Bantul the Great

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Bantul the Great
AuthorNarayan Debnath
IllustratorNarayan Debnath
PublisherDeb Sahityo Kutir
Handa Bhonda, Nonte Phonte, Bahadur Beral (Korky the Cat, Danpite khadu aar tar chemical dadu

Batul, Bantul, Batul the Great, or Bantul the Great (Bengali: বাঁটুল দি গ্রেট) is a popular Bengali comic strip character[1] created by Narayan Debnath.[2][3] Bantul the great is originally India's first untelevised superhero and was also inspired by the famous comics character Desperate Dan drawn by Dudley D. Watkins. It first appeared and still appears in a children's magazine called Shuktara and is widely read, not only by children but by adults as well. It has since appeared in a comic book format and as an animation series.[4]


Narayan Debnath's first comic book characters in color were for the comic strip and book Batul The Great. By Debnath's admission, he thought up the idea of the superhero while returning from College Street, Calcutta. He has remarked that the character of Batul or Bantul was influenced by his friend Manohar Aich, the famous Bengali bodybuilder. The name came to him instantly and he thought up the figure of the protagonist rapidly. Initially, he did not know what he foresaw as a future for Batul or Bantul and did not give him any superpowers. This character is said to have similarities with Desperate Dan.

When the Bangladesh War of Liberation, also known as the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 flared up, he was asked by the editors and publishers to add an aura of invincibility. Debnath was reluctant at first because he was worried about legal implications. On assurance, he made Batul a superhero. Bullets began to bounce off of him, much like Superman. Batul was still drawn by Debnath for Shuktara.[5] It has been argued that the historical and cultural significance of Bantul is that he “became a symbol of formidability, a much needed push for the Bengalis in the Bangladesh Liberation War, 1971.”[6]


The protagonist of the story, Batul or Bantul, is a superhero, with a well-built body and god-like strength. He is so strong that he can lift the whole earth, run through a wall breaking it to pieces, kill whales and sharks barehanded, and even missiles cannot pierce his chest. He has a great appetite and sometimes has a whale for his breakfast. Unlike other heroes, Batul or Bantul does not wear any attractive attire. Rather, he is always seen clad in a pink or orange vest and black shorts. He is the terror of dacoits and hooligans, and protects the good. Sometimes, Bantul's amazing strength is the cause of his downfall. This is especially true when he is trying to operate machinery, since he usually breaks it. Another example, depicted in the panel, shows him trying to ride a bull in a rodeo, but due to his weight, the legs of the bull get embedded in the ground. He is also a portrayed as an intelligent detective in the animation series.

Over the years, the strength of Batul or Bantul has also increased, with him now being able to even expand or contract the size of his body, having unlimited physical strength and even being able to lift the entire sun or any unmovable entity. He is now a combination of supreme intellect possessing an unmatched mental and physical strength. He is also known to be immune to the effects of the most powerful weapons, dark magic or any kinds of physical/mental manipulation. He is widely shown to be the savior of the good and the destroyer of hooligans, dacoits, monsters, evil scientists, cosmic beings and aliens. Bantul's updated powers in the animation series makes him one of the most powerful superheroes of modern times similar to the strongest incarnations of DC's Superman and Marvel's Thor.

With Bantul stays two mischievous boys viz. Bachhu (Bengali: বাচ্চু) and Bichchu (Bengali: বিচ্ছু) (also sometimes referred to as Goja গজা and Bhoja ভজা ), who regularly play truant at school, often conspire with robbers and commit daring crimes like bank robberies. Other characters in the comic strip include Lambakarna, who has long ears and superhuman hearing;Nitaida, who is a servant of Batobyal Sir. Batobyal Sir is also a very close neighbor of Batul. Batul's aunt, who cooks food for him; Batul's formidable pet dog Vedo, and a pet ostrich, Uto. He can also ignite flames and also be immune to its effects.

Animation Voice Artist[edit]

BTG (Cartoon) Bengali Voice Artists
Character Name Voice Artist Name
Batul/Bantul [Kharaj Mukherjee(at first ),Naren Bhattacharjee(Now)]
Bachhu/Gaju [Rudranil Ghosh(at first time),Rupan Dasgupta (Now)]
Bichhu/Bhoju [Kanchan Mallick(at first time),Arijit Bhadra (Now)]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bangur residents get Puja park gift". The Times of India. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Batul the Great". Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Artist Narayan Debnath Draws 'Batul the Great' Perfectly for a Mental Function Test, Wows Doctors". News18. 2021-02-03. Retrieved 2021-12-13.
  4. ^ "Comics Vs Animation - Ebela". Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  5. ^ Deb, Debasish (November 11, 2007). "How Bantul was born". The Telegraph - Calcutta : Metro. Archived from the original on November 13, 2007.
  6. ^ D. Ghosh Dastidar, “Prospects of Comic Studies in India,” Gnosis 3 (2019), 113–128 (116).

Further reading[edit]

  • Chatterjee, Sourav. "The Itineraries of a Medium: Bengali Comics, and New Ways of Reading," in Interdisziplinäre Zeitschrift für Südasienforschung (Nr. 5), 2019.
  • Chatterjee, Sourav. "Masculinity in the Bengali Comic Strips of the 1960s," in Trajectories of Popular Expression: Forms, Histories, Contexts, Eds. N. Sethi and A. Saha, 2018.
  • Chatterjee, Sourav. "“YES SIR!” 50 years of Nationalism and the Indo-Pak War in Narayan Debnath's Bñātul the Great," in The International Journal of Comic Art, Vol. 18, No. 1, Ed. John Lent (Pennsylvania: Spring, 2016).
  • Chatterjee, Sourav. "Batul: the Great Disciplinarian," in The International Journal of Comic Art, Vol. 17, No. 2, Ed. John Lent (Pennsylvania: Fall/Winter, 2015).

External links[edit]