Jasimuddin defied western modernism: seminar

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 23:25, Mar 15,2018

 
 

Soumitra Shekhar speaks at a seminar on Jasimuddin held at Bangladesh National Museum on Wednesday. — Snigdha Zaman

Palli Kabi Jasimuddin countered western modernism’s influence on Bangla literature through his poems, plays and writings depicting traditional folk elements and rustic life, said speakers at a seminar on Wednesday at Sufia Kamal Auditorium of Bangladesh National Museum.
The seminar titled ‘Palli Kabi Jasimuddin: Jiban O Sahityakarma’ was organised by the museum marking 42nd death anniversary of the poet.
Professor of Bangla department of Dhaka University Dr Soumitra Shekhar presented the key-note paper at the seminar. Poet Habibullah Sirajee and Jasimuddin’s son Khurshid Anwar Jasimuddin were present as discussants at the programme. Professor emeritus Rafiqul Islam presided over the event.
‘Jasimuddin was contemporary with many major modern Bengali poets, who introduced western modernism in Bangla literature through their writings. However, Jasimuddin defined his own path and tried to create a counter narrative to western modernism by depicting his roots and rustic life in his works’, said Soumitra Shekhar.
In the 1920s and 1930s, when Bengali litterateurs were greatly influenced by western thoughts and styles, Jasimuddin took a stance against the colonisation of Bangla literature and enriched Bangla literature with his own poetic diction, added Shekhar.
‘It is not that Jasimuddin wrote puthis or folk tales following the traditional styles. Jasimuddin, who was an avid reader of puthis, chose folk elements, rural people and rustic life as his subjects and
narrated those using his own diction and style which urban readers
still find appealing,’ said Shekhar.
Shekhar, however, expressed his concern over the declining popularity of Jasimuddin among today’s readers. ‘It is sad that both our writers and readers have accepted western modernism without question and not many followed in Jasimuddin’s footsteps’, added Shekhar.
Professor emeritus Rafiqul Islam said, ‘Jasimuddin’s contemporaries thought he was a naive poet trying to depict rural Bengal, rural people and rustic life in his works. But in reality he was a politically conscious poet who deliberately defied western modernism and tried to enrich our literature using his rich poetic diction and style.’

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