Want to know the Best Bengali books in India? Well, you have landed on the right article. Bengali literature has been around for centuries, and it remains an integral part of Bengali culture.
From poetry to novels, there are countless works that have been translated and adapted into modern works of literature. But what makes a great Bengali book?
A genuinely great Bengali book is one that resonates with readers, regardless of the language they speak.
It must be able to capture the cultural nuances of Bengal while also touching on universal themes that readers can understand all around the world.
A great Bengali book should also feature classic elements such as humor and drama and engaging characters and tales that transport readers into another world.
Ultimately, what makes a great Bengali book is its ability to captivate readers with its interesting story, vivid imagery, and intense emotions — all written in a way that only Bengalis can do best.
Here are some of the best bengali books to read:-
Best Bengali Books in India (Updated 2023)
Table of content
- Written By : Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
During the Bengal famine of 1770, Anandamath was a formative piece in India’s independence fight.
The novel focuses on a married couple, Mahendra & Kalyani, who had to leave their starving hometown and consequently part ways.
Sannyasis are a rebellious faction that risk their lives for justice and against injustices. They are selfless warriors, who fight for the cause of righteousness.
Mahendra is encouraged to join the cause, but it requires him to sacrifice his family and dedicate himself solely to India’s independence.
The novel became a catalyst for many Indians to join the fight for freedom.
- Written By : Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore’s iconic novel, ‘Gora’, is a must-read set against the backdrop of pre-independence Bengal when the strife between Hindu nationalists and the Bramho Samaj was at its apex. This classic is unmatched in its brilliance.
Gora is a story that delves into the religious upheaval in Bengal, witnessed through the perspective of two young men.
As their life experiences affect. Them both, Gora, an orthodox believer, and Binoy, his closest buddy, are forced to reflect on their faith in God.
Rabindranath Tagore’s work provides valuable insight into many themes present in society, from feminism to caste, class & even religion.
3. Shake The Bottle And Other Stories
- Written By : Ashapurna Debi
Ashapurna Debi’s vast collection of 3000+ short stories has been narrowed down to 21 meaningful pieces, giving readers a unique chance to read her works in English.
Debi was well known for her depictions of the everyday lives of Indian women, highlighting their entrapment in seemingly oppressive households and highlighting the hypocrisies found in middle class Indian families.
In her book, Shake The Bottle And Other Stories, readers can explore how female characters transform from passive victims to powerful revolutionaries when faced with the adversity of violence and oppression.
This work is not a light read, but it is critical to gain perspective on the current state of our society.
4. The Diary Of A Space Traveller & Other Stories
- Written By : Satyajit Ray
Even the most dedicated followers of Satyajit Ray may not be aware that his written works range from the genres of detective and science fiction.
Apart from Feluda, Satyajit Ray’s legacy also includes Professor Trilokeshwar Shonku, the celebrated Bengali scientist he created.
In this book, you will find the professor’s diaries that document his incredible, amazing creations such as Miracurall- a medicine that cures any disease;
Annihilin, a gun that can demolish anything; and Remembrance- an apparatus that enables individuals to remember things efficiently.
His creativity and ingenuity fuel his fantastic adventures, from a journey to Mars and battling a dinosaur to time-travelling to meet our pre-historic ancestors.
5. The Rhythm Of Riddles: Three Byomkesh Bakshi Mysteries
- Written By : Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay
The Rhythm Of Riddles” is an ideal way to get acquainted with Byomkesh Bakshi, a fictional detective created by Saradindu Bandyopadhyay.
He’s accompanied by his friend Ajit and together they solve three mysteries in this book.
In Byomkesh’s initial case, ‘The Rhythm Of Riddles’, an individual passes away in the building where he lives and he has to solve a homicide with an abundant number of suspects.
The second & third part of Byomkesh, ‘Byomkesh And Barada’ and the illegal arms ring story respectively, are extremely captivating.
Both stories have a supernatural aspect to them while also keeping you invest in the case.
Translated by Arunava Sinha, this series is ideal for anyone who loves reading Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
6. The Boatman Of The Padma
- Written By : Manik Bandopadhyay
The Boatman Of The Padma, published in 1936, tells the tale of Kuber who makes his living as a fisherman in Ketupur. The river Padma is his source of sustenance and the main focus of the story.
