Richard McCracken, Director of The Case Centre, remembers his friend Debpratim Purkayastha, Director of ICFAI Case Research Center and Professor at ICFAI Business School (IBS), who passed away from COVID-19 on 7 May 2021
Debapratim Purkayastha who we’ve lost, tragically, through COVID-19, was an outstanding case writer, case teacher and respected academic. His approach to case writing was rigorous and adventurous. He wrote hundreds of cases ranging widely in the formats, settings, and issues he chose to explore. Debapratim was always open to experimentation and his work regularly broke new ground, most recently in his exploration of cases in the style of a graphic novel, written by him and illustrated by his childhood friend Sid Ghosh. We were all the beneficiaries of his work, and his willingness to share insight into case writing and teaching at academic conferences and workshops.
Many hearing the news will feel as I do. I have lost a friend. For Debapratim was someone I always looked forward to meeting – a good companion and generous host, a friend to many in the case community around the world, a much-loved colleague to the case publishing team at ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad, and a devoted husband and father. He was so proud of the achievements of his work team, and of his family, his wife Somali and son Supratim. Debapratim’s absence will be felt greatly by the case method community, friends and colleagues in business schools, editorial teams and – he would say, most importantly of all – in classrooms all around the world.
Debapratim and I often found ourselves sharing a taxi, or a deserted airport gate waiting for a flight, and the talk once turned to books we enjoyed as boys. Debapratim’s favourite was the Feluda stories – the tales of a Bengali detective – by one of India’s master storytellers, novelist, and filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Reading the book, I saw how it influenced Debapratim’s ability to combine a good story with academic intent. I take a copy in every travel bag I pack. I shall be turning its pages this evening in his memory.