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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A Tribute to Gunter Grass Nobel Laureate in Literature of 1999

 Professor( Dr.) Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya; Professor and Head, Department of Pathology, Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine, KOl-700073 ( On Detailment posting from Murshidabad District Medical College Murshidabad, Behrampore station road ) Member of Board of Studies(BOS) of West Bengal University of Health Sciences(WBUHS)  for UG and PG Studies in Pathology and Member Secretary of BOS for DCP Course of WBUHS

 I came to know the 1999 Nobel Prize winner in literature” Gunter Grass” first through his book “The Tin Drum”, first I went through, in 2000,  the book for which he was declared Nobel Laureate in literature in 1999, and then I was posted at Bankura Sammilani Medical college in  the department of Pathology as “Associate Professor” of Pathology at BSMC, Bankura, West  Bengal, India – the land of extreme poverty, inequity, illiteracy with peculiar pronunciation “ Bankurian articulation and languages” Baoul sangeet and dances, filled up with kaccha houses  made of mud with thatched roof ,many  Basti houses areas in Gobinda Nagar and in  Machantala areas but was true to life  and I was transferred then from metro city of Howraha  D.S Lane and Kolkata School of Tropical Medicine in 1999. Both cities had then mammoth, well decorated , with all civic facilities, jungles of all private ownership big well decorated flats for upper middle class and  for some neo middle class sections of society, municipal or national supermarkets,  decorated parks,  swimming pools, pitched  betumin smooth roads   many Fly over roads, malls, inox, cinema houses, modern big banks, five or three stars hotels, hotel like private health care institutions, nursing homes, big big English  medium private schools, colleges, universities, educated but selfish peoples dwellers of metro cities and bellow all  covered were Bastis.  I  at  Bankura assisted a project of my room mates in mess on Child Trafficking from poor house hold  and on Rota Virus infection diarrhea  and efficacy of Rota virus vaccine trial  of Professor Dr Ajit Kumar Biswas then Professor and HOD of Pediatric Medicine and of Dr. Tapas Sabui  then Assistant Professor of Pediatric Medicine  at BSMC Bankura, who were PI in those self financed projects and we had to go to Bastis areas of Gobinda Nagar and of Machantala and other near by villages, I found those village people of  Bankura and near by district areas, wearing dirty tittered dhotis or lungee or towel, with nude upper chest and half naked illiterate people  of Basti   cohabiating with porks or Dogs or cows,hens, chickens, with much hope, love for their ill keens and distant relatives admitted in  that hospital waiting in open sky amidst in dry  hot, torrential storms and rain and severe cold  days after days to have news or prescriptions ordered to buy, ardors, simplicity with values of life and their left party mildness and devotion towards  then left ruler party  in that period of  2000. Some  however wanted a change- a spark of revolution
 In Later period of  my  city based life,  two books of Gunter Grass” Tin Drum”[ The old edition English translated book of 1962s  I purchased from college street market in 2000] and “Show your tongue” published in 1987  [ I purchased  it from Cross word Book Shop of S.N Pandit Road of Kolkata, where I and Dr Hriday Ranjan  Das of Nephrology dept IPGME&R Kolkata-20  often visited in  evening to read for an hour before returning my home] influenced my life a lot for left politics and left party and  I realized how much true Gunter Grass found hope, love, simplicity, stupidity, values of life, ethics of life still exist amongst inhabitants of  suburban, urban , village and Basti’s illiterate people, than the all city based, middle class upper middle class so called college and university educated people of Kolkata metropolis  city or conquering sight of high rising flats, malls, and Banks of Kolkata city or AC Volvo bus or Metro train or of Frankfruit or other cities of 3rd world or be first world
 Gunter Grass probably visited Calcutta then for first time in 1975, when I was a 2nd year MBBS Student of Medical college Kolkata from a bellow poverty level family and my father was  working hard to  form left party  at sodepur under banner of CPM with Gopaluncle. This was the period  when  Naxalite movement was being handled brutally  by hostile congress government and then hostile Marxist government in 1977 and it was some sort of  state  visit where he was possibly guided by officials of state congress government of Mr. Roy and he was put into Governor’s house and his first encounter with then Calcutta was short and fervid. He was yet shocked and stupefied by  the squators’, dirt, poverty, of 1970s which was reflected in his book” The Flounder”-and he recommended then Calcutta to young couple a place to visit on their  honeymoon, when on the other hand he told the city of joy as a pile of shit that God  dropped and Calcutta like worms how it swarms, stinks, lives, gets bigger and bigger in volume and size like the giant insect  Mr jr. Gregor of Franz kafka’s metamorphosis
