Sunil Gangopadhyay in 2006. Photo: AFP/Ragib Hasan/ Creative Commons
The mortal remains of eminent Bengali litterateur Sunil Gangopadhyay who died in Kolkata two days ago were consigned to flames on Thursday.
His son Souvik, who arrived from Boston on Wednesday performed the last rites at the Keoratala cremation grounds.
Souvik said that his father had once expressed a desire to donate his body after death.
"But there is no such will of his. It was just a thought in his mind and so we did not donate his body," he said.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, cabinet colleagues and mourners walked the five kilometres from Rabindra Sadan, the state auditorium, to the cremation ground in south Kolkata with the Kolkata Police escorting the cortege.
At the Rabindra Sadan there was an unending stream of mourners who waited to pay their last respects and Banerjee, mike in hand, intervened to control the crowd.
Earlier, cutting across party lines Banerjee, cabinet colleagues Partha Chatterjee and Subrata Mukherjee, WBPCC president Pradeep Bhattacharya, former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee, Left Front chairman Biman Bose and Leader of the Opposition Surayakanta Mishra laid wreaths on the body.
Film-makers Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen, poet Sankha Ghosh, writers Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay and Mani Shankar Mukhopadhyay, popularly known as 'Shankar', were also present.
Some admirers of the writer who was born at Faridpur in erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh also turned up.
In the morning the body was taken to the office of Anandabazar Patrika, where Gangopadhyay had begun his career as a sub-editor and was associated with 'Desh' magazine published by them.