Ghanada introduction in Mosquito and Other Stories – #1

Ghanada by Premendra Mitra
Introduction in ‘Mosquito and Other Stories’ by Amlan Das Gupta – Part 1


Ghanada Comics – First appearance

Ghanada comics is probably Premendra Mitra’s most remarkable creation. The first Ghanada story appeared in 1945, in Alpana, a Puja annual.

The story: Mosquito (Masha)

The story was ‘Mosquito’ (‘Masha’), which initiated the legendary Ghanada and the mess-bari– boarding house- at 72 Banamali Naskar Lane. The familiar setting took some time to develop, though. In the early stories, the address is not mentioned, but we hear of other residents. In a few years, however, the house and its dwellers became firmly established – in the stories themselves as well as in the world of Bengali fiction.

The last story of Ghanada

Ghanada’s character evolved as Mitra wrote, and the last Ghanada story was published in 1987.

About Premendra Mitra, the writer

At the time when Ghanada stories started to appear, Premendra Mitra- poet, novelist, essayist, short story writer, and film-maker – was already a major figure in the cultural life of Bengal. Born in 1904, he established himself as a writer of considerable repute when his early novel Pank was serialized between 1925 and 1926.

The novel, with its searing description of urban poverty, was however criticized for its boldness. After that, a series of brilliant short stories were anthologized in a collection like Panchasar (1929), BenamiBandar (1930) and Mrittika (1932). An important voice in Bengali poetry, Mitra wrote of the sufferings of the poor without cant or hypocrisy, as well as some of the most delicate poems of life and nature, at a time of change and experimentation in Bengali poetry.

Premendra Mitra’s contribution to the Film industry

A pioneer of the early film industry in Calcutta, Mitra worked in various capacities – as script and screenplay writer, adviser and lyricist. While he met the various pressures of Bengali intellectual life in the 1940s and ’50s, striving to combine high aesthetic standards with his marked ideological commitment, Mitra continued to produce his Ghanada stories for an ever-increasing band of readers.

As with his other writings and cultural activities, these stories too were driven by the author’s belief that true writing comes from a recognition of ‘the enormous responsibility of living’.

Ghanada short stories

Premendra Mitra continued to write his Ghanada tales into the 1980s, in the form of short stories as well as novels. Other genres that he enriched were science fiction, historical novels, detective fiction, and the short story.

This article was originally written by Amlan Das Gupta, we may have edited for style and length.