Pather Panchali is a vivid, moving and authentic portrayal of the life of a Brahmin household seen through the eyes of the two young children of the family, Opu and his elder sister Durga. Few authors in any literature can rival Bandhopadhyaya's understanding of the child mind. He writes of Opu and Bruga and their friends, at home or out at play with a natural realism unmarred by adult condescension.
The social environment is all-embracing: qork and holidays, religious festivals, daily worship and the grim rites of death. The reader senses the reality of family ties, the power of the supernatural in ordinary things, the relations between the castes and between rich and poor. In creating this picture of rural Bengal, Bandopadhyay has introduced us to an area of life which so far has been a closed book to foreign visitors to India, and which scholars know little about.
The translation which faithfully reflects the changing moods of the original as well as its many variations of style, is the work of T.W. Clark and Tarapada Mukherji, both teachers of Bengali at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London.