Asim Som

Death of a Humanist

Bibekananda Ray

Asim Som is no more; he breathed his last in his elder daughter's flat on Palit Road in Bhowanipur on 13th June around 12 noon. As per his wish, his body was sent to Calcutta Medical College for medical purpose; he had donated his eyes too. He had forbidden Sradh, only a memorial service will be held on 29th June in a public hall near Deshpriya Park. As a friend of Samar Sen, his association with NOW and later with Frontier was very deep and long. He was their avid reader and occasional contributor. As one of the old-time well-wishers, he stood by Frontier at every moment of crisis. His last published piece in the latter was a rejoinder of an article on Satyajit Ray by me. He was a close friend of Ray too and wrote extensively on his movies in Parichay which were included in a book on cinema in2016. He was among the early members of Calcutta Film Society which Ray and his friends founded in 1947. Hewrote several more after retirement, all containing his long and deep appreciation of Indian and foreign movies. As he began his career as a Bengali News Reader from Delhi station and in 1970's was a reporter with Calcutta station he became a co-producer of the long radio documentary on Rabindranath in 1961. He was inducted in Central Information Service in 1964 and rose to a senior position in Field Publicity before taking voluntary retirement in 1991. Afterward he joined the Information& Culture department of West Bengal Government and became Editor of Basumati. I came to know Asim Som in 1971in AIR: Kolkata whereI joined as a Senior Correspondent; with him and another, P B Sanyal we used to cover events in West Bengal for AIR bulletins. Then we parted under career compulsions; I went to Delhi in 1981; he took VRS when transferred to Guwahati months before regular superannuation. He was very affectionate to me and others younger to him and when I fell somewhat ill in July-August, 2018 he would upbraid me not to run about and write so much. He was a gentleman to the core, well-read and precise in his comments on cinema. I cannot forget that he came to the reception of my youngest daughter's marriage to bless her and be with me for a while. He suggested some corrections in my review of his one book on cinema for publication in Jijnasa. May his soul rest in peace.

Vol. 51, No. 52, Jun 30 - Jul 6, 2019