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ISSN 2277-9426

Journal of Bengali Studies

Vol. 3, No. 1
Literature and o!e"ents#
Bengali $rossroads
Buddhapurnima, 30 Boishakh 1421 Summer Issue, 14 May 2014
ISSN# 2277-9426
Journal of Bengali Studies

Vol. 3, No. 1
14 a% 2&14
Budd'a(urni"a, 3& Bois'a)' 1421

Su""er Issue
Literature and Movements:
Bengali Crossroads

*ditor# +a"al ,asgu(ta

+'e -o""entaries., arti-les., re!ie/s. and /or)s'o(.s -o(%rig'ts0indi!idual -ontri1utors, /'ile
t'e Journal of Bengali Studies 'olds t'e (u1lis'ing rig't for re-(u1lis'ing t'e -ontents of t'e
2ournal in future in an% for"at, as (er our ter"s and -onditions and su1"ission guidelines.
*ditorial0+a"al ,asgu(ta. $o!er design 1% +a"al ,asgu(ta. 3urt'er, Journal of Bengali
Studies is an o(en a--ess, free for all e-2ournal and /e (ro"ise to go 1% an 4(en 5--ess 6oli-% for
readers, students, resear-'ers and organi7ations as long as it re"ains for non--o""er-ial
(ur(ose. 8o/e!er, an% a-t of re(rodu-tion or redistri1ution of t'is 2ournal, or an% (art t'ereof,
for -o""er-ial (ur(ose and9or (aid su1s-ri(tion "ust a--o"(an% (rior /ritten (er"ission fro"
t'e *ditor, Journal of Bengali Studies. 3or an% :ueries, (lease -onta-t# s'o(todina;g"ail.-o"
and edit21s;g"ail.-o"
3or our *ditorial Board, general (oli-ies and (u1li-ation details, (lease see our /e1site
'tt(#991engalistudies.1logs(ot.-o" and ///.1engalistudies.-o"
*ditorial 7
The Radha Idea at the Crossroads of History, Culture and Politics: Gitagovinda and the Boishnob
Movement in Bengal
Tamal Dasgupta 14
Shato !iterature and the "#urga$%ali& Paradigm: Prabhat %umar Muho'adhyay&s (The )oddess*
as Satya+it Ray&s Devi
Kaustav Kundu 43
Bratya Basu&s Plays: Challenging Hegemony from bet,een the -yebro,s of Time
Sourav Gupta 71
.rom Suffering to Revolt and Re+ection: / Study of the Bengali #alit 0arratives by 1atin Bala and
2tthan'ada Bi+ali
Asit Panda 90
0itai in Boishnob Movement and !iterature
Sayantan Thaur 10!
The Movement 3ithin: / Secret )uide to -soteric Kaayaasaadhanaa in "aryaapada
De#aprasad $andyopadhyay 113
Partition of India and the Chronicle of the -astern .rontier: Ma''ing the Short .ictions in Bengali on
Migration, #is'lacement and Refugee Struggle
Kallol Gangopadhyay 1%&
Michael Madhusudan&s Collaboration and Collusion ,ith #ominant Colonial Culture in
'eghanad#adh Kavya
De# Dulal (alder 13!
!iterature 4 Movement in the 'ahishasurmardini$ Selected 5erses of the #evi Mahatmya6 #urga
Sa'tashati and the Bengali Crossroads
San)ay Kumar 14&
!iberal Individualism in the -arly Career of 2t'al #utt and 0ationalism in the T,ilight of /mritalal
Basu7s !ife: / Revie, of *n+ore and ,oshoraa)er ,oshoothon
'ousumi $is-as Dasgupta 17%
#horai Charita Manas: / #ocumentation of )andhian Myth and Indian .reedom Movement
Saptarshi 'aity 177
4=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Seeing, Beyond Seeing: Poetry of Movement and Movement of Poetry
De#an)an Das 1&1
Boats in Chuyachandan
S-arup $hatta+harya 1&4
Hungry Movement after 89 :ears
3a+hieta $andyopadhyay 1&9
+'e -ontents, !ie/s and o(inions o--urring in t'e -ontri1utions are solel% t'e res(onsi1ilities of
t'e res(e-ti!e -ontri1utors and t'e editorial 1oard of Journal of Bengali Studies does not 'a!e
an% res(onsi1ilit% in t'is regard.
+'e i"age9s a((earing in t'e Journal are (arts of a -riti-al (ro2e-t, not for an% -o""er-ial use.
I"age9s are eit'er (ro!ided 1% t'e aut'ors9designers fro" t'eir (ersonal -olle-tions and 9or are
-o(%rig't free to t'e 1est of )no/ledge ? 1elief of t'e editorial 1oard.
3or t'e (re!ious issues of Journal of Bengali Studies, (lease !isit
'tt(#991engalistudies.1logs(ot.-o" and ///.1engalistudies.-o"
So far, /e 'a!e (u1lis'ed four issues on t'e follo/ing t'e"es, and all of t'e" are a!aila1le
4gni2ug @Vol.1., No.1A
Bengali $ine"a# Bengalis and $ine"a @Vol.2, No.2A
Bengali +'eatre# Bengalis and +'eatre @Vol.2, No.1A
S-ien-e and +e-'nolog% in 8istor%# odern Bengali 6ers(e-ti!es @Vol.2, No.2A
Some o/ our most +omple5 philosophi+al ideas o/ten turn into simplest /orms o/ myth -ithin a pro+ess
o/ trans/eren+e0 -here the esoteri+ and the 6uotidian +an inter+hange2 7/ -e term this pro+ess o/
trans/eren+e as the event o/ literature0 -e may not perhaps #e very -rong2 8iterature 9lie many other
human art /orms: devises a +ertain language -hi+h is +apa#le o/ #eing a shared phenomenon0 -here
people +an +ome together and a +ommunity springs into e5isten+e2 This is one ma)or thing a#out
literature that should interest any nationalist method o/ en6uiry2 ;hen 7 along -ith 'ousumi and other
+omrades /ounded 1ournal of Bengali Studies 9.$S: in %01% -ith a purpose to develop a nationalist
methodology0 it -as a rash venture2 Today0 a/ter more than t-o years0 it seems lie the ris<taing has
paid o//0 and -e are on an e5+iting )ourney to-ards a $engali nationalist method2 7n this issue o/ .$S
91ol230 3o21: -e have e5plored the interrelationship #et-een literature and movements2 The #asi+
insisten+e has #een on the potential o/ a +ommon literature and +ulture to +onsolidate +ommunities 9in
our +ase0 the $engali nationality:0 a+ross intelle+tual so+ial and e+onomi+ divide2 8iterature 9as a part o/
+ulture: +on)oins philosophy and myth0 reason and mystery0 intelligentsia and /ols0 individual and
+ommunity2 There/ore0 /or a nationalist method0 $engali literature must al-ays #e dis+ussed in history0
-ith re/eren+e to the so+ial0 +ultural0 politi+al0 religious0 e+onomi+ and intelle+tual movements2
Terry *agleton ased in his most re+ent pu#li+ation0 earlier this year= >'ight +ulture su++eed in
#e+oming the sa+red dis+ourse o/ a post<religious age0 #inding people and intelligentsia in spiritual
+ommunion? "ould it #ring the most o++ult o/ truths to #ear on everyday +ondu+t0 in the manner o/
religious /aith?@ 9Culture and the #eath of )od 1%1<1%%:2 This /i5ed demar+ation #et-een the domains
o/ religion and +ulture is pro#lemati+ to say the least0 and *agleton is a-are o/ this pro#lemati+A he has
time and again spoen o/ religion as the most important /orm o/ popular +ulture2 $ut let us return to
this aspe+t o/ +ulture that +an trans/er the most deep<rooted ra+e memories 9*agleton himsel/ has used
this notion in his 7rish studies: and hidden primordial ideas into the e//lores+en+e o/ literature again and
again to the e//e+t -here a +ommunity is in/ormed #y its o-n ethi+s 9the -ord ethi+ is derived /rom the
Gree -ord /or +ommunity0 the -ay the ,oman -ord /or +ommunity has given us the term morality:
-ithout #eing +ons+ious and e//orted2 To turn our #a+ on a#stra+tion and to +ome to a +on+rete
argument= (o- do the intri+ate theories o/ the puruBa<praCti 9purush<proriti: dualism o/ Sanhya turn
into the popular poetry o/ ,adha<Krishno and Shi#<Durga?
;e may note that the spe+ialised su#)e+t +alled literature 9in the sense o/ +reative -ritten -ors:
-hi+h -e study in universities today -as a ,omanti+ invention stemming /rom a rea+tion against the
B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
+ult o/ #ourgeois realism0 the s6ualor o/ industrial revolution and the de/eat o/ revolutionary hopes2 As
reality seemed oppressive0 the ,omanti+s +ele#rated /antasy and imagination0 and +reative -riting -as
separated /rom all other /orms o/ -ritten -ors 9-hi+h -as the original0 etymologi+al meaning o/
literature= anything that -as -ritten do-n -ith letters -as literature0 and even today this meaning is
sparsely retained0 as in Dte+hni+al literatureD or availa#le DliteratureD in a superspe+iality /ield: and -as
#esto-ed -ith an aura2 7nitially it -as a radi+al /orm o/ politi+al protest0 #ut -hat eventually /ollo-ed
-as rei/i+ation and /etishisation o/ DliteratureD as an ivory to-er0 lo/tily raised a#ove all petty0 sordid
human #usiness2 This vie- o/ literature is no- #rutally dis+arded in its pla+es o/ origin in the ;est0 #ut
the usual $engali predi+ament o/ a +omprador regime is that our intelligentsia 9over-helmingly le/t<
li#eral: #ehaves lie a mo/ussil to the metropolis o/ the ;estA it an5iously tries to +at+h up -ith the
latest /ads0 #ut +an al-ays +at+h them late and se+ond hand2 There/ore0 the 6uestions o/ +ommunity0
religion and nation in literary dis+ussion seem strange at #est and hostile at -orst to a large segment o/
our intelle+tuals2 7n vie- o/ this0 it may #e a good strategy to *agletonise our a+ademia2
A nationalist method needs to resist the ,omanti+0 li#eral0 individualist and ahistori+ist vie- o/
literature and /irmly re+laim the older pla+e that -ritten 9and oral: -ors used to o++upy0 in a solid
+ommunion -ith history0 so+iety0 +ulture0 te+hnology and e+onomi+s2 Eur very theme o/ this issue0
literature and movements0 is there/ore a #old attempt to deny that universal humanist /antasy o/
autonomy /or literature that dra-s its strength /rom the modish sel/</ashioning o/ the $engali Tagorean
bishshomanobota 9+ult o/ the universal man:2 For us0 $engali literature is insepara#le /rom $engali
movements0 and vi+e versa2 Further0 the periphery o/ the term literature needs to #e #roadened0 and
+ultural arte/a+ts lie +inema0 songs0 per/orman+es must #e in+luded -ithin its am#it2 ;e +onsider the
'ahalaya programme o/ $irendra Krishna $hadra 9$irendro Krishno $hodro: to #e a part o/ our
literary<+ultural movements0 as the e5+ellent arti+le #y San)ay Kumar in this issue testi/ies2
Polity is the giver o/ language to an individual su#)e+t0 and thus any -or o/ literature is al-ays
politi+al2 The bishshomanobic +ult o/ the sel/</ashioning autonomous individuals 9deriving their
legitima+y /rom ;estern li#eralism and individualism: has to #e resisted not )ust #y $engali
nationalism #ut also #y other radi+al movements -hi+h envisage a +ommunity and solidarity in the
spirit o/ the +olle+tive2 The term individual originally meant insepara#le= it -as originally applied to the
mem#ers o/ "hristian Trinity in the sense o/ #eing insepara#leGindivisi#le /rom ea+h other0 as ,aymond
;illiams reminded us in The !ong Revolution2 ;ith the rise o/ individualism0 the term +ame to mean
9=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
its e5a+t etymologi+al opposite0 and the individual +ame to #e +onsidered an antithesis o/ +olle+tive2
3ationalism is not the only movement -hi+h sees to restore the individual to the original sense o/
#eing insepara#le /rom a +ommunity o/ /ello- humans0 +ommunism has attempted the same2 $ut -e
must realise that a nationalist restoration should not de#ilitate the uni6ueness o/ the individual= it does
not redu+e the individual to an anonymous type or a +lass representative2 ;ithin a nationalist method
the individual -or o/ literature is rather seen to +reatively +onstru+t its uni6ueness on the #asis o/ the
intersu#)e+tive +ulture o/ its +ommunity o/ produ+tion and re+eption2 Thus0 an individual -or re+laims
tradition0 #ut +an o//er a reappraisal o/ the same and +an meaning/ully add to it2 This method has
signi/i+an+e /or literary and +ultural study o/ our $engali te5tual produ+ts a+ross history2 A te5t is #oth
uni6ue and insepara#le /rom the +onditions o/ its produ+tion0 lie the individual author is2 That a -or
is the produ+t o/ its +ir+umstan+es and is simultaneously a +reative re/ashioning o/ the same is no
longer the #one o/ +ontention= this is a #road +onsensus0 internationally held2 The 6uestion is0 to -hat
e5tent is the +hoi+e to stand #y oneDs +ommunity in nationalism0 or the +hoi+e to stand #y the proletariat
in +ommunism 9the t-o are not mutually irre+on+ila#le: logi+ally supporta#le and to -hat e5tent this
+hoi+e is an a#solute moral /oundation0 #eyond -hi+h -e +annot venture0 a metaphysi+al a#solute
-hi+h +annot #e logi+ally argued0 #ut must #e agreed upon0 so that all ethi+al a+tion +an stem /rom that
/oundation? ;e leave this 6uestion open<ended0 and do not -ish to o//er an instant ans-er here2
This is the /irst issue o/ .$S -hi+h 7 have edited single<handedly o-ing to some unavoida#le
+ir+umstan+es 9in a rare +oin+iden+e0 everyone else in the editorial #oard had one pro#lem or other:0
and perhaps this is also the last issue having su+h singular +laim0 as 7 plan to /ound a +ouple o/ ne-
)ournals and magaHines and in all lielihood0 7 shall +ease to hold the +hie/ editorial responsi#ility in
.$S /rom the ne5t issue on-ards2 Further0 there is no issue editor /or this issue0 in a #rea /rom our
re+ent pra+ti+es2 This issue is there/ore very +lose to me 97 am alone responsi#le /or -hatever goes
-rong here:0 not to spea o/ the /a+t that this issue deals -ith literature0 something -hi+h 7 am
pro/essionally trained in2 'y arti+le tries to restore )itagovinda to its $engali spa+e and time0 and
addresses the ve5ed issue o/ territorial dispute over .ayadevaDs poem2 Kaustav Kundu0 a veteran
+ontri#utor to .$S #y this time0 and an authority on $engali +inema0 investigates Shato literary moti/s
in the +onte5t o/ Satya)it ,ayDs +inemati+ adaptation o/ Pra#hat 'uhopadhyayDs reno-ned short story0
>The Goddess@2 Sourav Gupta0 -ho has #een -ith our editorial #oard /or last three issues and -ho
+ontinues to provide a pillar o/ support to .$S is our man o/ the $engali stageA himsel/ asso+iated -ith
1&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
$engali stage in the +apa+ities o/ a+tor0 dire+tor0 play-right and +riti+0 he has e5plored $ratya $asuDs
theatre and plays2 To the #est o/ our no-ledge0 this is a pioneering -orA earlier 7 -rote a revie- o/
Ruddhashongeet in our theatre issue 91ol2%0 3o21:0 #ut 7 guess Sourav Gupta has authored the /irst /ull<
/ledged0 +omprehensive +riti+al arti+le on $ratya $asu in *nglish language2 Asit PandaDs -or is not
)ust pioneering #ut also radi+al0 as he has penned a +riti+al study o/ $engali literature emanating /rom
the Dalit movements2 Sayantan Thaur has -ored on the literary lega+y o/ 3itai 93ityananda: -ithin
$oishno# poetry0 -hile he himsel/ tra+es his progeny to the t-elve apostles o/ 3itai -ho organised
$oisho# movement in $engal2 The e5+ellently innovative +riti+al strategy and style o/ De#aprasad
$andyopadhyay do )usti+e to the intri+a+y o/ his su#)e+t matter0 -hi+h is0 Chor+a'od 9Carya'ada: 9-e
-onder ho- many are there at present -ithin 7ndian a+ademia e5+ept $andyopadhyay -ho +ould do
)usti+e to a study o/ Chor+a'od:0 and this again is a pioneering study0 /or very little s+holarly -or in
*nglish has #een done on Chor+a'od2 Kallol GangopadhyayDs arti+le on $engali stories -hi+h re/le+t
