Two Late Novels by Manik Bandyopadhyay:
Peasant Life in Transition in Bengal, 1920–1950
*Former Professor of English and former Director of the School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata email@example.com
Manik Bandyopadhyaya, Putulnacher Itikatha (The Puppets’ Tale) and Padmanadir Majhi (Boatman of the Padma)1
Manik Bandyopadhyay (1908–1956) was one of the most significant fiction writers of Bengal in the post-Tagore generation. Starting his literary career in 1928, he made his mark in the literary world with two extraordinary novels, Putulnacher Itikatha (The Puppets’ Tale) and Padmanadir Majhi (Boatman of the Padma), written almost simultaneously in 1934–35. The realist narrative acquired new dimensions in his treatment not only through the introduction of characters from the most marginalised sections of society, but also through his exploration of individual consciousness as shaped by the complex social world. Deeply sensitive to the immense socio-political changes through which India was passing between the 1920s and 1950s, Bandyopadhyay’s fiction became his mode of critical engagement with them. In his novels and short stories, he provides a richly nuanced perspective into the impact on people’s lived lives of the freedom movement, peasant uprisings, the Second World War, the Bengal Famine, communal conflicts, and the Partition accompanying Independence. His profound insight into the lives of exploited people brought him close to left-wing politics, and, apart from being actively engaged with its cultural organisations, he became a member of the Communist Party of India in 1944. Subject to epileptic fits from the mid-1930s, the strain of fighting the effects of strong anti-epileptic drugs and making a living from his writing without compromising his creativity caused him to turn to alcohol and undermine his health, but his imaginative experiments with his times, of which we have taken up two late examples in this article, continued till his death. His unfailing commitment to his creative objective in difficult times gave him an iconic status as the “engaged” author, “a pen-wielding proletarian” in the capitalist system, according to Bandyopadhyay’s own description. Translations of his works may be found in many Indian and European languages.2
The modernity of Manik Bandyopadhyay’s writings is evident in the way in which his imaginative trajectory moves across rural Bengal with messages of how the countryside was penetrated by the impact of post-colonial change. Even when the characters seem to be caught in the apparently changeless rhythm of life within the village community, the narrative voice subverts it with hints of disruption caused by colonial intervention. This quality of his writing may be traced even in the two early novels referred to above, both set in the countryside, and with which his readers are most familiar. The two later novels on which we wish to concentrate here, of which English translations unfortunately are not available, are also set in the Bengal countryside and explore the impact of dramatic transformations in the final stages of colonial rule. These are Itikathar Parer Katha (referred to hereafter as The Tale After) written in 1952 and Halud Nadi Sabuj Bon (referred to hereafter as Yellow River Green Forest) written in 1956, the year in which Bandyopadhyay died at the early age of forty-eight. These works, though by no means sequels to the earlier novels, nonetheless seem to produce something of the palimpsest effect by deliberately recalling themes and situations mapped in them.
The implicit references in these two novels to the earlier texts seem to have the same objective: not to give repeat performances but rather to evolve strategies of imagining historical change through the narrative even while reinventing narrative art itself. Unlike the two later novels, the earlier ones carry no direct hint about the times in which they are set; no references are made to larger events outside the immediate contours of the narratives which might enable us to identify their temporal locations. However, the distinctive mood, woven out of tropes of human interrelations and exchanges, hints indirectly but effectively at a time-span within the first two decades of the twentieth century.
The specific mood in both the earlier novels evokes an almost intolerable sense of changelessness, punctuated mainly by the seasonal cycle, though the river moving towards the market-town of Bajitpur from Gaodia village (The Puppets’ Tale) or railtracks joining the fishing jetties along the Padma to the main line (Boatman of the Padma) contain hints of disruption in the pattern of rural life. But the sense of stability is upheld by a substratum of periodic scarcity and distress (not aggravated however to a famine-like situation); the assured maintenance of caste and class hierarchies by landowning families; a thriving illegal trade in opium carried on along the more inaccessible reaches of the river, together with an established business in jute produced on land owned presumably by the same landowning families; and a regularised extraction of produce from the countryside for the consumption of well-to-do urban classes. In Boatman of the Padma we get an unusually sensitive and comprehensive presentation of the life of the fishing community making a living from the river, but in both novels the presence of the key producer, the peasant, is marginal.
