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Bangladeshi Writer

Upendrokishore Ray

Upendrokishore Ray, also known as Upendrokishore Raychowdhury was a famous Bengali writer, painter, violin player and composer. He was born on 10 May 1863 in a little village called Moshua in Mymensingh District in East Bengal, now a part of Bangladesh. He spent most of his adult life in Kolkata, where he died on 20 December 1915, aged only fifty-two.

He was the father of the famous writer Sukumar Ray and grandfather of the renowned film-maker Satyajit Ray. Scion of an extraordinarily gifted Bengali family, Satyajit was born on May 2, 1921 in Calcutta, India. Founder of the family artistic tradition was his grandfather, Upendra Kishore Ray Chauduri, a product and leading member of the Brahmo Movement that spearheaded the cultural rejuvenation of Bengal. He collaborated with the Tagores whose family, in the arts, achieved world renown. As a writer he is best known for his collection of folklore; as a printer he pioneered in India in the art of engraving and was the first to attempt color printing at the time when engraving and color printing were also being pioneered in the West.
His son, Sukumar Ray, the father of Satyajit chose to drop the last (caste) part of the family name. He wrote verse and children's rhymes with buoyancy, sparkling humor and flights of fancy, and commonly illustrated his writings himself. He remains today the most popular, oft-quoted Bengali poet after Rabindranath Tagore. Sukumar launched the first illustrated monthly magazine for children in India which soon became an institution in Bengal. A lover of double entendre he named this magazine Sandesh, after the popular Bengali sweetmeat which, in Sanskrit, also means "news." Sukamar Ray died in his early thirties leaving his wife, Suprabha Das, the care of their son and the boy a legacy of two generations of remarkable artistic creativity.

His father had great linguistic talent. He was expert in English and Persian languages and in the traditional Indian and British Indian legal systems. He became a topmost expert for interpreting old land deeds written in Persian and in helping the landowners to get the best deal from the newly introduced British legal system in India. He became affluent and in due course the family was able to afford two elephants.
Upendrakishore Roy was adopted by a rich childless uncle whose title Raychowdhury he adopted.

Upendrakishore is still regarded for his Bengali short stories, science articles for children and a variety of other work greatly valued in Bengali literature. Although the Ray family embraced the liberal religious movement of Brahmo Samaj in the 1880s (and Upendrakishore was a deeply religious man), his scientific bent of mind is reflected in the numerous science articles he wrote for children.

He was also a pioneer in half-tone block making. When the woodcut line blocks of his illustrations for one of his books were very poor, he imported books, chemicals and equipment from Britain to learn the technology of blockmaking. After mastering this, he successfully set up a business of making blocks. He experimented with the process of blockmaking, and several of his technical articles about blockmaking was published in the Penrose Annual Volumes published from Britain. After being established as the leading blockmaker in this part of the world, he started publishing books, initially having them printed in other printing presses.

In 1913 he founded one of the finest early printing presses in Kolkata, (U. Ray & Sons) at 100 Garpar Road. Even the building plans were designed by him. He quickly earned recognition in India and abroad for the new methods he developed for printing both black & white and color photographs with great accuracy of detail. It was with the intention of running this business that his son Sukumar Ray spent a few years at the University of Manchester's printing technology department. This press was also the early lifeline of Sandesh (magazine), a popular children's magazine in Bengali that is still published today. This was the magazine where Upendrakishore (and later his son Sukumar and grandson Satyajit) published most of his children's literature.

Upendrakishore's greatest contribution was in the field of children's literature in Bengali. His prominent works include the fantasy "Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne" (on which Satyajit Ray based his acclaimed children's movie with the same name), children's verses in "Tuntuni'r Boi", and the children's versions of the Hindu epics - "Chheleder Ramayon" and "Chheleder Môhabharot". He did most of the illustrations of his books himself.

Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/

Upendrokishore Ray

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