Mihir Acharya

A Dreamer of Tomorrow

Asok Chattopadhyay

One more literary star is down in the centenary years of Samar Sen and Binay Ghosh. A true friend of Samar Sen and Frontier, Mihir Acharya died on October 19, 2016 in a South Calcutta Nursing home. His death has not been reported in any Bengali or English daily, rather a Bengali Weekly has got it in print tribute. This is all late Acharya has his posthumous achievement indeed! A very popular litterateur in the fifties and sixties of the last century and the arraying painter of the flaming seventies Acharya took him parting with a memorable time.

Mihir Acharya acceded to the proverbial sayings of Charlie Chaplin that art is a well-written love letter to the world. And he attempted to do this job throughout his literary works in his lifetime. He was an eyewitness to the quit India movement in 1942, famine of 1943, communal riots in 1946, transfer of power in 1947. And all these served as the basement of his stories and novels in Bengali. In the post-1947 period he had to bear the brunt of the Congress culture, food movements of 1959 and 1966, united front, Naxalite movements and the days of white terror in West Bengal in the seventies, in particular, and the post-emergency left regime. Wedded to Marxist philosophy and far from being a Communist Party member, he stood always by the left movement all through for which he had been branded Naxal friendly. Despite the ups and downs of the left movement, even that of the Naxalites, he did never patron to the rightwing power. Many of his associates had left the camp and joined the right in selection of right time and scored a lot. But these failed to covet him. The rightwing regime in West Bengal got him much the brunt, yet he stood by his leftwing philosophy right to the last of his days.

Mihir Acharya was born on December 26, 19117 at North Dinajpore. He passed his boyhood days in Malda city. Matriculated form the Malda District School he came to Kolkata in the late 1942. He did his graduation and masters in Kolkata. When began penning stories he was only sixteen, if not sweet enough. Due to his close affinity to the quit India movement he had to spend sometimes behind the bar. His first story 'Octopus' had its first reveal in 'Parichay' and this short story claimed his clerical job badly in a Government Office. He earned much popularity for his first story book 'Neel Chokh' in the year 1952. This book is reported to have been rendered in Czechoslovakia.

Life of Sukanta Bhattacharya got Acharya an imitable source of inspiration. He found no alps between the partisanship and creative genie of Sukanta. The untimely and sad demise of his contemporary genius shocked him much. He edited 'Sukantanama', a compilation of the contemporary Bengali poets' tribute to Sukanta, which first saw the light in April 1950. Arunachal Basu, a close friend of both Sukanta and Acharya, wrote a treatise on the life and poems of Sukanta for this compilation. 'Batiwalla', a novel of Acharya having later been renamed as 'Alor Sahodar' was composed between 1947 and 1950 and dealt with the life of Sukanta. At this period Acharya lived at an address on Sahitya Parisad Street. Then he resorted to Lalbag of Murshidabad where he was a Food Inspector under Food Department. This novel took its final shape there.

While attached to this job he had to face an awkward situation during entrusting with election duty and got so pestered he resigned his job and came back to Kolkata and joined a School at Jadavpur. He stuck to this job till he retired from his stipulated service.

His literary career started and occupied the yellow pages of 'Agrani', 'Arani', 'Parichay', 'Natunsahitya', 'Chatushkon', 'Purbasha', 'Amrita', 'Darpan' etc and other little magazines. In course of time he edited 'Sukshari', a Bengali story-mag and later since 1980 started editing a new magazine entitled 'Lekhak Samabesh' which embedded the prominent and promising writers of both Bangladesh and West Bengal.

During the era of flaming seventies of the bygone century he wrote his novel 'Atandra Prahar.' Actually four self-contained short stories constructed the basis of this novel. Two of these short stories came in print in the pages of 'Amrita'. Then it drew the attention of the higher authorities of 'Amrita' resulting Acharya censored and he snipped his ties with this renowned weekly without a second thought. Rest two parts were published in Chatuskon and Suksari.

After prolonged illness Acharya breathed his last on the 19th October when he was on the threshold of ninety. He refrained himself writing short story and novel since 1986 and began penning short articles though not without pause. Owing to his feeble eyesight he was compelled to have been banished from reading books and his College Street addas. This writer was often asked to report him of his age-old collegues at College Street addas and of their publications. Serious ailment of his life partner, a renowned translator, augmented his mute painstake. They two lay down juxtaposed. Appointed Ayas fed and cared them all the time. Once the I72/35 AJC Bose Road's two-storied house was agog with presence of the senior and budding authors kept away from all crowd. At the choice of right time almost all of them deserted him. None appeared caring for even by a phone call.

'Dinbadal', 'Alor Sahodar', 'Jonakir Alo', 'Prithibir Boyos', 'Atandra Prahar', 'Eeshaner Prithibi' etc are among some of his novels and 'Neel Chokh', 'Aparahner Nadi', 'Tomar Amar Sakaler Janya' are some of his short story-books. He penned three essay collectives namely 'Bangali Bhddhijibimanas o Samajbhabna', 'Sahitye Paragati' and 'Sataborsher Aloke Saratchandra' and edited 'Birendra Smarani', a compilation of poems tribute to the rebel poet Birendra Chattopadhyay after his demise. Besides he edited three compilation of short stories entitled 'Parasuramer Kuthar', 'Purbabanglar Galposangraha', 'Samajchetanar Galpo', 'Waliullaher Galposamagra' etc. At the fag end of his life he compiled a collection of interviews of some prominent Bengali literary stalwarts one of whom was Samar Sen himself. A prolonged cultural practice gets a full stop at his heath.

Mihir Acharya, a dreamer of tomorrow, is no more. He now is away with the buzz and fret of the madding crowd. Gone with the wind, winding in the tower of golden crown of creativity. Mihir Acharya is no more but his created letters speak enough to wage war against the warring demons ahead. ooo

November 27, 2016

Vol. 49, No.24, Dec 18 - 24, 2016