Kolkata: Celebrated cartoonist Narayan Debnath died on Tuesday in Kolkata at a private hospital after a prolonged illness. He was 97.
According to hospital sources, Debnath was hospitalized on December 24 and was on ventilator support before he breathed his last on Tuesday morning.
He was renowned for creating iconic Bengali comic characters such as ‘Bantul the Great’ (1965), ‘Handa Bhonda’ (1962) and ‘Nonte Phonte’ (1965), which were favorites amongst the children.
Debnath’s family came from Bikrampur, now in Bangladesh, and settled in Shibpur area in Howrah district. He is incidentally the only comic artist in India who has received a D.Litt degree.
Besides, D. Litt, the famous cartoonist from Bengal had also received Padma Shri in 2021, Sahitya Akademi Award and Banga Bibhushan Award in 2013.
Taking to Twitter Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “Extremely sad that the noted litterateur, illustrator, cartoonist, and creator of some immortal characters for children's world, Narayan Debnath is no more. He had created Bantul the Great, Handa- Bhonda, Nonte- Fonte, figures that have been etched in our hearts for decades.”
In another tweet, she wrote, “We were proud to bestow upon him Bengal’s highest award Banga Bibhusan in 2013. His passing away is certainly an immeasurable loss to the world of literary creativity and comics. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, readers and countless fans and followers.”
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar said, “Sad at demise of Padma Shri #NarayanDebnath legendary cartoonist and creator of immortal characters Bantul the Great, Handa- Bhonda, Nonte- Fonte for children's world. Huge loss to the world of literary creativity and comics. My thoughts are with his family, friends and fans.”
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief and offered their condolences over the demise of noted Bengali cartoonist.
President Kovind said, "Sad to learn about the demise of Shri Narayan Debnath, a noted cartoonist, who created immortal fictional characters that entertained children and adults alike. His passing is a big loss to the world of Bengali literature. Condolences to his family and admirers."
The Prime Minister also expressed grief over the demise of Debnath. In a tweet, Modi said, "Shri Narayan Debnath Ji brightened several lives through his works, cartoons and illustrations. His works reflected his intellectual prowess. The characters he created will remain eternally popular. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti."