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Great Banglees II

Great Bangalees II



Pyari Chand Mitra (1814-1883)

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (1838-94)

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was born on 26 June 1838 at the village of Kathalpara, near Naihati, North 24 Parganas, West Bangla of Jadab Chandra Chatterjee and Durga Debi. Son of a deputy collector, he grew up to join civil service as the deputy magistrate and deputy collector of the district of Jessore as soon as he completed his law degree from Presidency college Calcutta in 1857. 

He was a member of an illustrious family, his brother being Sanjib Chatterjee the famous nature writer and the author of "Palamou". Bengalis, for the 1st time got the taste of a real novel in the pre-Tagore era through Chatterjee.  In 1864 his first novel in English, Rajmohon's Wife started appearing on weekly basis in the Education Gazette. But somehow it was found missing the charm of the language. His Bangla novel, which he had already started writing in 1863, was soon published. "Durgesh Nandini" as it was called created a sensation in the Bengali literary arena. "Kapal Kundala" followed this in 1866, which was inspired by his encounter with a 'kapalik' or a sadhu who believes in the worship of 'Shakti' while he was in Negua.

In 1869, his 3rd novel 'Mrinalini' was published and the readers for the first time found the flavour of patriotism in his literary works. In 1872 he took over as the editor of the prestigious magazine Bangadarshan. In 1873 two new novels "Bishbriksha" and "Indira" were published which dealt with social problems. His next novel was "Jugalangurio" published in 1874. In 1880 while acting as the temporary PA of the commissioner of Burdwan, "Chandrashekher" and "Radharani" were published. "Rajani" followed these in 1877 and "Kirishnakanter Will" in 1878. In 1882 his eleventh novel "Rajsingha" based on the royal families of Marwar came in the market. His most famous novel "Anandamath" was also published this year. "Anandamath" is termed, as his most political novel which was a source of inspiration to the patriots  fighting for the freedom of their motherland (the revolutioneries of Anushilan Sangha's including Sri Aurobindo).

The chant "Bande Mataram" which later was adopted by the patriots as their slogan in the fight for freedom was coined in this novel. In late 1882 when he was transferred to Judgepur Orissa he started writing his thirteenth novel "Debi Chaudhurani". It was published in 1884. The last novel he wrote was "Sitaram", published in 1887. Not only did he write novels, he was also one of the most effective columnists. His collection of essays like " Lok Rahashya " and " Kamalakanter Daptar" criticized the meaningless Bengali customs in a manner that forced an immediate change.

The British Government honored him with the title "Ray Bahadur" in 1892. He became a CIE in 1894.The great novelist passed away on 8th April 1894.   

Michael Madhusudan Datta
Kali Prasanna Singha (1840-1870)

Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay (1876-1938)

If story telling is the best of the novelistic qualities, Sarat Chandra stands at its best among his peers. Born in the village of Debanandapur in Hoogly district, Sarat Chandra was reared by his maternal relatives in Bhagalpur. He finished his high school in 1894 and enrolled in a local college which he had to withdraw from due to lack of financial support. In 1903 young Sarat Chandra left poverty stricken Bangla (thanks to British colonialism) went to Burma to try his luck. His first novel 'Ramer Sumati' was published in 'Jamuna' a leading Bangla magazine. His two other novels, Path Nirdesh and Bindur Chhele were applauded by the readers. In Rangoon, he wrote Biraj Bou, Panditmosai, Palli Samaj. On his return to Kolkata in 1916, he started lived Baje-Shibpur area for some time. Later he moved to his own house at Panitras village in Howrah district. His novel Mandi' received the Kuntaleen award. Using a psedonym Anila Debi Sarat Chandra wrote a couple of novels. Sarat Chandra's greatest romatic novels are Srikanto and Charitraheen. His patriotic novel Pather Daabi which idolised the Jagantarite / Annusialinte form of anti imperialist rebels was banned by the British rulers. In 1923, he received 'Jagattarini' Gold medal from Calcutta University and Dhaka Uiversity honored him with a DLit.


Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay (1894-1950)

Aparajito, Umarani, Pui Macha, Aronyak, Ichhamoti, Debayan, Adarsha Hindu Hotel, Bipiner Sangsar, MeghaMallar, Mauriphool, Jatrabadol, Dristi Pradeep. Teen novel: Chander Pahar, Hira Manik Jwale, Bone Pahare, Maroner Donka Baje

Tara Shanker Bandapadhyay (1898-1971):Gono Debota, Kalindi
Balaichand Mukhopadhyay, Banoful (1899)

Satyen Sen (1907-1981)


Manik Bandopadhaya (1908-1956)

Somen Chanda (1920-1942)

Young poet and the assistant editor of Pragati Lekhakh Sangha. In 1941 Somen was elected the editor of the sangha and Achyut Goswami the assistant editor.

