Though eminent litterateur Sunil Gangopadhyay had wanted to donate his body, two days after his death he was cremated in accordance with his family’s wishes here on Thursday.
Long before the last rites were conducted by his son, scores of people bade farewell to the much loved writer. A long winding line of mourners swelled into a procession accompanying the funeral hearse that carried the body of Mr. Gangopadhyay on his Shesh Jatra (Last Journey).
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself walked with the crowds for the final leg of the funeral procession.
The procession started early in the day at a funeral parlour and the first halt was at the office of Ananda Bazar Patrika — a publication with which Mr. Gangopadhyay had been associated from his early days in journalism. As his repute as a poet and novelist grew, he continued to contribute articles to it.
Rabindra Sadan became the venue for tributes paid by political leaders and commoners alike. Former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra were among the first to pay their respects, followed later by the State Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), while Ms. Banerjee was among the last VIPs to do so.
A special edition of Krittibas — the poetry magazine that Mr. Gangopadhyay was the founding editor of — was placed on his body. Most of the people, readers and admirers, had to be denied the opportunity to pay their respects. Ms. Banerjee herself took charge of a microphone to request them to allow the procession to continue.