on the traumati+ e5perien+e o/ Partition o/ 1947 o//ers a mu+h needed #rea to the silen+e in this /ield2
(indus have #een the vi+tims o/ religious +leansing in *ast $engalG*ast PaistanG$angladesh0 and -e
need #old +riti+al studies on this phenomenon2 De# Dulal (alder has -ored on the interplay o/
re#ellion and surrender in 'i+hael 'adhusudanDs Meghnadbodh %abbo vis<a<vis the imperial
aggression o/ the ;est2 San)ay KumarDs arti+le is a strategi+ re-oring o/ the #oundaires o/ literature as
-ell as an e5ploration o/ the so+io<histori+al produ+tion o/ te5tuality0 and to the #est o/ my no-ledge
this is the /irst serious a+ademi+ study in *nglish on $irendro Krishno $hodroDs rendition o/
Mohishashurmordini #road+ast annually on the o++asion o/ 'ohaloya2 Given that San)ay Kumar is not
a $engali #y #irth 9he may #e +alled a $engali #y +hoi+e #y those o/ us -ho no- him:0 his pioneering
-or assumes a +riti+al signi/i+an+e /or us2 'ousumiDs revie- o/ Itpal DuttDs short stories and
Amritalal $oseDs auto#iography raises some very interesting 6uestions a#out the tra)e+tory o/ the le/t
movement -hi+h advan+ed in the a/termath o/ the +ollapse o/ $engali nationalism as a via#le
intelle+tual<+ultural<so+ial<politi+al /or+e2 Saptarshi 'aityDs revie- o/ Satinath $haduriDs #horai
Chorit Manosh is su++in+t0 -hile De#an)an DasDs estimate o/ the interrelationship #et-een poetry and
movement in our -orshop segment is +oming /rom a pra+titioner o/ the poeti+ +reed himsel/2
8ie-ise0 S-arup $hatta+harya0 as one o/ the ma)or authorities in +ontemporary -orld on #oats and
everything naval0 o//ers us an interesting +ommentary on the role played #y #oats in Sharadindu
$andyopadhyayDs +ele#rated short story0 >"huya"handan@2 8astly 3a+hieta $andyopadhyayDs
11=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
thought/ul +ommentary on the (ungry movement stimulates the reader to as a num#er o/ 6uestions2
Did the (ungry poets realise that the apo+alyptism -hi+h they -ere imitating /rom ;est -as deeply
"hristian in nature0 or that their overt su#mission to the ;est 9under the lip<servi+e to the 7ndigenous
su#altern: -as a+tually +omprador in nature0 and that their hostility to (induism and to the +on+ept o/
7ndia dire+tly plays into the imperial hands and disso+iates them /rom the very su#altern masses under
-hose name they +laimed to a+t? Again0 -ith the +ollapse o/ a $engali nationalist outloo0 $engali
literature 9poetry0 theatre0 /i+tions: -itnessed a steady emergen+e o/ a *uro+entri+ attitude and a general
;est<+entri+ mode o/ thining0 something -hi+h 'ousumiDs revie- tou+hes upon2 $uddhade# $asu0
reno-ned $engali poet and +riti+ o/ the 1940s0 1940s and 19!0s is reputed to have said rather proudly
that +ulturally $engal is a provin+e o/ *urope2 3a+hieta $andyopadhyayDs +ommentary -hi+h is
largely /avoura#le to-ards the (ungry movement -ill #e yet another /ood /or de#ate on the nature o/
this movement in parti+ular0 and other literary movements in $engal sin+e the dissolution o/ $engali
nationalist thining that too pla+e some-here in the 1930s and 1940s2 ;hatever may #e the
ideologi+al dispensation o/ a resear+her0 -e -ant that $engalDs history and +ulture are studied0 are
de#ated0 and remain alive in a+ademia2 *very movement leaves its indeli#le mars on the /a+e o/
history0 and must #e +are/ully0 sympatheti+ally studied and yet mer+ilessly disse+ted2 A movement must
never #e the vi+tim o/ ignoring and silen+ing even in +ase o/ ideologi+al dissimilarity2 The loss is )ust
not that o/ the vi+tim0 #ut ultimately is a loss to that hostile silen+er o/ that history -hose dis+ourse -ill
#e +onsidera#ly impoverished #y the gaps0 +ensorships and silen+es2
;hile -oring on this literature issue0 spelling $engali names on+e more #e+omes a matter o/
trou#le2 ;e /a+ed this 6uestion in our very /irst issue on Egni)ug0 a/ter the pu#li+ation o/ -hi+h 7 had to
-rite a long note on transliteration 9availa#le on our site:2 7n our previous three issues0 this pro#lem
didnDt sur/a+e very mu+h2 $ut transliteration #e+omes a ma)or pro#lem on+e -e have the tas to
/aith/ully render a num#er o/ $engali -ords into ,oman alpha#et2 Tae /or e5ample the spelling
1aishnav2 'any o/ us -ould readily assume that this -ould #e the proper and /aith/ul transliteration o/
the Sansrit -ord -hi+h $engalis pronoun+e as $oishno#2 ;ell0 Sansrit +annot #e represented #y
DshD under any +ir+umstan+esA one reason -hy $engalis pronoun+e the +ompound letter as DhD 9as in
8aBmaJa uttered as 8ohon: is that they have retained the DhD +omponent here0 -hile 3orth 7ndians
have retained the DshD +omponent o/ the letter = its original pronun+iation -as some-here #et-een DhD
12=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
and DshD 9lie the D+hD in $re+ht:2 7n its singular0 non<+ompound use today -e identi/y it -ith DshD #ut it
9: +annot really #e transliterated as DshD0 and least o/ all0 in the name o/ a /aith/ulness to the original
Sansrit2 Similarly the -hi+h -e /ind in the Sansrit -ord 8aBmaJa +annot #e depi+ted using DnD2
Further0 a Sansrit -ord0 unless spe+i/i+ally +oming -ith a Dhas<antaDGDhosh<ontoD 9+onsonant ending:
must al-ays have a vo-el at the end2 So the a+tual0 /aith/ully Sansriti+ transliteration o/ -hat -e
$engalis +all $oishno# should #e >1aiBJava@2 7 have pre/erred the transliteration $oishno# -hile
speaing o/ the $engali pra+ti+e o/ ,adha<Krishno -orship0 -here the ,adha<idea is +entral0 /ollo-ing
the PuruBa<PraCti 9purush<proriti: dualism o/ Sanhya0 -hi+h must #e distinguished /rom other
s+hools o/ 1aiBJava /aith2 ;hy -e insist on a partial adheren+e to Sansrit spelling -hen in any +ase
-e shall never /ully +omply -ith that model is a $rahmini+al0 +onservative mystery that our an+ien
regime thrusts upon us /rom time to time2 $liss/ully ignorant very o/ten0 they do not no- -hat they
are doing2 Further0 -riting o/ the Sen 9pronoun+ed Shen: ings as the Sena ings0 or the Pal ings as
the PKla ings loos +um#ersome to the +ontemporary $engali eyes0 #ut in the a#sen+e o/ a standard
$engali system o/ transliteration0 -e /eel helpless2 And anguished2
;hat is the point o/ -riting an alien sounding Shri Krishna -hen -e pronoun+e Sri Krishno0 and
-hen #oth these t-o transliterated versions are a+tually deviant /orms o/ the proper Sansrit Lri KCBJa?
7 +ompletely /ail to understand2 ;hy -rite $angiya0 -hen you are in any +ase deviating /rom Sansrit
1angiya0 and are manu/a+turing something -hi+h is neither here nor thereA instead -hy not simply
-rite $ongiyo? ;hy -rite $ande 'ataram0 -hi+h is again neither here 9a proper0 standard0 $engali
$onde 'atorom: nor there 9a Sansrit 1ande 'ataram:? 'ost o/ the transliterations o/ $engali -ords
are in deep soup0 #e+ause our $engali spellings have a de+eptive appearan+e o/ tatsama0 -hile they
have a+tually already evolved into tadbhava; And to thin o/ the tragedy that the /irst $engali vo-el
and the proli/i+ vo-el still do not have proper representations in *nglishG,oman alpha#et yet0 and
that this applies a#out most other $engali vo-els and some +onsonants tooM Eur transliterating
+onventions -hi+h o/ten appear lie Sansrit have the rare distin+tion o/ #eing /raudulently non<
$engali and non<Sansrit at the same time2 That a $engali standard o/ transliteration -ill #e Sansrit is
a proposition -hi+h insults the resour+es o/ our o-n +ulture in the /irst pla+e 9and no0 this statement
does not re/le+t any hostility against or ignoran+e o/ Sansrit on our part:0 #e+ause this is +alled
13=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
1ournal of Bengali Studies0 and -e resist an impression that $engali -ords are so lame or /ragile or
in/antile so as to need the iron hand o/ the re+eived Sansrit transliteration to support themselves2 7n
any +ase0 there -as never a single Sansrit0 there -ere many Sansrits in an+ient 7ndia2 (ad there not
#een an eastern variety o/ Sansrit0 ho- +ould the uni6ueness o/ eastern 'agadhi Prarits emerge?
Further0 -e +annot allo- an undue Sansritisation o/ $engaliness here0 even at the +ost o/ antagonising
the pro<Sansrit lo##ies2 ;e are here to represent the essen+e o/ $engaliness in the re+eived Kolata
standard -hi+h derives its lega+y /rom the eastern 'agadhi prarit2 Eur $engali -ays o/ pronun+iation
are not upstart0 they go #a+ to time immemorial2 The Pali spellings a+no-ledged that uni6ueness0 #ut
later0 -ith the super/i+ial Sansritisation o/ our -ords0 -e alienated ourselves /rom our o-n linguisti+
trends0 stru+tures0 ha#its0 interests and pra+ti+es2 ;hat /ollo-s that alienation o/ our essen+e is a
pro#lem o/ transliteration -e have #een /a+ing at .$S sin+e its in+eption0 and -e hope to resolve these
in+onsisten+ies in transliteration in near /uture2 $ut as a /un+tional method0 -e have suggested that -e
shall sti+ to $engali standard -henever a -ord re/le+ts $engalDs o-n +ultural +apital0 and -e shall
o//er a Sansritised spelling -henever a -ord re/le+ts a lega+y -e share -ith the rest o/ 7ndia2 There
are la+unae in this method0 too2 .$S -ill soon devise a s+ienti/i+ standard o/ transliterating $engali
-ords into *nglish 9there should also #e one simpli/ied /ormat -ithout dia+riti+s0 so that +ommon
people also +an /ollo- it -ith minimum la#our:0 and -ill implement that uni/ormly in the /uture issues2
.$S on+e more rene-s its pledge to-ards developing a $engali nationalist dis+ourse in a+ademia2
+he editorial #oard 9and the +ontri#utors: +an #e rea+hed at edit)#sNgmail2+om and
shoptodinaNgmail2+om2 ,eaders o/ .$S +an /ind updates and +all /or papers /or the /orth+oming
issues0 and post +omments and responses at 'tt(#991engalistudies.1logs(ot.in9 2 Also0 .$S +an #e
a++essed at at ///.1engalistudies.-o" 2
+'e <ad'a Idea at t'e $rossroads of 8istor%, $ulture and 6oliti-s#
Gitagovinda and t'e Bois'no1 o!e"ent in Bengal
+a"al ,asgu(ta
;e shall tra+e the inter+onne+tedness o/ histori+ity and literariness in .ayadevaDs )itagovinda using a
+ultural materialist methodology in this arti+le -hi+h -ill attempt to e5tend the method o/ +ultural
studies to the analysis o/ this Sansrit te5t -hi+h -as +omposed more than &00 years ago during the
Sena era 9-e shall very soon turn to the +ounter<+laims -hi+h dispute this $engal aspe+t o/ .ayadeva
-hi+h in our opinion /orms the very ey to a histori+al analysis o/ )itagovinda:2 )itagovinda /orms an
important part o/ $engalDs so+ial and +ultural lega+y0 and this study -ill also try to develop a +omposite
nationalist method to-ards reading this literary te5t2 A nationalist methodology shouldnDt ne+essarily #e
a +ontradi+tion in terms 9-hi+h -as dis+ussed at length in the editorial o/ .$S 1ol210 3o21:0 as a
passionate interest in oneDs o-n su#)e+t matter is never a hindran+e /or a disinterested0 o#)e+tive and
thoroughly methodi+al study2 7n /a+t0 the t-o are intri+ately lined2 Ene -ho is passionate a#out a
su#)e+t -ill have to see to it that the study o/ the su#)e+t does not +ompromise on s+holarly a+umen2
Further0 unless one is genuinely passionate a#out a su#)e+t0 the study produ+ed may #e mer+enary in
nature0 and may #e held ransom to the pu#lish<or<persih motto o/ the Ameri+an a+ademia2 There/ore0
neither one +an dismiss those Eriya s+holars trying to esta#lish .ayadevaDs Eriya lineage 9or0 .ayadeva<
$elonged<to<Erissa0 hen+e/orth .$E /or our +onvenien+e: on the ground o/ their passionate interest0
nor +an the $engali riposte 9maintaining that .ayadeva<$elonged<to<$engal0 hen+e/orth .$$ /or our
+onvenien+e: #e dismissed in a similar -ay2 Eur only rider is that su+h studies have to do a+ademi+
)usti+e to their su#)e+t matter2
8et us #egin #y e5amining a /e- important aspe+ts o/ )itagovinda2 There are +ertain distinguished
/eatures o/ .ayadevaDs long poem -hi+h mae it an e5+eptionally great -or o/ art0 and pla+e it at the
+rossroads o/ $engalDs history0 +ulture and politi+s2 3iharran)an ,oy o#serves=
First0 the synthesis #et-een Sansrit and Apa#hramsha and the resultant metamorphosis o/ the
language o/ his poetry -ere revolutionary2 Se+ondly0 the amalgamation o/ the supernatural story
o/ gods -ith the /ol story o/ love -as unpre+edented and lies at the sour+e o/ the su++essive
1aiBJava poetry2 This synthesis is at the root o/ the medieval humanism o/ the (indu +ultural
renaissan+e o/ the middle ages2 .ayadeva -as the /irst to have massively initiated the
humanisation o/ supernatural gods2 'any shloas /rom Sadutiar<=m>ta also allude to su+h
1C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
an importan+e o/ .ayadeva2 Thirdly0 there is no dou#t that )itagovinda is a musi+al poem0 #ut it
has to #e admitted that in it there are some signs o/ a /ol dramaturgy 9.atra?:0 spe+ially the
+onversation o/ the +onsorts o/ ,adha0 or the lyri+s -here ,adha and Krishna +onverse2
A+tually0 in )itagovinda0 narrative depi+tion0 +onversation<dialogue and musi+ O all the three
/eatures are em#edded into the poeti+ /orm2 Su+h a /orm -as novel and unno-n in Sansrit
literature2 Fourth0 the su#)e+t o/ this poem is religious0 #ut the signi/i+ation o/ su+h poignant
/ol sensuousness is rare in Sansrit literature2 7n /a+t0 su+h devotional metamorphosis o/ an
original se5ual desire is no-here to #e /ound apart /rom the Podaboli literature o/ medieval
$engal2 Fi/th0 )itagovinda is at on+e Podaboli 9'adhura omalaKnta padKvalim: and Mongol
%abbo 9Shri)ayadeva a#eridana urute mudang mangalam u))-al geeti:0 and in this regard0 is
the /ountainhead o/ the later Podaboli literature and Mongol %abbo traditions o/ $engal2 9!%&<
A very old manus+ript o/ )itagovinda
16=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
;e propose that )itagovinda +an #e +riti+ally understood -ith a re/eren+e to its spa+e<time +o<
ordinates0 #y illuminating its +onditions o/ produ+tion0 as -e e5plore the intera+tion #et-een
literariness and histori+ity in this te5t2 *ver sin+e the /irst *nglish translation o/ )itagovinda #y
;illiam .ones appeared in 179%0 this -or o/ poet .ayadeva has #een translated into di//erent *uropean
languages several times2 Goethe0 a/ter going through the German rendering o/ )itagovinda highly
praised the >e5tremely varied motives #y -hi+h an e5tremely simple su#)e+t is made endless@ 96uoted
in 'iller 5:2 For the purpose o/ this arti+le -e shall -or -ith *nglish and $engali +riti+al sour+es 9the
latter -ill #e provided in the present resear+herDs translation:0 the original te5t o/ .ayadeva in Sansrit
as o//ered in (arerishna 'uhopadhyayDs +riti+ally annotated edition 9%avi 1ayadeva ?