From the 1920s a period of turbulent change is ushered in, with the struggle against colonial rule drawing large sections of the peasantry and the rural labouring poor into its vortex, the onset of a long and widespread economic crisis, the Second World War, growing tensions in Hindu–Muslim relations, the August movement of 1942, the Bengal Famine of 1943, the Tebhaga uprising of the late 1940s when peasant organisations become a definite factor, and then a fragmented Independence. Bandyopadhyay’s later novels are set in the years immediately after this, but in spite of being free-standing creations they keep harking back to the earlier works, not as an exercise in nostalgia but rather to delineate how the fissures hidden in the stability of past social relationships have widened over time, exposing more and more their raw and brittle edges. Story-telling too changes in consequence.
The Tale After carries echoes of The Puppets’ Tale, while Yellow River Green Forest has genetic ties with Boatman of the Padma. The Puppets’ Tale and The Tale After are linked by the term “itikatha”: translated as “tale,” the term also signifies a narrative of “becoming.” In an entry in his fragmentary diary written between 1945 and 1956, the author deplores the fact that many readers and critics ignored the hints of “becoming” in The Puppets’ Tale and interpreted the narrative in rigidly deterministic terms. As if to undo this interpretation, “the tale after” in the later novel suggests that even after stories are concluded, new stories may grow out of moving human lives.
Shashi, the unattached, urban-educated professional in The Puppets’ Tale, derives from the early twentieth-century social atmosphere his inchoate dreams of a “higher and nobler life” away from his native village. All his romantic presumptions of moulding the life of Gaodia according to his own ideals of science and reason are eventually overwhelmed by the thick undergrowth of unreason and settled habits in the village. He fails to expose the false prophet, to deal with the consuming passion his farmer-friend’s wife feels for him, and to rescue his sister from her abusive relationship with her husband. Terribly disruptive revelations are all smoothed out by time. In the end, Shashi loses his restlessness and accepts the circumstances which commit him to the lonely life of the village doctor.
Shuvo, in The Tale After, also starts with romantic presumptions of improving the life of the people of his native village according to his own model of development. But as his dream of building a factory in Barotala faces insuperable challenges and his conflict with his landlord father becomes irreconcilable, we find him getting closer to the people in his village; his conversations with the artisans, with small retail traders, and with the women make him realise that it is not easy to get rid of his class-illusions and integrate with their real concerns. He continues to grow even as the novel comes to its inconclusive ending.
Shuvo may become resigned to the contradictions of his class-existence or cut off his moorings with it altogether. It is not his growth as an individual, however, but the hidden dynamics of the mesh of relationships constituting village life that comes into focus through this strategy. Shashi’s lonely presence as protagonist and witness in The Puppets’ Tale is reinvented in Shuvo who shares that role with Kailash, the village-born political worker and Nando, the village doctor. Shuvo’s unequal friendship with these two who come from lower ranks in the caste–class hierarchy is shot through with mutual antipathy, but their constant intellectual negotiations with one another enlarge the narrative perspective.
The term which connects the second pair of novels is “nadi” or river. In Yellow River Green Forest, the river is the Hooghly rather than the Padma as in the earlier novel, but the location in both is the river-nurtured, swampy, forested southern end of the region where these sister-rivers with their many tributaries fall into the Bay of Bengal. In Boatman of the Padma, the poor fisherman-protagonist is called “Kuber,” after the guardian-god of wealth; this irony is repeated in the later novel in the name of the protagonist, “Ishwar” (god), a poor peasant-turned-marksman who is as familiar with the treacherous forests as Kuber is with the Padma, has the expertise to kill a tiger, but is powerless to prevent the fox from digging a hole in his mud-hut and carrying off his new-born baby. The irony in the names works in a reverse way too. Without Kuber’s labour and skill, “wealth” cannot be extracted from the river; Ishwar’s sure-handed prowess with the gun and his knowledge of the terrain are indispensable for the exploiters of the forest. However, the awareness that he too is caught in the pattern of exploitation develops in Ishwar as the narration proceeds, while all that Kuber has is his instinctive skill for survival.
