Bengali literature is one of the richest in the entire world. Besides our undying love for ‘maach’ (fish), ‘bhat’ (rice) and ‘mishti doi’ (sweet curd), we are also very serious when it comes to our literature. For us, books are not a part of the leisurely activity, it’s a part of life!
Most of the Bengali kids grow up binge reading books from various genre by immensely talented writers. From science fiction to intense drama, Bengali world of literature has everything to offer. Amidst this vast treasure, there are iconic characters who have made abode in our heart, forever. Here we are remembering such characters and the lessons they have for us.
A character from the book of the same name by Rabindranath Tagore is one of the most complex characters ever created in Bengali literature. On the upper level he is an arrogant person with a constant need for self-assertion, but when you look below the surface you will find someone who is filled with empathy. He teaches us that the biggest mistake we can make is judging a book by its cover.
2. Shankar Roy Chowdhury
He is the reason many Bengali kids grew up with the indomitable feeling of wanderlust. It’s the story of a simple Bengali village guy who took up a job in the jungles of Africa to satisfy his insatiable thirst for adventure eventually leading to an understanding of self. Shankar teaches that at times it’s important to shun our comfort zone and see the vast world, for self-discovery.
3. Pagla Dashu
This iconic character is created by Sukumar Roy. With his apparent gibberish dialogues and endless pranks, he is a naughty child from a different era of Bengali society. At the same time, he also is someone who is always creative in his approach and takes any challenge of life heads on. He teaches us the beauty of innocence and need for fun once in a while.
4. Professor Shonku
Who says scientists always need to be nerdy? Brave and adventure lover, professor Shonku ignites the fire of exploration in the readers. He teaches to think free and beyond the known without expectations. This great creation certainly has made its mark in the heart of hundreds of Bengali kids.
The story of this protagonist starts as an aimless drifter who is nothing more than a passive spectator in the drama called life. Far from a remarkable character, he started as someone who can easily be forgotten. From there he grew up as a remarkable character with profound knowledge of self and the world around. Srikanta teaches that we can grow and change for better, if willing.
6’2 in height with a dashing personality and passion for solving cases, he is the perfect crush for girls (or boys) of any ages! Bengal’s own Sherlock Holmes, Feluda is a character that is etched deep in every book reader’s heart. Immensely knowledgeable, physically strong, and keen observer, he mostly uses his ‘Magajastra or brain-weapon’ to catch the culprit. He teaches us the importance of both physical and mental strength.
7. Ghana Da
Famous for his unbelievable but mesmerizing stories, he is always fighting sinister guys and preventing international disasters. Fueled by creativity, he teaches us to imagine even the impossible and to add on to the aspect of newness in life.
Pather Panchali (originally named Aam Antir Bhepu) is a three series book by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, that follows the life of the protagonist Apu. This intricate tale of the journey of an incorruptible and innocent wide-eyed boy Apu into a mature man struggling with hurdles of life will move you. Instead of one thing, Apu actually takes you through varied emotions of life and depicts the ways of handling them. He also teaches never to give up, even in the darkest of the hours and that there can always be a new beginning.
9. Gopal Bhar
A court jester who can defeat anyone with his intelligence is a friend from childhood for many. It’s rumored that this character of small stories and comics, is based on a real-life person who was part of Raja Krishnachandra’s court. With his utterly common looks and humble origin, he walked out winning in every situation just because of his brains. He teaches us that intelligence is a true treasure to preserve.
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