Shri)itagovinda:0 and the 9I3*S"E approved: 1977 *nglish translation o/ )itagovinda #y $ar#ara
Stoler 'iller titled )itagovinda of 1ayadeva: !ove Song of the #ar !ord2
"ultural 'aterialism is a radi+al approa+h to the study o/ literature asso+iated -ith the name o/
,aymond ;illiams -hi+h re/utes the +onventional #ase<superstru+ture dyad o/ +lassi+al 'ar5ism that
+onsiders literature 9superstru+ture: as a se+ondary gro-th arising out o/ the primal domains o/ so+ial
and e+onomi+ /or+es 9#ase:2 7nstead0 the +ultural materialist methodology +onsiders literature to #e a
+o<parti+ipant in the pro+ess o/ history along -ith e+onomi+al and so+ial /or+es0 and dete+ts the
intera+tion #et-een literature and history at multiple levels -ithin the e5isting dis+ourses o/ po-er
-hi+h are never monolithi+ #ut en+ompass various residual0 emergent and oppositional +urrents
9$rannigan 9<13:2 Simply put0 literature0 /ar /rom #eing a mirror0 a re/le+tion o/ so+ial realities0 o/ten
produ+es history0 maes so+ial realities as -ell as determines our per+eptions o/ themA it shapes
religious and e+onomi+ +urrents0 it o/ten stands at the /ountainhead o/ so+ial0 +ultural and politi+al
movements and gives #irth to +omple5 ideologi+al /ormations -ithin the matri5 o/ history2 3o dou#t0 in
the pro+ess o/ generating the so+ial0 e+onomi+0 +ultural and politi+al /or+es0 literature is also itsel/
+onstituted #y the same /or+es2 8iterariness and histori+ity there/ore +ome to +onstitute ea+h other in an
intera+tive manner -ithin the pro+ess o/ the produ+tion o/ a te5t0 and the +onditions o/ the produ+tion
o/ a literary -or leave their +omple5 tra+es -ithin its te5ture2 So -e #egin #y suggesting that
)itagovinda o/ .ayadeva +an #e #est understood as a produ+t o/ multiple histori+al and +ultural /a+tors
-hi+h in/orm its +onditions o/ genesis 9as -ell as the dimensions o/ its re+eption do-n the ages:2 And
in our opinion the single<most important /eature o/ )itagovinda is the ,adha idea2 Attempts have #een
made to tra+e the anti6uity o/ ,adha #a+ to the /tharva 5eda -here #oth the -ords ,adha and Gopi
17=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
have #een used in +onne+tion -ith the star 1ishaha0 as (arerishna 'uhopadhyay points out in his
Sririshno'roshongo ? Boishnobtott,o 9!4:2 The $rahmini+al e5igen+y to /ind a 1edi+ genealogy /or
the ,adha idea not-ithstanding0 it has #een a s+holarly +onsensus that the ,adha idea has very little to
do -ith 1edi+ monism0 that its an+estry +annot really #e tra+ed #a+ to 1edas and 'aha#harata2
$haduri +on+lusively argues that the $oishno# movement in $engal has no +onne+tion -ith the 5edas
and 2'anishadas 917<%0:2 The present resear+her -ould agree2
The +entrality assigned to ,adha in $engalDs $oishno#ism 9GauPiya 1aiBJavism: is an arti+le o/ /aith0
a matter o/ prin+iple2 7t has #een a legend a#out "haitanyaA -hen his mind -as o++upied #y ,adha0 he
+ouldnDt even endure any mention o/ the name o/ KCBJaGKrishno as the poet $rinda#on Das in/orms usA
on+e -hen "haitanya -as +hanting DgopiD0 DgopiD0 a young 1aiBJava 9+learly not a $oishno#: devotee
+ame to his house and ased him to +hant the name o/ KCBJa instead2 "haitanya +hased the young man
a-ay -ith a sti+ in his hand 9'ondal 4%:2 This uni6ue /eature o/ $oishno#ism in $engal derives its
inspiration lega+y /rom the +entrality o/ the ,adha<idea in .ayadevaDs )itagovinda2 This idea o/ the
/eminine prin+iple is o/ an+ient provenan+e in $engal2 7t has nothing to do -ith the 5edas2 $ut it +an #e
tra+ed #a+ to the puruBa<praCti dualism o/ Sanhya0 the union o/ Shiva and Shati in Tantri+ +ults0 the
-orship o/ the /eminine prin+iple o/ DKarunaD 9pathos: in $uddhist 'ahayana /aith0 the +entrality
assigned to the +orporal human #ody in Shoho)iya +ults 9originally Saha)ayana0 a variant o/ $uddhism
-idespread in $engal0 /inding their literary em#odiment in "aryapadaG"hor)apod:0 the +entrality o/
'oroiya 9adultery: as a philosophi+al e5pression o/ the devoteeDs union -ith God0 -hi+h0 as -e shall
see later +ouldnDt even #e understood #y Eriya 1aiBJavites +ontemporaneous -ith "haitanya2
Shashi#hushan Dasgupta too noti+es the strategi+ position o/ )itagovinda that en+ompasses these
di//erent +ulti+ pra+ti+es0 mapping their evolutions in $engal 94&:2 )itagovinda is one o/ the most
+ru+ial -atersheds in the tra)e+tory o/ $engali +ultural<philosophi+al<religious imagination2 7t is an
integral +onstituent o/ the evolution o/ the $engali mind a+ross last thousands o/ years2 7t is the
/ountainhead o/ $engali $oishno# movement2
$ar#ara Stoler 'iller o#serves= >,adha is one o/ the most o#s+ure /igures in early 7ndian literature2
Intil .ayadeva made her the heroine o/ his poem0 she appeared only in stray verses s+attered through
various Puranas0 anthologies o/ Prarit and Sansrit poetry0 -ors o/ literary estheti+s0 grammar0
poetry0 drama and a /e- ins+riptions@ 9%!:2 8et us point out that the ,adha<idea0 -hi+h in the pro+ess o/
this investigation -e are a#out to dis+over at the heart o/ )itagovinda0 +an #e #est understood as a
1B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
signature o/ the preponderan+e o/ Sanhya philosophy 9and its numerous derivatives in+luding +ertain
$uddhist /aiths: in $engal0 and this element /irmly pla+es this te5t -ithin the +ultural and philosophi+al
+urrents o/ t-el/th +entury $engal that -as already deep -ith this +ele#ration o/ the (ro)riti prin+iple
no- ready to #e mani/ested in the /igure o/ Sri,adha2 $anim "handra in his essay >Sanhya
Darshan@ o#serves that the nature o/ the lived (indu traditions in $engal has #een derived /rom the
praCti<puruBa 9proriti<purush: dualism o/ Sanhya0 #e it the -orship o/ ,adha and Krishno or
KaliGDurga and Shi# 9%7&:2 As opposed to $engal0 Erissa0 a state /rom -here some people have
/ervently and /ranti+ally put /or-ard a +laim over the nativity and poetry o/ .ayadeva in re+ent times0
did not e5perien+e the slightest s-ay 9let alone dominan+e: o/ the ,adha idea prior to the advent o/ the
"haitanya movement0 as Pra#hat 'uher)ee o#serves in The History of Medieval 5aishnavism in
?rissa 943:2 3eedless to say0 "haitanyaDs movement also operates -ithin an essentially $engali matri52
$haduri in his study on the li/e and times o/ "haitanya repeatedly insists on the $engal +onne+tions o/
the guru o/ "haitanya0 7sh-ar Puri0 and that o/ the guru o/ 7sh-ar Puri0 'adhavendra PuriA and in this
regard0 points out the deeply rooted $oishno# tradition in $engal -hi+h is the@land o/ )itagovinda@
933:0 -here the poet o/ 8aBmaJa SenaDs royal +ourt through )itagovinda so-ed the seeds o/ the divine
play o/ ,adha<Krishno 9!!:2
.ayadeva and Padmavati in a +onventional depi+tion o/ the ane+dote -here .ayadeva dis+overed that KCBJa himsel/ +ame
and -rote the phrase dehi 'ada'allavamud=ram
The ,adha idea also stems /rom the Saha)a Qana 9The *asy Path: $uddhism o/ $engal -hi+h
+ele#rated the +entrality o/ eroti+ love as a method o/ -orship0 and e6uated the human #ody -ith the
universe 9the +on+ept o/ bhandeGbrohmande:2 (arerishna 'uhopadhyay0 noted )itagovinda s+holar0
19=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
o#serves that the Saha)iyaGShohi)iya 9the /ollo-er o/ the Saha)a: se+ts o/ $uddhism -ere dominant in
$engal prior to the age o/ .ayadeva0 and they -ere later loosely #rought into the /old o/ GauPiya
1aiBJavism O the same proposition is /or-arded at length #y Dinesh "handra Sen 93%4<3%9: O -hile
these Shoho)iyas +onsidered .ayadeva as their adi$guru or /irst mentor2 'uhopadhyay re/ers to
(araprasad Shastri in this regardA Shastri opined that .ayadevaDs )itagovinda is deeply +ommitted to
the Shoho)iya philosophy 9-hi+h o#served that the union o/ man and -oman is the ultimate aim o/ the
universe: in its lyri+al +ele#ration o/ the +on)ugal love o/ ,adha and Krishno 9%avi 1ayadeva %40 %!:2
'uhopadhyay e5plains at length the intri+ate relationship #et-een .ayadevaDs poetry and the $engali
Shoho)iya traditions=
Prior to the advent o/ .ayadeva0 the pra+ti+es o/ $uddhist Shoho)iya se+ts #e+ame espe+ially
popular in the ,arh region2 Ene #ran+h o/ this Shoho)iya +ommunity under the in/luen+e o/
3ityananda a++epted $oishno#ism #ut did not give up their o-n +ult pra+ti+e +ompletely2 These
very people are no-n as $oishno# Shoho)iya2 R this +ommunity honours .ayadeva as their
/irst Guru and one o/ the nine +onnoisseurs 9no#o<roshi:2 R A++ording to (araprasad Shastri0
.ayadeva -as parti+ularly inde#ted to the Shoho)iyas2 The pleasure o/ se5ual union -hi+h -as
the only desira#le state /or the Shoho)iyas -as har#oured in the union o/ ,adha and Krishno #y
.ayadevaDs e5pression222 9%avi 1ayadeva %4:
The +ele#ration o/ the dominan+e o/ proriti over purush 9signi/ied in our times #y a /or+e/ul Kali
standing atop a passive Shi#0 or immortalised in .ayadevaDs te5t #y the legendary dehi
'ada'allavamud=ram phrase: -as essentially a mass +ultural pra+ti+e sin+e time immemorial0 -hi+h
-as later appropriated #y the dominant 1edi+ hierar+hies2
Krishno holding the /eet o/ ,adha0 in a $oishno# artistDs imagination
2&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
The -orship o/ the shatiGyoni dates #a+ to very an+ient timesA the purush<proriti dualism o/
Sanhya philosophy is a highly evolved /orm o/ the an+ient /ertility +ults -hi+h not )ust lie at the root
o/ Tantri+ and Shoho)iya $uddhism pra+tised in $engal0 #ut also in/orm the +ore o/ the later Shato
and $oishno# /aiths in this part o/ 7ndia2 (ere in .ayadeva -e +an dete+t a primeval residue #eneath
the veneer o/ the dominant0 as #eneath the $rahmini+al -rapping -e +an o#serve the vestiges o/ an
an+ient matriar+hal /orm o/ +ulture2 This te5t in its +ele#ration o/ +lassi+al @>ngar rasa +overtly
+ele#rates the /ol Shoho)iya +ults -hi+h /ind their /ullest em#odiment in the ,adha idea2 7ndeed0 no
Krishno -orship is possi#le in $engal -ithout the evo+ation o/ ,adha0 as there is no Krishno temple in
$engal -ithout ,adha as the +o<deity0 and reading )itagovinda helps us in understanding this lived
tradition2 Though there is no denying the /a+t that )itagovina -as +omposed /rom a royally privileged
position o/ authorship -hi+h /irmly pla+ed this te5t -ithin the Puranic $rahmini+al traditions -hi+h
-ere #eing promoted during the Sena rule0 -e +an nevertheless /ind some vi#rant rudiments o/ the
deeply rooted non<1edi+ +ulture o/ $engal in the +ele#ration o/ Sri,adha in .ayadevaDs masterpie+e2 7t
is interesting to note that the poet himsel/ is a-are o/ the ri+h +ollage o/ diverse materials0 so+ial
+onditions and histori+al paraphernalia -hi+h have gone into the maing o/ his poetry2 Ene +ouplet0
-here the poet speas o/ his native village Kenduvilva 9sho-n #y Prasanta Kumar Dasgupta in his
+riti+ally a++laimed studies to #e the .oyde#<Kenduli o/ $ir#hum distri+t o/ ;est $engal0 as -e shall
see later in this arti+le: -hi+h +ompares the #irth o/ the poet -ith the emergen+e o/ the moon /rom the
mythi+al +hurning o/ the sea 9samudra manthanGshomudro monthon: is parti+ularly +urious0 #e+ause
this +ouplet seems to e5hi#it an an+ient a-areness o/ the ri+hly +omple50 o!erdeter"ined 9to #orro-
the Althusserian +on+ept: #irth o/ poetry2 Further0 )itagovinda is not )ust a royally patronised te5t
standing in isolation on the top o/ an ivory to-er2 The author displays a +ru+ial a-areness o/ #eing part
o/ a group0 a milieu0 a +ultural +urrent0 a dominant idiom o/ an eroti+ stylisti+s 9+hara+terising the
+ultural output o/ the Sena +ourt in general:2 7t has indeed #een proven #eyond dou#t #y a parti+ular
+ouplet o/ )itagovinda that .ayadeva adorned the royal +ourt 9o/ 8aBmaJa SenaG8ohon Sen: along
-ith /our +ontemporary poets= Imapatidhara0 Govardhana0 Sharana and Dhoyi2 The shloa does not
mention the name o/ 8ohon Sen0 true0 #ut anyone reading that shloa -ithout a #ias -ill agree that it
is impli+it there= that together these /ive poets +onstituted a +losely<nit group o/ +ontemporaries2 They
themselves -ere the prover#ial D/ive )e-elsD o/ the royal +ourt o/ 8ohon Sen0 #e+ause0 /or .ayadeva0
there +an #e no other signi/i+an+e o/ taing the names o/ other +ontemporary poets unless they shared
21=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