Kuber runs away in the end from his village to escape the charge of theft, only to fall victim to the plans of the adventurous entrepreneur Hossain Mian, who is mobilising recruits to fulfil his ambition of starting a settlement in a remote and uninhabited island on the Padma. Yellow River Green Forest is more open-ended. Ishwar seems to be as much a victim of circumstances as Kuber as he lies unconscious with fever in his flooded hut about to be washed away by the swollen river; yet, in this concluding episode, the focus is not on the individual Ishwar’s helplessness but on the irrepressible voice of Lakhar Ma heading a team of rescuers: “Give a hand to bring the sick man down on the boat! Flood or earthquake, we shall find people to give us shelter.” Amidst the all-enveloping waterscape this cry resonates with the underlying evocation of the relatedness of all human lives, and turns the trope of the rescue of an exploited individual into a signifier of the collective struggle for survival in a hostile world.
The critical insight into social hierarchies that had distinguished Bandyopadhyay’s earlier writings, and had even then enabled him to represent different sections of the poor and the marginalised side by side with the fragmented middle classes, evolves in the later phase into narrative experiments for making out how these widely disparate lives, inextricably woven together into the social fabric, impact one another so that no character remains in static isolation but grows through constant mutual contact. As many social barriers are wrenched away through the upheavals of the 1940s, so too the new form of narration seeks completely to break down the privileged vantage-point of the possessing classes (who are also inheritors of all forms of literate culture like the novel) while the dispossessed appear as the central subject–object of the narration.
The two later novels represent peasants not as a class apart but together with other parts of the shifting population within the agrarian economy in the vortex of their changing relationships – together even with those who are supposed to be at the other end of the social scale, the landowner and the capitalist, one often merging into the other. In Yellow River Green Forest, as the omnipresent narrative voice emphasises, the objective is not to write “parallel narratives” about these contrasting characters. The author is not “deceitfully concocting niches into which upper and middle as well as lower classes, that is, peasants and workers, can be neatly arranged.”
Such parallels never existed, cannot exist in any society where lives are class-divided; that would be a pipe-dream. ... I talk of lives, of the togetherness of social being, not of artfully concocted parallels completely unrelated with one another. Ishwar and Aziz belong to one level, Pravash and Robertson to another, does that mean that their lives are unconnected? Can either exist without the other? Love is not the only human relationship. Through conflict too we are related.
This interdependence allows complex interplay even within the oppositional relations between the possessors and the dispossessed. Both the novels demonstrate how even conflict generates communication and how the oppressed find their language of resistance.
In The Tale After, Kailash reminisces how as a boy he had been beaten senseless by the landlord for a minor offence and how his father had shown that even the most powerful oppressor might be made aware of the limits of his power by a humble tenant: a devotee of the goddess Kali with a wonderful voice for devotional songs, he had sat fasting indefinitely in front of the temple demanding justice from the deity through his songs, stirring up the villagers and causing the landlord Jagadish to climb down. In Yellow River Green Forest, Ishwar learns to manipulate the rivalries of Pravash and Robertson, his two masters, in order to survive. Moreover, he finds unexpected allies in the women in their families. The domestic politics which requires these house-bound, bored women to have some control of their respective husbands’ lives makes them rely on Iswar to do their bidding. In the episode where the families picnic in the depths of the forest, eventually Ishwar stands on his own when, in spite of his being only a hired guard, these women favour him over the pompous scholar to give his version of the history of the ancient ruins they find there. The illiterate man discovers himself as the authentic raconteur on the ground.
