Mitra, Premendra

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Mitra, Premendra (1904-1988) poet, fiction writer, journalist, editor, was born in September 1904 at Kashi. His parental home was at Baikunthapur in 24 Parganas of West Bengal. His father Jnanendra Mitra was a railway employee. His mother was Suhasini Devi.

After his matriculation in 1920 from Calcutta's South Suburban School, Premendra Mitra engaged himself in literary activities. In 1923 the journal Probasi published his two short stories 'Shudhu Kerani' and 'Gopan Charini'. The journal Kallol reviewed the stories with considerable importance. This made him known in the literary circle. In the first phase of his literary work he used the pseudonym 'Krittibash Bhadra'.

Premendra Mitra was a regular contributor to Kallol (1923). Later he edited the journal Kalikalam (1926) in cooperation with Muralidhar Basu. But essentially he established himself as a powerful and major poet in the modern Bengali literature of the post 1930s. He absorbed the influence of rabindranath tagore in his own way. He admired international doctrines but did not accept them unquestionably. He accepted them in the light of the perspectives of his own country by showing sympathy for the poor working classes. In one of his poems he said 'I am a poet of all the blacksmiths, bell-metal craftsmen, carpenters, day labourers/ I am a poet of all the lowly people.' Although in his early life he was influenced by the poetic trend set by satyendranath dutta, jatindranath sengupta and kazi nazrul islam to come out of the gravity of Tagore, in later life he found an entirely new way of his own. His novels depict realities. Whipping at mock satire and hypocrisy is a distinct trait of his stories. This made his stories different from the traditional Kallol stories. Among his contemporaries, he was the most incisive and powerful writer. He perceived the obscurity of urban life, its constant futility, defeat of the ego and inevitability of life itself and portrayed them in his stories. As in his profession, his writings also had distinctiveness.

In addition to poems, novels and short stories, he wrote many creative essays. He also wrote songs, cineplays, belles-letters and detective stories. His Parashar Barma was a unique creation in the tradition of humorous writing. His Ghanada was an incomparable creation in children's literature in Bengali. He created Ghanada to give expression to the children's psychology of adventure. This character was first created through his short story 'Mosha' (1937). He demonstrated an uncommon ability in writing detective and thrilling stories to capture the imagination of the children. On the other hand, he firmly established a new trend in Bengali literature by writing a science fiction Kuhoker Deshe for the teenagers.

Premendra Mitra enriched Bangla literature by his literary activities. Poems: Prothoma (1932), Somrat (1940), Sagar Theke Fera (1956), Ferari Fouz (1958), Horin Chita Chil (1959), Kakhono Megh (1961), Othoba Kinnor (1965), and Nadir Nikotey (1972); short stories: Povchoshwar (1929), Benami Bandar (1930), Putul O Protima (1932), Mrittika (1932), Afuranto (1935), Mahanagar (1937), Dhulidhusar (1938), Nishith Nagari (1938), Kuriye Chhariye (1946), Samney Chodai (1947), Premendra Mitrer Shrestha Galpo (1952), Saptapodi (1955), Jolpayra (1957), and Nana Rabge Bona (1960); novels: Pank (1926), Kuasha (1930), Michil (1933), Upanayan (1933), Agamikal (1934), Pratishodh (1941), Pratiddhani Pherey (1961), Anya Ek Nam (1962), Pa Badalei Rasta (1962), Pataka Jarey Dao (1963), Stabdho Prahor (1963), Monudbadash (1964), Amoltas (1965), Swapnatanu (1965), Digbaloy (1967), Jini Bidhata (1970) and Shei Je Shahar Rajoli (1972). He wrote Bisarpil and Banosree novels in collaboration with achintya kumar sengupta (1903-1976) and buddhadev bose (1908-1974) in 1934.

For his contribution to Bengali literature and culture, Premendra Mitra was awarded Sharat Memorial prize (1954), Akademi prize (1956), Ananda prize (1973), Nehru prize (1976), Bhubaneshwari Padak (BS 1378) by the Shishu Sahitya Parishad, Deshokattom title and Haronath Ghosh Padak by vangiya sahitya parishad (1981). He died in Calcutta on 3 May 1988. [Shoumitra Shekhor]