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|Born||25 October 1933|
Howrah, Bengal Presidency, British India
|Died||12 December 2005 (aged 72)|
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
|Education||Bachelor of Arts|
|Alma mater||University of Calcutta|
|Literary movement||Anti-establishment, Hungryalist Movement|
|Notable works||Aami O Banabihari (আমি ও বনবিহারী), Dhangsher Madhya Diye Jatra (ধ্বংস্বের মধ্য দিয়ে যাত্রা)|
|Notable awards||Sahitya Akademi Award (2002), Bankim Puraskar (1995)|
|Children||Trina Chattopadhyay (b. 1966)|
Sandipan Chattopadhyay (25 October 1933 – 12 December 2005) was an Indian Bengali writer. His 1961 book "Kritadas Kritadasi" changed the landscape of Bengali fiction and made his name. A staunch anti-establishment figure and a supporter of creative freedom, Sandipan for some time refused association with the big Bengali publishing houses.
He was one of the pioneers of the Hungryalism Movement হাংরি আন্দোলন, also known as the Hungry generation, during 1961–65, though he, along with Binoy Majumdar, Shakti Chattopadhyay quit the movement over literary differences with fellow members Malay Roy Choudhury, Subimal Basak, Tridib Mitra and Samir Roychoudhury.
He was awarded the Sahitya Academy award for his book Ami O Banabihari.In His Sahityo Academy Award-winning novel Ami O Banabihari (2000), Sandipan fashions a very subtle critique of the ruling Communist party on the basis of an exclusion and silencing of the real ‘sub-altern’—the tribal proletariat. His decision to dedicate the novel to Budhyadeb Bhattacharya (called ‘poet, dramatist and minister’ in the dedicatory note) is a funny little polemic! He died after a prolonged respiratory illness in December 2005.
Some of his best known writings include Cholerar Dingulite Prem, "Shaper Chokher Bhitor Diye" (short story), Kukur Samparke Duto Ekta Katha Ja Ami Jani, "Seishab Dinratri" (short story), Hiroshima, My Love, Astitva Atithi Tumi, Esho Nipabane, Kritodas kritodasi, Biplob o Rajmohan, Rubi kakhon asbe, Jongoler Dinratri, Ami Arob Guerrilla der sSomorthon Kori, Double bed a eka, and Swarger nirjon upokule.
Sandipan's first publication was a book of short stories, ‘Kritadash Kritadashi’ (1961); his second collection of short stories ‘Shamabeto Protiddwandi o Anyanyo’ was published after a hiatus of nine years. In the late 1960s he initiated a series of self-published works, including ‘Biplab O Rajmohon (1969)’, ‘Shomen Paliter Boibahik (1970)’ and ‘25she Boishakher Shurjo (1970)’. Called ‘the prince of little magazines’ by friend and fellow poet Shakti Chattopadhyay, Sandipan's novel ‘Ekhon Amar Kono Ashukh Nei’ was published in the annual Anandabazar Patrika in 1977, after which his novels and short stories were published by big houses such as Protikhhon and Ajkal.
Soon after the publication of his early masterpiece ‘Bijoner Raktomangsho’, when everyone started to compare him with Albert Camus, Sandipan declared, he had not read Camus. However, he called himself ‘Camus-kator’(i.e. in awe of Camus) after reading him later. His other favourite European writers were Franz Kafka and Jean Genet. Poet Shankha Ghosh called him the ‘only contemporary European-minded Bengali author’. Fellow writer Shyamal Gangopadhyay jokingly said that Sandipan always wrote great French in Bengali and also considered his novel Hiroshima, My Love (1989) to be the first truly international novel written in the language.
An avid admirer of Kamalkumar Majumdar and his inheritance of a Bankimi brand of Bengali modernity as different from the Tagorian model on the one hand and someone steeped into the European avant garde on the other, Sandipan's aesthetics has within it, an ambivalent dialogue between the indigenous and the Western. While he held himself as a true Indian writer on the ground of writing in the vernacular, he also expressed his wish of undergoing his own funeral journey not with a Gita, but a copy of James Joyce's Ulysses on his chest.
Sandipan's reception in the 60s was marked with the European existentialist ambit of Kafka, Camus, Sartre and so on. Sandipan's works indeed have echoes from these authors and narrative situations that can be seen as a representation of the absurdist human condition. Rubi in Rubi Kakhan ashbe (1993) is reminiscent of Samuel Beckett's Godot as a principle of absence and Rajmohon in Biplab O Rajmohon is definitely influenced by Camus's notions of suicide.
Sandipan joined Ajkal as an employee in the 1980s and his novels became a regular feature in the Pujo-shankhyas of Ajkal from then on until his death. As the Ajkal edition of his complete novels testifies, he received two of the most coveted awards of the literary establishment — Bankim Purashkar in 1995 and Shahityo Academy Purashkar in 2002.  As representative of an aggressively experimental postmodernist avant-garde, Sandipan Chattopadhyay alternated between the mainstream and the parallelstream, the establishment and the anti-establishment, blurring their distinctions in the process.
Sandipan Chattopadhyay worked as an editorial assistant with Aajkaal Daily from its inception in 1981. There, he pioneered the publishing of images and letters to the editor. He continued his association with Aajkaal until his death. He published several works of fiction for this paper's Sarod (Annual) edition, which later became best-selling novels.
|Name of Book||Year Published|
|Ekak Pradarshani (একক প্রদর্শনী)||1971|
|Ekhon Amar Kono Asukh Nei (এখন আমার কোনো অসুখ নেই)||1977|
|Aami Arab Gurrela Der Samarthan Kori (আমি আরব গেরিলাদের সমর্থন করি)||1985|
|Jungleer Dinratri (জঙ্গলের দিনরাত্রি)||1988|
|Hiroshima, My Love (হিরোসিমা মাই লাভ)||1989|
|Astitva Atithi Tumi (অস্তিত্ব, অতিথি তুমি)||1990|
|Kukur Samparke Duto Ekta Katha Ja Ami Jani (কুকুর সম্পর্কে দুটো একটা কথা যা আমি জানি)||1991|
|Cholerar Dingulite Prem (কলেরার দিনগুলিতে প্রেম)||1992|
|Rikter Jatrai Jago (রিক্তের যাত্রায় জাগো)||1993|
|Rubi Kakhan Asbe (রুবি কখন আসবে)||1993|
|Ekhon Jibon Anek Satej Sasthye Bhara (এখন জীবন অনেক সতেজ স্বাস্থ্যে ভরা)||1994|
|Eso Nipabane (এসো, নীপবনে)||1995|
|Kolkatar Dinratri (কলকাতার দিনরাত্রি)||1996|
|Kolkata, Tumi Kar? (কলকাতা, তুমি কার)||1997|
|Aami O Banabihari (আমি ও বনবিহারী)||2000|
|Jakhan Sabai Chilo Garbhobati (যখন সবাই ছিল গর্ভবতী)||2001|
|Double Bed e Eka (ডাবল বেডে একা)||2001|
|Swarger Nirjon Upakule (স্বর্গের নির্জন উপকূলে)||2003|
|Nisiddho Swapner Diary (নিষিদ্ধ স্বপ্নের ডায়েরী)||2003|
|Dhangsher Madhya Diye Jatra (ধ্বংস্বের মধ্য দিয়ে যাত্রা)||2004|
Sandipan was the seventh child of Upendranath Chattopadhyay and Narayani Chattopadhyay. In 1965 he married Rina Chattopadhyay. Trina Chattopadhyay, their only child, was born in 1966.