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Rituparna Bhattacharjee: The Child Prodigy of Bengali Children Fiction
Wikipedia enlisted the name of Rituparna Bhattacharjee as a child prodigy in along with Ruben Dario and Harold Bloom. Rituparna who had her literary debut as a writer of short stories at the tender age of 11. Although at present she is a celebrity in Chemistry research with her Science Poster being selected in the University of California and Colorado and paper published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

Rituparna Bhattacharjee is a child prodigy who had her literary debut at the age of 11. She got her Satyajit Samagra (Collected works of Satyajit Ray) on her sixth birthday from her father and her uncle bought her stories for children from Tintin to Bibhutibushan’s ‘Chander Pahar’ which she used to finish reading nearly at one sitting or in the leisure hours of the school.

Harold Bloom as a child went to the Melrose branch of the New York Public Library and borrowed the works of Hart Crane, T.S.Eliot, Auden, William Blake, and Shakespeare. 

He "ransack" the large and complex dictionaries and concordances. He was called "formidable person. He was a prodigy, beyond anything I'd ever seen -- and there was never anyone since who came close”.

Rituparna was also a vorcacious reader from her childhood days when she used to read Syed Mustafa Siraj’s huge volumes on Colonel, (Colonel Series), the novels of Tasleema Nasreen, Sunil Ganguly, besides the classics of Bengali literature.

She finished reading the short stories of Tagore, Suchitra Bhattacharya, Bani Basu , Chetan Bhagat, Paul Coehlo, Maupassant, Chekov and Maugham in her school days. Dulendra Bhowmik once took an interview of Rituparna for Prabasi Ananda Bazar Patrika published abroad and asked her how she feels about writing. Rituparna smiled and told ‘It is very much painful while I write and very much a pleasure when writing is complete’.

Rituparna’s book of short stories, entitled Bhutiya was published in 1998 when she was just 11. She, at present, is a freelancer associated with an eminent publishing house. She is a marvellous author. It is quite a comparison that Thomas Chatterton also started as a poet at the age of 11 years.

He, however, wrote poetry but at that age Rituparna with an unusual adroitness wrote short stories which are not just brilliant from the fictional point of view, but also from the realistic consideration. The red and blue fairies are not her themes.

The stories veer around real characters and people whom we see all around us. We may see another child prodigy Lucretia Maria Davidson who at the age of 11 years had written some poems of note and received praise as a writer. Unfortunately, Lucretia died at the age of 16.

What is great about Rituparna is that she never lost her head after getting so much ovation about her book from various circles. She maintained a low profile all the time. A student of Christ Church Girls High School, as she was, she did her studies without any break.

She did brilliant results for her academic career. She pursues Chemistry in her college and university education and is now doing research in Chemistry and publishing her papers on Theoretical Computational Chemistry abroad.

In the meantime she is a regular freelancer with the famous Bengali Teens magazine 'Unish Kuri' of the Ananda Bazar Patrika Group. A prolific writer she is, she had written advertorial for Sananda, Desh, and Unish Kuri itself for nearly five years during her graduation days.

Rituparna’s first story 'A Story of Three Fish’ was published in Ganashakti's children page 'Notun Pata' at the age of 7. This was a huge debut in her life. She never looked back afterwards. Her first English short story 'Growing Up’ was published in ‘Voices’ of The Statesman when she was only 15.

She wrote her story 'Mrityunjay' for the famous and very popular Bengali children magazine 'Suktara' at the age of 15 and got the second prize in the competition. No body in the house knew it. She sent the story by post. But when the magazine sent the money order as a prize, everyone knew about her literary feat. \

Her mother collected stories from her Maths and History copies which she used to write in her school hours. These are the stories which she actually wrote before attaining the age of 11. Just wonderful achievement it is.

Bhutiya, a collection of memorable Bengali short stories written by Rituparna Bhattacharjee, the youngest writer in India, at the age of only 11, was released by the then chief minister of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu on Jan 28, 1998 in the presence of the then Information minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.

Although the book was written in Bengali, yet it got lots of appreciation in various book reviews done in all the leading Bengali and English newspapers in India and abroad. The stories were written in easy and graceful language and reflect the imagination and sensibility of a child’s mind. Just imagine, at that time Rituparna was only a student of Class VI.

She had got many rewards and prizes at a tender age for the book. She was honoured with Jugal Srimal Excellence Award’99 by Nehru Children’s Museum in the field of Education on May 21, 1999 and the Satabdir Bismay Prativa Award'99 of Sahitya Jagat presented by Abul Bashar of Annada Bazaar Patrika (ABP) in 2000.

She also got the first prize from Social Awareness Forum for participation in Social Welfare Programmes in 2005. Rituparna is versatile and got the second prize in the Quiz Contest for Wild Life Week (2003) Organized by the government of West Bengal. Rituparna is a writer for Unish Kuri of ABP publication. Her write-ups show her literary talent.

Rituparna’s book Bhutia was praised in superlative terms by leading writers including Syed Mustafa Siraj, Abul Bashar of Ananda Bazaar Patrika, Tarapada Ray, Parthajit Gangopadhyay, Dulendra Bhowmic and many others. The Statesman praised Rituparna for a wise head on young shoulder.

Prabasi Ananda Bazaar Patrika wrote: "In the long path of literary venture, the first step is taken by Rituparna; like the flashes of lightning this sudden rocketing into fame by publishing her book, she will certainly reach the luminous region of the bright Pole Star through her sincere authoring and ceaseless literary efforts".

Another Bengali newspaper Aajkal wrote: “Just keep her in mind, Rituparna has got the talent to create a wave in the literary world in the future.”

Other children of her age wrote verses, or painted pictures, but Rituparna wrote stories in which she wove the rainbow colors of life. She seldom soared to the fairy world in any of her stories, but trod on the hard ground to pick her diamond pieces of personal experiences as a child and presented for the readers the thoughts of her mind in its raw ingredients.

The aesthetic quality is never missing and yet there is the predominance of realism as in The Ganashakti, it was remarked about her, “The crimson and azure fairies of the impossible romances do not get accommodation in Rituparna's imaginary world. In its place man, his everyday living, and perception have claimed all attention of Rituparna's pen”.




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