Narayan Debnath, the creator of iconic comic characters, dies at the age of 97

His family said that Padma Shri awardee Debnath passed away at 10.15 am during treatment at the hospital last week. His son Tapas Debnath said, “He was admitted to the hospital on December 24 with kidney and lung problems.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that Debnath illuminated the lives of many through his works, cartoons and pictures.

Cartoonist Narayan Debnath, the creator of Bengali comic characters ‘Bantul the Great’, ‘Handa Bhonda’ and ‘Nonte Fonte’, died on Tuesday after prolonged illness. He was 97 years old.

The cartoonist was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, in 2021, but could not travel to New Delhi to collect the award. State Home Secretary BP Gopalika and Cooperation Minister Arup Roy presented him with medals and certificates on his hospital bed on January 13.

Debanth was also awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2013 and the Government of West Bengal honored him with the Banga Vibhushan in the same year. In 2015, Rabindra Bharati University conferred on him an Honorary D.Litt.

‘Irreparable loss to the world of literary creativity and comics’: Bengal CM condoles the demise of cartoonist Narayan Debnath

“His works reflect his intellectual prowess. The characters created by him will always be popular. Saddened by his passing. Condolences to his family and fans. Om Shanti,” he posted on the micro-blogging site.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that Debnath’s death is an irreparable loss. “Very sad that the eminent litterateur, painter, cartoonist and creator of some immortal characters for the world of children, Narayan Debnath is no more. He had created Bantul the Great, Handa-Bonda, Nonte-Fonte, figures that have been etched in our hearts for decades,” she said.

“We were proud to honor him with the Banga Vibhushan, the highest award of Bengal in 2013. His passing is certainly an irreparable loss to the literary creativity and the world of comics,” he said.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who visited Debnath’s residence last month, said his death was a great loss to the world of literary creativity and comics. “Sad on the passing away of the legendary cartoonist of Padma Shri #NarayanDebnath and creator of immortal characters Bantul the Great, Handa-Bhonda, Nonte-Fonte to the children’s world. A great loss to literary creativity and the world of comics. My condolences to his family, friends and fans.”

On receiving the news of Debnath’s death, Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim visited the hospital and paid tribute to him. His body was taken to his home in Shibpur before being thrown into flames at a nearby crematorium.

“The great cartoonist Narayan Debnath; The creator of immortal fictional characters like ‘Batul the Great’, ‘Handa Bhonda’ and ‘Nante Fante’ has passed away. His legacy will always be cherished by children and elders alike. Condolences to the family and countless fans. Om Shanti,” tweeted Suvendu Adhikari, Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly.