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History of Bangla Literature

 

 

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Dating back to over 1200 years, Bangla literature is one among the earliest ones that had brought poets and writers from various other religions to contribute in its and interact on the grounds of secular humanism. Divided into a number of eras spanning from ancient and middle to early-modern, modern and post-modern periods, what we present here are brief details of the renowned works from each of the periods.

  

  • Ancient Age: The oldest form of Bangla literature ever known to the literary world, Charyapada is a collection of poems composed in the 9th century A.D. and lay dormant in the Nepal Royal Court Library till discovered by Harprashad Sastri in 1907. A collection of palm leaf manuscripts written in Sondhya Bhasa i.e. twilight language, the forty-seven verses are actually the works of twenty-three different poets who came from the various regions of Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Bihar between the 9th and 11th centuries AD. The poetries, or the Charyas thus reflect the linguistic affinities of each of these regions, though the vocabulary mostly comprises typically Assamese non-tatsama words.

  

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  • Middle Age: If not for anything else, then the middle age of Bangla literature (15th century AD) is a remarkable period marked by the advent of the early Vaishnab texts. Examples include the Shreekrishna Kirtana Kabya; composed by Boru Chandidas, this piece of literary work depicts a speech style way different from the most ancient example of Bengali language narrated in Charyapada and is regarded as the point where modern Bangla started taking form. The Padavali of Vidyapati and Chandidas also requires a mention here as the members of the above category, whereas the credits for the earliest Bangla translations (from Sanskrit) goes to Krittibas Ojha for Sri Ram Panchali and to Maladhar Basu for Sri Krishna Vijay. Apart from these, it was also the Mangalkavya that makes a worthwhile representation of the existing Bengali literature during the Middle Ages in Bengal along with Chaitanya Charitamrita, a magnum opus by Krishna Dasa Kaviraja, written in a hybrid language derived out of Bengali and Sanskrit on Chaitanya, a pivotal figure of Gaudiya Vaishnavism within the main Hindu sect. It was at the same time when devotional music also marked its prominence among the medieval literatures, the most famous ones being Shakta Padavali by Ramprasad Sen and Kamalakanta Bhattacharya.

  

  • Early Modern Age: Marked by the presence of such elites as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Pyari Chand Mitra, Kaliprasanna Sinha, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Rabindranath Tagore, it was a period when Bangla literature found a new form both in the fields of original works and translations in the form of poetries, drama, novels, short stories and essays.

  

  • Modern and post-modern periods: Renowned for its collection of short stories, it was the modern and the post modern periods of Bangla literature that brought forth this aspect through eminent writers like Satyajit Ray, Manik Bandopadhyay, Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay, Raj Shekhar Basu, Premendra Mitra and the likes though the seeds were sown first in the early modern age. Poetry found a new definition from the writings of Jibanananda Das who moved to transcend the legacy of Rabindranath Tagore by adopting realism in his writing, exploring areas formerly thought to be too dark and set the grounds for an entire legion of writers later to follow.

For Bengali translation by native translator contact www.indianscripts.com 

 

 

For Bengali translation by native translator contact www.indianscripts.com 

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