some palpa#le #ond0 a +ommon ground -here they +ould #e +ompared to ea+h other2 .ayadeva is not
taing the names o/ great prede+essors as i/ in o#servan+e o/ a poeti+ +ustomA poets did not +ustomarily
tae the names o/ other +ontemporaries in a spirit o/ +omparison unless they -ere /amiliar -ith ea+h
other 9logi+ally speaing0 no-ing a num#er o/ +ontemporaries -as out o/ 6uestion any-ay in the
a#sen+e o/ printing pressA i/ indeed the .$E +laim -as true and .ayadeva -as -riting in /ar<o// Erissa
in isolation /rom these /our $engali -riters0 he +ouldnDt have possi#ly no-n them:2 Further0 t-o
shloas /rom Sadutiar<=m>ta 9a +ompilation #y Lreedharadasa0 a +olle+tion /rom the poems o/ the
reno-ned -riters o/ the Sena age0 in+luding the Sena ings themselves: authored #y .ayadeva praise
the ing o/ GauPa and 1anga0 as -e shall see in details later2
8ee Siegel points out that .ayadeva o#served the +ontemporary royal +onventions o/ poeti+
+omposition throughout )itagovinda 9%04:A /urther0 the presen+e o/ the epithet
>,adhamadhavayor)ayanti@ in the opening stanHa o/ )itagovinda is a +ase in point0 as the same phrase
o++urs in a verse authored #y 8aBmaJa Sena and in another verse authored #y Keshava Sena 9#oth o/
them appear in Sadutiar<=am>taA 9Prasanta Dasgupta= 19&%= 1&:2 That this -as a +onventional +at+h<
-ord o/ the +ourt poetry o/ the Sena ings is evident0 and .ayadevaDs use o/ this epithet /irmly pla+es
him -ithin that milieu2
)itagovinda #ears -itness to a ri+hly syntheti+ 1aiBJava 9$oishno#: tradition in maingA 8ee Siegel
notes= >8ashmanasena 9si+: is des+ri#ed in the +ourt re+ords #y the title Parama$5aishnava0 #ut
although he -as o//i+ially a devotee o/ 1ishnu0 -orship o/0 devotion to0 other gods seems to have #een
en+ouraged2 7t -as a time o/ syn+reti+ trends O .ayadevaDs in+lusion o/ the $uddha in the list o/
avataras 97213: is indi+ative o/ the attitude@ 9%11:2 Dinesh "handra Sen too +onsiders .aydevaDs
evo+ation o/ $uddha is a +hara+teristi+ /eature o/ the amalgamation that goes on to produ+e $engali
identity 990 330:2 7n a similar vein0 the synthesis o/ the ,adha idea -ith the +onventional de+orum o/
Sena +ourt poetry is intri+ately +onstituted in )itagovinda2 Further0 .ayadeva su++ess/ully attempts an
amalgamation o/ Sansrit and Prarit in his poem0 the result o/ -hi+h is a /luent0 easy0 idiomati+0
melodious and /ree</lo-ing di+tion -hi+h +losely +orresponds to the popular spee+h 9Sen %9!:2 7t has
#een /urther noted= >The rhythm o/ )itagovinda does not /ollo- the tra)e+tory o/ SansritA instead it
shares an intimate relationship -ith Prarit rhythms@A and this /eature o/ .ayadevaDs poem has led some
resear+hers to argue that and .ayadevaDs )itagovinda renders the e5isting PraritGProto<$engali
/olsongs o/ ,adha and Krishna into Sansrit 9Sen 49!:2 7n /a+t0 as history attests0 there used to #e a
22=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
genre o/ eroti+ love songs o/ ,adha Krishno +alled %rishnodhamali in the proto<$engali language
-hi+h might have in/luen+ed .ayadevaA the same genre most +ertainly in/luen+ed the later poet
"handidas in -riting Shririshnoirton2 Kalidas ,oy o#serves the deep lega+y -hi+h .ayadevaDs poetry
leaves #ehindA0 he notes the imprint -hi+h its style0 /orm and +ontent leave on the later $engali poetry0
parti+ularly the Shri%rishnoirton o/ "handidas and the medieval $oishno# Podabolis 979<&0:2 As the
present resear+her -ould lie to point out0 .ayadevaDs )itagovinda +an #e understood even today
-ithout the help o/ any Sansrit le5i+on #y anyone -ho has a good no-ledge o/ +haste $engali2
7/ -e tra+e the lineage o/ the ,adha idea in an+ient 7ndia O 'iller also tra+es the /irst mention o/ the
-ord >,adha@ #a+ to /tharva 5eda 9%7: O the te5t o/ )iagovinda reveals itsel/ as a palimpsest to us2
The )u5taposition o/ orthodo5 male tradition o/ Puranas 9the te5t o/ )itagovinda #egins -ith an
evo+ation o/ the DaSavatara o/ 1iBJu: and the heterodo5 /ol tradition o/ ,adha -orship +an #e lo+ated
at the sour+e o/ the tra)e+tory o/ the $engali s+hool o/ $oishno#ism2 7nterestingly0 it has #een argued
that the evo+ation o/ DaSavatara pla+es )itagovinda -ithin the +onte5t o/ 3im#ara s+hool o/
philosophy0 -hi+h also in+identally puts a very high value on ,adha as the supreme prin+iple o/ the
Krishna in+arnation 9 Prasanta Dasgupta= 19&%= 47:2 ;hat is e5tremely signi/i+ant here is the evolving
dimension o/ the sa+red in an eroti+ poem lie )itagovinda as it turns into a religious te5t o/ pan<7ndian
signi/i+an+e over the /ollo-ing +enturies0 as the poem +omes to #e intimately asso+iated -ith
devotional and ritualisti+ pra+ti+es and per/orman+es o/ lived traditions o/ 1aiBJavism in 7ndia2
(o-ever0 +losely investigated0 the te5t reveals itsel/ to #e an insepara#le part o/ $engali /aith0 +ulture
and tradition2 )itagovinda is a te5t that sil/ully +on)oins the an+ient traditions o/ +ele#ration o/ the
/eminine prin+iple -ithin an orthodo5 1aiBJavist /rame-or and in/uses the su#stan+e o/ proriti
-orship into the stru+ture o/ 1aiBJavism in order to produ+e the supreme mani/estation o/ the ,adha
idea0 -hi+h heralds the gestation o/ GauPiya 1aiBJavism 9Gouriyo $oishno#ism:2 )itagovinda is the
-atershed -hi+h -ould distinguish $oishno#ism /rom 1aiBJavism0 -hi+h -ould signal the #irth o/ the
$engali .oyde# /rom a Sansrit .ayadeva0 -hi+h -ould #e the mid-i/e o/ $engali identity2 .ayadevaDs
poem operates -ithin a multi<layered /rame-or0 that0 -hen su#)e+ted to +ultural materialist analysis0
yields some interesting glimpses o/ the interrelatedness o/ histori+ity and literariness2
8et us rehearse our arguments so /ar2 Sin+e time immemorial0 $engal had #een under the s-ay o/ the
great tradition o/ Sanhya0 and -hen a #orn again 1aiBJava movement rea+hed out to the Sanhya
philosophy o/ male</emale dualism evolved and derived /rom an+ient /ertility +ults0 -hi+h had at its
23=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
+entre the -orship o/ the /eminine as the origin o/ po-er 9shoti:0 it gave #irth to the ,adha idea2 The
moti/ o/ the ,adha<Krishno duo 9)ust lie the Shi#<Kali duo: represents an an+ient lineage0 al#eit in a
$rahminised /ormat2 Further0 it dra-s pro/usely /rom a Shoho)iya system o/ -orship native to $engal
and o/ primeval provenan+e2 7n this -ay0 the /ormation o/ $oishno# +ults o/ $engal 9GauPiya
1aiBJavism: e5hi#its a typi+al tra)e+tory o/ (induism0 and is a +lassi+ e5ample o/ the syntheti+0
syn+reti+ indigenous tradition that is no-n #y the name o/ (induism2 7t en+ompasses #oth 1edi+
$rahminism as -ell as resistan+es against that2 $engal has never #een a part o/ the 1edi+ +ulture0
+hara+terised #y monism and its emphasis on ya)na2 7t is imperative /or us to understand the +omple5
nature o/ Sena +ulture -here a $rahmini+al edi/i+e reveals an indigenous in/rastru+ture2 This turn to
KCBJa -ould en+ompass an appropriation o/ a godhead /rom north 7ndia at the hands o/ Shohi)iya +ult0
and the proriti prin+iple dominant in $engalDs o-n $uddhism -hi+h is metamorphosed as the ,adha
idea2 Throughout our history0 $engal has -itnessed the emergen+e o/ myriad +ultural pra+ti+es all o/
-hi+h +ele#rate the /eminine prin+iple0 most popularly no-n as shoti2 Dinesh Sen -rites=
Shiva himsel/ destroyed the ya)na o/ DaBa2 The -hole o/ $engal -as against KCBJa and the
ya)na<per/orming $rahmins at one point o/ time2 Then the /lag o/ $holanath 9Shiva: -as
/luttering a+ross this land2 The $rahminism har#oured around KCBJa -as not popular here then2
A/ter-ards0 Shiva a#di+ated him empire in /avour o/ the ya)na<prohi#iting0 e6uality<pro/essing0
treasurehouse o/ +ompassion $uddha2 A/ter many ages -hen this +ountry a++epted KCBJa0 he
had to step on the soil o/ this land renoun+ing his Shanha$Chara$)ad=2 $engalis pledged
loyalty to him a/ter pla+ing a /lute in his hands2 941:
;hat Sen does not -rite here is that Krishno +ould enter $engal only a/ter su#mitting to the shoti o/
,adha2 Though it has sometimes #een argued that $rahminism is a syn+reti+0 a++ommodative dis+ourse
-hi+h tends to -el+ome other /aith systems0 #ut this argument la+s su#stan+e2 8e/t on its o-n0
$rahminsism has al-ays produ+ed most su//o+ating0 e5+lusionary and oppressive /orms o/ +asteism2
The syn+reti+ tradition o/ $oishno#ism in $engal has /lourished0 in s(ite of the $rahmini+al
dominan+e0 as a result o/ the preponderan+e o/ non<1edi+ +ultural systems 9also0 heavily in/luen+ed #y
the Dravidian0 Austri+ and 'ongoloid strata in $engal:2
7t is argued at times that 7ndians do not have a sense o/ history2 Some sa//ron historians have #een
+autious not to /all vi+tims to the DtrapD set #y -estern a+ademia0 #y trying to histori+ally investigate the
24=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
,amayana narrative 9surely it is a +onvenient /a+ade to hide #ehind myth and +laim immunity /or all
pro#lemati+s and 6uestionnaires o/ history:2 A noted sa//ron intelle+tual argues that 7ndians do not have
a sense o/ history 9,a)iv 'alhotra in his #oo Being #ifferent:0 and he suggests that in a positive
manner2 En the +ontrary the present resear+her -ould suggest that 7ndians do have a sense o/ history2
The pro#lem o/ the history o/ the (indus pre+isely started -hen +ensorship #egan to #e imposed on
$uddhism and $uddhist history2 ;hen a timeless aura had to #e invented around a ne-ly instated 9not
reinstated or restoredA it -as a Sanatan Dharma ne-ly /ashioned: $rahmini+al system a/ter ousting
$uddhism0 a deli#erate attempt -as made to #lur genealogies and past a++ounts2 $udhdism and .ainism
are no-n /or their minute attention to temporal /rames0 and there have #een many 7ndi+ traditions
-hi+h have #een reno-ned /or eeping re+ords2 $ut our history -as in )eopardy and -as manipulated0
#e+ause0 not +ontent -ith one o/ the most an+ient philosophi+al traditions o/ the -orld 9Bgveda:0 some
$rahmins greedily -anted to eliminate all +ompetitions to their +reed2 As an aside0 this aspe+t o/ 1edi+
$rahminism might also have in/ormed the manipulation o/ .ayadevaDs history +arried out #y the .$E
lo##y 9re/er to *ndnote 1:2 .ayadevaDs )itagovinda is a te5t that -as #orn in those +ir+umstan+es -hen
$engalDs $uddhist<Shoho)iya history -as a pro#lemati+ +ategory and +ould only #e voi+ed a/ter #eing
thoroughly +lad in $rahmini+al di+tion0 and its trou#lesome history eversin+e is a testimony to that
$rahminism<indu+ed /issures and /aultlines in our past2 Still0 a valid history o/ .ayadeva +an #e
e5+avated -ithout any su#stan+e a#use0 and -e +an settle it on+e and /or all that this te5tDs as -ell as its
authorDs origins lie in $engal2 Those -ho support the vie- that .ayadeva #elonged to Erissa have
repeatedly emphasised on the $engali s+holar Suumar SenDs dou#ts a#out .oyde#<Kenduli2 ;ell0 this
attempt to esta#lish the .$E +laim is a+ademi+ally dishonest0 #e+ause Suumar Sen never proposed an
Eriya identity /or .ayadeva2 En the +ontrary0 he is a /irm adherent o/ .ayadevaDs traditional image as the
+ourt poet o/ 8aBmaJa Sena2 All he disputed -as the e5isten+e o/ .oyde#<Kenduli2 (e suggested that
.oyde#<Kenduli is a later day development 9to dra- a parallel0 lie the present<day 1Cndavana is a
medieval invention: and it is not the original Kenduli village o/ .ayadeva -hi+h Sen suspe+ts to have
#een lost2 'ore a#out Suumar Sen later0 #ut re/erring to SenDs argument a#out Kenduli in support o/
the .$E +laim over .ayadeva is a serious +ompromise -ith a+ademi+ standards0 #ut then su+h
+ompromises over-helmingly +hara+terise the .$E +laim as -e shall see2 8et us e5amine the
eviden+es in /avour o/ the traditional +laim that .ayadeva<$elonged<to<$engal2 3oted historian
3iharran)an ,oy spe+i/i+ally dra-s our attention to the depi+tion o/ the /amed $engal monsoon that is
2C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
repeatedly hailed in the literature produ+ed in an+ient $engal2 There are a num#er o/ poems /rom the
+olle+tion Sadutiar<=m>ta -hi+h +ele#rate monsoon0 and ,oy re/ers to a PKla 9Pal: ins+ription in this
regard0 +ommenting= >And0 during the heavy<solemn and dense rain0 the -ay the rapt sy is greeted as
