The 119th birth anniversary of Bengali poet Jibanananda Das will be observed today.
Jibanananda Das was born on 17 February 1899 in Barisal. His father Satyananda Das was a school teacher and founder editor of the Brahmabadi. His mother Kusumkumari Das was a poet and wrote a famous poem titled ‘Adorsho Chhele’. Matriculating in 1915 from Barisal Brajamohan School, Jibanananda completed his IA in 1917 from B M College, and BA with Honours in English in 1919 and MA in 1921 from Presidency College. He also studied law for some time.
Though he did not achieve much popularity in his lifetime, but nowadays critics consider him as the greatest poet of post-Tagore era. Jibananda’s unique talent was realised after his death with the discovery of many of his manuscripts.
Jibanananda started writing poems at an early age. While he was still a student, his poem titled ‘Barsa Abahan’, was published in the Brahmabadi in April 1919. Many of his poems were published in various magazines.
Jibanananda belonged to the group of poets who tried to shake off Rabindranath Tagore’s poetic influence. Inspired by western modernism and the intellectual outlook of the Bengali middle class, this group wrote about the realities of the urban present and of the lonely self even while they drew upon the rural traditions of Bengal. Although Jibanananda’s early poems reveal some influences of Kazi Nazrul Islam, Satyendranath Dutta and Mohitlal Majumder, he shook off these influences to become a towering figure in Bangla poetry. During the latter half of the twentieth century, Jibanananda emerged as the most popular poet of modern Bengali literature.
Jibanananda’s poems of rural Bengal played an important role in the political and cultural perspective of Bangladesh. His poems inspired a pride in Bengali nationhood, especially in the 1960s and during the war of liberation in 1971. Though principally a poet, Jibanananda also wrote essays, short stories, and novels.
His volumes of poetry include Jhara Palak (Fallen Feathers, 1927), Dhusar Pandulipi (Gray Manuscript, 1936), Banalata Sen (1942), Mahaprthibi (Great Universe, 1944), Satti Tarar Timir (1948), Rupasi Bangla (Beautiful Bengal, written in 1934, published in 1957), Bela Abela Kalbela (1961).
Many of his novels were published posthumously including Malyaban (1972), Sutirtha (1977), Jalpaihati, Jibanpranali, Basmatir Upakhyan and others. He wrote about two hundred stories. A collection of his short stories is Jibanananda Dasher Galpa (1972). His complete works have been published in 12 volumes, as Jibanananda Samagra from Kolkata.
Banalata Sen received an award (1953) at the Nikhil Banga Rabindra Sahitya Sammelan. Jibanananda Dasher Shrestha Kavita won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1954. Jibanananda died in a tram accident in Kolkata on 22 October 1954.
Marking Jibananda Das’s birth anniversary, recitation troupe Kalparup will organise a recitation programme featuring poems of Jibananda Das at Swakat Osman Memorial auditorium of Central Public Library at Shahbagh today.
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