A few days ago, columnist Ganesh Dey breathed his last at his Pailapool residence at the age of 74 after a brief illness, long before the expectations of his readers had exhausted.
Pailapool, where he lived most of his life, is surrounded by a chain of tea gardens and is an enchanting environment from where a writer can get his materials abundantly. A popular writer like Ganesh Dey is no more and he will be sorely missed by his admiring readers.
We clearly remember his endless columns in the pages of the leading Bengali daily Jugasankha which entertained all readers. The Silchar based facile writer hardly had any scope to attract the attention of mainstream Bengali literature even though he had great command over the language and facts.
It is not the fate of Ganesh Dey alone; many writers with a robust hand in writing simply have faded into oblivion because of the dearth of adequate exposure. Ganesh Dey had the strength of the pen but he spent all his years in a small town and wrote for the local papers, which probably hindered him from catapulting into a national level literary name.
But he had a steady stream of loyal readers who were enthralled by his satires on the contemporary events. Many of us waited anxiously for his columns and his views on many contemporary issues.
A talented person having done his masters in any subject and getting a teaching job in a college was a great bonanza. From our records, we know that Ganesh Dey spent his life as a teacher in a college at Pailapool and had retired from the College as its Principal.
He had connections with all events in the valley and mostly expressed his opinions not merely as a description but infused his distinct literary style in it. The readers enjoyed his satires and rhythmic style. He was at his ease in the serious write ups too.
Our valley remembers our eminent souls but there is hardly any reward for the eminence. The institution of prizes are still not much to do justice to the litterateurs who have tremendously enriched the world of Bengali literature. Like another proud son of the valley, poet Saktipada Brahmachari, he will also be remembered and missed by all.
When Dey had started writing, journals in Silchar were much less and each one of them lacked circulation. The widely circulated daily news papers were not there and the Kolkata dailies were the only media available. Thankfully, the local news papers replaced the Kolkata papers gradually and the local talents got the opportunity to write.
A community can only prosper if there are enough quality writers capable of recording the events taking place there. We remember, the great language agitation of 1960 but there was no local paper worth the name which could describe the catastrophe in an authentic way. Ganesh Dey was an eye witness to the event. Many years later, he wrote about it. It was a brilliant and convincing anecdote.
From all accounts, we have, it seems that he harboured no fame for his writings, not even much recognition. Let us hope that his columns will be brought together as a book in the years to come…