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The Modernism Timeline of Bangla Literature



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What started from the 19th century with the foundation of the Fort William College hardly caught the attention of the mass during its nascent days; however, it was also beyond anybody’s comprehension to be hopeful about the colossal form that it attained over the years. If we categorize the developments, we shall see that a lot of factors came into play; we decided to list them for a better understanding of the reader:



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·         The rise and development of literature in a prose form.

·         The influences of Sanskrit scholars who welcomed the trend with an open heart.

·         The influence of western literature.

·         Diversification of subjects.

·         The rise of journals and periodicals.

·         The inclusion of colloquial language as the writing medium that made it attain a status of a literary language.

·         Development of new genres, especially among the poetry section.

·         A change of outlook that brought out Bangla from its regional confinements changed.


All these resulted in giving Bangla a new skin formed out of a sense that’s universal, eternal and independent; as awareness grew, the new face of Bangla literature started influencing greatly the Bengali life up to such an extent where it was started being considered a standard to measure the average Bengali character.


It’s commonly said that there’s three sides to every story; however, the new trend in Bangla took the concept a flight above; if we analyze the whole occurrence, it shall reveal to us a six-fold way down the memory lane with everyone from the Christian missionaries, Sanskrit scholars, western-literature-influenced early Bengali writers, our own Rabindranath Tagore, the post-Rabindranath Period and the post-partition period, being significant milestones. Thus, we can provide an account of the phases in the following way: 


  • The first phase: It was an era that lasted for half a century, from 1800 till 1850; also termed as the era of prose, this is when the Christian missionaries as well as the Sanskrit scholars demonstrated the modernistic outlook through their style of writing prose.  


  • The second phase: Another name for the period being the era of development, it continued from 1851 till 1900, exhibiting a legion that was highly influenced by the literary styles of the West. Novels and poetical works being the predominant identity of the era, the creations from this period have stood the test of time not only among Bengalis but also among the global literary circuit. 



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  • The third phase: An era marked by the presence of Rabindranath Tagore, the period between 1890 and 1930 was the sole domination of the eminent poet.  


  • The fourth phase: Though much shorter in its span if compared to the others, the post-Rabindranath Tagore phase that existed from 1930 to 1947 is regarded as a phase devoid of any influence of Rabindranath Tagore. 


  • The fifth phase: The post-partition phase, as people often refer to it, was the timeline that existed from 1947 till 1970; the political division of Bengal as well as its bifurcation gave rise to two different sides of Bangla literature -0 the literature of West Bengal and the literature of Bangladesh.  


  • The sixth phase: The latest phase of bangle literature, it started with the advent of the Bangladeshi intellectuals that’s still continuing.
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