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by Prof. Avinanda Nath
Rituparna who had her literary debut as a writer of short stories at a tender age of 11. Here Prof. Avinanda Nath tried to highlight her commitment and achievement as a writer although she is at present a celebrity in Chemistry research with her Science Poster being selected in the University of California. She is a child prodigy and more than that being a science researcher, she has shown excellent feats in literary writings as well. She is at present also associated with Unish Kuri of the Ananda Bazar Patrika as a free-lancer. Read and Know Rituparna , genuine talent in Indian Literature.
“Rituparna”, wrote the reviewer in The Statesman: Voices as early as in 1998, “has quite a good command over language..... The book must be read by all young learners”. Really, as in the interview published in the The Statesman: Voices, Rituparna had “a wise head on young shoulder”. She wrote her stories in her Maths copies in the earlier evening that followed her annual exam of class IV and V and no one in the house knew it until her mother discovered it while selling the copies as scraps to the paper vendor. Rituparna by that time got her recognition from Suktara where she had sent the story Mrityunjay and won second prize. She was overwhelmed with joy and a Kolkata publisher immediately collected all other stories of her to present them in the form of a book “Bhutiya”, a collection of seventeen inimitable short stories by a school girl of only 11 reading in class VI of Christ Church Girls High School. Rituparna, recognized as the youngest female writer of India, wrote those short stories in easy and graceful language only to spontaneously reflect the imagination and sensibility of her child mind. They chronicled the thoughts and feelings of a young sensitive mind which bleeds under the pressure of dismal surroundings .The book had all its copies of the First Edition sold out in just one month and by the next two months she became a celebrity.
A voracious reader of Bengali Literature that includes even the difficult Colonel Series of Mustafa Siraj and Satyajit Samagro (Collected works of Satyajit Ray), Rituparna silently in her childhood days grew up as a writer of short stories. Other children of her age wrote verses, or painted pictures, but Rituparna wrote stories in which she wove the rainbow colors of life. She seldom soared to the fairy world in any of her stories, but trod on the hard ground to pick her diamond pieces of personal experiences as a child and presented for the readers the thoughts of her mind in its raw ingredients. The aesthetic quality is never missing and yet there is the predominance of realism as in The Ganashakti, it was remarked about her “The crimson and azure fairies of the impossible romances do not get accommodation in Rituparna's imaginary world. In its place man, his everyday living, and perception have claimed all attention of Rituparna's pen”.
Rituparna Bhattacharjee published her first story '' A Story of Three Fish" at the age of 7 in the page of The Ganashakti. She wrote her story ‘Mrityunjay’ for Suktara at the age of 10 and got the second prize in the competition. Her first English short story 'Growing Up' was published in The Statesman: Voices in 1999 when she was only 13. The Suktara story, ‘Mrityunjoy’ (Conquest of Death) which is the first story in BHUTIYA deals with the invention of medicine for curing Cancer. Dr. Sen in this story experiments a potion on a dog which was saved from certain death. But Dr. Sen himself died because of too much strain taken for the invention and research for a prolonged period of ten years. This is a story of commitment and devotion. The second story Tin Macher Galpo (A Story of Three Fishes), deals with the selfishness and cruelty of the red and blue fish with the dark fish. The third story of the book is quite fanciful 'Putulra Jadi Baro Hoto' (Had the Dolls been Growing Up!) and Rituparna here imagines one her the toy dolls named Rambo, in the action of chasing a thief, gets killed by criminals. Another story Babar Upahar (Gift from a Father) tells us how a teenager girl experienced the tragedy of her father accident and death during her end exam of school board. She stood first which the father dreamt of so much but could not live to see.