In both the novels, even in the ranks of the dispossessed, not only the tiller of the soil but others located within the labour-scape of rural society, and playing a part in the continually shifting and multifaceted agrarian economy, keep appearing. Women from different ranks of the social scale whose relative invisibility is an accepted fact in official accounts of this economy have a crucial presence in Yellow River Green Forest as well as in The Tale After. In the latter, the peasants coexist with fisherfolk who lease ponds owned by the landlords, with small-scale artisans who make bell-metal utensils and rightly feel that Shuvo’s factory will ruin their trade, and with petty shopkeepers, victims of the Partition, trying to make ends meet with almost non-existent capital and facing eviction by the landlord again.
In Yellow River Green Forest, the agrarian demography is even more fluid. Ishwar, with the primitive gun his father had bought for 36 rupees, is the best marksman in the whole locality. It is his bullet that kills the tiger plaguing the village, and his Indian and European masters vie for the credit by bribing him into silence. He still has a bit of cultivable land, but must accept employment under such masters because cultivation can no longer save his family from starvation. There are several other peasant families who have taken employment in the timber factories on the edge of the deep rainforests for the same reason. There are still others who, though marginal to the main narrative, continue to till the laboriously reclaimed soil and plead with the powers-that-be to reinforce the dams at the mouth of the river so that salinity does not spoil their crops. It is the breaching of these dams that precipitates the final disaster.
In one of his polemical prose articles3 coincidental with the Tebhaga movement, Bandyopadhyay discusses the problem of the representation of the peasant in contemporary Bengali fiction and points out how such fiction, “stories about peasants for the entertainment of babus”, can distort the reality. By favouring the latter’s “leisure-oriented approach” the author may expunge the peasant’s hard daily labour for survival from the narration while the “mere sexual contortions of two ill-nourished bodies” may be foregrounded. “Progressive criticism” abjures such “fraud” and tries to find out “if the principal condition of realism, the reality of the [peasant’s] struggle, has been represented.” But to “lay down a diktat that the peasant’s armed fight for his right to his piece of land should be the sole subject matter of stories” about him would amount to saying that “struggle may only be found in direct conflict with the class-enemy, and is not pervasively present in his day-to-day life and everyday thinking.” Bandyopadhyay’s narrative strategy shows that the struggle of his imagined peasant does not belong to an isolated moment, but exists at multiple levels of life and livelihood in a changing peasant economy.
In the author’s perception, human lives themselves evolve into many stories, entwined with one another or moving away again in different trajectories, and in the novels discussed here, narration evokes this multiplicity instead of rounding off a singular story with the ultimate closure. He is merely putting this requirement in a different language when he says elsewhere that he is trying to write “character-centred” rather than “plot-centred” novels.4 The rich mesh of relationships constituting the fabric of the text serves to baffle the trajectory of linear narration. Such experimentation makes its appearance even in Bandyopadhyay’s earlier work, but becomes a crucial strategy for representing collective subjectivities of peasant life in his later fiction.
The politics underlying this strategy has been often missed by literary critics. Throughout the turbulent 1940s, as Bandyopadhyay remakes himself as an author, he detects a sudden precipitation in the course of history and feels the need for capturing the immediate movement of time in his imaginative works. Thus, in the 1946 short novel Chinha, he adopts the technique of “montage,” juxtaposing contrasting or parallel moments as in a film to communicate the immediate experience of the popular uprising in Calcutta on Rashid Ali Day. Stories concerning multiple subjects are all refracted here through the prism of a myriad-sided moment of what can be called a “historical break.” “Character-centred narration” at this crucial point represents this art of immediacy. Aaj-Kal-Parshur Galpa (Stories from Today, Tomorrow and the Day After), a collection of short stories from the same period set in the countryside, illustrates the same objective. “Things keep on changing from day to day and that is what these stories try to capture,” the author comments in the brief foreword.
