As the legendary cartoonist Narayan Debnath passed away after a prolonged illness at the age of 97, on Tuesday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee mourned his demise with a social media tribute for the late Padma Shri awardee. Debnath was the creator of several Bengali comic characters and was undergoing treatment at Bellevue Hospital in Kolkata.
Taking to her official Twitter handle, the CM expressed her grief by writing, "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 a subsequent tweet, she added, "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."
Debnath, who was born and spent most of his life living in Shibpur, Howrah, India, holds the record of longest-running comics by an individual artiste for his 'Handa Bhonda' comics series that completed its continuous 53 years of running.
He was also the only comic artist in India who received a D.Litt degree. Debnath was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in 2021.