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Leela Majumdar

Bengali Writer Leela Majumdar
  • DOB : 26-02-1908
  • Date of death: 05-04-2007
  • Lived For : 98 Years
  • Star Sign : Pisces
  • Gender : Female
Written By - Team Nettv4u

Leela Majumdar was an author of Indian origin who wrote children’s novels. She was born on February 26, 1908, in Calcutta in British India. Her career spanned more than seventy years. Her parents were Surama Devi and Pramada Ranjan Ray. Her grandfather (her mother’s father) - Ramkumar Bhattacharya, later became a hermit or sanyasi named Ramananda Bharati. He was the first Indian to visit Kailash and Mansarovar and wrote the travelogue -Himaranya. Leela was raised in Shillong where she received her early education at Loreto Convent. After her family relocated to Calcutta in 1919, Leela attended St. John's Diocesan School, where she completed her senior secondary examination and ranked second among the girls in 1924.

She excelled in English literature both in her Master of Arts examinations and under graduation from the University of Calcutta. It is widely known that Leela's family made a significant contribution to children's literature in Bengali, as they were instrumental in laying the foundation for it. Leela's first published story, Lakkhi chhele, was illustrated by her and appeared in the Bengali children's magazine Sandesh in 1922. Her uncle, Upendrakishore Ray Chaudhuri, founded the magazine in 1913, and after his death in 1915, it was edited by her cousin Sukumar Ray. Along with her nephew Satyajit Ray Biographies reveal bare details about the maverick >> Read More... and her cousin Nalini Das, Leela edited and wrote for Sandesh throughout her writing career. She continued to activeky participate in the publication of the magazine on regular basis until 1994. A list of Leela Majumdar's works includes 125 books, which consist of joint authorship of five books, a collection of short stories, translations of nine books, and editing of 19 books.

She made her debut in the year 1939 with her book Boddi Nather Bari, but it was her second compilation Din Dupure in 1948 that brought her considerable fame. Her notable children's classics followed in the 1950s. While she excelled in humor, she also wrote in other genres including detective stories, ghost stories, and fantasies. In 1931, she began her teaching career at Maharani Girls' School in Darjeeling. She later joined the school at Santiniketan on an invitation from Rabindranath Tagore but left after about a year. Leela also briefly joined the women's section of Asutosh College in Calcutta but didn't stay there long. Eventually, she devoted most of her time to writing.

After spending two decades as a writer, Leela transitioned to become a producer at All India Radio and worked there for about seven to eight years. In her autobiographical sketch, Pakdandi, Leela Majumdar provided insight into her childhood days in Shillong, , her experience working with All India Radio and her time spent at Santiniketan. Besides her impressive array of children's literature, she authored novels for adults such as Sreemoti and Cheena Lanthan, a biography of Rabindranath Tagore, and a cookbook. She translated Abanindranath Tagore's writings on art into English and delivered lectures on him. She also translated The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels into Bengali.

Leela Majumdar's work Padi Pishir Bormi Baksha was considered by Satyajit Ray for a film adaptation, and it was later adapted into a film by Arundhati Devi Arundhati Devi, born to Bibhuticharan Guha and Tha >> Read More... in 1972. Moreover, Leela Majumdar created Monimala, the story of an ordinary girl whose grandmother starts writing to her from the age of 12, continuing into her marriage and motherhood, for a special Mahila Mahal series of All-India Radio. The series dealt with the common issues faced by a girl growing up in a typical Bengali family from the middle class background. Her work - Holde Pakhir Palok was felicitated for children's literature with the state award, Bak Badh Pala received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award from the Government of India in 1963, and Aar Konokhane was recognized with the Rabindra Puraskar from the Government of West Bengal in 1969.

She was also a recipient of the Vidyasagar Puraskar, Suresh Smriti Puraskar, Ananda Puraskar, and Bhubaneswari Medal for lifetime achievement. Furthermore, she was bestowed with the Deshikottama by Visva Bharati and awarded honorary D.Litt. degrees by Calcutta, North Bengal, and Burdwan Universities. A documentary film titled Peristan - The World of Lila Majumdar was created on her life in 2019. Her works include Chhotoder Srestho Galpo, Din Dupure, Kheror Khata, Boddi Nather Bori, Lal Neel Deslai, Moyna, Shibur Diary, Chhotoder Tal Betal, Je Jai Boluk, Taka Gaachh, Tipur Upor Tipuni, Chiching Phank, Basher Phul, Aaguni Beguni, Patka Chor, Bagher Chhokh, Bok Dharmik, Bagh Shikari Bamun, Baghyar Galpo, Bhuter Bari, Howrahr Dari, Shalikh, Aashare Galpo, Aar Konokhane, Ferari, and Nepor Boi among others.

In 1933, she got married to Dr. Sudhir Kumar Majumdar, a well-known dentist who had graduated from Harvard Dental School. She dedicated herself to household duties for 20 years after marriage. Her son Ranjan was born in 1934 and became a dentist like his father. Her daughter Kamala, who was born in 1938, married Monishi Chatterjee, an oil engineer and the grandson of Sunayani Devi, the first female painter of the Bengal school. Her husband passed away in 1984. Besides her children, she had two grandsons, two granddaughters, and three great-grandchildren at the time of her death. She died in Kolkata on April 5, 2007.

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