“Life is not kind even to heroes, though it encourages the feisty to keep on fighting.”



Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Kakababu adventures put a twist on the traditional detective story for youngsters. He has chosen a physically challenged ex archaeologist as his hero accompanied by his nephew Sontu. Kakababu hobbles through his adventures on crutches as one leg is totally useless and his character is stern and solitary. Add to that the fact that Shontu has no clue where his uncle is taking him and doesn’t dare ask for fear of being left behind which many youngsters might find far-fetched.

The stories themselves are archaeologically based, the first dealing with the Emperor Kanishka’s headless statue and the second with the fearsome Jarawa tribe of the Andamans.

While Kakababu totes a revolver, his crutch makes getting to grips with villains difficult so there is very little of fisticuffs and quite a bit of crutch related problems in marshy or rocky terrain. Gangopadhyay is well aware of the problems the physically challenged have to confront and highlights Kakababu’s helplessness under the circumstances. For those who cannot read Bengali, the translations will provide a different take on the adventure story with two totally different locations and a constant undercurrent of tragedy. Life is not kind even to heroes, though it encourages the feisty to keep on fighting.

Rimi’s translation though, on occasion, takes liberties with the titles of the stories.


Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 17th June 2019

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Anjana Basu