Papiya Ghosh: From JS to an End


It has been more than a week, Professor Papiya Ghosh, the noted historian from Patna was brutally murdered, yet the police haven't been able to find any leads. NDTV broke the news about the death of Papiya Ghosh and we saw her sister Tuktuk Ghosh an IAS officer and an Officer on Special Duty attached to the Office of Lok Sabha Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, break down while giving details about the gruesome way she was murdered. Tuktuk said that she would be approaching the prime minister, asking for his assistance. We also saw the Director General of Police, Patna laughing insensitively while explaining that such crimes are not uncommon and his police are trying their best to catch the culprits.

The murder of Papiya Ghosh comes on a close line of murders of Nitesh Katara, Priyadarshini Mattoo and Jessica Lal, all pointing to a sinister criminal politician nexus.

These murders only came to light because of the important status of each of these individuals.

According to the Hindustan Times, the needle of suspicion in the twin murders of Patna University Professor Papiya Ghosh and her domestic help seems to be pointing to a criminal-politician who had been putting pressure on her to sell her sprawling house, said a senior police official.

History professor Dr Ghosh, 53, and her 70-year-old domestic help were found stabbed to death in her home in the city's posh Pataliputra Colony on Sunday, shocking this city of over two million people.

I grew up in the heart of Madhya Pradesh and political murders were never a stranger to me. Much later I did post mortems of such victims obviously the culprits was never brought to justice. I remember a gangster of the stature of Babloo Srivastava from Uttar Pradesh who was brought for 'treatment' at the JA Group of Hospitals, Gwalior by the police. He gave thousand rupee notes to the nurses and porters who in turn were in the beck and call at all times.

The murder of Papiya Ghosh would be solved at some stage considering the pressure being built up by the ordinary people of Bihar. The Chief Minister, Nitesh Kumar after being prodded from the centre is finally taking some interest in this case. But neither Nitesh Kumar nor our Hon Prime Minister knew the actual Papiya Ghosh. Papiya and Tuktuk Ghosh were known all over India to readers of JS. They remain as popular as they were thirty years back. Dilip D'Souza in his blog dated December 14 2005 wrote,

'Poring through the magazine every week, I wondered jealously: just how did all these JS dudes get these almost insufferably cool names? I mean: Jug Suraiya? Desmond Doig? And exactly who were Papiya and Tuktuk Ghosh, invariably somewhere in the issue? Where did they get their cool names? Does anyone know? Did they exist? Do they exist? (Please send me a note if you're reading this, either of you, and put a 30-year-old mystery to rest)'.

Again, Jug Suraiya mentioned in one of his columns that in a party, a woman once came to him and identified herself as Papiya. His Pavlovian response was, "Where is Tuktuk"?

Many a party organized by Desmond in Kolkata had invitees mentioning Papiya and Tuktuk Ghosh as passwords before one can enter the foyer of the happening.
Dilip D'Souza never knew that within a year after he had published his blog, he would know about Papiya Ghosh.

Kookies Kol in every issue of JS had witty postings by Papiya and Tuktuk Ghosh. Dr. Suchitra Shrivatava, a pathologist from Gwalior told me years back that JS was synonymous with Papiya and Tuktuk Ghosh

Who was really Papiya Ghosh?

Papiya Ghosh was a Professor of History at the Patna University. A Historian of international repute her research interest included topics as such as Partition, Diaspora, Refugee, Gender, Backward and Dalit studies and more recently Bhojpuri cinema and cassettes. She was currently working on three volumes ' Partition and the South Asian Diaspora, Community and Nation: Bihar in the 1940s and Caste, Region and Nation: Essays on Bihar. She studied at the Delhi University and was well known for her academic achievements and extracurricular activities.

She reviewed the books ' Mapmaking: Partition stories from Two Bengalsedited by Debjani Sengupta, Shadow lives: Writings on Widowhood edited by Uma Chakravarti and Preeti Gill and The Hindu Widow in Indian Literature by Rajul Sogani. She was an authority on Muslims in Bihar, her book titled 'Reinvoking the Pakistan of the 1940: Bihar's 'Stranded Pakistanis', is a milestone on Muslim studies in India. She wrote a lot of articles in the international journal 'Refugee Watch'.

Papiya Ghosh died believing in Bihar, a province whose Home Secretary was her father; an Indian Civil Service Officer. We lost Papiya Ghosh who was our link to the wonderful world of JS  


More by :  Dr. Amitabh Mitra

Top | Opinion

Views: 3455      Comments: 3

Comment Hi Keya
Mustaquim and Sanjog Rai can not run long. If the long arm of the law does not find them soon, we definitely know where they are hiding..Sankar Sah unfortunately will stay inside even though his sentence has been commuted. His fellow prisonors will take care of him. There is a limit to which a family can appeal to the Government bodies beyond which then anything can happen


16-Oct-2011 02:08 AM

Comment i can only feel pity for professor papiya ghosh who choose to stay in bihar when biharis themselves are running away from bihar. what did she get by trying to uplift the bad image of bihar?a death of 34 stab wounds! i do not think any punishment will be meted to her murderers neither i hope bihar people will ever bother to remember her contribution.this is one reason why bihar has got such a bad image outside.

shambhu nath ghosh
15-Oct-2011 10:46 AM

Comment Through your widely read journal,I would like to draw attention to the continued denial of justice to Prof.Papiya Ghosh and Malti Devi, who were murdered with unparalleled brutality inside Prof.Ghosh's own home in Patna in December,2006.

The two absconders in the crimes,named by the police as Mustakeen and Sanjogi Rai,have not even been arrested till today,and of the murderous gang, the one criminal who had been awarded the death sentence,has already had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment which in legal parlance does not mean imprisonment for life.

Ours is supposed to be a democratic system.Each elected functionary and senior public servant has a whole office of staff to assist in addressing public grievances.I have written to all top elected functionaries and other august personalties and public servants in my quest for justice for my younger sister,Papiya Ghosh,and Malti Devi.

Regrettably,not one has deigned to reply.Are they then in the positions in which we have helped to place them by our votes, only to serve vested interests?
Who /which body is there in our country to protect the rights of law abiding citizens?

Do women's rights mean anything in a place like Bihar? What is the truth behind the image building exercise of the Bihar government?

Can anybody dare to reveal the nexus between crime and politics? Or is there silence because the price would be too high?

Keya Sen

16-Sep-2010 23:40 PM

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.