Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay was also known as Sarat Chandra Chatterjee. He was a Bengali novelist and writer. His nickname was Nyarha. He was born on September 15, 1876. His birthplace is Devanandapur, a small village in Hooghly district, British India (now in West Bengal, India). He belongs to a Bengali Brahmin family. His father was Motilal Chattopadhyay, and his mother was Bhubanmohini. He spent most of his childhood at his maternal home in Bhagalpur, Bihar, because of extreme poverty. There, he went the Durga Charan Balak Vidyalay. His education started at Pyari Pandit‘s Pathshala, an informal village school, and later, he went to the Hoogly Branch High School. In 1894, after passing the entrance exam in the second division, he was admitted to the Tejnarayan Jubilee College. But due to financial stress, he could not complete his higher studies.
Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote short stories, novels, and novellas of the early 20th century. He captivated his readers with his fearless writings. His works deal with the disaster, lifestyle, and struggle of the village people. He used to visit many villages and spend several days there to connect with the local people, and experience everything. This experience was the reason for his unique and graceful works. In 1907, he wrote the first novel ‘Badadidi’ published in the Bharati magazine. ‘
’ (in four parts; 1917-1933), ‘
’ (1917), ‘
’ (1917), ‘Grihadaha’ (1920), ‘Dena Paona’ (1923), and ‘Pather Dabi’ (1931) are among his most famous stories and novels. He also wrote essays ‘Narir Mulya’ (1923) and ‘Swadesh O Sathiya’ (1932). At 27, he went to Burma, where he was employed as a clerk in a government office in Rangoon.
He married Shanti Devi in 1906. In 1908, he lost his wife and one-year-old son due to the plague. After that, he studied politics, philosophy, sociology, health sciences, history, and psychology borrowing from the Barnard free library. Due to his heart-related health problems, he started painting in 1909. ‘Ravan-Mandodri’ was his first painting. In 1910, he remarried adolescent widow Mokshada (also known as Hiranmoyee Devi). Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novels reached most people through the medium of film. The novel Devdas has made into sixteen versions. His many books later adopted in films such as ‘Bardidi’ (1958), ‘Majhli Didi’ (1967), ‘Datta’ (1951), ‘
’ (1980), and so more.
Around fifty films have been made by his works in several Indian languages. He got awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Story in Swami (1977). He got honoured with the Jagattarini Gold Medal by Calcutta University in 1923. In 1923, he made his house in the village of Samta, where he spent the twelve years of his life as a novelist. His house name was Sarat Chandra Kuthi. He was involved in India’s freedom movement. He became the president of the Indian National Congress Howrah branch from 1921 to 1936. He lived for 61 years and died on January 16, 1938, at Park Nursing Home in Kolkata, West Bengal. He died due to cancer of the liver.