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Bengali science fiction is a rich part of Bengali literature. Although it is not as established as other genres in the Bengali language, it is gaining popularity among Bengali readers, especially in Bangladesh.

Contents

Earliest writers

Bengali writers wrote various science fiction works in the 19th and early 20th centuries during the British Raj, before the partition of India. Isaac Asimov’s assertion that "true science fiction could not really exist until people understood the rationalism of science and began to use it with respect in their stories" is true for the earliest science fiction written in the Bengali language.

The earliest notable Bengali science fiction was Jagadananda Roy's Shukra Bhraman (Travels to Venus), published in 1879. This story is of particular interest to literary historians, as it described an interstellar journey to another planet; its description of the alien creatures that are seen in Uranus used an evolutionary theory similar to the origins of man: "They resembled our apes to a large extent. Their bodies were covered with dense black fur. Their heads were larger in comparison with their bodies, limbs sported long nails and they were completely naked." This story was published a decade before H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds (1898) in which Wells describes the aliens from Mars.

Some specialists credit Hemlal Dutta as one of the earliest Bengali science fiction writers for his Rohosso ("The Mystery"). This story was published in two installments in 1882 in the pictorial magazine Bigyan Dorpon ("Mirror of Science").

J. C. Bose is considered the father of Bengali science fiction.

Jagadish Chandra Bose, now considered as the father of Bangla science fiction, wrote "Niruddesher Kahini" in 1896. This tale of weather control, one of the first Bangla science fiction works, features getting rid of a cyclone using a little bottle of hair oil (Kuntol Keshori). Later, he submitted the story to Obbakto as "Polatok Tufan" ("Run Away Cyclone").

Roquia Sakhawat Hussain (Begum Rokeya), an early Islamic feminist, wrote "Sultana's Dream", one of the earliest examples of feminist science fiction in any language. It depicts a feminist utopia of role reversal, in which men are locked away in seclusion, in a manner corresponding to the traditional Muslim practice of purdah for women. The short story, written in English, was first published in the Madras-based Indian Ladies Magazine in 1905, and three years later appeared as a book.

Premendra Mitra wrote the first novel, Kuhoker Deshe ("In the Land of Mystery"). Hemendra Kumar Ray wrote Meghduter Morte Agomon.

Science fiction in Bangladesh

After Qazi Abdul Halim's Mohasunner Kanna ("Tears of the Cosmos"), Humayun Ahmed wrote the first modern Bangla SF novel, Tomader Jonno Valobasa ("Love For You All"). It was published in 1973. This book is treated as the first full-fledged Bangladeshi science fiction novel. Then he wrote Tara Tinjon ("They were Three"), Irina, Anonto Nakshatra Bithi ("Endless Galaxy"), Fiha Somikoron ("Fiha Equation") etc.

But Bangla science fiction leaves its cocoon phase holding the hands of Muhammed Zafar Iqbal. Mr. Iqbal wrote a story named "Copotronic Sukh Dukho" when he was a student of Dhaka University. This story was later included in a compilation of Iqbal's work in a book by the same name. Muktodhara, a famous publishing house of Dhaka was the publisher of this book. This collection of sci-fi stories gained huge popularity and the new trend of science fiction emerged among Bangla writers and readers. After his first collection, Mr. Iqbal transformed his own science fiction cartoon strip "Mohakashe Mohatrash" ("Panic in the Cosmos") into a novel. All told, Muhammed Zafar Iqbal has written the greatest number of science fiction works in Bangla sci-fi.

Following the footsteps of the ancestors, more and more writers, especially young writers started writing Science Fiction and a new era started in Bangla literature.

Moulik, the first and longest-running Bangladeshi science fiction magazine, was first published in 1997, with famous cartoonist Ahsan Habib as the editor. This monthly magazine plays an important role in the development of Bangla science fiction in Bangladesh. A number of new and very promising sci-fi writers like Rabiul Hasan Avi, Anik Khan, Asrar Masud, Sajjad Kabir, Russel Ahmed and Mizanur Rahman Kallol came of age while working with the magazine.

Other Writers of Bangladesh

Other notable writers in the genre include: Nipun Alam,Ali Imam, Qazi Anwar Hussain,Altamas Pasha, Anirudha Alam, Ahsanul Habib, Kamal Arsalan, Dr. Ahmed Mujibar Rahman, Moinul Ahsan Saber, Swapan Kumar Gayen, Mostafa Tanim, Vobdesh Ray, Jubaida Gulshan Ara Hena, Amirul Islam, Touhidur Rahman, Zakaria Swapan and Qazi Shahnur Hussain.

Writers from West Bengal

A number of writers from West Bengal, India have written science fiction, as well. But almost all of the writers of West Bengal (excepting Premendra Mitra) actually wrote science fantasy rather than science fiction.

