Cartoonist, Padma Shri awardee Narayan Debnath passes away at 97
Legendary cartoonist Narayan Debnath is no more. The Padma Shri awardee, who created iconic Bengali comics like Bantul The Great, Handa Bhonda, and Nonte Phonte, passed away in Kolkata on Tuesday morning. The news was confirmed by a city hospital where he was admitted. He was 97. Debnath is survived by two sons and a daughter. May his soul rest in peace.
As per reports, the veteran was suffering from kidney and lung ailments for quite some time. "He was admitted in the hospital on December 24," Debnath's son, Tapas Debnath told Hindustan Times. ANI reports he was admitted to Belle Vue Clinic, where he was on ventilator support during his last moments. He died at 10:15 am on Tuesday, a hospital official told media portals.
As soon as the news surfaced, fans of the writer and noted figures from the industry paid tributes online. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also mourned the loss on social media. "Extremely sad that the noted litterateur, illustrator, cartoonist, and creator of some immortal characters for children's world, Narayan Debnath is no more," she wrote. She further called his passing "an immeasurable loss."
We were proud to bestow upon him Bengal’s highest award Banga Bibhusan in 2013. His passing away is certainly an immeasurable loss to the world of literary creativity and comics.— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) January 18, 2022
My deepest condolences to his family, friends, readers and countless fans and followers.
Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari tweeted: "His legacy will always be cherished by children and grown-ups alike." Debnath was honored with the Padma Shri in January 2021, with the cartoonist receiving the citation and medal only recently. Apart from this award, he was also the recipient of other prestigious nods, such as the Banga Bibhushan and the Sahitya Akademi Award.
Hailing from Howrah, West Bengal, Debnath started working with advertising agencies as a freelancer after which he started his journey as a cartoonist. In 1962, the first Handa Bhonda comic came out in the children's magazine, Shuktara. Thereafter, came Nonte Phonte and Bantul The Great. Such was the craze that the comic strips were turned into separate books and adorned bookshelves far and wide.