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Majumdar, Shrishchandra

Majumdar, Shrishchandra (1860-1908) editor and litterateur, was born in 1860 in a Vaidya family at Naparha village of Bardhaman. His father Prasannakumar Majumdar was the Dewan (chief officer) of Puthia estate.

He passed the Entrance examination from Boyalia School of Rajshahi. Although his institutional education did not progress very far, he groomed himself as a self-educated man through his own endeavours. Much of his adolescence and youth was spent at the palace of puthia. He owes his entry into the realm of literature especially to the affection showered on him by the Moharani Saradasundari Devi, who used to live at Puthia. The support and encouragements given by the Moharani to the writing career of Shrishchandra advanced him on the path of literature. The collection of Bangla and Sanskrit books at the disposal of the Moharani was a matter of pride for any large bookshop in the metropolis. Shrishchandra was a regular frequenter and reader of this library.

Notable among his initial writings was the piece 'Present Bengal society and the four reformers', which was published in the monthly Samalochak (7th and 8th joint issue, Kartik-Agrahayan 1286 Bangla), which was edited by Chandrashekhar Mukhopadhyay. The essay was a discussion on the roles of vidyasagar, Keshabchandra, bankimchandra and Surendranath. Appreciating the depth of his intellect as well as a new outlook, Bankimchandra evinced keen interest to meet him. As a consequence, they met at a place called Chunchurha on the day of Rathayatra in 1880. After that, an intimacy developed between them.

In the month of Kartik, 1290 BS, Shrishchandra Majumdar assumed the responsibility of the editor of Bankimchandra's periodical Babgadarshan. He ran this office for a long time and later passed on the job to rabindranath tagore. He was then appointed as the Sub-Deputy Collector of Nadiya in 1885. While discharging the responsibility of this new office, he came into contact with the cultures of various locations like Sitamarhi, Kashi, Birbhum, Singhabhum, Lohar Danga, Palamou and Santal Pargana.

Shrishchandra Majumdar was outstanding among those few contemporary friends of Rabindranath who could nourish his literary life. His friendship with Rabindranath deepened through their involvement with the periodical Bangadarshan. They spent intimate moments, especially on the themes of music and literary criticism. Rabindranath mentioned about the companionship and separation with Shrishchandra at many places of his book Chhinnapatra. One of those were, 'You have awakened a new and fresh face of our ever-familiar Bangladesh in your books, no other writer of Bangla has been so successful. ...There may be debates in future on whether there was any Bangladesh at all during this time of modern Bengali literature. One can find that Bangladesh in those write-ups of yours'.

His love for the mother-language could be detected from his adolescent years. As a consequence, he could continue his literary pursuits uninterrupted alongside his professional work. Notable among his books of Bangla literature were: Padaratnabali (edited, 1885), Shakti Kanon (novel, 1887), Phuljani (novel, 1894), Kritagvata (novel, 1896), Bishwanath (historical novel, 1896), Raj-Tapashwini (1912), Shrishchandrer Granthabali (1919). Besides, innumerable stories, essays and novels written by him were published in the periodicals Sadhana, Bharati, Sahitya Pradip, Bangadarshan, Samalochani, etc. He died on 8 November 1908. [Shamima Akhter]