On 8 March 1942, the Communist Party launched a big protest rally against fascism. Among the participants in the rally and seminar from Kolkata were Jyoti Bosu, Snhangsu Acharya, Bankim Mukherjee and Sadhan Gupta. According to Gokul Chandra, a member of the communist party and an organiser of the rally Somen Chanda was killed by the goons of Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) at Sebasram, Sutrapur, Dhaka on 8 March 1942. Somen was actually leading a procession of the railway laborers to the seminar.

Works: End of Night, Dream, One Night, Signal, Riot, The Rat

Bimal Mitra

Syed Mujtoba Ali

Born in Sylhet in 1904, Syed Mujtoba Ali he had his early education at a government school in the district. In 1921, he went to Shantiniketan (The Home of Peace) and was among the first students of Biswa-Bharati. 

After leaving Shantiniketan, Dr Ali studied in Aligarh university, and then took up a teaching assignment in Kabul at the age of 23. Later, he went to Germany and received his doctorate from University of Bonn. From there he joined the Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. On invitation from the Gaekwad of Baroda, he taught as a Professor for eight years in the then undivided India. Soon after that, he began to write a popular column for Anandabazar magazine in Koltata under the pseudonym 'Satyapiir (The True Saint)'. He joined the Ministry of Education in New Delhi and began writing about his travels in the Desh in 1948.

Dr. Ali then spent time working in East Bengal, which by then had become the eastern province of the new state of Pakistan. While serving as Principal of Bogra College, he wrote about the need for a separate state language for Bangalees. In a moment of prescience, he observed that if "Urdu is forced upon the people, they will revolt one day, and eventually secede from West Pakistan. If we leave our mother tongue for fear of being attacked, one day we'll have to leave our homeland for fear of our lives". That was in 1949 -- three years before the Bangla Language Movement began in 1952.

In the early 'fifties, Dr Ali joined Akashbani (Indian radio) as station director and served at Patna, Cuttack, Kolkata and Delhi stations. However, he left that position to go back to Santiniketan and resume his literary pursuits. Incidentally, Dr. Ali wrote at least 28 books in Bangla and has one publication in English. At Biswa-Bharati he was appointed professor of Islamic History and Culture. He also taught German there. Dr. Ali was awarded the Narsingha Das Prize in 1949 and the Ananda Puraskar (Award) in 1961. Independent Bangladesh is yet to offer any formal recognition for his contribution to Bangla literature.

Syed Mujtoba Ali refused to acknowledge the Pakistani state and wrote from Kolkata, which made it increasingly difficult for him to visit his family in East Pakistan. After independence, he was finally able to make his home in Dhanmondi until he passed away on February 11, 1974.

Syed Mujtoba Ali's breathtaking use of Bangla, Farsi, Arabic, French and other languages, his use of metaphor and skilful insertion of verse has few, if any, comparisons amongst Bangla writers. Dr. Ali's writings crossed the imposed borders of caste, geography, language and religion. He never shied away from referring to Hindu folklore that is at the core of Bangla culture, or to European cultural practices, idioms and humour, as he deemed necessary for his craft. He was just as passionate in 
referring to Tagore as Gurudev as Tagore was in referring to his favourite student as Situ.

Works: Deshe Bideshe, Shabnam

Dr. Sarwat Chowdhury, NY

Ashutosh Mukhopadhyay
Ashapurna Debi
Mahasweta Debi
Debesh Ray

Shawkat Osman (1917-


Syed  Wali Ullah (1922-1971): Lal Salu

Gajendra Mitra
Syed Mujtaba Siraj
Samaresh Bosu
Shibram Chakroborty    (Hasir Golpo)
Dibyendu Palit
Annada Sankar Ray

Shahidullah Kaiser (1926-1971): 

Sunil Gangopadhyay (1934): Sei Somoy, Purba Pashchim
Syed Samsul Haque (1934)
Shawkat Ali  (1935)
Sanjib Chattopadhyay (1936): Lota Kambal

Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay: Manob Jamin, Durbeen

Samaresh Majumder: Kalbela, Garbhadharini
Abdul Mannan Syed (1943)

Akhtaruz Zaman Elyas (1943-97)

Akhtaruzzaman Elias wrote only two novels - Chilekothar Sepai (Sentry of the Attic, 1986) and Khoabnama (Dream- Elegy, 1996) but he has created a permanent place in the history of Bangla novels. In the context of the novels of Bangladesh, he is possibly the second person highest acclaimed after Syed Waliullah (1922-1971). Elias started his literary career with the volume of short stories Anya Ghore Anya Swar in 1976, though before it his Chilekothar Sepai began to be published serially in a national daily. By then he came in limelight as a serious and committed fiction writer.

