Sundarban

Bengali Books & Culture

Distant Thunder

Great Bengal Famine of 1943, when millions of people died, was also an example of a ‘man-made famine’, caused by the War time economy in India under the British Raj. Recent studies directly implicate Churchill, as referenced recently by Shashi Tharoor in an article in The Washington Post (March 10, 2018).

This famine forms the backdrop for the novel Ashani Sanket, written contemporaneously by the greatest portrayer of rural Bengal, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. Through the eyes of Ananga, her
husband Gangacharan and their compatriots, the author has drawn with deep sympathy their daily lives in a remote village as they face with utter bewilderment the onset of the famine--the distant thunder.

Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay is an iconic and beloved Bengali writer of the twentieth century. His novels Pather Panchali (‘Song of the Road’) and
Aparajito (‘The Unvanquished’) were made into the famous ‘ApuTrilogy’ by
Satyajit Ray, another iconic movie director (Life-time Oscar, 1992). Ray also made a movie based on this novel Ashani Sanket (‘Distant Thunder’) which
conquered the Golden Bear in Berlin Film Festival and is claimed by New York Times as being one of the “1000best movies ever made.”
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