By the time we come to the two novels set in the post-Independence years, the dramatic moment is over, but the effects of the upheavals seem to have sunk into the depths of social existence. We are once more in the domain of slow time, but the tectonic shifts make themselves felt continually. The post-Independence years emphatically introduce a euphoric national narrative signifying the end of colonial exploitation, nation-building, the growth of indigenous industries, and a planned economy. But the period immediately following Independence also saw severe state repression of peasant movements as in Telengana and Bengal, which only eased in the 1950s. Bandyopadhyay’s later novels are evocative of these suppressed narratives of Independence as they might have been perceived by generations of the exploited in the countryside who had been involved in these and earlier peasant movements. Their collective subjectivity is constituted of their implicit realisation of the game-change in the course of the narration. Character-centred narration with a loose ending and multiple focal points of struggle, retreat and advance hidden in the interstices of daily life, represent in these novels the politics of articulating such suppressed voices.
The trope of the factory impinging upon rural space in both these novels written in the 1950s gives a twist to the agrarian narrative, suggesting engagements with post-Independence models of development. The timber factories, some of them owned by British entrepreneurs who continue to have business interests in the country, are a starkly predatory presence in Yellow River Green Forest. These factories exploit the rich rainforests as a hinterland and create new varieties of servitude in the existing fabric of feudal relationships. The landlords turning into factory-owners are no more interested in developing the land and raising crops. They now wish to extract surplus from the virgin forests. They need the forests, but also workers for their factories, servants, gardeners, and expert guards and guides like Ishwar rather than peasants. Even the business of Shaan Sahib, a locally respected entrepreneur who has been earning his living running a ferry-boat across the river for a long time, is ruined because it is about to be taken over by a big steamer company.
In The Tale After, Shuvo the enlightened young entrepreneur with scientific training is ashamed of his feudal roots, and genuinely believes that the factory for cheaper utensils in the countryside will alleviate rural distress and transform the economy. The naivety of his philanthropic dream is exposed in the following wry authorial comment: “Madame Industry is not adulterous, she serves Big Capital alone; only if permitted by her lord and master does she engage in temporary flirtations with the small fry; actually she is wholly loyal to her master.” The novel explores in depth the acute disjunction between Shuvo’s dreams of progress and the needs on the ground of the actual producers, the starving peasantry, artisans, and petty traders. The national narrative of industrial development acquires a completely different perspective through Shuvo’s conversations with Nando, Laxmi, artisans, shopkeepers and others in the villager, and hints at new battle-lines being drawn.
In a passage in The Tale After, the peasant sees his immediate situation synchronised with the slow rhythm of his life:
As they awaken from sleep, yawn and turn from side to side, they doubt if the night is dawning or if it is merely the glow of the sinking moon, no, it is indeed the dawn, for you can hear the early call of the crow. So off he goes to the field, sinks his plough into the soil, but it is not tomorrow, nor the day after, nor even by the end of the month, that he hopes for a harvest, that can only come when the crop is ripe. To fulfil that hope, he must be patient, what other way is there for him?
Yet, the peasants’ “day-to-day life and everyday thinking” in these novels do not replicate the intolerable stability of the first decades of the twentieth century; they rather hint at permanent rifts created in the lives of two consecutive generations, first by the Gandhian Non-Cooperation movement, particularly the movement against taxation, the upheaval of 1942, and later the Tebhaga struggle for sharecroppers’ rights in which peasant organisations played an important part. The possessors, the dispossessed, and their mutual relationships have all changed in the process. This is evident in the first episode of The Tale After where, as night descends on the village of Barotala, peasants gather around an accidental guest who had once been very close to them. This guest, Jiban, is an erstwhile Congress worker, now disillusioned and broken, crossing the village on foot to meet the landlord from whom he expects some small favour. In his present alienation from the villagers he is relieved to avail himself of the landlord’s hospitality at the earliest opportunity. However, voices and faces emerge from the impromptu gathering in the dark (the women still do not light lamps at night for fear of attracting police attention), memories are revived, news is exchanged, and it is these polyphonic narratives that the novel weaves together as it proceeds.
