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. 

Kookie KolThe 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, Nitish Kumar after being prodded from the centre is finally taking some interest in this case. But neither Nitish 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.

JS duo Tuktuk and Papiya GhoshKookies 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 Bengals edited 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.


December 17, 2006