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Nirendranath Chakravarti

Nirendranath Chakravarti

Nirendranath Chakravarti

(India, 1924)
Nirendranath Chakravarti, born in 1924, is a senior Bengali poet who has published more than forty-seven books of poetry (seventeen of them for children), twelve novels, five books of literary essays, two books of travel writing and the first part of an autobiography. He has won numerous awards, including the Sahitya Akademi Award (1974) for his book, Ulango Raja, and an Honorary DLitt (2007) from the University of Calcutta, in addition to the Tarashankar Literary Award and the Ananda Puraskar. He is presently president of the Paschimbango Bangla Akademi.
After graduating from St Paul’s College, Kolkata, Chakravarti took up a career in journalism. He worked on several daily papers before joining the Anandabazar House, later becoming Editorial Adviser of Anandabazar Patrika. It was in the 1950s that he emerged as an important voice in a new generation of Bengali poets, along with poets such as Samar Sen, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Manindra Ray, Mangala Charan Chattopadhyay, Kiran Sankar Sengupta, Ram Basu, to name just a few. It was a position he proceeded to consolidate in later decades. Widely translated, he has participated in the Festival of India in France and the USSR. He received a literary scholarship to Brussels in 1989, and was the sole Indian representative selected by the Indian Government to participate in the International Conference of Poets in Liege in 1990.

Chakravarti’s considerable oeuvre reveals a keen attention to form, and experimentation with a variety of styles and metres. His is a sophisticated urban sensibility, alive to social change and injustice, without turning unsubtle or didactic. Poet and fiction writer, Sampurna Chattarji, who translated these two love poems for this edition, was introduced to Chakravarti by her father (poet and educator, Chandak Chattarji) as a poet who “always protested against conditions of modern times”; whose rage against an inhuman world found “a quieter, more contemplative expression” than that of his younger contemporaries; who captured “urban Bengal the way Jibananda Das captured the spirit of rural Bengal”.

Reflecting on the appeal of these poems, she says she was drawn by “the simplicity with which they spoke of profound question of love, dependence, betrayal, longing, loss. ‘Hemlata’, addressed to the woman who is perhaps the poet’s muse, is at once a plea for patience, a plea for tolerance towards the poet’s fickle, non-committal, nomadic self that would rather wander off in search of words than bind himself to her. The words he says will be his gift to her, but is that really enough? The unanswered question was what drew me to the poem.”

The courage to leave certain questions unanswered, and the wisdom to know which ones to raise, have been considered to be the enduring strengths of Chakravarti’s poetry.
© Arundhathi Subramaniam


Jyotsnaye Ekela, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 2006
Mayabi Bondhon, Dey’s Publishing, Kolkata, 2004
Bhalobasha Mondobasha, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 2003
Dekha Hobey, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 2002
Kobi Cheney, Shompurno Cheney Na, Dey’s Publishing, Kolkata, 2001
Shakulley Teenjon, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 2000
Joler Jailkhana Theke, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 2000
Onno Gopal, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 1999
Shondharaater Kobita, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 1997
Shotyo Shelukash, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 1995
Chollisher Dinguli, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 1994
Aay Rongo, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 1991
Jongole Ek Unmadini, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 1989
Ghumiye Porar Aage, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 1987
Jabotiyo Bhalobashabashi, Proma Prokashoni, Kolkata, 1986
Roop-Kahini, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 1984
Shomoi Boro Kom, Proma Prokashoni, Kolkata, 1984
Ghor-duwar, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata,1983
Pagla Ghonti, Dey’s Publishing, Kolkata, 1981
Aaj Shokaaley, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 1978
Kobitar Bodoley Kobita, Bishhobani Prokashoni, Kolkata, 1976
Khola Muthi, Aruna Prokashoni, Kolkata, 1974
Ulongo Raja, Ananda Publishers, Kolkata, 1971
Kolkata,r Jishu, Aruna Prokashoni, Kolkata, 1969
Nokhotro Joyer Jonno, Surabhi Prokashoni, May 1969
Nirokto Korobi, Surabhi Prokashoni, Kolkata, 1965
Prothom Nayok, Surabhi Prokashoni, Kolkata, 1961
Ondhokar Baranda, Krittibaash Prokashoni, Kolkata, 1961
Neel Nirjon, Signet Press, Kolkata, 1954


Kavitayan: Article on Bengali poetry
cis.ksu.edu: Poem by Nirendranath Chakravarti

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