Siraj Sikder Works
Sarat Chandra, the National Democratic Writer of the Bengali Literature
[Published in Sphulinga (Spark) issue no 1]
[Comrade Siraj Sikder could not complete this article because he was martyred by the enemy. Sarat Chandra Chattapadhyay was the most popular Bengali novelist in 20th century with his writings during the British colonial rule. Through his writings, he opposed British colonialism, supported the path of armed struggle, opposed religious oppression; and expressed sympathy to women. He was very much democratic minded, men and women’s’ relation to him was based on love and equality, not customary bond. He exposed religion-ist class contradiction. We see in his writings that old society is breaking down and peasants are transforming into workers. He had love fo the poor.Despite all these, he could not avoid feudal mentality, customs, religion etc. because he was not a Proletarian revolutionary. Sarat Chandra is still popular as before, and without any doubt, indeed he was a good friend of proletariat. We must crtiically examine all of his works one after another and thus, complete the unfinished revolutionary work of Comrade Siraj Sikder– Sarbaharapath]
Whom can we uphold as the popular national democratic writer in Bengali literature? It is a very important question in literature and culture.
By national democratic writer, we mean such litterateur who uncompromisingly opposed imperialism and feudalism.
In Bengali literature, it is Sarat Chandra who is the popular national democratic writer.
Unsurprisingly, he opposed the then British colonialists and upheld and praised armed struggle as the path of overthrow them.
He, sincerely portrayed revolutionaries by taking their side (Sarat Chandra was not Marxist, that is why he could not put forward people orientated armed struggle, forming of base area, participation of peasants, leadership of Proletarian Party).
The writings of Sarat Chandra were a strong repulse against the opposition by the British lackey politicians and litterateur (non-violent path of Gandhi, Rabindranath) to armed struggle and portraying revolutionaries as failure and bad. This is why ‘Pather Dabi’ [Demand of Path — Sarbaharapath] of Sarat Chandra was banned from publication by the British.
Feudalism is the basis of sustaining of imperialism and it is a weapon to exploit peasant masses. Sarat Chandra wonderfully exposed feudal ideas, customs, ruthless exploitation and appropriation by feudal Jaminders [Jaminders were big Land Lord – Sarbaharapath] and people’s anti-feudal mentality.
In undivided India, ruthless religious suppression over Muslim people was a form of feudalist exploitation.
Sarat Chandra is the only writer who portrayed it heart-touchingly. He brought forth the process of social change—decay of feudalism, overthrow of peasants from land and their transformation to worker. This is why the story of Mahesh by Sarat Chandra is a historic work.
Here is the reason that we find behind the split of Indo-Pak subcontinent.
Sarat Chandra brought forth the sufferings and ache of women suppressed and oppressed by the Imperialism and Feudalism in pathetic form and supported oppressed women.
He always remained firm in breaking feudalist ideas, on the side of equal right of men and women and establishing voluntary relation between men and women without any social intervention.
He upheld that not customary formality but love between men and women is the basis of relation.
These ideas of Sarat Chandra towards the then Indian feudal society worked as a big rebellion.
This is why in India, the feudalists and imperialists never liked him.
This is also the reason why the present bureaucratic capitalist and feudal ruling regime of India dependent on social imperialism and imperialism and intellectuals dependent on them have opposed him.
Presently, they, by changing their form of opposition, are saying that Sarat Chandra became old.
By saying ‘he became old’, they are upholding reactionary litterateurs and artists dependent on the social imperialism, imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism.
Thus, they are making public opinion in favor of sustaining social imperialism, imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism and feudalism.
Art and literature is component of superstructure. It controls human ideology. So, in India and Bangladesh, in ideological sphere of superstructure, efforts are being made to create public opinion in favor of Expansionism, social imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism and feudalism to sustain them.
But masses of people are against that evil effort. This is why still Sarat Chandra has more popularity and number of reader than modern reactionary writers.