We find here such diverse figures as the elderly Ghanaram who had gone to jail in response to “Gandhi Maharaj’s” call not to cooperate with the “sinful” Britishers, and Gajen who got a police bullet through his calf in a more recent peasant struggle when they had been abandoned by leaders like Jiban. Then there is Kailash, also of peasant origin, who commutes to the city to work in a press but has played the role of an “organic intellectual” in peasant resistance, and chafes under the sense that neither his socially unsanctioned love for Laxmi nor his angry thoughts of finding justice for the peasants can find fruition because the times are not propitious. His friend and confidant Nando is the son of the village blacksmith; his involvement in the 1942 movement did not allow him to complete his study in medicine, but he now runs the village dispensary and treats patients. His veranda is often used by peasants for their deliberations. Even in the absence of an actual peasant organisation in the village and the marked differentiations among peasant voices, their multiple exchanges converge towards a collective goal to which Kailash and Nando also contribute. The extreme action of looting the granaries of the landlord and the moneylender is discussed and postponed, and more moderate plans of protest are agreed upon, showing how the protagonists of the struggle have adapted themselves to the times without abandoning resistance.
The most oppressed among them, the peasant women, also become signifiers of such ground-change, even though the author suspects that some of them may be getting more attention than others in his narration:
I have been telling many such stories so far, but now that I am about to round up my narration, I must put it directly. At home and outside today, our lives are running in one direction that is generated out of all our conflicting moves. In some lives this dynamics is evident, in others it is only hinted at. But even that hint points to a future. Maybe it is barely visible now among the nettles, what interests us is the great height this baby plant may reach one day.
Women like Laxmi themselves bear scars of the battle: raped by the police during their latest raids into the village and forsaken by her husband, she no longer cares for the traditional domestic moorings prescribed for her sex. Yet she refuses to leave the village with Kailash to find conjugal fulfilment because she feels neither of them can abandon the slow task of building resistance with which their fellow-villagers are preoccupied.
Again, the timid Daya whose life is one stretch of unremitted labour and deprivation, and many other lesser women who just peep at us from behind her, also have their own stories which cannot be ignored. The time of dramatic, all-changing social action may be over, but even the most insignificant characters in the narrative are being reinvented by slow time as their private concerns merge into the complex flux of relationships within which they appear. Daya’s moment of insight into her personal life – when her patient peasant-husband Ghanaram seems to her like a powerful sovereign in his own domain, only somewhat worn-out after the day’s labour – prepares the reader subtly for a later moment of collective experience in the narrative; this is when, sore foot bound in jute flax and baby tucked on her hip, Daya makes an unprecedented trip to the meeting called by the peasants to discuss their persistent distress. The dramatic moment of direct conflict has passed, but the harder, more immanent struggle is transforming the women’s quotidian perceptions.
Perhaps the most striking representation of such a woman may be found in Lakhar Ma in Yellow River Green Forest, the archetypal single woman in a rural economy. Although known as “Lakha’s mother,” she has neither child nor husband nor a home. Avoiding patriarchal predators, she uses as her means of livelihood her extraordinary verbal skill to compose songs on familiar themes, and performs to audiences mostly comprising of the rural poor. The chameleon skills of the rural raconteuse are re-invented when, helped by Rustam, a literate local youngster, she composes a song with strong political undertones about the two human lovers of the mythical forest-maiden, the peasant and the worker, who turn out to be one and the same person. Like Kailash and Nando in The Tale After, Rustam and Lakhar Ma break the silence of oppression to play the role of organic intellectuals creating myths of resistance from the ingredients of the peasants’ “day-to-day life and everyday thinking.” The fictional exploration of the complicated and historically charged transformation of victims of change into agents of change must engage in challenging the barriers between oral and literate culture to enrich the language of the oppressed. Lakhar Ma is a figure embodying this challenge.
