Satyajit Ray's science fiction hero in Bengal's school curriculum

 Satyajit Ray's ever popular science fiction character "Professor Shonku" and his adventures will form part of West Bengal's school curriculum from next year.

Kolkata: Satyajit Ray's ever popular science fiction character "Professor Shonku" and his adventures will form part of West Bengal's school curriculum from next year.

The legendary filmmaker's son Sandip Ray, who holds the copyright of his father's works, has granted permission to the Bengal government to use six stories in the Professor Shonku series alongside Ray's illustrations for the standard-9 curriculum in state-run schools.

"It is an exciting prospect. Six stories will be used and they will come out as a separate book for the students. Official permission has been sought for it," Sandip said.

"His (Satyajit Ray) illustrations for the series will go along with it," Sandip said.

State education minister Partha Chatterjee had approached Sandip for clearance to use the stories in the school curriculum.

Students will get to read and enjoy Shonku's trysts with strange lands, people and objects in "Byomjatrir Diary", "Corvus", "Professor Shonku O Dr. Sheringer Smaronshakti", "Professor Shonku O Mahakasher Doot", "Swarnaparni" and "Professor Shonku O Aschorjo Putul".

Ray's Shonku - full name Trilokeshwar Shonku, a resident of Giridih - is known to be a master in 69 languages and has a pet cat named Newton. "Byomjatrir Diary" (An Astronaut's Diary) was the first story introducing the science fiction protagonist in 1965.

Among his inventions is Miracurall, a drug that cures any ailment except common cold, the Shankoplane, a small hovercraft based on using anti-gravity technology, capable of vertical take-off and landing and magnificent mileage and batika indica, a pill made from the sap of the Banyan tree to ward off the need for food and water for 24 hours.

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