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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 July, 2003, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Great Bengali poet dies
Subhas
Mukhopadhyay's poetry indicted social ills

One of the greatest poets of the Bengali language, Subhas Mukhopadhyay, has died in Calcutta at the age of 84.

Born in Krishnanagar in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, Mr Mukhopadhyay gained fame for his indictments of the social ills and political corruption in the decades following India's independence.

His work has been translated into English and Russian, and he won the two highest literary awards in India - the Sahitya Academy award in 1964, and the Gyanpith in 1991.

A left-wing activist in his youth, he wrote mostly about the life of the industrial labourer and the peasant.

For a troubled generation of Bengalis devastated by the partition of their province and driven to despair and penury by the displacement that followed, Subhas Mukhopadhyay's poetry was a source of inspiration, says the BBC's Subir Bhaumik.

Bengali advocate

He was also a great advocate of the indivisibility of Bengali language and culture.

His famous poetry collections - Padatik (Foot Soldier), E Bhai (Oh Brother), Kal Madhumash (Tomorrow Month of Honey) and Chole Geche Bone (Gone to Woods) - won him fame throughout the Bengali-speaking world.

An optimist at heart, he once wrote spring would always come, without the flowers if need be.

But he spent his last days battling severe kidney and heart ailments - and politically disillusioned, correspondents say.

Subhas Mukhopadhyay is survived by his wife, writer Gita Bandopadhyay, and three adopted daughters.




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