 But in 1986-87, when Gunter re-visited Calcutta in the ruling party of leftfront  government  he lived for few months at Basti  at Baruipur of south 24 Parganas of WestBengal and then he with his wife moved to then posh area of Lake town in first floor of a flat for 3 months or so  and he roamed underbelly and Red light areas of Calcutta from experiences he wrote “ Show your Tongue”, where he became  very critic and clear about vulgar pockets of luxury and life style of neo middle class and upper middle class people who are in-fact worth less creature made by God in state economy – he became bold and  direct turning to blind eyes to the curse of all around on the other poor socioeconomic class people and he was in fact really  moved by relentless ardors and toil of poor socioeconomic class Basti peoples culture, who fight always against all odds to live some how with minimum requirements and some how in and out in inhospitable environment, be it ruler a left government or a right government. During his visit in 1986-87 Gunter Grass and his wife Ute used to travel by crowded suburban trains from Baripur to college street . He in his book “ show your tongue” whose  one portrait  once became cover page of  world famous British Medical journal as icon of West Bengal  was of goddess kali of Bengalese seemed to be very critical on class division based on earnings and economics in open market economy in India [and Gunter Grass was against the bazaar economy and open market policies] where he described the struggle of existence inhospitable environment of Bastis but beauty ,simpleness,  hope, love, ardors, values of life, and revolution to be taught amidst of dirt, garbage, jobless young peoples,  poverty illiteracy, toils and daily quarrels which are still truth . Grass always  made a comparison between Calcutta and Frankfurt and he confessed that well ordered Basti - rooms of Calcutta are more satisfying time to life and socialistic world than luxury  type  high raising flats, mammoth modern housings, flats, gothic architectures and according myself possibly  Gunter Grass did not want to develop Calcutta like Frankfurt or London or like West for upper  middle class and middle class society who are also  nothing but  a kind of commodity in Bazar to consumers, but rather in dialectical  form of development.
 Gunter Grass was born in Oct 1927 [and my father in August 26 ,1926 ] in the family of Grocer shop in Danzing during time of world war II and was forced to join in paramilitary organization in his age of 14 and entered in Adlof Hitler’s Troup in age 14 as teen ager. “The Tin Drum”  Gunter  published in 1959 when I was only 3 years old and he was 32 and Nobel prize for “ TheTin Drum” came to him 40 years after the book published and I read the Tin Drum  when he was 73.The  Tin Drum was published followed by “ cat and mouse” and” dog years” [I did not read these two books] which is called as Daniz Trilogy” after the polish city of Gdask. The Trilogy compared the German reaction to the raise of Nazism, the horrors of world war II and the guilt that lingered to German after Adolf Hitler’s defeat. In the Trilogy Gunter Grass drew up his experiences on military services and his captivity as prisoner of World war II in the hand of American in 1946. The Book is narrated through eyes of “ Oskar Matzerath” a  strange gifted boy who resolves  to stop his growing and used to shatter glass whenever he shrieked as Nazism appears in 1930s and relentlessly pounds the drum of title. There  are many obscene and filthy voices in the book but the Swedish Academy for Nobel prize for literature said about  The Tin drum”………… It was as if German literature had been granted a new beginning after decades of linguistic and moral destruction…………………….” A seismograph for the society
 Gunter Grass passed away this planet Earth for heavenly abode  on 13th April 2015 at age of 87. He will be remembered through out centuries next for his “ The Tin Drum “ and to Calcutta people for his Book “ Show your tongue “ Zunge Zeigen  Where he told[1 ]
“ In the present Garbage’s already…….
Crouched  over slates practicing Bengali letters
The exercise, written over and over in Basti Rooms
In Translations” The life is beautiful here

1] From “Pile of shit”discovery of Breathtaking contradictions- by Subhoranjan Dasgupta; The Telegraph Calcutta ,Tuesday 14th April 2015

Copy Right of this article” A tribute to Gunter Grass”  belongs only to Professor Dr. Pranab kumar Bhattacharya MD(cal Univ) FIC path  under copy right laws of Intellectual Property Right  of all rules and sub-rules of IPR based  copy right of WIPO and no comments or any  criticism  is allowed by any Bengalese or any Indian origin people on this  very article. Any published comments or critics  in any tangible medias  or in public domain will be considered as plagiarism and infringement of copy right rules by the author. The opinion  about  Gunter Grass is author’s personal as his tribute to a Nobel Laureate in literature.