Literature of Bangladesh, Culture

The history of Bangladesh's literature extends back many centuries, with the oldest sample of Bengali literature dating back a thousand years. A notable difference is seen in the literary works of pre- and post-independent Bangladesh. Literature from Bangladesh is produced in many forms, from novels to poetry, and in several languages.

It was during medieval times that Bangladesh’s literature reached new heights as Muslim rulers became patrons of this art form. Well-known Bangladeshi poets of the era are Alaol, Chandi Das and Daulat Kazi. Toward the end of the 19th century Bengali literature entered a modern era, introducing literary geniuses such as Rahindranath Tagor, Kazi Ahdul Wadud, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Kankim Chandra Chattopadhyai and Mir Mosharraf Hossain.

Renowned Rabindranath Tagore’s literary career encompassed more than 60 years of his life. During this time he produced an abundance of exquisite works including poems, songs, plays, novels, volumes of short stories. He also produced prose covering topics such as politics, society, literature and religion. Over and above this he engaged in many other activities such as painting, lecture tours through Europe, Asia and America, translating into English, educational reforms, religion and politics. Tagore is certainly a legend amongst the people of Bangladesh and throughout the world.

Shamsur Rahman is considered by many to be Bangladesh’s greatest poet, having published some 60 collections of poetry. He has been acclaimed for bringing about a new dimension to Bengali poetry. Shamsur is in fact a journalist by profession and has won several awards for his contributions to Bangladesh’s literature, including the Swadhinata Award, the Bangla Academy Award and the Ekushey Padak.

Kazi Nazrul Islam, also known as the Rebel Poet (asbidrohi kobi), hit Bangladesh’s literary scene with a bang when his poem entitled “bidrohi” was published. This poem touched the hearts of people and so affected the population deeply. Nazrul’s literary works speak out against religious and social bigotry, oppression and other contributors to national discord. Nazrul is also popular for his song writing abilities, having produced some 3000 songs. His main works include Chayanat, Sanchita, Agnivina and Dolan Champa.

Bangladesh’s literature and literary figures have not only had an immense influence within in the country, but have extended beyond borders, bringing to light many issues plaguing the nation as well as inspiring many to achieve their dreams.

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