 October 1916 – 23 August 1987) was a prominent Bengali-speaking Indian poet and journalist in the post-Independence era.[1]


He was a graduate of the Scottish Church College, at the University of Calcutta.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Sen's grandfather, Dinesh Chandra Sen, was a well-known writer and member of the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad. His father, Arun Sen, an academician, had remarked, "I am the son of an illustrious father and the father of an illustrious son!" Samar Sen, along with Subhash Mukhopadhyay, belonged to the second generation of modern Bengali poets. However, he gave up poetry fairly early and devoted the better part of his later life to Marxism and journalism. He was the editor of the leftist newspaper Frontier published from Kolkata, which was banned during the period of the Indian Emergency (1975 -1977) declared by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.[1]


Samar Sen, like his other illustrious contemporaries, grew up under the gigantic impact of Rabindranath Tagore. Yet Samar Sen was perhaps the first to 'break' with the lyrical romanticism of Tagore and introduced "modern" (disenchantment, decadence, avant garde urban heterotopia) in Bengali verse. Influence of French and English modernism was originally translated into Bengali verse. A certain convergence of modernism and Marxism was evident in his poetic thought and style. His poetic life was somewhat over shadowed by his very original journalism as the editor of legendary Frontier in his later life. He was also chosen as the translator in the translator program for Soviet literature, he spent nearly five years in Moscow in the translators job, and in later part of his life became somewhat doubtful about bureaucratic "Communism" in general.[3] Samar Sen also edited the intellectually avant garde magazine, Now that published a galaxy of prominent writers like Joan Robinson and Satyajit Ray and his deputy was the playwright and great actor Utpal Dutt. Samar Sen in private was a man with a wry sense of humour, sometimes acerbic but usually clinching in its aptness. He never regretted the sacrifice of what could have been a comfortbale material life, accompanied by adulation. His loyalty was to be downtrodden and that really was it though one may now, in retrospect, question, the path he thought best suited to their rescue. But he was a loss to poetry because his acute perception and extraordinary command of languages would have produced memorable verse of lasting significance. He decided poerty was a luxury in a world of gross deprivation and injustice and decided he would take up the cudgels on behalf of the poor regardles of the cost to himself. And he stuck to it to the bitter end though experiencing significant impoverishment in his own daily life.


  • ...he is comparatively modern poet without being progressive. He has dedicated his first work to Muzaffar Ahmad.I pray that it should mean something more than a mere personal allgiance...Brevity is its(his poems')soul...Samar Sen is an up-to-date representative poet.He needs to be progressive by informing himself with a sense of history.He has also yet to be symbolic.Still teher[clarification needed] is no doubt of his being a poet of a particular genre—Dhurjati Mukherji
  • We talk about being rid of the influence of Rabindranath;as if this we take it for granted that the influence of Rabindranath is inevitable in a young Bengali poet's endeavour.But what amazes me is that this young poet has never been under the influence of Rabindranath—Buddhadeb Basu


  • Among those who are penning modern Bengali poetry, most of them haven't joined political movement, and that's sad. But many of them are powerful writers and have impacted the middle class society. Reason? Because among many of them have brought changes in their perspective and expression breaking the ivory tower of mere aesthetics of truth, beauty and goodness and by being conscious of the disgust and the multi-layered failure of the middle class life.
  • In these times of dereliction and dismay,of wars,unemployment and revolutions,the decayed side of things attracts us most... Perhaps that is because we have our roots deep in the demoralized petty bourgeoisie and lack the vitality of a rising class.
  • Our poetry(Bengali poetry)is basically without a tradition.

Samar Sen was founder - editor of a weekly magazine, called " Frontier". It was first published in 1968.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Old Poetry Website retrieved on February 4, 2007
  2. ^ Some Alumni of Scottish Church College in 175th Year Commemoration Volume. Scottish Church College, April 2008, p. 590.
  3. ^ Samar Sen sankha, Anustup, Anustup Prakashani,