Tragically, storms can be devastating for some of these fishermen’s homes. This often leaves Kuber with the burden of needing to provide for an extra person – his sister-in-law.
Kuber’s life takes a drastic turn when he gets involved with Hossain Mian, a shrewd businessman who deals in opium.
Though his financial problems end, it does not change the fact that his life is changed forever.
The Boatman powerfully narrates the risks and challenges of abject poverty and simply surviving.
- Written By : Sankar
Originally released in 1962, Chowringhee is set in the 1950s Calcutta and narrated by the driven Shankar who works at the prestigious Shahjahan Hotel in the city.
Shankar shows us the diverse array of people that come and go at the Shahjahan, along with its workers. He lets us peer into the darker areas of the city as he narrates their stories.
This semi-autobiographical novel features intriguing characters such as Marco Polo the manager, Sata Bose the receptionist, and Karabi Guha the hostess.
It follows not only one person’s journey but also is a remarkable account of an entire city.
8. Hajar Churashir Ma: 1084's Mother
- Written By : Mahasweta Devi
Mahasweta Devi’s most famous novel is a gripping, yet analytically detached account of a devoted mother who unexpectedly finds out that her grown son has passed away.
The Bengal police implemented a deadly policy of false encounters in the 1970s to target and eliminate revolutionary Naxalites, and a young victim of this was identified as “No. 1084” by the morgue authorities.
After the passing of her beloved one, she started to dig into his life and involvement with the Naxal movement. By reaching out to his friends & colleagues, she gradually discovered all the details.
The novel gives an unusual take on the armed struggle of Bengal in the 70s, exposing its effects on not just the government and politics but also the youth of cities & villagers who lost their lives during it.
It also reveals how it changed families who had to suffer through losing their loved ones.
This novel offers a powerful insight into the mindset of its generation and examines the difficulties of the ever-changing middle-class family dynamic, while still touching readers with its human elements.
9. Pather Panchali: The Song of the Road
- Written By : Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay
Horihor Roy, a Brahmin from Nischindipur village, finds it hard to make ends meet with his unsupportive wife, Shorbojoya and daughter Durga.
One day, out of the blue an elderly widow Indir Thakrun showed up at their doorstep asking for shelter.
Durga was assigned a tumbled-thatched hut for her residence, which her mother didn’t approve of. She grew fond of Indir Thakrun, not knowing it would be the origin for all the commotion in the Roy family.
The impoverishment of the Roy family and their story from their native rural Bengal to Varanasi is at the core of this plot.
It follows their struggles in life and how they cope with them.
‘Apu’s Sansar’ is an intriguing book trilogy about the life of the Roy family, observed by Shorbojoya’s son, Apu.
The first book in this series kicks off this captivating journey and the rest to take it forward.
10. Chokher Bali: The Mote in the Eye
- Written By : Rabindranath Tagore
The intricate Bengali brew involves five people – three women and two men – all of whom are fueled by their respective desires.
Mahendra had tied the knot with Ashalata; unfortunately, Rajalakshmi casually insulted Asha as she perceived her son was leaving his mother’s arms to embrace his new wife.
Consequently, Rajlakshmi decided to welcome Binodini, a stunning widow, into the family home.
Before long, Mahendra and Binodini develop a strong connection that initiates a secret relationship between them. This results in a tumultuous journey for both of them.
Through the words of the Bard of Bengal, 19th Century Calcutta comes alive with stories of love, lust, jealousy and dominance.
‘Chokher Bali’ is a mesmerising world for homemakers that can be explored in all its complexity and beauty.
11. After Kurukshetra
- Written By : Anjum Katyal
Devi’s literary work follows the aftermath of the great Mahabharata war by exploring three different storylines.
Was the Kurukshetra battle a triumphant one? Pandavas emerged victorious over Kauravas, establishing Dharma and peace as per Krishna’s message of serenity. Or…
The Mahabharata was a devastating and violent story, not just inflicting harm too many, but also rendering wastage of time and resources.
This story gives us an insight into the lives of three women who have been sidelined and deprived of their rights.
It follows the journey of a young pregnant princess, who is soon widowed and has to grapple with her new reality.
