Annada Shankar Ray is a Bengali poet and essayist, whose name is pronounced as the last intellectual of the 19th century Bengali Renaissance tradition. He was born on 15th March, 1904 in a Shakta family of Dhenkanal, the native state of Odisha. Today marks his 115th birth anniversary.
Ray`s father Nimai Charan Ray and mother Hemnalini were both known personalities in their region. He passed matriculation examination from Patna University in 1921. Then he went to the editor of Basumati newspaper Hemendra Prasad Ghosh to learn the editorship of the newspaper. He learned short-hand, typewriting and proofreading. But he did not like this job. He then graduated in English from Ravenshaw College in Cuttack. He topped the list of Indian Civil Service examinees in 1927. He was the first ICS officer from the territory that was later renamed as the state of Orissa. Ray went to England for further training at the government expenditure. There he stayed for two years. During this time, Pathe Prabase, a diary of his Europe trip was published in the magazine.
Initially, he wrote literature in Oriya language. Later, he used to conduct intensive literature in Bengali language. He was involved in journalism for some time. Novels, stories, plays, poetry, rhymes, travelogue, speeches, interviews, essay literature- nearly all branches of literature have been enriched by his deft touch. After completing higher education in English literature, Annada Shankar got a job as a Deputy Magistrate in Berhampore. Though he was dedicated to his job for a long time, his creative mind was stunned by the stereotype of government jobs. He chose the literary life as a whole.
In Ray`s writings, the combination of the East and the West is the result of his travel experience. Among the famous works of Ray, Pathe Prabase, Satyasatya, Agun Niye Khela, Na, Konna, Rakhi, etc. are notable. On the basis of juvenile humor, he wrote the rhyme for the children as well, and some of the rhymes have become synonymous of history. Good and welfare is the main prop of his creation. He has seen life and world with a non-communal and liberal outlook.
Annada Shankar Ray has been honored with many awards for his literary work. In 1979, the University of Calcutta awarded him the Jagattarini Medal. Visva-Bharati University honored him with Desikottam award. Burdwan University, Rabindra Bharati University and Jadavpur University awarded him the honorary Doctor of Literature-D.Litt title. Other prizes received by Annada Shankar Rai include Padma Bhushan, Sahitya Akademi Award, Rabindra Puraskar, the Ananda Puraskar twice and the Zaibunnisa Award of Bangladesh.
Annada Shankar left his last breath on 28 October, 2002.
Bangla Insider/ SM