Adrish Bardhan is one of the most notable names among West Bengal's sci-fi writers. He also was the editor of Ashchorjo, the first Bangla science fiction magazine. After a six year run, this magazine ceased publishing. Later, Mr. Bardhan became editor of the magazine Fantastic, but it did not last long. Another Sci-Fi magazine "Vismoy Science Fiction" was edited by Sujit Dhar and Ranen Ghosh but it lasted only about two years.

A short story known as The Alien written by Satyajit Ray about an alien named "Mr. Ang" gained popularity among Bengalis in the early 1960s. He virtually pioneered the genre of Indian Science Fiction. It is alleged that the script for Steven Spielberg’s film E.T. was based on a script for The Alien that Ray had sent to the film's producers in the late 1960s[1].

Other notable science fiction writers of West Bengal include: Lila Majumdar, Sunil Ganguly, Kinnor Ray, Abhijnan Roychowdhury, Anish Deb, Shirshendu Mukherjee, Said Mustafa Siraj, Samarjit Kor, Swapan Banarjee and Somoresh Majumder.

Bangla science fiction was given a magic realism worldview by the Hungryalist writers Malay Roy Choudhury in his novel Kuharbhumey Nishidishi and Jinnatulbilader Rupkatha, and by Basudeb Dasgupta in his short story collection Randhanshala.

Portraying of Characters in Bangla Science Fiction

Most Bangla science fiction authors use different characters for different stories, building them up in different forms according to the theme of the story. The stories by Muhammed Zafar Iqbal sometimes repeat names but never used the same character in more than one story.

Qazi Shahnur Hussain, the elder son of Qazi Anwar Hussain and grandson of Qazi Motahar Hussain, wrote a science fiction series named "Chotomama Series". These are the adventures of a young Bangladeshi scientist Rumi Chotomama and his nephew.

Satyajit Ray, on the contrary, wrote most of his science fiction works with the participation of the fictional character Professor Shanku or Trilokeshwar Shanku. Shanku is portrayed as an aged man with proficiency in 72 different languages who has invented quite a number of useful things. Shanku used to be regularly accompanied by other fictional characters like scientists Jeremy Saunders and Hermann Krol, the completely non-scientific neighbour Mr. Abinash, the servant Prahlad and the beloved cat Newton.

Notes

References

  • Science Fiction: Ek Osadharan Jagat.
  • Preface of Science Fiction Collection edited by Ali Imam and Anirudho Alam.
  • Some different issues of Rohosso Potrika

External links

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Bengali literature
Bengali literature
(By category)
Bengali language
Bengali literary history
History of Bengali literature
Bengali language authors
Chronological list - Alphabetic List
Bengali Writers
Writers - Novelists - Poets
Forms
Novel - Poetry - Science Fiction
Institutions & Awards
Literary Institutions
Literary Prizes
Related Portals
Literature Portal
Bengal Portal

Bengali science fiction is a rich part of Bengali literature. Although it is not as established as other genres in the Bengali language, it is gaining popularity among Bengali readers, especially in Bangladesh.

Contents

Earliest writers

Bengali writers wrote various science fiction works in the 19th and early 20th centuries during the British Raj, before the partition of India. Isaac Asimov’s assertion that "true science fiction could not really exist until people understood the rationalism of science and began to use it with respect in their stories" is true for the earliest science fiction written in the Bengali language.

The earliest notable Bengali science fiction was Jagadananda Roy's Shukra Bhraman (Travels to Venus), published in 1879. This story is of particular interest to literary historians, as it described a journey to another planet; its description of the alien creatures that are seen in Uranus used an evolutionary theory similar to the origins of man: "They resembled our apes to a large extent. Their bodies were covered with dense black fur. Their heads were larger in comparison with their bodies, limbs sported long nails and they were completely naked." This story was published a decade before H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds (1898) in which Wells describes the aliens from Mars.

Some specialists credit Hemlal Dutta as one of the earliest Bengali science fiction writers for his Rohosso ("The Mystery"). This story was published in two installments in 1882 in the pictorial magazine Bigyan Dorpon ("Mirror of Science").

is considered the father of Bengali science fiction.]]

Jagadish Chandra Bose, now considered as the father of Bangla science fiction, wrote "Niruddesher Kahini" in 1896. This tale of weather control, one of the first Bangla science fiction works, features getting rid of a cyclone using a little bottle of hair oil (Kuntol Keshori). Later, he submitted the story to Obbakto as "Polatok Tufan" ("Run Away Cyclone").

Roquia Sakhawat Hussain (Begum Rokeya), an early Islamic feminist, wrote "Sultana's Dream", one of the earliest examples of feminist science fiction in any language. It depicts a feminist utopia of role reversal, in which men are locked away in seclusion, in a manner corresponding to the traditional Muslim practice of purdah for women. The short story, written in English, was first published in the Madras-based Indian Ladies Magazine in 1905, and three years later appeared as a book.

Premendra Mitra wrote the first novel, Kuhoker Deshe ("In the Land of Mystery"). Hemendra Kumar Ray wrote Meghduter Morte Agomon.