Elias aspired to capture five decades (1940s to 1990s) of his tormented homeland within a broad and multi-layered canvas and this he could do best in his two unforgettable novels - Chilekothat Sepai (Sentry of the Attic) and Khowabnama (Dream- Elegy). While the first portrays the political resurgence which led to the war of liberation in 1971, the second depicts the turmoil of Partition-politics in a village in Bangladesh in the 1940s. Indeed, the second (Khowabnama) has already become a classic by invoking the revolts of the past - Sanyasi and Fakir uprisings in the 18th Century - and linking these with the historic Tebhaga movement of the 1940s. There is no doubt that Elias swore allegiance to the oppressed and that is why he condemned the Partition of Bengal as a ploy to deceive the exploited, both Hindu and Muslim. Both these novels attest to Elias's abiding faith in Marxism. "Elias' Marxism is much more rigorous than bourgeois Thomas Mann's socialism... he applies his own ideology to trace his own redemptive elegy which is different from primarily humanistic ends" commented Subhoranjan Dasgupta, a renown Bangalee novelist.

Elias deserves a reputation as the most powerful novelist in the Bengali literary world after Manik Bandyopadyay. The book is an evaluation of the creativity and ideology of Akhtaruzzaman Elias, a brilliant novelist and short story writer of Bangladesh. Elias died at the unripe age of 54 (1943-97) and wrote only two novels-Chilekothar Sepai (Sentry of the Attic) and Khowabnama (Dream-Elegy). But these two texts and his short stories, not many in number, have turned him into an icon, remembered and revered. The Author examines Elias's poetry, short stories, two novels, and his cosmovision and then analyses the varied responses of the readers of Bangladesh. Here, aesthetic judgement is refracted through the prism of ideology. In fact, by applying the theories of the neo-Marxians and post-modernists (Theodor Adorno, Frederic Jameson, Jacques Derrida and others) to the creative texts of Elias, he demonstrates how theory and praxis come to be interwoven is a comparatist's discourse. This is the first evaluation of Elias written in English, an author whom illustrious writers like Mahasveta Debi and Hasan Azizul Haque regard as a 'wonder'. Based on a sensitive and meticulous deconstruction of Elias's texts, it should encourage readers to proceed to the texts themselves. The Appendices reveal the personality of Elias, and the comprehensive Bibliography will help researchers interested in Elias, modern literary theory and sociology of literature. Elegy and Dream Akhtaruzzaman Elias' Creative Commitment Author: Subhoranjan Dasgupta.

Awards: Bangla Academy Award (1983), Alaol Literary Award (1987), Ananda Award (1996).

Maitryaee Debi: Na Hanyate
Kabita Singha
Buddha Deb Guha
Rizia Rahman
Dilara Hashem: Amlokir Mau
Selina Hossain: Hangar Nodi Grenade

Humayun Azad (1947-2004)

The most prolific and versatile among the contemporary Bangladeshi literary critics, Dr Humayun Azad is also a linguist, novelist and a poet. His writings exposed the politics and ideology of the so-called Islamic fundamentalists of Bangladesh. The goons of Jamat-e-Islam, on  instruction from one of the war criminals and the so-called Islamic Saidi, attempted to kill Dr Azad on February 27, 2004 while he was returning home from the Book Fair. A week prior to Dr Azad's assault, Saidi demanded, in the parliament, that Dr Azad's political satire Pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad (Paki National anthem)" be banned. Dr Azad was later sent to Thailand for treatment. Dr Azad however returned home in June, spirit intact but physically damaged beyond recognition. The Jamati leaders and preachers continued to threat Dr azad and his family members and kidnapped his son. Being under Jamati death threat Dr Azad then left Dhaka for Germany on a fellowship offered by PEN. Five days following his arrival in Munich Dr Azad was found dead in the morning of 14 August 2004.

The Islamists and Pakistan Military Intelligence were behind the death of Dr Azad. His book pak Sar Jamin Sad Bad is the first book by a Bangalee Muslim that has taken seriously the theme of profanity and irreverence. Apart from Salman Rushdi and Hanif Kureshi who write in English Dr Azad is the first Bangladeshi Muslim writer to use these novelistic genres. This novel exposes the hypocrisy and debauchery underlying the so-called Pakistan movement that emerged from the oriental studies and implemented by the British in Indian sub-continent. This book exposes the vile nature of the so-called Maududists who lead the Jamt-e-Islam in Bangladesh and Pakistan. The Pakistani Military Intelligence is alarmed because this book tends to hit the root of Islamic ideology.

