December 04, 2006

Find her, and she's gone

Dear Papiya, if I may call you that: I never knew you except as one of those two intriguing names in JS from three decades in the past. But then I saw you mentioned in a tiny item tucked on an inside page this morning. Then I realized this was the same name that had wafted wispily through those years of my youth. Then I understood, sadly, that this was the first time I heard of the person behind the name. Since then I've felt oddly as if some small part of me has been stolen away.

That's Papiya Ghosh, historian at Patna University. Murdered in her home on the night of December 2nd.

I never knew you, Papiya. But all those years ago, I always thought I did.


Anonymous said...

Papiya Ghosh was my Mom's senior in School and was looking for a participant for the Extempore competition.
She asked my mom, a gawky freshman to speak and mom was quick to decline. Papiya then went on to convince my mom to take the challenge and coached her to overcome her fear of public speaking.
I think I am speaking for my mom when I say "Papiya di, I will miss you- Sheela Pandey nee Tewari"

Sridhar said...

In the 70s, when Rajendra Nath and Mehmood defined humour as we knew it, there was a counterpoint called JS. And the acme was the hilarious Kookie's Kol, where the indefatigable Papiya and Tuk Tuk Ghosh kept mailing kooky questions to be readily riposted by Jug Suraiya (the JS inside). What Jhumritilaiya was to radio, the Ghosh sisters were to JS.

Thank you for the smiles all those years ago, Papiya. And goodbye.

Anonymous said...

Thanks papiya and goodbye.

Anonymous said...

If anyone's interested, I have a high-quality scan of some pages of the last issue of JS, which features a photo collage of "the extended JS family" (which include Papiya & Tuktuk) and the accompanying article.

Please email me at if you would like a copy.

Anonymous said...

For those who didn't know Papiya she was just a name. For those who did she was larger than life. Whatever the circumstance I do not recall her ever frowning-unless in jest. Through illness, discomfort she laughed her way through. She was extremely warm and a pleasure to be with- her famous name (as part of the JS -Papiya -TukTuk ) rested lightly on her broad shoulders.
For all the aftermnoons we spent together talking of so many things- Papiya this was no way for you to go. On second thoughts maybe it was - you have as usual jolted people into thought and action.
We were not in touch, but you reamin in a corner of my heart warming it .
Rest in peace Papiya, we remember you in our prayers ....
Rita (Raghavan)Sridhar

Anonymous said...

Some updates on this:

1. One of the big 3 news channels I think NDTV carried a special feature on this, with an extended session with Tuktuk. This was last week I think.

2. 4 suspects have been arrested yesterday.