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Sumana Das, Pune

On Friday, renowned Bengali novelist and short story creator Sasthipada Chattopadhyay breathed his last in Howrah after suffering a stroke at the age of 82. He is best known for his creation of the ‘Pandob Goenda’ (Five Detectives) franchise in Bengali literature. Born on 9th March 1941 in Khurut of Howrah district, Chattopadhyay passed away around 11 am. He was undergoing medical treatment for a very long time. 

According to one of the family members, Chattopadhyay suffered three strokes and was seriously ill last December. Though the prior recovery was slow, last Sunday, he fell ill again and was admitted to a hospital. From Thursday night, the condition started deteriorating. On Friday, he was pronounced dead. 

His family reported that around 3 pm, his body will be taken to his residence in the Jagacha area for one last time before the last rites at Sibpur Burning Ghat. 

From a very young age, he had an intense knack for adventure stories which can be observed throughout his later works. Chattopadhyay put his first step into the literary world after publishing his work ‘Kamakhya Bhraman’ ( A Visit to Kamakhya) in the daily magazine ‘Dainik Basumati’ in 1961. In 1981, he enriched Bengali literature by gifting one of the best creations to youngsters, Pandob Goenda. 

Pandob Goenda talks about a group of young detectives Bablu, Bilu, Bachch, Bichchu, and Bhombol; who along with their paw friend Ponchu embarks on several missions to reveal the truth. The franchise later on converted into several comic strips and miniseries for television adaptations. Apart from this, he has created detective characters like Private Detective Ambar Chatterjee and Goenda Tatar (Detective Tatar). In his early life, Chattopadhyay was also a part of Anandabazar Patrika, where he worked in the famous supplement of the newspaper, Rabibarsoryo before joining the Indian Railways. His other works include, ‘Chaturtha Todonto’ (The Fourth Investigation), ‘Sonar Ganapati Heerer Chokh’ (The Diamond Eye of the Golden Ganapati), ‘Kakahigarh Obhijaan’ (Kakahigarh Adventure), ‘Sera Pochish Rohosyo’ (The Best 25 Mysteries), ‘Kingbodontir Bikramaditya’ (The Legend of Vikramaditya), ‘Punyotirthe Bhraman’ (A Visit to the Holy Lands), ‘Kedarnath’, ‘Himaloyer Noy Devi’ (The Nine Goddesses of Himalaya) and so on. 

In 2017, he was awarded Bangla Academy Award by the West Bengal Government for his remarkable contribution to children’s literature. 

West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee has expressed her remorse oh his demise. On her note, expressing condolences for the fans and his family members, she mentioned his death as a “Void that cannot be filled”.