Author bio


Sankar - book author

Shankar's real name is Mani Shankar Mukherjee. Sankar is a very popular writer in the Bengali language. He grew up in Howrah district of West Bengal, India.
Shankar's father died while Shankar was still a teenager, as a result of which Shankar became a clerk to the last British barrister of the Calcutta High Court, Noel Frederick Barwell. The experience of working under Mr. Barwell provided the material for his first book Koto Ojanare (কত অজানারে), translated as The Great Unknown.
During 1962, Shankar conceived the idea of writing the novel Chowringhee on a rainy day at the waterlogged crossing of Central Avenue and Dalhousie - a busy business district in the heart of Kolkata.
Many of Shankar's works have been made into films. Some notable ones are - Chowringhee, Jana Aranya (জন-অরণ্য, translated as The Middleman) and Seemabaddha (সীমাবদ্ধ, out of which the last two were directed by Satyajit Ray.

Sankar is the author of books: Chowringhee, The Middleman, The Monk as Man: The Unknown Life of Swami Vivekananda, The Great Unknown, অচেনা অজানা বিবেকানন্দ, সীমাবদ্ধ, ঘরের মধ্যে ঘর, নিবেদিতা রিসার্চ ল্যাবরেটরি, এক ব্যাগ শংকর, বোধোদয়

Author books

‘Here, day and night were interchangeable. The immaculately dressed Chowringhee, radiant in her youth, had just stepped on to the floor at the nightclub.’ Set in 1950s Calcutta, Chowringhee is a sprawling saga of the intimate lives of managers, employees and guests at one of Calcutta’s largest hotels, the Shahjahan. Shankar, the newest recruit, recounts the stories of several people whose lives come together in the suites, restaurants, bar and backrooms of the hotel. As both observer and participant in the events, he inadvertently peels off the layers of everyday existence to expose the seamy underbelly of unfulfilled desires, broken dreams, callous manipulation and unbidden tragedy. What unfolds is not just the story of individual lives but also the incredible chronicle of a metropolis. Written by best-selling Bengali author Sankar, Chowringhee was published as a novel in 1962. Predating Arthur Hailey’s Hotel by three years, it became an instant hit, spawning translations in major Indian languages, a film and a play. Its larger-than-life characters—the enigmatic manager Marco Polo, the debonair receptionist Sata Bose, the tragic hostess Karabi Guha, among others—soon attained cult status. With its thinly veiled accounts of the private lives of real-life celebrities, and its sympathetic narrative seamlessly weaving the past and the present, it immediately established itself as a popular classic. Available for the first time in English, Chowringhee is as much a dirge as it is a homage to a city and its people.

An excerpt (Chapter 1) from the book :
'A veil had descended on the city. It wasn't very late, but Somnath felt as though the sun had suddenly set on impenetrable forest, giving way to a dangerous darkness.'

1970s Calcutta. The city is teeming with thousands of young men in search of work. Somnath Banerjee spends his days queuing up at the employment exchange. Unable to find a job despite his qualifications, Somnath decides to go into the order - supply business as a middleman. His ambition drives him to prostitute an innocent girl for a contract that will secure the future of Somnath Enterprises. As Somnath grows from an idealistic young man into a corrupt businessman, the novel becomes a terrifying portrait of the price the city extracts from its youth.
Wandering mystic, India's spiritual ambassador to the West and founder of the Ramakrishna Mission, Swami Vivekananda awakened India's masses to the country's spiritual richness while stressing the importance of scientific inquiry. These aspects of Swamiji's life have been well chronicled by Swamiji himself, through his letters, speeches and writings; his own brothers who between them have written more than a hundred books; his co-disciples, disciples and others whose lives were enriched by their interactions with him; and, more than a century after his death, followers who had only read or heard of the magnetic personality of this revered teacher.

Gleaned from all these sources, through painstaking research Sankar's biography focuses on the personal life of the saint: What was Vivekananda like as a man? What role did his mother play in his life, both before and after he renounced all family ties? Could he reconcile the duties of a monk with the duties of an eldest son? What prompted him to promote Vedanta and biriyani in the West? Did the long drawn battles over family property affect his health and cut short his life? Did his sister commit suicide? Why did his brother not write a single letter for six years when he was wandering around the world? What was Swamiji's favourite dish and what fruit did he like the least? What was his height? Where did he have his second heart attack? How much did the Calcutta doctor charge him at his chamber?
1950s Calcutta. Seventeen-year-old Shankar walks on to Old Post Office Street to become a clerk in the Calcutta High Court. There he meets the last English barrister, and thus begins their unusual and unforgettable relationship. The Great Unknown is the moving story of the many people Shankar meets in the courtrooms and lawyers' chambers of Old Post Office Street"some seeking justice, others watching the drama of life unfold. It offers a uniquely personal glimpse into their world of unfulfilled dreams and duplicity, of unexpected tragedy, as well as hope and exhilaration. Here you will meet Marian Stuart, who journeys from Lebanon to India in search of a husband and happiness; the once-rich but now-destitute Englishman James Gould; Helen Grubert, the embittered Anglo-Indian typist, who wins her breach-of-promise case but has a miraculous change of heart; Nicholas Droulas, the betrayed Greek sailor desperate for revenge; Shefali Mitra, the distraught mother fighting to hold on to the daughter she did not give birth to; Chhoka-da, the benevolent babu who takes the young clerk under his wing; and the barrister sahib who profoundly enriches Shankar's life with his own experiences. The Great Unknown (Kato Ajanarey), Sankar's debut novel, first appeared in Desh in 1955. An instant success, it remains immensely popular more than fifty years after its publication. This first-ever English translation captures the simplicity and poignancy of the original.
লেখকের নিবেদন:
অনেকদিন ধরে কেবল বড়দের জন্যেই কলম পিষে এসেছি-ছোট-বড় সবার জন্যে একই সঙ্গে লেখার চেষ্টা করিনি। যাঁর খপ্পরে পড়ে আমার এই সুঃসাহস হলো তাঁর নাম শ্রীনীরেন্দ্রনাথ চক্রবর্তী। বাংলা সাহিত্যের এই জাঁদরেল কবি এবং প্রখ্যত পত্রিকা 'আনন্দমেলা' সম্পাদকের কাছে গোড়াতেই ঋণ স্বীকার করে রাখছি।

এই বইতে যা আছেঃ
উপন্যাসঃ খারাপ লোকের খপ্পরে
বড় গল্পঃ কাকলির দাদু
আশ্চর্য মানুশঃ ছেনোদা
A chronicle of self-realization from a self-proclaimed "bad person"