Science fiction in Bangladesh

After Qazi Abdul Halim's Mohasunner Kanna ("Tears of the Cosmos"), Humayun Ahmed wrote the first modern Bangla SF novel, Tomader Jonno Valobasa ("Love For You All"). It was published in 1973. This book is treated as the first full-fledged Bangladeshi science fiction novel. Then he wrote Tara Tinjon ("They were Three"), Irina, Anonto Nakshatra Bithi ("Endless Galaxy"), Fiha Somikoron ("Fiha Equation") etc.

But Bangla science fiction leaves its cocoon phase holding the hands of Muhammed Zafar Iqbal. Mr. Iqbal wrote a story named "Copotronic Sukh Dukho" when he was a student of Dhaka University. This story was later included in a compilation of Iqbal's work in a book by the same name. Muktodhara, a famous publishing house of Dhaka was the publisher of this book. This collection of sci-fi stories gained huge popularity and the new trend of science fiction emerged among Bangla writers and readers. After his first collection, Mr. Iqbal transformed his own science fiction cartoon strip "Mohakashe Mohatrash" ("Panic in the Cosmos") into a novel. All told, Muhammed Zafar Iqbal has written the greatest number of science fiction works in Bangla sci-fi.

Following the footsteps of the ancestors, more and more writers, especially young writers started writing Science Fiction and a new era started in Bangla literature.

Moulik, the first and longest-running Bangladeshi science fiction magazine, was first published in 1997, with famous cartoonist Ahsan Habib as the editor. This monthly magazine plays an important role in the development of Bangla science fiction in Bangladesh. A number of new and very promising sci-fi writers like Rabiul Hasan Avi, Anik Khan, Asrar Masud, Sajjad Kabir, Russel Ahmed and Mizanur Rahman Kallol came of age while working with the magazine.

Other Writers of Bangladesh

Other notable writers in the genre include: Nipun Alam, Ali Imam, Qazi Anwar Hussain,Altamas Pasha, Abdul Ahad[1], Anirudha Alam, Ahsanul Habib, Kamal Arsalan, Dr. Ahmed Mujibar Rahman, Moinul Ahsan Saber, Swapan Kumar Gayen, Mostafa Tanim, Vobdesh Ray, Jubaida Gulshan Ara Hena, Amirul Islam, Touhidur Rahman, Zakaria Swapan and Qazi Shahnur Hussain.

Writers from West Bengal

A number of writers from West Bengal, India have written science fiction, as well. But almost all of the writers of West Bengal (excepting Premendra Mitra) actually wrote science fantasy rather than science fiction.

Adrish Bardhan is one of the most notable names among West Bengal's sci-fi writers. He also was the editor of Ashchorjo, the first Bangla science fiction magazine. After a six year run, this magazine ceased publishing. Later, Mr. Bardhan became editor of the magazine Fantastic, but it did not last long. Another Sci-Fi magazine "Vismoy Science Fiction" was edited by Sujit Dhar and Ranen Ghosh but it lasted only about two years.

A short story known as The Alien written by Satyajit Ray about an alien named "Mr. Ang" gained popularity among Bengalis in the early 1960s. He virtually pioneered the genre of Indian Science Fiction. It is alleged that the script for Steven Spielberg’s film E.T. was based on a script for The Alien that Ray had sent to the film's producers in the late 1960s[2].

Other notable science fiction writers of West Bengal include: Lila Majumdar, Sunil Ganguly, Kinnor Ray, Abhijnan Roychowdhury, Anish Deb, Shirshendu Mukherjee, Said Mustafa Siraj, Samarjit Kor, Swapan Banarjee and Somoresh Majumder.

Bangla science fiction was given a magic realism worldview by the Hungryalist writers Malay Roy Choudhury in his novel Kuharbhumey Nishidishi and Jinnatulbilader Rupkatha, and by Basudeb Dasgupta in his short story collection Randhanshala.

Portraying of Characters in Bangla Science Fiction

Most Bangla science fiction authors use different characters for different stories, building them up in different forms according to the theme of the story. The stories by Muhammed Zafar Iqbal sometimes repeat names but never used the same character in more than one story.

Qazi Shahnur Hussain, the elder son of Qazi Anwar Hussain and grandson of Qazi Motahar Hussain, wrote a science fiction series named "Chotomama Series". These are the adventures of a young Bangladeshi scientist Rumi Chotomama and his nephew.

Satyajit Ray, on the contrary, wrote most of his science fiction works with the participation of the fictional character Professor Shanku or Trilokeshwar Shanku. Shanku is portrayed as an aged man with proficiency in 72 different languages who has invented quite a number of useful things. Shanku used to be regularly accompanied by other fictional characters like scientists Jeremy Saunders and Hermann Krol, the completely non-scientific neighbour Mr. Abinash, the servant Prahlad and the beloved cat Newton.

Notes

References

  • Science Fiction: Ek Osadharan Jagat.
  • Preface of Science Fiction Collection edited by Ali Imam and Anirudho Alam.
  • Some different issues of Rohosso Potrika

External links


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