21 years before the Independence of India, a child was born on exactly the same day. Ruled over the sky in his short lifetime, brighten it with his firing spirit to live. Sukanta Bhattacharya, the Rebel, the Poet, and of-course the eternal Inspiration for the ages, was the man with an endless contribution.
Early life of Sukanta Bhattacharya
Almost a century has passed by. But the man, born 92 years ago on 15th August, still evokes the true sense of independence. In the year 1962 he was born in 42, Mahim Halder Street at Kalighat area. It was his maternal grandfather Satish Chandra Bhattacharya’s house. Though the house is now converted into a memorial library named “Kobi Sukanta Smriti Pathagar”.
He was the second son of Nibaranchandra and Suniti Bhattacharya, among his seven siblings, none of them are alive now but one of his brothers, Bibhas Bhattacharya’s wife Arati Devi is still preserving the memories of “Mejdada” in their Beleghata residence. She had heard some less known facts about Sukanta from Bibhas.
West Bengal’s former chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya is the son of Sukanta Bhattacharya’s cousin Nepalchandra and wife Leela Devi.
34, Haramohan Ghosh Lane is an evidence of the poet’s childhood. Among his all siblings, Sukanta was a little affectionate to elder cousin “Rani didi”. Rani used to treat Sukanta like her own child but at the age of eight, he lost this mother-like elder sister.
Sukanta started his schooling from Kamala Vidyamandir at K.G.Basu Sarani, later he took education from Deshbandhu High School (next to “Alochhaya” cinema hall). In high school, he became close to friend Arunachal Basu, whose mother Sarala Basu loved Sukanta as his own mother. But at first sight, she found Sukanta very ill-mannered as he could not answer once at a time. But when Arunachal made her aware of Sukanta’s hearing problem and loss of his mother, Sarala Devi did not delay to bless the boy with motherly love.
Sukanta’s ancestors belonged to Faridpur, later they started staying in Madaripur (Both in Bangladesh). The Bhattacharya family came to Kolkata with Sukanta’s elder uncle Krishnachandra. Firstly Krishnachandra, then Nibaranchandra and rest of the family were permanently shifted to Kolkata. To afford the family cost, the started a little bookshop named Saraswata Library at 206, Bidhan Sarani. This library is now closed from years and receives none of any renovation treatment by Government. It is very unfortunate because first “Sukanta Samagra” was published from this Saraswata Library.
Can death be sleep, when life is but a dream
Many years before the independence of India, co-incidentally 15th August was an important day in the Bhattacharya family. The child, born on that day was named after Manindralal Basu’s story “Sukanta”. Sukanta was brought up in the culture of literature, arts and aesthetic sense unlike many other children of his age. The sudden death of Ranididi made him more dependent and affectionate to mother Suniti Devi. His every laughter, cry and reasoning astonished his mother like a new invention.
But the shadow of death was not far behind. Soon Sukanta Bhattacharya witnessed another death as his mother died of cancer. After this incident, he became fully involved in his writing notebook. Paper and pen were then his best friends and this companion gave birth to many gems. He started writing poems in this time, gradually he became more matured when family’s responsibilities came to him. Sukanta had an always smiling face which was the source of his energy. At the age of 16, he was introduced to active politics and served for the party with his best.
Towards the Twilight
Random starvation, undisciplined life was affecting his body from years. At the age of 20, his writings were gaining popularity in various magazines like “Basumati”, ”Sharadiya Aajkal”, “Swadhinata”, “Parichay”, “Rangmashal”. At the age of 21, he informed the “Basumati” officials about his disease, ‘Tuberculosis in Intestine ’ and got admission in Jadavpur TB Hospital. The young charming active boy Sukanta became the patient of Bed No.1 and started counting his last days. TB was then a non-curable disease and caused surely to death.
When ‘Time’s winged chariot hurrying near’
His friends, poet Subhas Mukherjee and others tried their best to publish Sukanta’s first book before his death. But he could not wait for one week more, death came first on 13th May, 1947 at 10 AM. Later his first book was published in the name of first poem “Chharpatra”. His struggle during freedom movement also became a failure. Sukanta Bhattacharya could not even see the first Indian flag hoisting.