Today marks the 103rd death anniversary of renowned Bengali writer, painter, one of the pioneers of the Bengali printing industry Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury. At the age of only 52, he died in Giridih India (now in Jharkhand) in 1915. He was a writer, artist, publisher, amateur astronomer, violinist, and musician. In 1913, the journey of the famous child magazine Sandesh started with his hand. He was the father of the famous writer Sukumar Ray and grandfather of the renowned filmmaker Satyajit Ray.
Upendrakishore was born on 10 May 1863 in the village of Moshua, Kishoreganj District in Bengal Presidency. He was born to Kamadaranjan Ray, a scholar in Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian.
Upendrakishore started his education under the patronage of Harikishore Ray Chowdhury and passed the Entrance Examination with a scholarship from the Mymensingh Zilla School in 1880. In school life, he earned the art of drawing. He was admitted to the Metropolitan Institute of Calcutta after studying for some time at the Presidency College, Kolkata and passed BA examination from there in 1884. At that time, he joined the Brahmo Samaj.
At a young age, Upendrakishore was involved in literary studies and was associated with child magazines Sakha, Balok, Sathi, Sakha and Sathi. In 1883, his first essay was published in Sakha. In his entire life, he continued his literary pursuit. He played the role of the guide of Bengali children`s literature by moving in almost all the branches of child literature with rhymes, poems, songs, stories, plays, scientific articles, fairy-tales, myths, myths, and science fiction. Adding a variety of self-made drawings to self-written texts is a special feature of the publication of Upendrakishore. Under the editorship of Upendrakishore Ray Choudhury, the famous children`s monthly magazine Sandesh was published in 1913, which is still a popular literary magazine published from Kolkata. With the introduction of country-wide stories, comedies, he made Sandesh as a worthy newspaper for the young heart.
There are many literary works of Upendrakishore for children. Among them, the most notable books are Chheleder Ramayon, Chheleder Môhabharot, Sekaler Katha, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Ţunţuni`r Boi etc.
Upendrakishore introduced modern block-making, including half-tone and color block making, in South Asia. He brought the latest equipment from abroad and established himself a printing press after getting dissatisfied with the illustrations of one of his works, Chheleder Ramayan. In 1914 he founded what was then probably the finest printing press in South Asia, U. Ray, and Sons at 100 Garpar Road.
From childhood, Upendrakishore was passionate about music. He earned skill in playing musical instruments such as Pakhavaj, harmonium, sitar, flute, violin. But violin was his favorite. He wrote two books about music in Bengali – Sohaj Behala Shikkha, about learning to play the violin, and Sikhak Batorike Harmonium, about learning to play the harmonium as an accompaniment to Indian music. He also gained profound knowledge about western music.
Despite his profound eligibility in various sectors, Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury got the most popularity as a child litterateur. On his death anniversary, we remember him with great respect.