Jibanananda Das Poems

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Jibanananda Das
Jibanananda Das (17 February 1899 - 22 October 1954) is the most popular Bengali poet after Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam. He is considered one of the precursors who introduced modernist poetry to Bengali Literature, at a period when it was influenced by Rabindranath Tagore's Romantic poetry. During the later half of the twentieth century, Jibanananda Das emerged as the most popular poet of modern Bengali literature. Popularity apart, Jibanananda Das distinguished himself as an extra-ordinary poet presenting a paradigm hitherto unknown. It is a fact that his unfamiliar poetic diction, choice of words and thematic preferences took time to reach the heart of the readers. Nevertheless, today it can be said without exaggeration that the poetry of Jibanananda has become the defining essence of modernism in twentieth century Bengali poetry. As of 2007, Bengali is the mother tongue of more than 290 million people living mainly in Bangladesh and India. Bengali poetry of the modern age flourished on the elaborate foundation laid by Michael Madhusudan (1824-1873) and Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). Tagore, a literary giant, almost without a parallel during his time, ruled over the domain of Bengali poetry and literature for more than half a century bestowing inescapable influence on contemporary poets. Bengali literature caught attention of the international literary world when poet Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913, for Gitanjali, an anthology of poems rendered into English with the title Song Offering. Since then Bengali poetry has travelled a long way covering almost a century. It has evolved around its own tradition ; it has responded to the poetry movements around the world ; it has assumed various dimensions in different tones, colours and essence. Readers have enjoyed numerous developments, twists and turns gifted by poets of different era. In Bengal, efforts to come out of the Tagorian worldview and stylistics started in the early days of twentieth century. Poet Quazi Nazrul Islam [1899-1976] popularized himself on a wide scale with patriotic theme and musical tone and tenor. However, a number of new generation poets consciously attempted to align Bengali poetry with the essence of modernism emerging around the world. That commenced towards the end of the nineteenth century. Much of these can be attributed to the trends in contemporary Europe and America. Five poets who are particularly acclaimed for their contribution in creating a post-Tagorian poetic paradigm and infusing modernism in Bengali poetry are Sudhindranath Dutta [1901-1960], Buddhadeva Bose [1908-1974], Amiyo Chakravarty [1901-1986], Jibanananda Das [1899-1954] and Bishnu Dey [1909-1982]. The contour of modernism in twentieth century Bengali poetry was drawn by these five pioneers and some of their contemporaries. However, not all of them have survived the test of time. Of them, poet Jibanananda Das was little understood during his lifetime. In fact, he received scanty attention and was considered incomprehensible. Readers including his contemporary literary critics also alleged about his style and diction. On occasions, he faced merciless criticism from leading literary personalities of his time. Even Rabindranath Tagore passed unkind remarks on his diction although he praised his poetic capability. Nevertheless, destiny reserved a crown for him. Surely, his early poems bear the influence of Quazi Nazrul Islam and some other poets like Satyandranath Dutta. However, before long, he thoroughly overcame all influences and created a new poetic diction. Buddhadeva Bose was among the few who first recognized his extra-ordinary style and thematic novelty. However, as his style and diction matured, his message appeared to be obscured. Readers including critics started to complain about legibility and question sensibility. It is only after his unfortunate and accidental death in 1954 that a competent readership started to emerge who not only was comfortable with Jibanananda's style and diction but also enjoyed his poetry with immense pleasure. Question like obscurity of his poetic message was no more raised. By the time his birth centenary was being celebrated in 1999, Jibanananda Das was certainly the most popular and the most well-read poet of Bengali literature. Even when the last quarter of the twentieth century ushered in the post-modern era, Jibanananda Das continued to be relevant to the new taste and fervour. This has been possible because his poetry underwent many cycles of change, and later poems contain elements that precisely respond to post-modern characteristics.

banalata sen
For thousands of years I roamed the paths of this earth,
From waters round Ceylon in dead of ni... [read poem]
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