>meghairmeduram#aram@ #y the $engali poet .ayadeva and the image in -hi+h its dar<#lue grandeur
is mani/ested0 that is singularly /amiliar to the $engalis and that +an only #e appli+a#le a#out $engal0
-e thin@ 9104:2 SeaSubhodaya is another an+ient te5t 9-hi+h al#eit e5ists in a +orrupted version
s+ripted in /i/teenth +entury0 #ut its original te5t -as +omposed #y (alKyudha0 a +ontemporary o/
.ayadeva in the Sena +ourt: /rom $engal -hi+h mentions the story o/ .ayadeva and his -i/e Padmavati
in an essentially $engali setting 93iharran)an ,oy %44:2 Prasanta Dasgupta also emphasises the role o/
SeaSubhodaya in understanding the times o/ .ayadeva 91ayadeva Contem'oraries 5:2 7t is interesting
to note that 3iharran)an ,oy does not sho- an un6uali/ied admiration /or .ayadeva as he
disapprovingly note the ironi+al gap #et-een the +riti+al politi+al +ondition prevailing at the time o/ the
produ+tion o/ )itagovinda and its eroti+ appeal2 ;hen 7ndia -as #eing taen over #y an aggressive
/or+e o/ 7slam0 the Sena Kingdom -as #usy +ele#rating se5ual love in its numerous poeti+ -ors0 the
spirit o/ -hi+h /inds its heightened e5pression in .ayadevaDs poem2 Similar +riti+ism o/ .ayadeva has
earlier #een voi+ed #y $anim too0 as (arerishna 'uhopadhyay notes 9%avi 1aydeva 1:2 (o-ever0
-e +annot /ail to o#serve that su+h a +riti6ue indire+tly esta#lishes the .$$ +laim over .ayadeva2 The
overall +ultural atmosphere o/ the Sena +ourt -as +harged -ith moti/s o/ se5ual desire0 and .ayadevaDs
poem is deeply an+hored in that morass2 3iharran)an ,oy +omments=
.ayadeva himsel/ is saying0 that there -as no parallel o/ poet Govardhana in +omposing
/la-less eroti+ poetry2 /rya Sa'tashati #ears -itness to that2 And .ayadevaDs )itagovinda too is
an eroti+ poem in a palpa#le senseA the main /eature o/ this -or is the imagination o/ an
e5hilarating poetry o/ se5ual desire2 Saint poet 3a#ha)i Das o/ si5teenth +entury in his Bhata
Mala +alls this -or a treatise o/ desire and a treasury o/ eroti+ rasa2 'aterially speaing0 the
#est poems o/ this age are into5i+ated and s-eetened -ith se5ual desire and a lu5ury o/ -ealth2
(o-ever0 here ,oy does not re+ognise one important aspe+t o/ )itagovinda0 and his training as a
historian -ithin positivist values might not have helped either 9#oth $anim and 3iharran)an de+ry the
se5uality in .ayadeva /rom a positivist perspe+tive0 as the present resear+her -ould lie to suggest:2
The +ultural politi+s o/ a literary te5t +an have a /ar<rea+hing signi/i+an+e #eyond its immediate utility
26=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
and e5pedien+y2 To put it in a very #lunt manner0 this seems to #e 3iharran)anDs 9and $animDs:
+ontention= instead o/ this poem o/ eroti+ love0 .ayadeva should have -ritten a valiant poem o/ military
rigour -hi+h +ould have /ormed the #a+#one o/ Sena resistan+e against Turish aggression0
motivating the Sena armies to rise against the /or+es o/ invasion2 (o-ever0 the +ultural import o/ this
te5t as the /ountainhead o/ Gouriyo $oishno#ism perhaps presents more striing and more sustained an
a+t o/ resistan+e against the aggression o/ 7slam than -hat +ould possi#ly have #een the +ase o/ some
nee<)er poeti+ rea+tion against an immediate threat o/ invasion2 For +enturies the musi+ and lyri+ o/
)itagovinda o//ered people a +ultural /rame-or0 a per/ormative utteran+e o/ oneDs /aith0 a su#limation
o/ a +ore human desire into an e5pression o/ the highest spiritual +ommunion0 an epi+ sym#olism o/ the
purush<proriti dualism in the godheads o/ ,adha and Krishna2 7t might not have given any help to the
Sena armies0 #ut it has given invalua#le help to the /ormation o/ the +ounter<+ulture o/ $oishno# /aith
in $engal2 7/ .ayadeva did not -rite )itagovinda0 -e +ouldnDt have the "haitanya movement2
(arerishna 'uhopadhyay rightly o#serves that -ithout the literary impetus given #y .ayadeva0 the
$oishno# movement +ouldnDt have /ormed their po-er/ul +ommunity 9%avi 1aydeva 17:2 True0 the
+ultural appropriation o/ a te5t #y /uture times is a matter -hi+h is not very o/ten determined #y the
immediate nuan+es0 merits and stru+tures o/ that te5t itsel/0 and is rather de+ided #y the /uture
e5igen+ies2 The hugely popular te5t o/ )itagovinda -as used #y $engali $oishno# movements in a
manner so that it #e+ame a religious te5t0 as .ayadeva attained a posthumous status as a devotee
9bhoto: e5traordinaire0 and the melli/luous songs o/ )itagovinda -ent on to #e+ome signature
anthems o/ $oishno# /aith0 providing a model o/ inspiration /or later $oishno# poets and +omposers2
Perhaps the popularity o/ this te5t is also the ey to its in/rastru+ture= it -as popular #e+ause it stru+ a
+hord very +lose to the heart o/ the $engali people as $engal has #een the home o/ Sanhya and
Shohi)iya philosophies2 The dualism o/ Sanhya has #een -orshipped here sin+e time immemorial in
its di//erent mani/estations0 and that dyad /inds its popular em#odiment in the /igures o/ ,adha Krishno
in .ayadevaDs poem -hi+h in the same #reath +ele#rates the Shoho)iya +on+ept o/ eroti+ love2
3iharran)an ,oy +onsiders the emergen+e o/ ,adha idea to #e a $engali phenomenon=
That in some period not long #e/ore .ayadeva 9t-el/th +entury: the philosophy o/ ,adha and the
imagination o/ the ,adha /igure -ere #orn in this very $engal +annot #e pro#a#ly dou#ted2
'aterially speaing0 the ,adha o/ 1aiBJavism is a metamorphosed and re+hristened 1aiBJava
/orm o/ Shati o/ Shatoism2 KCBJa or 1iBJu 9lie Shiva: is the ultimate 'uruCa in 1aiBJavism
27=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
and the 'ra>ti or shati o/ this 'uruCa is ,adha2 This earth or 'ra>ti is the shati or vaiC<avi
o/ 1iBJu0 this thining did spread in the si5th and seventh +enturies2 Perhaps ,adha is an
evolved /orm o/ this thining2 9499:
;hen the te5t o/ .ayadeva is thus e5+avated0 -hat -e unearth there is nothing short o/ that primeval
o+ean out o/ -hi+h the te5ture0 matri5 and +omposition o/ the modern day $engali identity -ould
emerge2 For 3iharran)an ,oy the origin o/ the "haitanya 1aiBJavism lies in the daSKvatKra shloa o/
)itagovinda0 -ho points out that in LridharadKsaDs Sadutiar<=m>ta a similar evo+ation o/ the
daSKvatKra philosophy2 3iharran)an /urther opines that the ma)ority o/ o/ these shloas -ere +omposed
and sung in the +ourt o/ 8aBmaJa Sena 9 a devout -orshipper o/ KCBJa0 -ho /ashioned himsel/ as
parama#hKgavata: 944&:2
Further0 .ayadeva represents the maing o/ the +omposite nature o/ $engali identity0 and -as not a
$oishno# in a monolithi+ sense2 3iharran)an ,oy in/orms us= >.ayadeva did not )ust hail ,adha<
'adhavaA he -as not singularly 1aiBJava either0 he -as a -orshipper o/ the /ive divinities@ O -orship
o/ the /ive0 namely Shiva0 Shati0 1iBJu0 Ganesh and Surya +hara+terised the Purnai+ +ons+iousness O
and that .ayadeva -as a /amilial 9as opposed to as+eti+: $rahmin o/ the sm=rta traditionA his shloa
a#out 'ahadeva is 6uoted in Sadutiar<=m>ta 9441:2 .ayadeva -as not simply a devoutly religious
person as the supporters o/ .$E lie to #elieveA he -as very mu+h a man o/ his times= a part o/ the
royal +ourt0 en)oying royal patronage0 sharing the +ourt ethos and li/estyle0 o#serving the literary
+onventions o/ his +ir+le2 There is a shloa -ritten #y .ayadeva +olle+ted in Sadutiar<=m>ta -hi+h
elo6uently sings the praise o/ 8aBmaJa Sena0 and 3iharran)an ,oy 6uotes that /our<line shloa in /ull0
musing that .ayadeva might have made his appearan+e in the royal +ourt o/ 8ohon Sen -ith this
shloa 9!%3:2 That the eroti+ love story o/ ,adha and Krishno -as hugely popular in $engal prior to
.ayadeva 9in eleventh +entury AD: is evident in one Sansrit shloa /rom Subh=CitaratnaoCa as
o#served #y ,amaanta "hara#orty0 -hi+h speas o/ devotees melodiously singing in early mornings
o/ -inter the lyri+s -hi+h depi+ted the se+ret love o/ ,adha and Krishno 913:2 King 8aBmaJa Sena
-as himsel/ a -riter0 apart /rom #eing a devotee o/ ,adha and Krishno2 7ndeed0 it has #een o#served #y
Suumar Sen that the /irst shloa o/ )itagovinda -as -ritten #y 8aBmaJa Sena himsel/0 as the latter
penned a num#er o/ shloas on ,adha and Krishno -hi+h end -ith the phrase
>,adhamadhavayor)ayanti@ -hi+h is also the +ase o/ the /irst shloa o/ .ayadevaDs poem 96uoted in
(aHra 19:2 En this very phrase0 noted linguist and philologist Suniti "hatter)ee says=
2B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
The re/rain<lie agreement in the /irst part o/ the /ourth line in all the three verses
9T,adhamadhavayor)ayanti222T: is to #e noted2 These three verses pro#a#ly re+ord 6uite a
pleasant episode in the verse<+ompilation #y emulation in the +ourt<+ir+le0 in -hi+h the ruler0
his son and the most esteemed poet o/ the day too part0 -ith the other mem#ers o/ the +ir+le
parti+ipating -ith appro#ation0 one o/ -hom0 the anthologist Sridharadasa0 re+ording all the
three poems o/ the royal poets /or posterity2 96uoted in Prasanta Dasgupta 33:
This s+holarly agreement #et-een "hatter)ee and Suumar Sen esta#lishes a +riti+al +onsensus a#out
.ayadeva -hose -riting style and use o/ phrase9s: +onstitute a +ontinuum -ith the royal Sena +ourt2
;hile 3iharran)an ,oy unhesitatingly de+lares that the Kenduli village on the #ans o/ the river A)oy
is the #irthpla+e o/ .ayadeva #ased on a num#er o/ eviden+es 9!%9:0 a strange +ontroversy in this regard
is started #y Suumar Sen0 -ho is under any +ir+umstan+es not a supporter o/ the .$E +ase2 Almost all
the supporters o/ .$E have 6uoted Suumar Sen out o/ +onte5t in their haste to prove that .ayadeva
-as Eriya2 Suumar Sen indeed said that Kenduli village o/ .ayadeva is lost and the present /estival o/
Kenduli is a later day invention2 $ut Suumar Sen never denied the essentially $engali origin o/
.ayadeva0 or that .ayadeva -as the +ourt poet o/ 8aBmaJa Sena2 The /a+t is that Suumar Sen indeed
+ontends that there is no village +alled Kenduli0 and -hat is +alled the Kenduli /air is so named simply
#y +onvention 9(aHra 19:2 Prasanta Dasgupta +alls this proposition o/ Sen >mani/estly a#surd@
91ayadeva Contem'oraries %1:2 Kenduli is a village in $ir#hum0 as -e +an also see in the study o/ 8ina
"hai -ho has attended the /air hersel/2 (arerishna 'uhopadhyay0 the $oishno# s+holar
e5traordinaire -ho lived in $ir#hum himsel/ attests at length in his %avi 1ayadeva ? Shri)itagovinda
that the village +alled .oyde#<Kenduli -here the annual /air is held very mu+h e5ists2 ;e may never
no- -hy Suumar Sen made that outrageous +laim2 $ut that he did not visit Kenduli himsel/0 that is
/or sureA may #e he -as #eing driven #y the /amiliar +riti+al impulse to sound as di//erent as possi#le0
so as to dra- attention to him2 The Kenduli village o/ $ir#hum e5ists in all land maps and re+ords0
there/ore any attempt to de#ate the e5isten+e o/ this village is a -aste/ul e5er+ise2 Prasanta DasguptaDs
+olle+tion o/ $ritish +olonial maps and land re+ords o/ Kenduli in his #oo 9the one in *nglish: is a
neat a+ademi+ )o# 9%%:0 and a /itting response to this mindless +ontroversy started #y Suumar Sen and
should settle this +ontention on+e and /or all2
The legend o/ .ayadeva indeed lives in the annual /air o/ Kenduli in the $ir#hum distri+t o/ ;est
$engal2 There is a detailed study o/ the .oyde#<Kenduli /air 9as it is +ele#rated: in 8ina "haiDs #oo
29=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
9%9<43:2 "hai0 -hile agreeing -ith Suumar SenDs +ontention that the present /air dates #a+ to
relatively re+ent times 9"hai dates it #a+ to 1!94 "* /ollo-ing Sen:0 suggests that the Snan)atra 9the
holy dip: per/ormed annually on the #ans o/ A)oy river on the day o/ 'oor Shonranti 9'aara
Sanranti: O -hi+h is really -hat the Kenduli /air is all a#out O might have #een +ontemporaneous -ith
or even older than the days o/ .ayadeva 934<3!:2 7n any +ase0 i/ a historian +an imagine that all
indigenous rituals 9+olle+tively given the name (indu #y our invaders: +ould +ontinue unhindered and
uninterrupted a/ter the Turo<A/ghan invasion o/ $engal0 then that is not an o#)e+tive0 su#stantial
appraisal #ased on empiri+al eviden+eA that is rather a pie+e o/ airy idealism2 ;e +annot e5pe+t the
Kenduli /air to have +ontinued uninterrupted throughout the middle ages2 Prasanta Dasgupta use/ully
