Michael Madhusudan Dutt: A Pioneer in Bengali Drama

Michael Madhusudan Dutt is said to be Bangladesh’s pioneer in drama – a respected dramatist and poet from the nineteenth century. Meghnadh Badh Kabaya is a famous epic written by Dutt, which is filled with tragedy and consists of nine cantos that complete this work. Michael Madhusudan Dutt wrote poems about love and sorrow as seen through the eyes of women, placing him amongst the greatest poets of his time. He was born in 1824, in East Bengal, which eventually became Bangladesh, and passed away in 1873, leaving behind a magnificent literary legacy.

Michael Madhusudan Dutt wanted to be an Englishman in that he admired their way of life and mannerisms. His admiration for them drove him to adopt Michael as his first name, and he converted from his Hindu religion to Christianity. As he grew older, his admiration for them deteriorated and he wrote about his love for Bangladesh and his regret in his poems. It is said he pioneered not only Bangla Sonnets, but also blank verse, which in Bangladesh is called Amitrakshar Chhanda.

Dutt attended Bishops College after moving to England from 1844 to the year 1847, but his father cut off the funding for his education, and he moved to Madras, where he earned a living by being a teacher and a journalist. He married Rebecca McTavish in 1848, and had four children with her, but in 1856 he left her and his children behind, moving to Calcutta with Amelia Sophia, with whom he had a child in 1959. Here, for the next three years, Dutt wrote a collection of works, including his first Bengali poem and a heroic epistles collection. He also wrote The Slaying of Meghnanada during this time, in 1861.

Dutt decided to move back to England in 1862, where he continued to write. His lavish lifestyle, which included drinking, added to his financial difficulties and in 1867 he returned to Calcutta. Becoming a member of the Calcutta Bar did not solve his financial difficulties and his health also began to fail. Sadly he died in 1873, and was given a Christian burial service.