Shakti Chattopadhyay

Shakti Chattopadhyay bigraphy, stories - Translators

Shakti Chattopadhyay : biography

1934 – March 23, 1995

Shakti Chattopadhyay () (November 25, 1933 – March 23, 1995) was a Bengali poet and writer, widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of 20th century Bengali literature.


Early life

Shakti Chattopadhyay was born at Baharu village in modern-day South 24 Parganas district, Paschimbanga (West Bengal), India to Bamanath Chattopadhyay and Kamala Devi. He lost his father at the age of four and brought up by his maternal grandfather. He came to Bagbazar, Calcutta in 1948 and got admitted to Maharaja Cossimbazar Polytechnic School in class VIII. Here he was introduced to Marxism by a teacher. In 1949 he established Pragati Library and started a hand-written magazine, Pragati, which was soon changed into a printed one, changing the name to Bahnishikha. He passed Matriculation Examination in 1951 and got admitted to City College (Mirzapur branch) to study commerce as his maternal uncle, who was a businessman and also his guardian, promised him a job of an accountant. It was the same year when he got membership of the Communist Party of India (CPI). In 1953, he passed Intermediate Commerce Examination, but gave up studying commerce and got admitted to the Presidency College (now Presidency University, Kolkata) with Honours in Bengali literature but he did not appear in the examination.

Early writings

In 1956, he had to leave his maternal uncle’s home and moved to a slum at Ultadanga along with his mother and brother. At this time he was solely dependant on the meagre wages of his brother. In March 1956, his poem "Yama" was published in Kabita, a literary magazine published by Buddhadeb Bose. After that he started writing for Krittibas and other magazines. Buddhadeb Bose also invited him to join the Comparative Literature course in newly-opened Jadavpur University. He joined the course, but could not complete it either. In 1958, he terminated his relationship with the CPI.

He worked at Saxby Pharma Ltd. as a store assistant and later taught at Bhowanipur Tutorial Home (Harrison Road branch). He also started a business himself and ran it for sometime before he gave up and joined Hind Motors as junior executive. But he could not continue anywhere. He started indulging in a wayward lifestyle and drinking heavily.

Hungry Generation

He was one of the founder members of the Hungry generation movement which started with the publication of a one page bulletin in November 1961. However he left the movement in 1963 due to differences of opinion with the other members.