in/orms us in this regard=
7n the year 1!14 o/ Saa era0 i2e2 1!9% A2D20 a temple o/ ,adha<'adhava -as #uilt #y the
'aharani o/ 222 $urd-an2 7t is said that the original image -as #rought /rom Shyamarupar Gad0
a pla+e near Kenduli2 Those0 -ho say that the history o/ the e5isting temple near the pla+e o/
mela #egan /rom 1!94 A2D20 may note that had there #een no tradition o/ .ayadeva +onne+ted
-ith this pla+e0 the 'aharani o/ $urd-an -ould never have #uilt a temple there in honour o/
poet .ayadeva2 91ayadeva Contem'oraries %%:
Ene interesting pie+e o/ in/ormation provided #y Prasanta Dasgupta 9%3:0 9and repeated #y "hai: is
that the .oyde#<Kenduli /air sin+e its in+eption in rene-ed avatar in 1!9%G1!94 has #een organised #y
the saints and mons #elonging to the 3im#ara order2 7t has #een o#served that the 3im#ara order
+ele#rates .ayadeva as one o/ its +hie/ saints0 and that the +entrality o/ ,adha idea has #een
instrumental in the tea+hings o/ 3im#ara0 the /ounder a/ter -hose name this order is +hristened2
Pra#hat 'uher)ee too o#serves the pioneering role o/ 3im#ara 9a Telugu as+eti+ -ho resided in
1CndKvana during thirteenth +entury: in propagating the ,adha idea= >The +on+eption o/ ,adha has
#een given a prominent pla+e in in the tea+hings o/ 3im#ara@ 970:2 This +orro#oration o/ .oyde#<
Kenduli o/ $ir#hum #y the 3im#ara order 9-hi+h is an all 7ndia se+t pre<dating the #irth o/ Gouriyo
$oishno#ismA 3im#ara order is almost devoid o/ $engali $oishno#s: /urther +onsolidates the $engali
tradition a#out .ayadevaDs #irth pla+e2
(arerishna 'uhopadhyay dra-s our attention to the age<old $engali $oishno# tradition -hi+h
states that Sanatan Gos-ami 9o/ the legendary ,up<Sanatan duo: sa- the /ollo-ing shloa s+ulpted on
a 3a#ad-ip ruin o/ a royal gate-ay -hi+h said that the +ourt o/ 8aBmaJa Sena had these /ive )e-els=
3&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Govardhana0 Sharana0 .ayadeva0 Imapati and Kavira)a 9Dhoyi: 9%avi 1ayadeva 19:2 This tradition
attri#uted to the +ourt o/ 8aBmaJa Sena readily resonates -ith the shloa in )itagovinda -hi+h speas
o/ the uni6ue strengths o/ these /our poets 9Govardhana0 Sharana0 Imapati0 Dhoyi: and then +ompares
.ayadeva /avoura#ly -ith them2 Further0 t-o shloas o/ .ayadeva /rom Sadutiar<=m>ta +ele#rate the
valour o/ the ing 8aBmaJa Sean 9one addressing the ing as GauPendra and 1angapriya0 the other
addressing him as ,a)endra: and 'uhopadhyay +onsiders them to #e eviden+e /or .ayadeva #eing
8aBmaJaDs +ourt poet 9%avi 1ayadeva %4:2 Further0 'uhopadhyay maes a +ursory o#servation that a
veteran resear+her named $uehler sa- the mention o/ 8aBmaJa Sena in a manus+ript o/ )itagovinda
in Kashmir 9%avi 1ayadeva %4:2 'uhopadhyay does not /urther mention anything0 #ut noted German
7ndologist .ohann Georg $uehlerDs 1&77 -or #etailed Re'ort on a Tour in Search of Sansrit
Manuscri'ts in %ashmir, Ra+'utana and Central India, pu#lished /rom $om#ay is a ma)or
+ompendium o/ nineteenth +entury 7ndology -hi+h0 un/ortunately0 in spite o/ repeated sear+hes o/ the
present -riter +ouldnDt #e a++essed on any ar+hives in the internet2 (o-ever0 this -or #y $uehler must
#e tra+ed and studied minutely as an essential algorithm to de+ode .ayadeva0 sin+e a num#er o/ $engal
manus+ripts -ere dispersed a/ter the Tur<A/ghan invasion o/ -estern $engal2 As -e no-0 a num#er
o/ manus+ripts -ere #rought to 3epal and Ti#et0 and /rom there an odd manus+ript maing its -ay to
Kashmir does not seem 6uite impro#a#le2
;hile speaing o/ the algorithms o/ a te5t0 -e need to investigate its time<spa+e +o<ordinates2 An
ahistori+al idealism has reigned in $engal eversin+e our model o/ literary en6uiry -as adopted /rom
Tagore2 7nstead o/ history0 trans+enden+e -as +hosen as a norm2 The relative had to mae -ay to the
a#solute2 lo+al -as repla+ed -ith universal0 +onte5t -as dis+arded in /avour o/ timeless truths0 time<
spa+e +o<ordinates -ere given up in sear+h o/ genius0 nationalism -as +an+elled in /avour o/ an
autonomous sel/</ashioningA and as a result0 $engalis a+tually thought that the literariness o/ .ayadevaDs
-or -as independent o/ the +onditions o/ its produ+tion2 Prasanta Kumar Dasgupta re+ords that the
supervisor o/ his do+toral thesis on .ayadeva0 reno-ned Pro/essor Sriumar $andyopadhyay >did not
en+ourage me to in+lude non<literary dis+ussions lie the #irth<pla+e +ontroversy o/ .ayadeva@
91ayadeva Contem'oraries i5:2 This reveals a +ertain +allousness o/ the t-entieth +entury $engali mind
to-ards $engalDs history0 and this a+tually disarms our people in /ront o/ aggressions lie the .$E
poa+hing o/ .ayadeva2 Than/ully0 not only Prasanta Dasgupta +ontinued to -or on the history o/
.ayadeva0 his post<do+toral -or on the #irthpla+e +ontroversy o/ .ayadeva -as very highly a++laimed
31=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
in the All 7ndia Eriental "on/eren+e held in 197% in I))ain and -as a-arded the #est paperDs priHe0 as
Dasgupta hum#ly in/orms in 1ayadeva and Some of His Contem'oraries 9i5:2
(arerishna 'uhopadhyay o#serves in his pre/a+e to Prasanta DasguptaDs 1974 #oo 9in
$engali0 derived /rom the original do+toral thesis o/ Dasgupta: )itagovinda ? 1ayadevagoshthi=
>Finally let me mention a#out a lamenta#le +onspira+y2 E/ late0 /or some years some Eriyas motivated
#y a vested interest have #e+ome #usy in esta#lishing poet .ayadeva as an inha#itant o/ Erissa2 Erissa
government too is assisting in this disgusting a+t@ 9:2 'uhopadhyay in the same #reath +ommends
the painstaing resear+h undertaen #y Dasgupta in resolving this +ontroversy0 and the /a+t that
DasguptaDs -or on .ayadeva has #een a++epted and appre+iated #y the +ommunity o/ historians and
7ndologists2 (o-ever0 )itagovinda ? 1ayadevagoshthi does not have that +hapter on .ayadeva #irth
+ontroversy -hi+h 'uhopadhyay so earnestly -anted to #e a part o/ this study0 +hie/ly #e+ause o/ the
said o#)e+tion o/ Sriumar $adyopadhyay2 Prasanta Dasgupta in/orms us=
;hether poet .ayadeva -as $engali or Eriya O 7 -as very mu+h interested to in+lude a long
dis+ussion on this topi+ in this #oo2 Dr $andyopadhya told that this matter is irrelevant in the
evaluation o/ the poetry o/ .ayadeva2 ;e shall not +on+ede i/ the Eriya s+holars +all .ayadeva
Eriya2 ;e +annot mae them agree to our proposition o/ .ayadeva as a $engali2 R A+tually
only a/ter the arguments o/ #oth sides are e5hausted the enthusiasm /or de#ate -ill de+rease2 9:
This lo/ty imagining o/ neutrality and this assumption o/ not #elonging to any sides in the spirit o/ a
li#eral0 universal<humanism 9bishshomanobota0 as -e +all universal humanism in $engali: -ould +ome
to +onstitute a distin+t /eature o/ the Tagorean ethos -hi+h has #een so very dominant in $engal
eversin+e the /all o/ nationalisti+ /eeling0 and -hi+h has #een #ehind the steady depletion o/ the
$engali people during the later part o/ t-entieth +entury2 That su+h +ele#rations o/ a universal
humanism has #een an imperial strategy0 ena+ted out -ithin the +olonial and post+olonial s+enarios #y
the #hadralo<+ompradors o/ $engal has #een a ey proposition ena#ling the #asi+ analysis o/ the
$engali predi+ament sin+e the present resear+her /ounded 1ournal of Bengali Studies2 7nterestingly0 it
has #een o#served #y a +riti+ that >throughout history0 empires0 su+h as the ,oman and Ettoman0 have
sought to uni/y their peoples as a politi+al alternative to nations@ and thus0 to >re+ogniHe onesel/ as a
part o/ humanity@ is a +entral ideologi+al impetus o/ imperialism 9Gros#y 4:2 $ut apart /rom the
nationalist +riti6ue o/ it0 universal humanism is also vulnera#le to #e redu+ed to the status o/ shi##oleth
32=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
in any +ontemporary literary analysis and +an +ertainly appear outdated in any +ultural en6uiry2 ;e
#elieve that an in/ormed understanding o/ .ayadevaDs poetry must address the history o/ its produ+tion
and su#se6uent re+eption0 as any su+h understanding must a+no-ledge the poetDs time and spa+e2
The /irst +laim /or an Eriya identity o/ .ayadeva -as made #y 'adhav Pattanaya in his 5aiC<ava
!eelam>ta as 'rityun)oy 'ondal notes 9%1:2 Pattanaya0 a dis+iple o/ Gadadhar Pandit0 -as a
+ontemporary -itness o/ the "haitanya movement2 The same te5t o/ Pattanaya also puts /or-ard a
+laim /or an Eriya lineage o/ "haitanya2 'rityun)oy 'ondal has o#served that most s+holars do not
a++ept an Eriya +laim on "haintanyaA 6uoting noted "haitanya s+holars $iman#ihari 'a)umdar and
Suhomoy 'uhopadhay0 'ondal himsel/ has attempted to sho- that the +lass o/ $rahmins to -hi+h
"haitanya #elonged did not e5ist in Erissa2 8ie-ise0 the +laim that .ayadeva -as Eriya0 in 'ondalDs
opinion +onstitutes a /a#ri+ation that is motivated #y DregionalismD 9%1:2 7n the opinion o/ the present
resear+her0 this attempt #y Pattanaya is analogous to the attempt o/ 9some: 7ndian "hristians to
esta#lish that "hrist +ame to 7ndia0 or that Saint Thomas +ame to 7ndia and died in present day "hennai2
Su+h +laims are politi+ally motivated and not are primarily +on+erned a#out histori+al a++ura+y2 Su+h
+laims are an5ious to pla+e a ne-/ound land o/ a proselytising /aith in a position superior or e6ual to
the land o/ origin that /aith2 Su+h /a#ri+ation is an emotional a+t #orn out o/ an an5iety0 a
psy+hoanalyti+al appropriation o/ oneDs ne- identity0 and a re#ellion against the original alienation o/
oneDs /aith2 The .$E +laim #uilds a narrative -here past is re-ritten0 and is made suita#le /or the
present0 and the dominan+e o/ $engali $oishno# +ulture in Erissa is made to appear as indigenous as
8et us revisit our proposition that the ,adha idea lies at the +ore o/ )itagovinda; The most +ru+ial
aspe+t o/ $engalDs $oishno# movement is the +entrality o/ the ,adha idea in it2 And every in+h o/
)itagovinda is a typi+ally $engali -or in that it is in/used -ith this ,adha idea O as 'uher)ee
+omments0 >,adha<idea is per/e+ted0 perhaps /or the /irst time0 in )itagovinda o/ .ayadeva@ 970: O
-hi+h -as alien to Erissa prior to the advent o/ "haitanyaDs movement2 Pra#hat 'uher)ee in his The
History of Medieval 5aisnavism in ?rissa o#serves= >The re/eren+e to )ita$)ovinda in the ins+ription
o/ Kapilendra is interesting2 The #oo re+eived an early ovation in Erissa though ,adha<idea0 the
6uintessen+e o/ its theme0 -as not popular in the pre<"haitanya age@ 943:2 ,amaanta "hara#orty in
his study o#serves that the e5isting s+hool o/ indigenous 1aiBJava philosophy in Erissa +alled
DPan+hashahaD 9-hi+h e5isted prior to and +ontemporaneously -ith "haitanya movement: did not
33=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
atta+h any importan+e to ,adha2 A++ording to one o/ the +hie/ proponents o/ this Pan+hashaha
5aiC<avas 9namely0 the Eriya poet $alarama Dasa0 -ho +omposed ,amayana in Eriya language:0
"hara#orty notes0 >the relationship #et-een ,adha and Krishna -as that #et-een a sister and a
#rotherA the idol o/ Su#hadra #et-een the idols o/ .agannath and $alaram in the temple o/ Puri
signi/ies this relationship@ 947:2 "hara#orty hints at a ma)or ideologi+al ri/t #et-een the Eriya and
$engali devotees +aused #y su+h in+ompati#ilities -hi+h ultimately led to an e5odus o/ the $engalis
/rom Puri to 1CndKvana -hi+h personally traumatised "haitanya as his attempts at re+on+iliation /ailed
'rityun)oy 'ondal in/orms that ,aya ,amananda -ho -as +onsidered to #e a pillar o/ the Goudiyo
$oishno# movement and -as dear to the $engali stal-arts o/ $oishno#ism 9in+luding "haitanya: -as
treated in a hostile manner #y the Eriya 1aiBJavites -ho ultimately e5iled him out o/ Erissa=
>A++ording to Eriya resear+her $ishnupada Panda0 the Shoho)iya devotion -as against the religious
tradition o/ Erissa2 R (is #eing sent to the Godavari region -as in a sense an e5ile senten+e /or the
bhati movement +entred around love@ 970:2 This Shoho)iya $oishno#ism had its origin not in Erissa
#ut in $engal2 Seemingly0 the line o/ ,amananda +ontinued to sho- the same atta+hment to the $engali
$oishno# tradition2 Prasanta Dasgupta tells us=
'anohara Dasa0 said to #e the great<grandson o/ 1aninatha Pattanayaa0 #rother o/ ,ay
,amananda the great /riend0 philosopher and devotee o/ Sri+haitanya0 /irst +ame to $urd-an0
