Gurudas (Soumitra Chatterjee) is a schoolteacher in rural Bengal in this educational drama set in the 1930s. Normally a teacher of Sanskrit, he is called on to teach Bengali literature one day. The experience convinces him of the need for a comprehensive Bengali dictionary, and Gurudas begins the task. As he compiles the massive amount of information, he labors without pay for years and suffers innumerable personal tragedies, like the death of his daughter. He is forced to spend his own money on the printing, loses his house, and is soon impoverished and abandoned by his family. Grateful officials find the aging and cynical Gurudas years later living in squalor when they try to salute him for his efforts.
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