Prabir Acharya – His many avatars
I was set in this unique man’s trail by a colleague who accompanied this unlikely poet to many poetic symposiums. Chatting up with this man in a tea-stall adjacent to Krishnanagar post office, reveals the poetic facet of postman Prabir Acharya, an amiable man. I soon secured an invite to his home in Shaktinagar. Talking in his home the man opened up to me about his life, stretched for many decades across borders of political boundaries. He revealed that he hailed from Bangladesh – Alamdanga village of Kushtiya. He was raised in extreme poverty in a family of 5. His dad was a pastor; later his mom started rolling Bidis to feed the family as his father was incapable of hard work. He dropped out at class IX, being the eldest of sons, to feed the family. This ended his dream of further education. His first job was that of a rickshaw puller. He recounts the fact without any unexpected clarity, not obliterating any of the demeaning detail. The purpose was rational rather pretended, for he upheld the dignity of labor and abhorred classification of physical labor in categories of dignity. Also as I discovered later, his paddling gave him the bigger break in life. Paddling through the town he secured a customer, a poet Pranesh Sarkar. The poet extracted his story, his ambition through chats and tried to set him up. A job in the extras of post office department followed along with rickshaw pulling. His otherwise hectic and stressful day couldn’t kill his penchant. He spent his nights absorbed in Bengali literature and composing his own poems. His part-time job at postal department soon paved way to his application in army postal dept. Clearing the medical tests he was trained at Nagpur. After his army jobs in Rajasthan and Siliguri he finally settled as a postal peon in the city of Krishnanagar.
His poetic mind remained active as before. His creations became a talk in poetic circles. He attended many poetic seminars. He also pens for Dainik Samachar Magazine. This man has 10 published books, and is a sort of local celebrity in Nadia. His works include Prothom Uccharon, Nimogno, Akkhorgyan, and Eklabyer Dinratri. People like Dr. Khudiram Das, Apurbo Das have played a vocal role in his poetic soul. His days pass as whirlwind. His days are devoted to his profession and nights to his passion. He untiringly unloads letter boxes across Krishnanagar and delivers them to the post office. A regular in poetic adda centers he recounts his first mentor Pranesh Sarkar which fills him with gratitude for the man.
His days of rickshaw pulling may be over, but he misses his rickshaw and won’t regret if he has to go back to his paddling days. He doesn’t own a rickshaw but sometimes he gets his hand on someone else’s and hits the road. Nostalgia overflows as he recalls the days when this lowly vehicle has earned him bread for his family.
Article: Sujit Sengupta, English version by Kush