/ollo-ing his elder #rother 3ityananda /rom .a)pur -here his /ore/athers resided2 (e -ent to
this Kenduvilva village #y a++epting Gourhari 1aul as his Guru in the 17th +entury A2D2
#inamani$candrodaya #y 'anoharadasa a 17th +entury -or narrates the /a+t2 This sho-s the
tradition o/ $engal Kenduli -as popular even amongst the 17th +entury Erissan people2
91ayadeva Contem'oraries %3:
At times a s+holar may -onder -hy at all this .$E versus .$$ +ontroversy too pla+e0 -hen -e had
people lie ,amananda and 'anohara2 $engal and Erissa have #een histori+ally +ulturally and a#ove
all geographi+ally +lose and share a lot o/ things in +ommon2 The /a+t that .ayadeva visited Erissa -as
not to #e disputed any historians2 $ut the /a+t that the .$E +amp indulged in this /utile e5er+ise to
deta+h .ayadeva /rom every palpa#le +onte5t -hi+h in/orms his poetry is really un/ortunate2 ;hat is
most interesting is that the .$E proponents have /orgotten that a siHea#le part o/ Erissa 9in+luding Puri:
indeed +ame under the o++upation o/ 8aBmaJa Sena2 A very interesting in/ormation in this regard is
34=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
shared #y Purnendu Prasad $hatta+harya=
7n 1174 AD 8aBmaJa Sena ere+ts a Samaya.ayastam#ha 91i+tory Pillar: in the holy pilgrimage
pla+e o/ Puri a/ter de/eating the Ganga King o/ Puri Ananga $hima Deva0 and arranged /or
)itagovinda to #e regularly sung in the ne-ly re/ur#ished .agannath temple 9upon the third
vastu level:2 R .ayadeva -ent on to live on the #ans o/ a river near "utta+ /or some time and
#y 8aBmaJa SenaDs order0 the river -as re+hristened A)aya and that village on the river -as
re+hristened Kenduli2 97:
That 8aBmaJa Sena invaded Kalinga and o++upied large tra+ts o/ it is an esta#lished /a+t o/ history2
The authoritative /n /dvanced History of India #y ,2"2 'aHumdar et al -hile re+ording .ayadevaDs
+onne+tion -ith the +ourt o/ 8aBmaJa Sena tells us that 8aBmaJa Sena >served his apprenti+eship in
the -or o/ government as vi+eroy or military governor in +harge o/ some distri+t in Kalinga2 En
+oming to the throne0 he distinguished himsel/ as a +on6ueror and a patron o/ learning2 (e +laims to
have pushed his +on6uests as /ar as Kalinga@ 91&0:2 Dinesh Sen o#serves that the 'adhainagar +opper
ins+ription re+ords the +on6uest o/ Kalinga #y 8aBmaJa Sena 9490:2 The same +opper plate proudly
pro+laims 8aBmaJa SenaDs amorous liaisons -ith the -omen o/ Kalinga0 and this eroti+ allusion later
+omes to /orm the nu+leus o/ DhoyiDs PavanadDtam -hi+h is modelled on KalidasaDs MeghadDtam 9Sen
40!:2 PavanadDtam speas o/ a Gandharva damsel named Kuvalayavati su//ering /rom her pangs o/
love /or a youth/ul 8aBmaJa Sena a/ter he has le/t Kalinga 93iharran)an ,oy !%4:2 ,2"2 'aHumdar in
his /ncient India notes that 8aBmaJa Sena0 -ho +on6uered a num#er o/ provin+es and -hose vi+tory
mar+h e5tended to Kamrupa in east0 $enaras and Allahaha#ad in the -est and Kalinga in the south
indeed planted a vi+tory pillar in Puri 93%0<3%1:0 a /a+t that is never mentioned #y any o/ the .$E
s+holars2 ;hile 8aBmaJa SenaDs 'adhainagar grant tells us o/ the +on6uest o/ Kalinga 9among other
+on6uests:0 the 'adanapara grant o/ his son 1iSvarUpa Sena in/orms us a#out the vi+tory pillar -hi+h
-as raised in Puri #y 8aBmaJa Sena 9Pal= 1ol21= 9%0 94:2 7n this regard0 -e thin that $hatta+haryaDs
-or needs to #e taen seriously0 as it thro-s a very interesting light on the #irthpla+e +ontroversy2
$hatta+harya evidently relies on +ontemporary Sena de+larations0 ins+riptions0 do+uments and the
ula+i te5ts 9-ors o/ medieval genealogies:2 8aBmaJa SenaDs o++upation o/ Kalinga -hi+h is a
histori+ally do+umented /a+t might #e analysed as a /a+tor to-ards de+oding the popularity o/
)itagovinda in Erissa and as a possi#le +lue to unravel the #irthpla+e +ontroversy2 This vie- re+on+iles
the .$E and .$$ +laims0 and thus de/initely merits a +are/ul appre+iation2
3C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Prasanta Kumar Dasgupta -hile e5tensively dis+ussing a#out the +ontroversy +reated around
.ayadeva in his 19&% study +alled it the >#irth<pla+e +ontroversy0@ and indeed at that point o/ time the
+ontroversy -as pro#a#ly limited to the #irthpla+e o/ .ayadeva2 3o- it has engul/ed .ayadevaDs identity
as the +ourt poet o/ 8aBmaJa Sena2 The +ampaign against .ayadevaDs $engaliGGauPiya identity has
#een most su++ess/ul on the internet2 ;iipedia and online *n+y+lopedia $ritanni+a #oth re+ord the
version /or-arded #y the .$E +amps2 A +hie/ se+retary o/ Erissa has -ritten an arti+le on the -e#site
o/ Erissa government -hi+h #etrays very poor resear+h and /la-ed arguments 9not to spea o/ outright
mistaes: -here he attempts to prove that .ayadeva -as native to Erissa and he never -ent to the Sena
The same person has also #een instrumental #ehind the +laim that Gautam $uddha -as #orn in
8ooing at this arti+le on .ayadeva #y one o/ the main +ampaigners /or the .$E +ause0 one -ill
invaria#ly get an impression that the /a+t o/ 8aBmaJa SenaDs D+o-ardlyD /light /rom 3adia 93odia: is
/or-arded as a singular eviden+e that .aydeva +ould not have #elonged to this ingDs +ourt2
A historian must de/end his people= this might as -ell #e a slogan o/ nationalist historiography0 and
-ould undou#tedly sound s+andalous to li#eral ears2 $ut 3iharran)an ,oy seems to tae the side o/ his
people -hile dis+ussing $ahtiyar Khil)iDs +on6uest o/ 3adia 9it -as not the +on6uest o/ $engal:2
3iharran)an ,oy painstaingly esta#lishes the /a+ts0 removing the veils o/ myth0 and as a result -hat
emerges is a history o/ the $engali people -hi+h $anim must have )u#ilantly approved0 #e+ause it
a#solves the $engali people o/ the +harge o/ +o-ardi+e2 $ahtiyar Khil)i -as disguised as a horse
trader -hile o++upying the Sena outpost 9not the +apital: o/ 3a#ad-ip0 -hile the Sena +ourt itsel/ -as
teeming -ith /i/th +olumnists and traitors0 some o/ them #eing the ran and /ile o/ the Sena
administration 93iharran)an ,oy 409<414:2
;e voi+ed a rider a#out nationalist /ervour in a+ademi+ studies in the #eginning o/ this arti+le0 and as
-e are approa+hing the end o/ our study0 our only o#)e+tion should #e that the .$E s+holars have not
#een passionate enough a#out .ayadeva to noti+e the in/antile nature o/ their anti<$engali polemi+0 the
tremendous ru##ish -hi+h they have heaped on the history o/ .ayadeva o/ late0 -hile their -ors
indeed prove that they are less driven #y a genuine passion to no- a#out .ayadeva and )itagovinda
than #y a #urning )ealousy o/ $engal and $engalis2 7t is some-hat amusing to note the institutional0
sarari sponsorship -hi+h the +hampions o/ the .$E +ause have en)oyed in Erissa2 Funnily0 not a
single argument 9all o/ them are /la-ed any-ay0 as Prasanta Dasgupta has painstaingly sho-n in his
studies: provided #y the .$E lo##y a+tually esta#lishes an Eriya identity /or .ayadeva2 Prasanta
36=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Dasgupta almost thro-s his hands in air in e5asperation a/ter a lengthy re/utation o/ all the .$E
arguments0 pre+isely #e+ause all that the .$E s+holars have +laimed is that .ayadeva did not #elong to
$engal0 -hile not giving a single argument in /avour o/ .ayadevaDs Eriya identity0 as i/ the poet -ould
automati+ally #elong to Erissa -ithout any histori+al eviden+e0 )ust #y slandering the -ell<esta#lished
tradition o/ .ayadevaDs $engali roots2 Su+h a disreputa#le0 dastardly a+t has only #een a#le to go on
un+hallenged #e+ause o/ the li#eral indi//eren+e as #e/its the $engali bishshomanobota, amnesia and
assumptions o/ neutrality even -hen they ne+essitate turning a #lind eye to the aggression +arried out
against oneDs +ore +ultural0 so+ial0 philosophi+al and literary +apitals and lega+ies2
ErissaDs ta#leau at the ,epu#li+ Day Parade in %0110 in 3e- Delhi2 3ote ho- .ayadeva0 seemingly in the a+t o/ +omposing
)itagovinda, is /oregrounded to the .agannath temple
7t has #een /alsely +laimed #y one Dr 'ahapatra that the .$E theory is supported #y the Bhatamala
o/ 3a#ha)idas0 a hagiographi+ -or +omposed in seventeenth +entury during the reign o/ Shah)ahan0 as
Prasanta Dasgupta +ites 91ayadeva Contem'oraries 19:2 As a result o/ the pan 7ndia Bhati movement0
there -as a proli/eration o/ hagiographies during the seventeenth +entury and many o/ them too
inspiration /rom 3a#ha)i0 as Prasanta Dasgupta tells usA /urther0 he 6uotes the relevant passages /rom
3a#ha)i and sho-s that there is a#solutely no re/eren+e to any Erissa +onne+tion o/ .ayadeva0 -hereas
a +ommentary 9DtippaniD: on 3a#ha)iDs Bhatamala +omposed #y 1aiBJavadasa 9signi/i+antly0 a
3im#arite: speas dire+tly o/ .ayadeva #elonging to $ir#hum 91ayadeva Contem'oraries %0:2 The
oldest no-n +ommentary on )itagovinda +omposed 9sometime #et-een 143& and 1449: #y 'aharana
37=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Kum#ha o/ 'e-ar titled Rasia'riya speas o/ .ayadeva in +onne+tion -ith ing 8aBmaJa Sena0 as
Prasanta Dasgupta in/orms us in the same study 9%0<%1:2 Dinseh Sen in/orms us that a shortly a/ter the
+omposition o/ )itagovinda a +ommentary on it -as produ+ed #y Krishna Datta o/ 'ithila 9400:0
-hi+h also mentions .ayadevaDs role as a +ourt poet o/ 8aBmaJa Sena 949%:2 ;e must agree that the
+ase /or .ayadevaDs $engali identity and his relation -ith the royal Sena +ourt has an an+ient
provenan+e2 The .$E +laim0 on the other hand0 is upstart2 As Prasanta Dasgupta notes0 there is
a#solutely no mention o/ .ayadevaDs Eriya identity throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth +entury
annals o/ 7ndology and Eriental resear+h= >*arly s+holars and orientologists have re+orded the +laim o/
$ir#hum distri+t and o/ no other pla+es2 (ad the +laim o/ Erissa #een popular in the late nineteenth
+entury even0 it -ould have #een mentioned #y ;2 ;2 (unter in his /amous #oo ?rissa Eor the
5icissitudes of an Indian Province under native and British ruleA pu#lished in 1&7%@A interestingly0 as i/
adding insult to in)ury0 not only (unter is mentionless a#out .ayadevaDs so<+alled Eriya identity0 he in
/a+t +ategori+ally speas o/ TVtWhe $eer#hum poet .ayadevaT -hile +ommenting on the .agannath
Temple 913:2 The silen+e a#out any .$E +laim in (unterDs annal o/ Erissa +learly indi+ates that the
village o/ Kenduli Sasana in Puri distri+t touted to #e the #irthpla+e o/ .ayadeva has #ene/ited /rom a
latter day /a#ri+ation0 and has #ased in a #elated glory heaped on it in t-entieth +entury2 7/ Kenduli
Sasana o/ Puri distri+t -as no-n as the #irthpla+e o/ .ayadeva at the time -hen (unter -as -riting
his -or0 it -ould have surely #een re/le+ted in the +ontent2
The /alla+ies in .$E arguments are 6uite interesting2 7t has #een 6uestioned #y the .$E s+holars that
i/ Kenduli in $engal -as the #irthpla+e o/ .ayadeva0 then -hy did "haitanya never visit that pla+e? A
#emused Prasanta Dasgupta points out that su+h .$E arguments +ompletely ignore the /a+t that
"haitanya never visited the village o/ Kenduli Sasana o/ Puri either 91ayadeva Contem'oraries %1:2
Some o/ these arguments are outright /un= lie the regular per/orman+e o/ )itagovinda in the Puri
temple is presented as a proo/ that .ayadeva -as an Eriya0 or that the eroti+ s+ulptures o/ the Erissan
temple ar+hite+ture are /or-arded as eviden+e -hi+h -ould esta#lish that .ayadeva -as an Eriya
9Prasanta Dasgupta= 19&%= %3:2 Any#ody -anting to get a +omprehensive a++ount o/ .$E +laim over
.ayadeva needs to loo no /urther than Diananath Pathy et al and #e +ognisant o/ some o/ their +retin
arguments -hi+h ree o/ /raudulen+e0 suppression o/ history0 manipulation o/ data and outright
misin/ormation2 ;e may taste this= Imapatidhar +annot #e asso+iated -ith the +ourt o/ 8aBmaJa Sena
#e+ause he -as asso+iated -ith the +ourt o/ 8aBmaJa SenaDs grand/ather 1i)aya Sena 9Pathy %1:0
3B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
-hereas 3iharran)an ,oyDs authoritative -or +learly esta#lishes the /a+t that Imapatidhar -as alive
even a/ter $ahtiyar Khil)iDs raid o/ 3a#ad-ip 9!%4<!%4:2 Er /or that matter0 let us tae the .$E dou#t
a#out the shloas o/ .ayadeva /rom Sadutiar<=m>ta eulogising the Sena ing= here0 this is the
