Sukumar Roy

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Events in the life of the poet

1887 Born on October 30.

1895 First poem "Nodi" published in the magazine "Mukul". M/S U. Ray, Artist starts
graphic arts & photo processes business.

1898 Grandfather (maternal) Dwarakanath passes away.

1904 Award of Merit by Boy's Own Paper for excellence in photography in November.

1906 Graduates with Hons. in Physics and Chemistry from the Presidency College of
Kolkata.
1907 Forms Nonsense Club.


1910 Aalok published by Yuva Samity.

1911 Visits Santiniketan on Tagore's fiftieth birthday.
Sails for England on Guruprosonno Ghosh scholarship to study photography and

half-tone printing.

Writes "Halftone Facts Summarized", published in the Penrose Annual (1912).

1912 Becomes member of the Royal Photographic Society.
Tagore arrives in England Reads paper "The Spirit of Rabindranath" in the club

"East and West Society".

Designs sliding calculator to help in setting up the camera during process work.

1913 Writes "Standardizing the Original", published in the Penrose Annual (1913-'14).

Article on the Pin-hole theory published in July, 1913 issue of The British Journal
of Photography.

First issue of Sandesh published by Upendrakishore.

Returns to Calcutta on Sept 29 together with Tagore and Kalimohan Ghosh.

1914 Ray Chowdury family and M/S U Ray & Sons moves to 100, Garpar Rd
Joint Secretary of Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.


1915 Father Upendrakishore passes away on December 20, 1915 .

Sukumar takes over as Editor of Sandesh.

Monday Club formed.

1917 Sukumar and PC Mohalnobis jointly propose that Tagore be admitted as honorary
member of Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.

1918 Admission Form Revision Committee formed

1919 Marriage with Suprabha Das, grand-daughter of the visionary Kalinarayan Gupta
on December 13, 1919.


1920 Sandesh becomes irregular for a few issues.


Letter to Prasanta C Mohalnobis dated August 23, 1920

1921 Decision to hold parallel Maghotsav in January, 1921.

Referendum on March 21 admits Tagore as honorary member of Sadharan
Brahmo Samaj.

Son Satyajit born on May 2, 1921.

Falls ill with black fever.


1922 Becomes Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society

1923 Passes away on September 10, 1923

Brief Famil Introduction

Loknath Ray was from the Masua village in the district of Maimensingha. His son Kalinath was better known as Munshi Shyam Sundar for his knowledge of Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian languages. Among his five sons, the second son, Kamada Ranjan was adopted by Hari Kishore Ray Chowdhury, a distant relative. After adoption Kamada Ranjan was named Upendra Kiskore. His elder brother Sarada Ranjan and younger brother Muktida Ranjan were academicians and sportsmen. The fourth brother was known for his work on children's literature and photography. The fifth was a forest officer and authored books on forests and jungles.
Sukumar Ray was the second child born to Upendrakishore and Bidhumukhi's. The first born was daughter Sukhalata. Punyalata, Subinoy, Shantilata and Subimal were the other sisters and brothers.

Sukumar Roy ((1887-1923)

Sukumar Roy, one of the greatest writers and illustrators in the history of Bengali literature, was born in 1887. Like his father, Upendrakishore, and like his son, Satyajit, Sukumar, despite his sense of humor, had intense powers of concentration. He would become entirely oblivious of everything while working out a creative problem from the beginning to the end. Swift minded, he synthesized words and images. Unfortunately, his literary style is very difficult to translate. Satyajit made an effort to put into English some verses from "The King Of Bombaria" , from the book, Abol-Tabol.At eight years old this embryonic family humorist completed his first creative feat - a poem to "Nadi", the river. Upendrakishore, "with the eye, hand and soul of an artist", was only too eager to watch for what his eldest son would produce next. It took some time, but the next year Sukumar, who showed inventiveness in sport and entertaining all the younger children, produced his second poem, "Tick, Tick, Tong". It was really a translation of "Hickory, Dickory, Dock". Father, who was alreay writing for children, gave Sukumar's poem to the children's magazine "Mukul". At nine, Sukumar emerged an author in print. When he was a student at Presidency College, he created the home-based Nonsense Club with membership open to those with a flair for the ridiculous, practical joking and, most of all, acting. At some point before 1911, when Sukumar was sent off to England, Suprabha Das, the rather tall and beautiful teenaged grand-daughter of the visionary Kalinarayan Gupta, was introduced to Sukumar's Nonsense Club. Sukumar, no doubt, had his eye on Suprabha Das before he went to England on a scholarship of Technology to study photography and half-tone printing. On Sukumar's return from England in 1914, he married Suprabha Das and their son, Satyajit, was born on May 2nd, 1921. By this time Sukumar was attacked by the bacteria of the then fatal disease of blackwater fever. Fever penetrated deeper and deeper with the bacteria affecting one organ after another until Sukumar found himself tied to wheelchair. Yet he continued to write. His wit remained unimpaired. Persistently he continued to bring out "Sandesh", the children magazine. Sukumar Roy, who brought something new to Bengal's literature, died on September 10th, 1923.

Facts :

At eight years old this embryonic family humorist completed his first creative feat - a poem to "Nadi", the river.

At about nine, he wrote "Tick, Tick, Tong" which was really a translation of the well-known nursery poem "Hickory, Dickory, Dock".

He formed a club while studying as a student of the Presidency College. Can you guess its name? It was the 'Nonsense Club' with membership open to those with a flair for the ridiculous, practical joking and acting.

He graduated from the Presidency college with honors in Physics & Chemistry.
He went to England for higher studies not in literature but in photography and half-tone printing.

Not many people know that the master of humor was also a master of photography. He got the Award of Merit by 'Boy's Own Paper' for excellence in photography in November, 1904 at the age of 17. He Designed the sliding calculator to help in setting up the camera during process work. He became the 'Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society'.

His article on the Pin-hole theory was published in July, 1913 issue of 'The British Journal of Photography'.

He became the joint Secretary of Sadharan Brahmo Samaj in 1914.

The famous work 'Abol Tabol' was published just 9 days before his death.