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Three sides to every story: Literature from Bangladesh  



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To speak of Bangla literature as a whole, the name of Bangladesh comes up inevitably; a three-phase era whose roots were laid during the troubled times in 1947. A decade followed before the initial form underwent further transformation and in 1970, it kicked-off as the modern persisting structure.  



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The 1947 to 1957 era is in reality a pre-partition phenomenon. The host of problems East Bengal faced including an inflow of refugees, multiple economic distress, communal disturbances – it was also the Pakistani regime's hostile attitude towards East Bengal that played a significant part. The aftermath and up to a certain extent, realization, of creating a domain based on religion reflected through the Language Movement; the protest of the resident Bengalis towards making URDU the chief language. The demand for linguistic rights thus came out in the form of the first phase of Bangla literature. It laid the foundation for a separate entity, though being a continuation of the trends set by Muslim writers of undivided Bengal. Fiction was the first outlet. 



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The base on which modern Bangladeshi literature stands was a joint effort from the people of prominence; Muhammad Najibur Rahman, Korban Ali, Sheikh Idris Ali, Kazi Imdadul Huq, Kazi Abdul Wadud, Akbaruddin and many more gave it shape between 1895 and 1978. Among the rest, Abul Fazal and Humayun Kabir contributed through assimilating the cerebration of the Bengali Muslim society of the early 20th century.  


Rural Bangladesh plays a substantial role all over the first phase; evident from works like Laalshaloo, Char-Bhanga Char or Alamnagarer Upakatha, it took some time to appear in forefront for the writers who chose life of the middle class and its crisis as their theme. Abul Fazal, the author of Jiban Pather Yatri and Ranga Prabhat are such two works. But novels were the trend, not short stories.  


The genre came to prominence in the post-1947 era; the Partition of Bengal gave rise to a new social life of the middle class. The theme stuck with the new writers reflecting vividly the social reality and how the onset of urban life replacing the rural quietude. Alauddin Al-Azad's Mriganabhi is considered a landmark in this aspect. 


The other form, i.e. poetry was struggling to establish a separate form devoid of Kolkata -centred panache; the effort resulted in romantic poems based on early Islamic history and nationalism. Farookh Ahmad, the most salient poet of the era paid special attentions to religious sentiments; we may state it as an example of the then-existent secular and humanistic themes, while serenades of depravity were centering around the modern society, its daily fatigue and suppressed rebellion. 


The collective angst brought forth the events of 21 February; the year 1952 influenced poetry the most, as much as the national life of the country. Anthologies like Ekushey February and Natun Kavita played significant roles to promote secularism and humanism; playwrights, however, could not flourish to any significant extent untilMunier Chowdhury single-handedly raised the status of Bangla plays to an international level. Some hold the religious and social taboos largely responsible; technical drawbacks regarding the presentations also kept the genre stifled. Historical themes like Akbaruddin's Nadir Shah demanded more than good performers.  


The beginning of the second phase in 1958 can be termed as a protest against the dictatorial policy of army chief Ayub Khan, that also derived from the people's uprising in 1968, the students' movement in 1969, the victory of the Bengalis in the 1970 general elections and the after-effects of Pakistan’s refusal to transfer power to them. Commitment to society and progressive political thoughts being the chief subjects, the phase blended modernism with individualistic European approaches, until the third phasemarked its presence in1971 following the liberation warof Bangladesh. Inspired by the war, the dream of a free and classless Bangladesh thus met the realization of independence, sentiments and experiences; it was a new slue that set out an era of differential fictional, poetic,political and sociological creations.

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