Narayan Debnath, creator of iconic comic characters, dies at 97

Debnath, who was handed the Padma Shri award while undergoing treatment at the hospital last week, died at 10.15 am, his family said.
Kolkata, Jan 18 (ANI): (File Photo) Cartoonist and Padma Shri awardee, Narayan Debnath passes away, at in Kolkata on Tuesday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)
Kolkata, Jan 18 (ANI): (File Photo) Cartoonist and Padma Shri awardee, Narayan Debnath passes away, at in Kolkata on Tuesday. (ANI Photo) (ANI)
Updated on Jan 19, 2022 05:20 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, Kolkata

Cartoonist Narayan Debnath, the creator of Bengali comic characters ‘Bantul The Great’, ‘Handa Bhonda’ and ‘Nonte Phonte, passed away after prolonged illness on Tuesday. He was 97.

Debnath, who was handed the Padma Shri award while undergoing treatment at the hospital last week, died at 10.15 am, his family said.

“He was admitted to the hospital on December 24 with kidney and lung problems,” his son, Tapas Debnath, said.

The cartoonist was conferred with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in 2021 but could not visit New Delhi to collect the award. State home secretary BP Gopalika and cooperative minister Arup Roy handed him the medal and certificate on his hospital bed on January 13.

Debanth was also conferred with the Sahitya Akademi award in 2013 and the West Bengal government also honoured him with Banga Bibhushan the same year. The Rabindra Bharati University gave him an honorary D.Litt in 2015.

Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Debnath brightened several lives through his works, cartoons and illustrations.

“His works reflected his intellectual prowess. The characters he created will remain eternally popular. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti,” he posted on the micro-blogging site.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said Debnath’s passing away is an immeasurable loss. “Extremely sad that the noted litterateur, illustrator, cartoonist, and creator of some immortal characters for children’s world, Narayan Debnath is no more. He had created Bantul the Great, Handa-Bhonda, Nonte-Fonte, figures that have been etched in our hearts for decades,” she said.

“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,” she added.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who visited Debnath at his residence last month, said his death was a huge loss to the world of literary creativity and comics. “Sad at demise of Padma Shri #NarayanDebnath legendary cartoonist and creator of immortal characters Bantul the Great, Handa-Bhonda, Nonte-Fonte for children’s world. Huge loss to the world of literary creativity and comics. My thoughts are with his family, friends and fans,” he tweeted.

Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim visited the hospital on receiving the news of Debnath’s death and paid tributes to him. His body was taken to his home in Shibpur before being consigned to flames at a nearby crematorium.

“Legendary cartoonist Narayan Debnath; creator of immortal fictional characters like ‘Batul the Great’, ‘Handa Bhonda’ & ‘Nante Fante’ has passed away. His legacy will always be cherished by children and grown ups alike. Condolences to family and countless admirers. Om Shanti,” Suvendu Adhikari, leader of opposition in West Bengal assembly, tweeted.

Debnath is survived by two sons and one daughter.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022