Bengal bids adieu to the littérateur
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Amidst tears and Tagore's songs and poetry, flower bouquets and recounting of memories, the mortal remains of poet and novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay were consigned to flames at Keoratolla cremation ground in south Kolkata on Thursday.
Even though Gangopadhyay had pledged his body to the Calcutta Medical College, the body was taken for funeral in acordance with the wish of his son Shouvik. "There is no such will of his. It was just a thought in his mind and so we did not donate his body," he said.
A memorial meeting will be held on December 3. "We will decide about the venue in a day or two," he told The Indian Express.
The poet, novelist, essayist and president of the Sahitya Akademi died on October 23 at his Gariahat residence following a heart attack. His body had been kept at Peace Heaven, a mortuary in south Kolkata. Today his body was first taken to the office of the eastern regional centre of Sahitya Akademi and from there it was taken to Ananda Bazaar Patrika office where he had begun his career as a sub-editor and was associated with 'Desh' magazine published by the group.
The body was later taken to Rabindra Sadan where it was kept for some time to enable people to have a last glimpse of the poet. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached Rabindra Sadan at around 12 noon and took charge of the situation as the crowds that came in hordes to pay their tributes to the litterateur became a bit unruly.
Accompanied with her cabinet colleagues and mourners, the Chief Minister walked the five kilometres stretch from Rabindra Sadan to the cremation ground with policemen escorting the cortege. She even sat through the entire time while the funeral took place.
Earlier in the day, former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Left Front chairman Biman Bose, Leader of the Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra, state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya, filmmakers Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen, Gautam Ghosh, actor Saumitra Chatterjee, poets Shankya Ghosh, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, to name a few paid their tributes to Gangopadhyay. A few poets from Bangladesh, including Belal Choudhury with whom the poet had a long association, came to pay their respects.
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