Sisir Kumar DasSisir Kumar Das (1936–2003) was a linguist, poet, playwright, translator, comparatist and a prolific scholar of Indian literature. He is considered by many as the "doyen of Indian literary historiographers". Almost singlehandedly Das built an integrated history of Indian literature composed of many languages, a task that had seemed to many important scholars of Indian literature to be “a historian’s despair”. His three volumes (among proposed ten volumes) ''A History of Indian Literature'' (''Western Impact: Indian Response 1800–1910''; ''Struggle for Freedom: Triumph and Tragedy 1911–1956''; ''From Courtly to Popular 500–1399'') is credited for having devised hitherto absent methods necessary for situating diverse Indian literary cultures in history. Apart from this, another monumental work in Das’ scholarly oeuvre is the multi-volume ''English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore'', edited by him.
Despite his formal training in Bangla language and literature, Das was amongst the few who were instrumental in shaping the discipline of Comparative Literature in India. "I," Das once remarked, "have been trying to say this [that "compartmentalized literary-education" should be immediately done away with] for a long time. Whether study of literature or reading of literature, call it whatever, would remain incomplete if not approached comparatively. It is like that old saying: What does he know of English who only English knows. The literature departments have erected walls between literatures. New thoughts would start blowing only when these walls are shattered down."
Apart from being a profoundly erudite scholar, Das was also (and he would have liked to say, primarily) a poet and playwright in Bangla. Having spent most of his professional life in Delhi, away from the mainstream of Bengali cultural life, he did not get the kind of recognition that he deserved as a writer of Bangla. Although he was awarded the prestigious Rabindra Puraskar by the Government of West Bengal twice (for The Shadow of the Cross in 1976 and for The Artist in Chains in 1987), it was for his scholarly rather than literary works. Despite all these, his collection of poetry entitled ''Abalupta Chaturtha Charan'' (''The Disappeared Fourth Line''), published in his own beautiful handwriting, remains a major work in 20th century Bangla poetry. Several of his plays have been performed by the famous theatre group Bahuroopi. Provided by Wikipedia