The other story Shei Cheleta (That Very Boy) is a sad picture of a poor boy who was not allowed to participate in the Tagore Birthday celebration. Love for animals is one of the central motif in Rituparna's stories. One such story: Abyakto Jantrona in which Rituparana describes the poignant sufferings of a cat due to illness. Narrative art of Rituparna reaches its height of maturity in the story Trijama in which the baby girl Tiku (nickname of Trijama) who loved her auntie Jhim grew up with a tragic experience of her elderly friend Akash dying of brain cancer and later when she herself sacrificed her kidney for Jhim did not herself get any support for her ailment from that ungrateful aunt Jhim. She dies a tragic death. Smriti communicates about a pigeon which developed an intimacy with a tourist (the first person narrator) at Ghatshila who nursed the wounded pigeon there in the house where she had lodged and at the time of departure, the pigeon brought a grape probably out of love and gratefulness for the narrator. Kriti is also the ever tragic story of a girl who could sincerely feel for the suffering. Her artistic soul strongly reacted to the darkness all around. The reviewer rightly wrote in The Asian Age: “Most of Rituparna's stories in this collection are well written. They provide an insight into a child's imaginary world.”
Bhalobasar Tori (The Boat of Love) is a story of sibling jealousy about which Abhiman (Wounded Sentiment) is the sweet story of Srutika where Rituparna reveals the values of friendship and its renewal . Questions of promise-keeping loom large in Protignya Baro Na Kartobyo? (Promise versus Duty). A poor man can give his life for keeping promise. In Sarthok Shilpi (The Successful Artist) we hear the story of a girl gradually growing up and gaining name and fame as artist by overcoming the lashes of poverty. The last but not the least is Bhutiya the title story of the book is a marvellous narrative dealing with the psychological and moral conflicts in the mind of the narrator regarding the hanging of the outlawed person Bhutia who later turned a criminal and the narrator was to dispense justice. Duty is above everything even above sentiments or personal feelings. Madhumita in Aajkal Patrika, a leading Bengali newspaper wrote about Rituparna : "Just keep her in mind, Rituparna has got the talent to rouse a big rabble in the literary world in future”
The wonderful book was released by the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, Hon'ble Jyoti Basu on Jan 28,1998 in presence of the Information Minister Sri Buddhadev Bhattacharya ( later Chief Minister of W.Bengal). The book got plethora of appreciation in book reviews done in all leading newspapers in India and abroad. The Prabasi Ananda Bazar Patrika stated: “In the long way of literary venture, the first step is taken by Rituparna; like the flashes of lightning this sudden rocketing into fame by publishing her book, she will certainly reach the luminous region of the Bright Pole Star through her sincere authoring and ceaseless literary efforts...”. Not a whit is exaggerated. Among others who eloquently praised the book for her inimitable style, there were eminent writers like Syed Mustafa Siraj, Abul Bashar,Tarapada Ray, Parthajit Gangopadhyay, Dulendra Bhowmick.Like Anne Frank’s Diary, BHUTIYA in some ways may also be called the Diary of a Young Girl.
Rituparna’s career excels with a number of awards and prizes she received at her tender age. She was honoured with Jugal Srimal Excellence Award’99 by Nehru Children Museum in the field of Education May 21, 1999 & Satabdir Bismay Prativa Award ’99 of Sahitya Jagat presented by Abul Bashar of ABP at 2000. Rituparna is a writer of Unish Kuri of ABP publication. Her write-ups show her literary talents. At present she is doing her Ph.D. in Chemistry. She was rewarded with Indira Gandhi Single Girl Child Scholarship 2007 for pursuing her post graduate studies at NEHU, Shillong. She has of late received invitation from University of California to present a poster in Quantum Chemistry at Los Angeles in mid-June, 2012.
Prof. Avinanda Nath
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About Prof. Avinanda Nath
Prof. Avinanda Nath has carved out a niche for herself as one of the leading intellectuals who always make it their passion to engage themselves in identifying talent and nurturing it so that it can be presented on a bigger canvas of life and career. As the Co-founder of Mindwaves, a Socio-Educational Initiative, she is doing this job successfully in the Management and Training Wing. She has won the rare recognition of being the youngest IIM panelists, 2011. At present she is teaching in the English Department of Women’s College, Calcutta and is also attached to Vidyasagar University. Earlier she taught in the PG dept of New Alipore College and Loreto House.