My Dadu – to my grandfather who never knew old age

My grandfather Sri Asoke Kumar Bhattacharyya was a brilliant student throughout his career. He was fond of exploring old things in a new way. He was a teacher of Sanskrit for a few years until he turned to archaeology and joined the National Museum as curator. From then on, he was often invited abroad to deliver lectures on Indian art. He had been researching in the area of iconography in the stone edits of the temples of Bengal, in the art and architecture that was inspired by Buddhist and Jain philosophy and in the history of art in India. For all his contributions in this field he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2017, just 7 months after his death at the age of 97.

The My Dadu series of poems are compositions highlighting the very unique influence of my grandfather on my young mind since he was not one of the cuddling playful types. He would confine himself to his study for endless hours and he had various engagements such as with typists, publishers, book sellers, academic institutes, libraries, the post office and the hospital. The latter, due to his incessant work made everyone else in the family, all of us women – my grandmother, my mother and me – take his work with a pinch of irony.

He continued in his disregard for age related issues till the last three months of his life when he really could not leave the bed. Credit goes to my grandmother for taking care of his daily needs ever since their marriage so that his health never failed. The poems are accompanied by a short memoir by my mother Smt. Chitra Bhattacharyya. She has written about her experience as the daughter of a well known man.

The poems in this collection were selected by the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi for their Grant-in-Aid for publication in the category of English poems in 2019. The poems are illustrated with paintings and pictures based on each poem’s theme. It is a fully coloured book printed on glossy paper of about 80 pages. The photographs of my grandfather’s typewriter, books and trophies are added along with a brief chronology of his life and works. There are the photographs of my mother receiving the Padma Shri from the hands of the President of India and of my Dadu sitting with the statuette of Lord Mahavira as part of the Acharya Hemchandra Suri Samman Puraskar that he had received in the year 2013.

My Dadu by Dr. Anuradha Bhattacharyya
My Dadu award
Dr. Anuradha Bhattacharyya received Grant-in-Aid from Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi for the book of poems My Dadu

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