Batakrishna Dey is a Bengali poet, lyricist and essayist whose literary career spans over 7 decades. The video series Songs of Dusk celebrates his vintage songs from the 1950s. Songs of Dusk was produced and performed by Odissi choreographer, Sreyashi Dey, daughter of Batakrishna Dey. Learn more about the Songs of Dusk video series and view performances here. An archive of his life and many works in music and literature can be found in collection: http://www.batakrishnadey.com
Batakrishna Dey was born between a new moon and a full moon on July 23, 1931, in what was then an undivided India/Bengal, now known as the country of Bangladesh. Batakrishna Dey remembers his childhood years and the memories that influence his poems and songs to this very day. “Memories of my childhood days spent in a Bengal village on the riverside still dazzle brightly when I close my eyes, they return in my writings.” He migrated to Kolkata during his teen years where he completed high school and university there. Then he moved to New Delhi, the capital of India, for his distinguished professional career with the Government of India. After 46 years in New Delhi, post-retirement, he has returned in his later years to reside in Kolkata.
In the 1950s, he married and began a devoted family life while continuing to write popular poems and songs. Batakrishna Dey recalls his wife Uma as the girl of his dreams. “My wife Uma has been a great source of inspiration in all spheres of life. I married my dream girl, the most beautiful woman, my eternal lady of love on April 22, 1956.” On the topic of family, Batakrishna Dey speaks with happiness and joy of his daughter, Sreyashi Dey, whom he describes as a source of great pride. “As beautiful as her mother, Sreyashi, who in her own right is one of the most celebrated classical Odissi dancers of her time. Her works are abundant in lyricism, versatility and beauty.”
Batakrishna Dey has received many academic honors. He was awarded a BA in Economics and an MA in Political Science. He achieved an MDPA in Public Administration and completed DPA studies at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) at The Hague in The Netherlands. Over the course of his career, he completed several executive development programs and management certifications. In Education, he taught as an Associate Professor for Saint Paul’s Cathedral Missionary College at Kolkata University. He was a member of the visiting faculty for Delhi University, Punjab University, Lucknow University and several other schools in India. He contributed in the public and private sector as a program director for many banks, government agencies and cultural institutions.
The most active years in the music career of Batakrishna Dey spanned between the years 1947 and 1953. As a lyricist, he wrote evocative and much loved songs. These songs are widely adored in India and often played on the radio and television. His songs have been published to many albums. The song Param Milan Nai Jodi Hoy was recorded by Megaphone records. The song Path Aar Koto Dur with musician Nachiketa Ghosh and the song Hey Mahaprithibi with musician Dwijen Mukherjee were some of his first recordings with HMV and Columbia records. Batakrishna Dey collaborated with many popular musicians of his time: Manna Dey, Dwijen Mukherjee, Manabendra, Sandhya Mukherjee, a Sailen Mukherjee, Anup Jalota, Anup Ghosal, Nirmala Mishra, Banashree Sengupta. You can read and learn more about his songs and lyrics in A Memoir of Songwriting. Batakrishna Dey continues to write songs and new releases are forthcoming.
As a poet, Batakrishna Dey has published some 1000 poems. “The central theme of my poems and other creative writing is love and experiences in life.” Batakrishna Dey is the author of 10 anthologies of original poems in Bengali and English. His poems have been published in many well-known literary magazines over the years including Desh and Anandabazar Patrika.” His admiration for the iconic Rabindranath Tagore and his multifaceted legacy of creativity and inspiration is evident in his many works. His fascination with the world of nature is notable and vibrant in his poetry. “I love nature – the silence of the mountains, the eloquence of the seas, the twinkles of the star-lit sky at night, the splendor of paintings in the sky on the eastern horizon in the morning, the sweet melody of the chirping birds, the soft touch of the gentle southern breeze, the ripples of the flowing river, sparkle of the dew on the tips of grass. I love the warmth of love, the innocence of the smile of a child, the many flavors of friendship. All this constitutes the core of my poems and songs.”
The artistic sensibility of Batakrishna Dey is characterized by openness, sincerity and honesty, not rigid ideology, stark reality or abstract philosophy. “I am no persuader of any particular set of beliefs, idea or ideology. I am a believer of openness– let a thousand flowers bloom!” He remembers not one specific influence, approach or ideology when he began as a writer to find his voice. Rather, he remembers words of encouragement from people such as his teacher in high school, Krishna Dayal Basu. He offers these words of reflection and wisdom for a life in the creative arts. “Poets are born and not made. They are natural, and should not be superficial. They have to be honest, sincere, and true to their chosen pursuit. Excessive experimentation and flamboyant adventurism in diction, style are often counterproductive and self-defeating.“ From the beginning of his creative writing career, he remembers the shared sensibility of many artists who he admired such as well-known poet and novelist Buddhadeb Bose, journalist and editor Sagarmaoy Ghosh, music composer Nachiketa Ghosh and poet Amiya Chakravarty. “My pen as a lyricist has not stopped, indeed it is still active today. Learn every day, explore beauty and enjoy creativity. That is the spirit of the creative soul that must be imbued with life. That is the lesson to follow and practice. I have done that all my life.”
Learn more about the Songs of Dusk video series and view performances here. The video series Songs of Dusk celebrates the vintage songs of Batakrishna Dey from the 1950s. Songs of Dusk was produced and performed by Odissi choreographer, Sreyashi Dey, daughter of Batakrishna Dey. An archive of his life and many works in music and literature can be found in collection: http://www.batakrishnadey.com.