My focus in this article has been on two of Bandyopadhyay’s later novels where he develops the realist narrative to give a critical perspective to the evolution of the peasant’s subjectivity under the impact of historical changes. I have tried to explore why this re-invention was necessary by underscoring the deliberate referrals in them to two of his better known early novels. Events of the 1930s and 1940s signify for the author a historical break from the continuing cycle of distress and subservience in rural life in the preceding period. By the early 1950s, this moment of epiphany is over, but the active participation of exploited and marginalised people, all of them part of the changing peasant economy, in that historical break leaves its indelible traces on their collective consciousness. The narrative hints at hidden signs of their joint realisation of the new orientations of the exploitative system which they inhabit. The open-endedness of the narrative, the focus on multiple shifting relationships rather than on the singular “story,” the importance of dialogic encounters in the development of the narration – all these are authorial strategies to point to the broken boundaries of the bourgeois art of story-telling and the possibilities of developing the realistic mode beyond its class-determined exclusiveness.
1 In this article, for references to the novels of Manik Bandyopadhyay, Bandyopadhyay (1998–2007) have been used. His diaries and letters are available in Bandyopadhyay (1961). References to his non-fictional writings are from Mondol and Bandyopadhyay (2015). The biographical details are from Bhattacharya (2021). All translations are mine.
2 Translations of Manik Bandyopadhyay’s works into English are as below: Bandyopadhyay (1935/2003), Bandyopadhyay (1936/1968), Bandyopadhyay (1936/1948), Bandyopadhyay (1973), Bandyopadhyay (2012), Bandyopadhyay (1938/1994), Bandyopadhyay (1958), and Bandyopadhyay (1988).
3 “‘Gayen’ o ‘Muchibayen,’” originally published in Parichay, a well-known left-wing monthly, in February–March 1948; re-published in Mondol and Bandyopadhyay (2015), pp. 24–29.
4 “Sahityer Kanmola,” originally published in Basumati, a monthly, in September–October 1953; re-published in Mondol and Bandyopadhyay (2015), pp. 135–38.
|Bandyopadhyay, Manik (1935/2003), Dibaratrir Kabya [Poetry of the Day and Poetry of the Night], tr. Dipendu Chakrabarti, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.|
|Bandyopadhyay, Manik (1936/1948), Padmanadir Majhi [Boatman of the Padma], tr. Hirendranath Mukherjee, Kutub Publishers, Bombay.|
|Bandyopadhyay, Manik (1936/1968), Putulnacher Itikatha [The Puppets’ Tale], tr. Sachindralal Ghosh, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.|
|Bandyopadhyay, Manik (1938/1994), “Amritasya Putrah” [“Children of Immortality”], tr. Kalpana Bardhan, in Bardhan, Kalpana (ed.), Wives & Others: Short Stories and a Novella, Penguin Books, New York.|
|Bandyopadhyay, Manik (1958), Primeval and Other Stories, Chattopadhyay, Debiprasad (ed.), People’s Publishing House, New Delhi.|
|Bandyopadhyay, Manik (1961), Aprakashito Manik Bandyopadhyay: Diary o Chithipatra [Unpublished Manik Bandyopadhyay: Diary and Letters], Chakraborty, Jugantar (ed.), Signet Bookshop, Kolkata.|
|Bandyopadhyay, Manik (1973), Padma River Boatman, tr. Barbara Painter and Ian Lovelock, University of Queensland Press, Australia.|
|Bandyopadhyay, Manik (1988), Selected Stories: Manik Bandyopadhyay, Bhattacharya, Malini (ed.), Thema, Kolkata.|
|Bandyopadhyay, Manik (1998–2007), Manik Bandyopadhyay Rachana Samagra [Manik Bandyopadhyay Omnibus], vol. 1–11, Bangla Akademi, Kolkata.|
|Bandyopadhyay, Manik (2012), The Boatman of the Padma, tr. Ratan Kumar Chattopadhyay, Orient Black Swan.|
|Bhattacharya, Malini (2021), Manik Bandyopadhyay: Ekti Jiboni, [Manik Bandyopadhyay: A Biography], RBE Publications, Kolkata.|
|Mondol, Subhamoy, and Bandyopadhyay, Sukanto (eds.) (2015), Samagra Prabandha Ebong: Manik Bandyopadhyay [Complete Essays: Manik Bandyopadhyay], Deep Prakashan, Kolkata.|