Friday, November 25, 2016

Forgotten Book: Satyanveshi Vyomkesh by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay

Despite my love for mysteries, I haven't read much of our Indian detectives. But this month, I was determined to read the exploits of Byomkesh Bakshi, a detective created by Bengali writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, in 1932 and to whom I was first introduced to by an eponymous TV serial that was telecast in 1993.




Though, I call him a detective, Byomkesh himself prefers the term Satyanveshi (Seeker of Truth) and in fact, Satyanveshi, is the title of his first adventure when not only did he get introduced to the reading public but also to Ajit Bandyopadhyay, who became his friend and chronicler of adventures.



The volume that I read contains the first fourteen stories of Byomkesh's career, from Satyanveshi to Aadim Dushman. The last story though published in 1955, is set in 1947, with India not only gaining independence but also being partitioned. Set in Calcutta, the last story describes  the horror of those days with riots breaking out, killings becoming common, and the communalisation of the law-enforcing agencies.


The other stories describing a haunted fort, a ghostly seance, a disappearing diamond, a poisonous spider, a deadly gramophone pin are all pretty gripping and I am keen to read the second volume of his adventures.

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Those who cannot read Bangla or Hindi, needn't worry, Byomkesh Bakshi has been translated into English too.



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Submitted for Friday's Forgotten Books, today @Sweet Freedom

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First Line: Satyanveshi Vyomkesh Bakshi se mera pehla parichay samvat 1331 mein hua tha.

Original Language: Bengali
Trans. Sushil Gupta
Pub. Details: Delhi: Vani Prakashan, 2012.
Pages: 599
Source: CL

9 comments:

  1. Sounds fascinating. Another one for the I Want It! list. Thanks for cluing us in.

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    1. Thanks for having a look. I am glad you found it fascinating. It is. Hope you are able to find a copy of it soon.

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  2. Never heard of this, Neer. And that's what makes Friday's Forgotten (or Overlooked) Book meme so interesting. Thanks for the introduction.

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    1. I agree FFB is a great meme. I have been introduced to so many fascinating books and authors.

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  3. This sounds fascinating, Neeru. I've very much enjoyed the Indian crime fiction I've read, and it sounds like this one is one I should add to my list.

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    1. Oh you must really read these stories Margot. I never thought I'd enjoy them so much but I really did. And now I want everyone to read them. :)

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  4. In the episode The Mommy Observation (series 7, episode 18 telecast in 2014) of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Bernadette refers to Byomkesh Bakshi as the Indian Sherlock Holmes while Raj refers to Sherlock Holmes as the English Byomkesh Bakshi !

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    1. HaHa! That's Funny. Well I like Byomkesh more than Holmes. Santosh, did you ever watch the serial? I thought Rajat Kapoor did a stellar job.

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    2. Yes, I have seen and enjoyed all episodes of both seasons 1 and 2 telecast on Doordarshan with Rajat Kapoor as Byomkesh Bakshi.

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