Era of Bengali authors set in golden verse!

The era of Bengali literature started around 10th and 11th centuries when first Charyapada (collection of Buddhist mystic poems) was written. Thereafter the timeline for Bengali literature was divided into two halves medieval period (1360-1800) and modern period (1800 onwards…). In this period, there have been many changes and influences in Bengali literature. Authors, poets, musicians, novelist everyone had significant contribution to enrich the talent pool and culture of Bengal. If we had to discuss about Bengali literature medieval period comes first. Here poetic genres flourished. Religious scriptures, Hindu mythology, Islamic epic and translation of Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic to Vaishnava text were the works could be seen.  Notable authors were Chandi Das, Maladhar Basu, Krittibas Ojha who had immense persuasion on the Bengali literature. They worked mainly on translations into Bengali language. Post Vaishnava literature Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the first to discover Sri Krishna Kirtan by Boru Chandidas, lyrical poem known as Vaishnav Padabali. He also wrote Mangla Kavya, which is famous till date in rural parts of Bengal, where it is enacted and worshipped. In the mid of 19th century, an author established a new angle of literature. Raja Rammohan Roy was the first to introduce prose in Bengali language. He also did translations of Sanskrit script to Bengali, wrote essays on religious topics and printed newspapers for common people. He also established a cultural front for Bengali people where they could freely express and share their views. Following him, another noted author Ishwar Chandra Bandhopadhyay in the pre-stage of Bengali literature. During this time two long movements, Sipoy mutiny and Indigo revolution shook the scenario of Bengali literature. In this time of revolution Dinabandhu Mitra one of the famous playwrights and dramatist wrote Nil Darpan. Changes and innovation had an effect on Bengali literature from time to time. Authors had their contribution to the literature society thereby making it more strong and prominent. Author cum poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt was the first to invent blank verse, literary epic and sonnets in Bengali language. He was a prolific writer in his time and has gained fame across the border. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was another author whose input added a mileage to the literary society of Bengal. His first novel Durgeshnandini considered as the benchmark in the history of Bengali literature. With time, Bengali literature has produced notable authors who played their part and added significance to the literature. During the 19th century, another important and noted writer of Bengal who had his fame across the globe was Rabibdranath Tagore. His contribution to the literary world was immense and influential to the people. His vast knowledge and ability has not only uplifted the Bengal literature status but has also gained fame and fortune. He was and is an asset of Bengal. His innumerable writings prose, poetry, novel, drama, short stories, dance drama is remarkable even today. In the year 1913, he was honoured with Nobel Prize for which our country is still proud of. His works are used in different aspects of life, be it a film, advertisement or day-to-day life his presence creates all the difference. In this time, another poet and author rose to its fame was Kazi Nazrul Islam. He was known as a rebellious poet and whose work transcendence secretarian boundaries. Just not poetry he was a musician and wrote thousands of songs. Both parts of Bengal are still proud of him and in future, it will continue to do so.  Bengali literature has another angle apart from poets and authors. They are playwrights and dramatists who have given a lot to the country’s’ culture. World has witnessed Bengals growth in literature. There have been many shades, which is the result of time and events. Every colour left an impression on Bengal’s literature and continuing to do so. Post Tagore period, there have been many authors and poets who has raised their voice through writings. Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay was considered as a modern and contemporary author in his time. His work reflects mundane life, pain, love, suffering, rural life and events that have been occurring in and around the society. His writings were simple and people loved this simplicity. Today many blockbusters of Bollywood and Tollywood thrive on his writing. There has been a massive change after his period. Authors like Tara Shankar Bandopadhyay, Bibhutibhusan Bandhopadhyay and Manik Bandhopadhyay have brought a new era in Bengali story telling with realistic writing. World famous directors like Satyajit Ray, Rwittick Ghatak did their films based on their stories. Other prominent authors were Humayun Ahmed, Jagadish Gupta, Satinath Bhaduri, Balai Chand Mukhopadhyay famously known as Bonophool, Kamal Kumar Majumder, Sunil Gagopadhayay, Saradindu Bandhopadhyay, Syed Shamsul Haque, Akhteruzzaman Elias, Sandipan CHattopadhyay, Sumontho Nath Ghosh, Gajendra Kumar Mitra, Bimal Mitra, Bimal Kar, Samaresh Basu, Mani Shankar Mukherjee also known as Shankar, Amar Mitra and many more whose presence had a deep impact on Bengali literature and heritage. Humayun Ahmed became a prolific writer and his stories of science fiction and supernatural became eye candy. It must be noted that Jagadish Chandra Basu initially sowed the first seed of science fiction. His writings are fair example of his thoughts and imaginations. After that, many followed the style and wrote marvellous science fiction stories. Even Satyajit Ray too had written stores on science fiction one of them famously known as Thakumar Jhuli (Grand mother’s mixed bag of tales including fantasy, mystery, science fiction and fairy tale) another is Professor Shanku. Another extension of Bengali literature was short stories, punning, witty and satire, which gained fame in no time. From Rabindranath Tagore to the authors of today try their hands on short stories. Notably they have excelled and many authors came into the lime light of literature holding the hands of short stories. Writers like Shibram Chakraborty, Premendra Mitra, Narayan Gangopadhyay are still cherished for their style of story telling and characterisation. Shibram Chakraborty is still famous for his punning and wit, whereas Premendra Mitra, his famous born character Ghanada is famous for his story telling abilities of his adventures and Narayan Gangopadhyay for his character Tenida, stories of him and his friend’s different journey. Bengali stories are divided into genres for all ages. Adventures, fiction, imagination, science fiction, mystery and detective stories have poured more and more to the pool. While cultivating about Bengali literature I was amazed to discover that every writer of Bengal has a detective series and all are famous. Not just writers’ poets also flourished. Following Tagore’s legacy poets like Kazi Nazrul Islam, Dwijendralal Ray, Jatindra Mohan Bagchi, Kumud Ranjan Mullick, Jibananada Das, Budhadeb Basu wrote their poems on life, reality, death, pain, love, Marxism and anything that influenced them in and around the society which was contrary to Tagore’s style. Among them Jasimuddin and Shamsur Rahman who are widely known as Polli Kobi took their poetic themes on rural life.  Musicians and singers also influenced the literature society of Bengal. From religious Kirtan to baul and fakira contributed equally. Lalon Fakir was prominent at that time when Bengal was going through turbulence. Many traditional singers actively participated in movements such as Naxalite and Liberation war. After Bengal has been divided, there has been a notable change in writing and perception style of two parts of Bengal. East Bengal authors retain to their themes such as rural life, society and West Bengal author explored different areas of literature. In this time emotion got a new language, fiction and imagination had more part to play. Authors like Rajshekar Basu also known as Parashuram wrote innumerable stories on fiction and dark satire. Sukumar Ray was another famous author who had written imaginative stories cherished by every age. Post independence era two notable movements have occurred that has changed the scenario of Bengal literature again. One is Hungryalist and Prakalpana movements both were nurtured by the Bengalis especially in Kolkata. These two movements had an adverse effect on the society. Poets, authors revolted and their weapon was writing. In this long period, Bengali literature evolved into a strong platform. It has produced many notable authors, writers, poets, lyricist, dramatist, playwrights and their contribution to the Bengali literature is beyond words. Even today, we read, share and cherish their works. Many writers flourished with name and fame and many are yet to be recognised but everyone made their valuable contribution and are equally talented which enriched the pool of Bengali literature and will continue to do so.


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