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First Light- an age less novel By Sunil Ganguly
Jun 20, 2015 12:31 PM 2083 Views
(Updated Jul 05, 2015 12:21 PM)

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"First Light"(Pratham Alo in Bengali) is penned down by one of the best writers of Bengali Literature, late Sunil Ganguly. First, the novel was published in DESH magazine as a serial write up, later it was published as a novel by Ananda Publisher.


"First Light" is a not only a novel but also a historical proof of the then Bengal spanning the time zone in the later part of Nineteenth Century to the early years of Twentieth century. Actually, Bengal has witnessed some of the legendary persons like Bankim Chandra Chottopadhyay, Iswar Chandra Vidya sagar, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda to name a few. In this history of Bengal, this time frame of nineteenth century is often termed as Renaissance. Sunil depicted that time zone in an elegant manner.


"First Light " starts with the story and lives of Royal Family of Tripura. We come to know about the lives of the kings, the people belonging to royal family.


Then the plot traverses to Kolkata, the centre of Renaissance. The story also portrays a love story of Bharat, an  elegitimate child of king of Tripura with Bhumisuta, a devdashi. Sunil did not portrayed only a love story, he caught the time in his writing, so we read about the then situation in political, social sphere and lives of people. We read about the political instability, Independence movement of Bengal and India, Jalianwala Bag Riot, Reactions of Rabindranath Tagore, tour to Chicago of Swami Vivekananada, his life and philosophy, life in the house of Tagore, the situation of the then aristocrat household in Kolkata, about the lives of a king and the royal family of Tripura and so many things!


Actually this novel speaks about the history and Sunil has made the history a living affair with magical touch of his writing. With due respect to our two big epics, Ramayana and MahaBharatha, I also consider "First Light" as an epic which speaks about history, culture, religion and most importantly about people. There are so many characters in the novel, yet the flow of the novel is nowhere hampered.


I was just mesmerized reading the novel and for a young boy aged 16, it was really like swimming in the ocean. Later, I read it several times and every time it has given me new realization and thoughts.


This novel will attract not only the Bengali community, but all the Indians will like going through this novel. As this novel is written beyond limited space, it has its significance and relevance to all the Indians who love to read, love to know the history and culture. Considered to be one of the best by Sunil Gangopadhyay, it is a novel to be kept in your collection.


So, the publication of First Light is itself a great effort and I earnestly request book lovers to give this book a read. Its worth reading!  I always felt that a translation of novel or poetry somewhere does not reach up to the mark if compared to the original version. Still, "First Light" has been able to catch the pulse and tune of the original novel "Pratham Alo" written in Bengali.


I sincerely recommend "First Light".


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