The 51st An Author’s Afternoon series added some antique flavor with a written portrait of Bengal community – ‘The Bengalis’ – by journalist-author Sudeep Chakravarti.
Mid December afternoon session witnessed a perfect argumentative-adda with author Sudeep Chakravarti and Suman Mukhopadhyay won a National Award winning filmmaker. The discussion raised quite a few posers. Why the recent phase of new century did not get any mention; Why international Bengali figures like Pranab Bardhan, Amartya Sen prefer to write about Bengal from abroad; How Bengal as an ethno-linguistic group made the amalgamation of people possible.
Beginning with South Asia Bureau in 1985, Sudeep had stints at the Asian Wall Street Journal, India Today, Sunday Magazine and so on. He joined India Today in 1991 and rose in the ranksto become the Executive Editor in a role that encompassed printing, internet and television.
In 2004, the author relocated in Goa to pursue some research and writing. The very next year his debut novel Tin Fish, a work of fiction was published. In 2008, Red Sun, a travelogue through revolutionary India, is a narrative non-fiction about Maoists.
In his words, the latest one has tried to study the Bengal through the prism of conflict and not culture. Bangla is not only the mishti language but also has become a super language. His vote, even at the cost of sounding arrogant, is for the term “not-Bengali” instead of “non-Bengali”. He depicted how “mastanocracy” discoloured democracy. The book simultaneously praises and takes the piss out of the Bengalis in a fair and ironic pattern. Three episodes, Utsho, Sobbhota-Asobbhota and Ogni Jug, in all, represents a secular note knitting artificially fractured West Bengal and Bangladesh.