illustrated by Neeta Gangopadhya
May be appropriate for ages 10 ‒ 14(and up)
First published in: 2006
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Satyadas is a simple allegorical tale of changing fortunes and the exit of human values at the advent of material well-being and prosperity.
"What do you want?" asked Raghunath. On a day of unseasonal rains, a stranger comes to poor Raghunath's home. He wants very little compared to what he leaves behind, and a whole year turns around before he comes back, not to claim what he left behind but to witness the loss of something far more precious. The eternal cycle of day and night, the inseparable opposites of light and darkness and the six seasons that are spectators to every human folly, vice and virtue – Satyadas is a simple allegorical tale of changing fortunes and the exit of humane values at the advent of material well-being and prosperity. (38 pages in large type)
Satyadas is the name of the mysterious visitor who appears on a rainy evening in front of Raghunath’s humble grocery shop. Unable to travel in the bad weather, he is offered food and shelter by Raghunath, the warm and caring host. He goes away the next day, but not before leaving a pouch whose valuable contents will test the limits of Raghunath’s honesty. While the charcoal sketches bring to life the humble life and household of Raghunath, the story, originally written in Bengali by Bimal Kar and translated into English by Enakshi Chatterjee, is about the decline in human values as one falls a prey to greed. As the prologue to the book describes, it is a story “exploring truth, falsehood and everything in between.”
Bimal Kar spent his early youth in Asansol and parts of Bihar. He was involved in myriad professions that later helped him write on varied subjects. His writings reflect a modern mind and have inspired many young writers whom he also supported at the start of their literary careers. For children, Kar created the retired magician Kinkar Kishore Ray, alias Kikira who solved mysteries with his two assistants. Kar also has to his credit several novels that were successfully adapted for the screen. These include the classic comedy, Basanta-Bilap, the evergreen Balika Bodhu, Jadubangsha and Chhuti (based on his novel, Khar-Kuto). From 1954 to 1982, he was associated with Desh where his novel Grahan was published in 1964. Asamay, also published in Desh, won him the Sahitya Akademi award in 1975. Kar won the Ananda Puraskar in 1967 and the Saratchandra Award from Calcutta University in 1981, among other honours.