A lowly servant of King Dhritarashtra in a chaotic political landscape, and an elderly Kunti in the woods, who is attempting to atone for not acknowledging her firstborn son Karna, comprise the setting of this story.
12. Jagori: The Vigil
- Written By : Satinath Bhaduri
Commonly known as ‘The Awake’ or Jagari, this Bengali literary masterpiece is a semi-autobiography taking place in the 1940s amid Quit India Movement.
Told in the first-person point-of-view of four characters, this story revolves around the fatal judgement given to Bilu, an Indian Revolutionary.
The story begins with Bilu as he sits in jail awaiting his execution. It then switches to perspectives from his mother, father and brother,
who experience the tragedy of their loss first-hand. It’s a poignant tale of grief that packs an emotional punch.
Everyone involved has their own set of worries, ideas, hopes and experiences that they cling to even as the chaos ensues.
- Written By : Nabarun Bhattacharya
Harbart Sarkar had a unique job of delivering messages from beyond the grave to the families of deceased people.
Sadly, one night he was found dead, and it appeared he had taken his own life. What might have been the reason behind this sudden decision?
Was he scared of the risk associated with his unconventional ideas and business strategies? Did his hopes, dreams and fantasies terrify him? Or.
‘Harbart’ is a timeless work of modern Bengali Literature that shook the world with its unconventional nature.
The narrative carefully unfolds the truth behind Harbart’s mysterious death, leaving readers to draw their own conclusions.
Its relatable messages and unflinching language make it one of the most celebrated works of art in this genre.
Get ready to be taken on a captivating journey!
14. Padma Nadir Majhi
- Written By : Manik Bandopadhyay
This gripping novel, set in the fictitious village of Ketupur along Bangladesh’s Padma river, was written during a time of extreme crisis and contains messages demanding urgent action.
It paints a grim outlook for those living there; from the very name ‘Ketupur’, one can almost feel the impending doom.
Kuber and his family, like many in their community, experience prejudice from the wealthier classes.
This tale follows them and other impoverished fishermen as they try to make a living in the face of such opposition.
In a time of trouble, Kuber looks to Moynadip, an island where his companion Hossain Miya has made havens for those in need. This marks the beginning of Kuber’s travels and life at Moynadip.
- Written By : BRAJAGOPAL DATTAROY
Ray has come up with an imaginative story that goes beyond our current time, leaving us wondering about the future of our world.
It is set when robots have replaced humans in almost all spheres of work and life. A school teacher, Nikunj Chaturvedi, brings home a robot (Anukul). Anukul is an obedient robot and the days go uneventfully.
Unfortunately, Nikunj loses his job to a robot because of technological advances.
Meanwhile, Ratan who doesn’t like robots or Nikunj for buying one, brings the news that he’s been left an inheritance from a distant relative and can now become wealthy.
Unfortunately, Nikunj will not receive any part of this inheritance.
In a sudden turn of events, Anukul fatally electrocutes Ratan who was allegedly mistreating him, leaving Nikunj as the sole beneficiary of the money.
In conclusion, there is a variety of bengali novel list that can be read, with each offering something unique.
Whether you’re a fan of art and culture, history or literature, there are plenty of Bengali books to suit your taste.
The Bengali language is a beautiful and complex one, with a rich literary tradition. In this discussion of the must read bengali books, we’ve looked at some of the most beloved novels and stories written in the language.
From historical classics to contemporary fiction, these books offer readers an insight into the diverse culture of Bengal and provide lasting entertainment and inspiration.
No matter which book you choose to dive into, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable reading experience.
I hope you liked our article on Best Bengali Books in India, if you have any comments or suggestions do share them in the comments below
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Who is the famous writer of Bengali?
Rabindranath Tagore, Radha Chakravarty (Tr.)
Q2. What is the first successful novel written in Bengali?
Bhudeb Mukhopadhyay’s (1827-94) Anguriya Binimoy (1857) was the first historical novel written in Bengal.
Q3. Which is the oldest Bengali book?
The earliest extant work in Bengali literature is the Charyapada, a collection of Buddhist mystic songs in Old Bengali dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries.
Here are the Best Bengali Books of all time :-