Works: 1. Incorporeal Steamer (poetry) -73. 2. Tears Rapt in Funeral Attires 3. 56 Thousand Square Miles-95. 4. Things Fall Apart-96. 5. My Crimes as a Man. 6. The Death of the Magician-97. 7. The Politicians-73. 8. The State n the sociological Ideas-Essays of Rabindranath-83. 9. The Lone Mountaineer-Samsur Rahman-88. 10. The Dehumanization of Arts and other essays-90. 11.Language Movement-Literary Context-92. 12. Woman-92 13. Under the dark Shades of Fundamentalism-92. 14. Tranquil Night-92. 15. The bouncing boat-92. 16. The Eternal Seasons of Hell. 17. The Olive Darkness. 18. The Formula of Limitation. 19. Chittagong Hill Tracts: The Stream of Hatred Amidst the Green Hills-98. 20. The Second Sex (Translation). 21. Pronominalization in Bengali-83. 22. The Friend n Foes of Bangla Language-84-83. 23. Comparative n Historical Linguistics-88. 24. Bangla Language (Vol-I & II). 25. Fire worms in my breaspocket-93. 26. A Bunch of Angels of Our City.


Pop Writers

Dhaka Kolkata
Rahat Khan Upendrakeshore Ray
Kazi Anwar Hossain (Masud Rana, Kuasha) Sukumar Ray 
Romena Afaz Abadhut
Humayun Ahmed Ray (Pheluda,  Prof Sanku)
Muntasir Mamoon Sankar


Falguni Mukhopadhyay


Nimai Bhattacharya


Nihar Ranjan Gupta
  Bimal Kar
   Neil Lohit (Sunil)
  Liela Majumder



Ishwar Chandra Gupta (1810-1898)
Aksay Kumar Datta (1820-1886)
Iswar Chandra Bidyasagar (1820-1891)
Rajendra Lal Mitra (1822-1891)
Bhudev Mukhopadhyay (1825-1898)
Raj Shekhar Bosu (1826-1899)
Dwijendra Nath Thakur: Linguistic essays (1840-1926)
Ram Das Sen: Archaeological Essays (1845-1887)
Hara Prasad Shastri (1852-1931)
Troilokyanath Bhattacharya (1860-1903)
Aksay Kumar Maitrya (1861-1930)
Dinesh Chandra Sen (1866-1939)
Pramath Chaudhuri (1868-1946)
Dr Muhammad Shahidullah (1880-1969)
Shudhir Pradhan (1883)
Suniti Kumar Chattopadhyay (1890-1977)
Dhurjati Prasad Mukhopadhyay (1896-1960)
Gaurisankar Bhattacharya
Prodyot Ghosh
Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri (1897-1998)

Kazi Motahar Hossain (1897-1981)

Rajyeswar Mitra
Gopal Halder
Sukumar Sen
Arun Kumar Basu
Sukumar Biswas
Ahmed Sharif. Click here for more 

Abdullah Al Muti Sharifuddin (1930)

Anisuz Zaman (1937), Kolkata, West Bangla
BK Jahangeer  

 Muntasir Mamoon


Tanveer Mokammel


Philosophers/Thinkers/Reformers/ Educationists/ Intellectuals

Khana Radhanath Shikder
Atish (Chandragarbha) Dipanker (982 AD) Ramkrisna Paramhansa (1836-1886) Cult of goddess Kali
Sri Chaitanya(1486-1533) Shishir Ghosh (1840-1911): Baishnavite cult
Ram Mohan Ray (1774-1833) Shibnath Shastri (1847-1919)
Kudrat-e-Khuda Bibek Ananda (1862-1902)
Henry LV De Rosio (1809-31)

Asutosh Mukhopadhyay

Ishwar Chandra Bidyasagaar (1820-1891) Aroj Ali Matubbar



Swarna Kumari Devi (1855-1931) Rijia Rahman
Begum Rokeya (1880--1932) Dilara Hashem
Ila Mitra Matia Chowdhury

Poet Sufia Kamal

Taslima Nasreen
Krittibas Kali Ram Das
Bidya Pati Chandi Das
Gobinda Das Balaram Das
Kamal Kumar Majumder Geerish Chandra Sen
Gangadas Sen Shah Waliullah
Shankar Chakravarty Hayat Mahmood


Krisnamohan Bandyopadhyay(18--) Kudrat-e-Khuda
Hara Prasad Shastri(1852-1931) Muhammad Shahidullah (1880-1969)
Abdul Karim Sahityabisarad (1869-1953) Muhammad Enamul Huq


Satyen Sen (Udichi)

Ranesh Dasgupta (Udichi)

Ranada Prasad Saha (Kumudidni trust, Bharateshwari homes) Nutan Chandra Sen (Kundeshwari, Chittagong)
Jogesh Chndra (Sadhana, Gandaria, Dhaka) Ashwini Kumar Datta (Barisal)
Brajomohan (Barisal) Brajo Lal Ray (Khulna)
Ananda Mohan (Mymensingh) Nalini Das (Bhola)


Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury KG Mustafa
Santosh Gupta Fayez Ahmed
Shahriar Kabir Saleem Samad
Prabir Sarkar Manik Saha
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