Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Genius

Today is the 125th birth anniversary of Sukumar Ray.
I tried to write a post on this man, whose works are virtually unknown outside of Bengal and yet his books are part of every Bengali's DNA. I was hoping to acquaint the non-Bengali readers of this blog how great he was but I couldn't figure out where to start.
Instead of my trying to laboriously explain how important Sukumar Ray was, it would be better if you just saw this documentary on him, made by his son.


I do not know of any other language in which only one author occupies such a large part of the childhood memories of an entire population for several generations. Imagine 'Jack and Jill', 'Humpty Dumpty', 'Twinkle Twinkle' and about fifty more nursery rhymes to be about a hundred times more inventive. And then, imagine they were written by just one person. That, to my mind, is a fair estimation of Sukumar Ray's impact on Bengali childhood.
Sounds like an exaggeration, doesn't it? Believe me... I don't remember what I had for dinner tonight but I can recite most of his poems pretty much in their entirety, thirty years after I last read them. 
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