Syed Mustafa Siraj, the creator of Colonel, a popular fictional detective, died on Tuesday morning at a private nursing home in the city following a brief illness. He was 82.
One of the luminaries of Bengali literature, Siraj won the Sahitya Academy award in 1994 for his critically acclaimed novel, Aleek Manus. He was one of the writers who excelled both in the genre of children's literature and serious short stories and novels for adults. His readership ranged from school children to people of his age group.
Author of more than 200 books, Siraj was admitted to a city nursing home on August 30 and was suffering from tumour in colon. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters.
His body was taken to the Bangla Academy in the afternoon and was kept there for about two hours. Many of his fans and fellow litterateurs paid their last respects there. The body was then kept at a mortuary.
In his youth, Siraj had fled home to pursue interest in theatre and joined a theatre group named Aalkaap. However, soon he attracted attention of Bengali readers with his short stories and later with his novels. He also own Ananda Puraskar, Bankim Puraskar, Narasingdas Praskar and Bhualka Puraskar, besides other awards.
Apart from Aleek Manus, other novels such as Kingbadantir Nayak, Plabon, Neel Gharer Noti, and Trinabhumi also own critical acclaim and popularity. Mrityur Ghora, Taranginir Chokh, Bhalobasa O Down Train, Manusher Janma, Uro Pakhir Chhaya, Hizal Biler Rakhalera and Inti, Pisi O Hatbabu are amongst his popular short stories.
Many of his writings were published in Hindi, Malayalam and other Indian languages, as well as English. Colonel Niladri Sarkar, one of his popular creations, had attained high popularity among children. Colonel Omnibus, which brought between two covers his different detective novels with the Colonel as central character, has been a bestseller.
“His body would be taken to his native village, Khosbaspur within Kandi police station limits in Murshidabad district and would be buried at a family place where his parents, too, were buried,” Amitabha Siraj, his son, said.