+ontentionA #eing a saint poet -ho -as +ompletely devoted to Krishna 9note= not <ad'a-)ris'naA .$E
s+holars #etray their gross ignoran+e o/ the #asi+ ,adha idea0 -hi+h dominates )itagovinda0 in every
pie+e o/ propaganda they have +hurned out in order to esta#lish their +laim over .ayadeva: .ayadeva
+ouldnDt have -ritten them0 and they must #e +oming /rom some other .ayadeva 9Pathy 5vii:2 First0
$engali historians are a-are o/ other $engali poets named .ayadeva -ho +omposed in Sansrit0 as
Dinesh Sen attests 93!9:0 and there is no 6uestion o/ +on/using them -ith .ayadeva -ho #elonged to
the +ourt o/ 8aBmaJa Sena2 Enly the +rudest0 #asest /orm o/ ignoran+e a#out the +ontemporary +ourt
-ritings during the period o/ 8aBmaJa Sena +an /a+ilitate su+h utteran+es2 .ayadeva -as not a saint0
he -as an artist deeply im#ued -ithin the dominant +ultural pra+ti+es o/ the Sena +ourt2 The overtly
eroti+ nature o/ )itagovinda +an only #e missed i/ it is turned into a /ossilised pie+e o/ esoteri+ +hants0
-hi+h is the +ase o/ the plight o/ )itagovinda at the hands o/ the .$E +laimants2 And this is -hy -e
regularly /a+e /rom the .$E +amps su+h pious pro+lamations o/ .ayadevaDs saintliness and his devotion
to .agannathGKrishna0 -hi+h #rutally uproot .ayadeva /rom his histori+al milieu and +ommit an
unpre+edented violen+e on )itagovinda2
This .$E attempt to mae a pulp out o/ history +an #e +onsidered to #e a +retin variant o/ the
7maginary stage as proposed #y noted psy+hoanalyst .a+6ues 8a+an2 7maginary is the pre<sym#oli+
stage o/ human su#)e+tivityA simply put0 it is the stage prior to a human +hildDs entry into language2 The
-orld o/ a #a#y around itsel/ 9parents0 ta#le0 +hair0 #ed0 o-n urine and /ae+es < it doesnDt di//erentiate
#et-i5t itsel/ and these: appears to it as an e5tension o/ its o-n #ody0 its o-n image2 7/ this +hild is
+retin0 then it +an /orever stay in this 7maginary stage2 The .$E possessiveness over .ayadeva operates
as a +retin 7maginary2 ;ithout understanding .ayadevaDs language at all 9the style0 di+tion0 ideology0
+onte5t:0 the odd +laimant +onsiders .ayadeva to #e a part o/ its o-n image2
Those /e- medieval -ors seemingly +orro#orating the .$E +laim over .ayadeva might have taen
their +ue in this regard /rom the -or o/ 'adhav Pattanaya +omposed during the time o/ "haitanya0
as -e have already dis+ussed2 3eedless to say0 they are -ea mat+hes /or the +ontemporary -ors
surviving /rom the t-el/th +entury Sena +ourt2 Prasanta DasguptaDs s+rupulous resear+h 9in $engali and
in *nglish: on all the +ontemporary poets o/ .ayadeva /rom the Sena +ourt remains authoritative to this
39=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
day and /irmly pla+es .ayadeva -ithin the literary<+ultural<philosophi+al movements o/ the Sena age0
-hi+h -ill +ontinue to e5ert +ons+ious and un+ons+ious in/luen+e on the $engali mind /or +enturies2
From the postmodern0 parodist use o/ )itagovinda in the popular musi+ o/ "handra#indoo to the ample
mentions o/ )itagovinda in the popular /i+tions o/ Sharadindu0 .ayadevaDs poem has #e+ome a part o/
the +olle+tive idiom o/ $engali +ultural e5pressions2 And its position -ithin the $oishno# movement o/
$engal e5udes an original signi/i+an+e2 $engal has #een /ertile in produ+ing poets and poetry a+ross
+enturies0 and there/ore -e may not /eel desperately /anati+ a#out .ayadeva as i/ he is our sole treasure0
to go to any length to pro+ure that treasure #y hoo or #y +roo2 ;e may not /eel greedy to-ards the
prover#ial rain o/ )itagovinda the -ay a #arren0 drought<ridden0 ro+y and sandy terrain might /eel0
#ut that does not mean .ayadeva is dispensa#le0 and that #arren terrain may have him0 and -e +an turn
a #lind eye to the .$E poa+hing o/ .ayadeva in a li#eral /ashion0 -ith an outdated neutrality and
sui+idal +o-ardi+e2 (istory attests= )itagovinda #elongs to $engal0 and today /or a nas+ent analysis o/
the $engali identity0 re+laiming -hat has al-ays #een right/ully ours is +riti+ally important2 The
histori+ity and literariness o/ .ayadevaDs te5t +onstitute an integral part o/ the politi+al0 +ultural and
so+ial /oundation o/ the $engali people2
A traditional depi+tion o/ a Gouriyo $oishno# pro+ession led #y 3itai and Gour
4&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
5 Note on +ransliteration# ;e have tried to +on/orm to the standard 9internationally re+ognised:
spelling o/ )itagovinda and .ayadeva throughout this arti+le2 (o-ever0 -hile speaing o/ .ayadeva
-ithin an essentially $engali +onte5t0 #e it in the title o/ $engali studies on the poet0 or the /air o/
Kenduli0 $ir#hum0 -e have pre/erred the spellings .oyde# and )itgobindo0 pre/erring the Kolata
standard o/ $engali language2 $engalis pronoun+e the Sena ings as the Shen ings0 #ut the spelling
Sen is so /amiliar0 -e had to use it instead o/ Shen -hile speaing o/ the Sen +ourt and 8ohon Sen in
a $engali +onte5t2 Further0 the present -riter has tried to provide +orre+t dia+riti+al mars to all
Sansrit terms0 #ut -ould lie to apologise /or -hatever la+unae that e5ist even a/ter his #est attempts2
12 This may interest us that the .$E lo##y voi+ing its +laim over .ayadeva over-helmingly +onsists o/
Eriya $rahmins0 and have #een a++used o/ $rahmini+al pre)udi+e #y /ello- Eriyas -ho have also
alleged that the village touted to #e the #irth<pla+e o/ .ayadeva is ar#itrarily and /alsely +hosen2 Ene
+an see the details here= Xhttp=GGorissamatters2+omG%004G04G17G#irthpla+e<o/<)ayadevGY2 A++essed on 4
Fe#ruary %0142
%2 This is a )ointly -ritten arti+le -here one o/ the +o<authors is an additional +hie/ se+retary o/
Government o/ Erissa2 Xhttp=GGorissa2gov2inGe<magaHineGErissarevie-Gde+<%00!Gengpd/Gde+2pd/Y0 The
same person has -ritten another arti+le under sole authorship peddling the +laim that .ayadeva did not
#elong to $engal Xhttp=GGorissa2gov2inGe<magaHineGErissarevie-G%011GmayGengpd/G1&<%02pd/Y2 $oth
a++essed on 4 Fe#ruary %0142 3ote that the Erissa government solidly #a+s the .$E +amp 9as opposed
to the $engal government -hose attitude al-ays e5hi#its a li#eral nirvana2 This arti+le repeatedly says
that 8aBmaJa Sena es+aped /rom $engal a/ter $ahtiyar Khil)iDs raid0 -hi+h is ridi+ulous2 All
historians agree that 8aBmaJa Sena 9#y this time more than eighty years old: -ent to eastern $engal
-here the Sena dynasty +ontinued to rule /or at least another +entury 0su++ess/ully repelling repeated
'uslim assaults0 8aBmaJa SenaDs #oth sons 1iBvarUpa Sena and KeSava Sena proudly taing the titles
o/ GauPeS-ara and >Garga<QavanKnvaya<Pralaya<KKlarudra@ -hi+h +ategori+ally imply that they
repeatedly de/eated the 'uslims 9Pal= 7= 9&:2 'inha)uddin in his TabaFat$i$0asiri notes that 8aBmaJa
Sena -ent to a pla+e +alled .agannath0 and Dinesh Sen +onvin+ingly proves that this -as a village
named .agannath 9in the .essore<Khulna region: in east $engal 9443:2 ;e may have some legitimate
+riti6ues o/ the Sena rule0 #ut -e /ail to understand ho- a +harge o/ +o-ardi+e may #e #rought against
41=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
8aBmaJa Sena0 or ho- a distortion o/ Sena history -ill #e help/ul in studying the poetry0 li/e and
times o/ .ayadeva2
32 ;ith the same signature authorship0 this time the pioneer o/ .$E +amp maes an attempt to poa+h on
Gautama $uddha0 no dou#t em#oldened #y the +ae-al -hi+h they have en)oyed in their +ampaign to
o++upy .ayadeva2 Xhttp=GGorissa2gov2inGe<magaHineG.ournalG)ounalvol1Gpd/Gorh)<32pd/Y2 A++essed on 4
Fe#ruary %0142 7t may not #e irrelevant to note here that an attempt -as made to alter the -iipedia
arti+le on $uddha #y this lo##y0 -hi+h +reated a /urore amongst the ;iipedians0 and that
misin/ormation 9that $uddha -as #orn in Erissa: -as immediately removed2 The su++ess in
manipulating the .ayadeva ;ii<arti+le no dou#t en+ouraged the .$E lo##y2 ;e may also note that
there have #een similar +ampaigns o/ misin/ormation in ;iipedia regarding some other +ultural
treasures o/ $engal0 /or e5ample the ;ii<arti+le on ,oshogolla says that it -as invented in Erissa2 See
Xhttp=GGen2-iipedia2orgG-iiG,asgullaY0 Xhttp=GGen2-iipedia2orgG-iiG.ayadevaY2 $oth a++essed on 4
Fe#ruary %0142
'iller0 $ar#ara Stoler 9ed2 and trans2 -ith annotations:2 )itagovinda of 1ayadeva: !ove Song of the
#ar !ord2 Delhi= 'otilal $anarsidas0 19&42
$haduri0 3risinghaprasad2 Chaitanyadeb2 Kolata= Patraleha0 %0132
$hatta+harya0 Purnendu Prasad2 1oydeb ? Tnar )itgobindo2 Kolata= Sahityamela0 19912
$rannigan0 .ohn2 0e, Historicism and Cultural Materialism2 8ondon= 'a+millan0 199&2
"hai0 8ina2 Mela$Mocchob$#hulot2 Kolata= Karigar0 %0132
"hara#orty0 ,amaanta2 Bonge Boishnob #hormo2 Kolata= Ananda0 %0112
"hattopadhyay0 $anim "handra2 Banim Rachanasamagra Prabandha %handa EPrathama /nshaA2
Kolata= Sasharata Praashan0 19732
Dasgupta0 Prasanta Kumar2 1ayadeva and Some of His Contem'oraries2 Kolata= Sansrit $oo Depot0
42=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
<<<2 )itgobindo ? 1oydebgoshthi2 Kolata= 7ndian Pu#li+ations0 19742
Dasgupta0 Shashi#hushan2 Bangla Sahityer Potobhumiru'e %oyeti #hormosadhona: Bangla Sahitye
)uhyosadhonar #hara2 Kolata= $haro#i0 %0112
Gros#y0 Steven2 0ationalism: / 5ery Short Introduction2 E5/ord= EIP0 %0042
(aHra0 ,atnesh-ar2 1oydeber )itgobindo2 Kolata= "hirontoni Proash $ho#on0 19742
'alhotra0 ,a)iv2 Being #ifferent2 3oida= (arper"ollins0 %0132
'aHumdar0 ,2"22 /ncient India2 Delhi= 'otilal $anarsidass0 %0132
'aHumdar0 ,2"20 (2"2 ,ay+haudhuri0 K2 Datta2 /n /dvanced History of India2 Delhi= 'a+millan0 %0132
'ondal0 'rityun)oy2 Chaitanyadeb2 Kolata= Patra $harati0 %01%2
'uher)ee0 Pra#hat2 The History of Medieval 5aishnavism in ?rissa2 Kolata= , "hatter)ee0 19402
'uhopadhyay0 (arerishna2 Kavi 1ayadeva ? Shri)itagovinda 94th *dn:2 $ir#hum= Govt o/ ;est
$engal0 19!42
<<<2 Shririshno'rosongo ? Boishnobtott,o2 Kolata= Ashadip0 %0142
Pal0 Promode 8al2 The -arly History of -astern India: .rom the -arliest Times to the Muslim ConFuest
9in t-o volumes:2 Delhi= Sharada Pu#li+ations0 19902
Pathy0 Dinanath0 $haga#an Panda and $i)aya Kumar ,ath0 *ds2 1ayadeva and )itagovinda in the
Traditions of ?rissa2 3e- Delhi= (arman Pu#lishing (ouse0 19942
,oy0 3iharran)an2 Bangalir Itihash E/di'orboA2 Kolata= DeyDs Pu#lishing0 19932
,oy0 Kalidas2 Prachin Bongo Shahitto2 Kolata= Aparna0 %00&2
Sen0 Dinesh "handra2 Brihot Bongo2 Kolata= DeyDs0 %00!2
Siegel0 8ee2 Sacred 4 Profane #imensions of !ove in Indian Traditions as -Gem'lified in the
)itagovinda of 1ayadeva2 Delhi= EIP0 197&2
Tamal #asgu'ta is the founder$editor of 1ournal of Bengali Studies; He is an /ssistant Professor of
-nglish at /mbedar College of 2niversity of #elhi; He has recently submitted his Ph# thesis on Terry
-agleton at the #e'artment of -nglish in the 2niversity of Calcutta; His research interest includes
literary and cultural theory and he is a 'ro'onent of a nationalist methodology in academia;
S'a)to Literature and t'e D,urga-EaliF 6aradig"# 6ra1'at Eu"ar
u)'o(ad'%a%Fs G+'e HoddessI as Sat%a2it <a%Fs Devi
Eausta! Eundu
Sharmila Tagore as Doyamoyi (Devi) in the poster of Satyajit Rays film Devi (1960)
7n Myth, Cult and Symbols in Shato Hinduism: / Study of the Indian Mother )oddess0 ;endell
"harles $eane prioritiHes a +oales+en+e #et-een Durga and Kali0 the t-o goddesses0 highly venerated
in $engal /or +enturies2 Although the heartening /orm o/ Durga and the /ormida#le vision o/ Kali may
o//er a startling +ontrast0 they are a single mani/estation o/ the important +on+ept in 7ndian religion
no-n as Shati0 ;oman Po-er2

7n Satya)it ,ayZs 19!0 /ilm #evi 9The )oddess:0 the goddess appears
in this dual epiphany as Durga<Kali2 Apparently0 Pra#hat Kumar 'uhopadhyayZs short story a#out a
si5teen<year<old -i/e -ho is identi/ied #y her pious /ather<in<la- as an in+arnation o/ Devi0 the 'other
Goddess0 held great appeal to ,ay -ho #elieved that 'uhopadhyayZs story0 /irst pu#lished in 1&990
+ould #e trans/ormed into a visually ri+h period /ilm0 and that his +hara+ters +ould #e even more
dramati+ and +ompelling on the s+reen2 ;hat ,ay did not imagine -as that a /ilm adaptation o/ >The
44=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Goddess@ -ould +ause a politi+al storm during that time2 The /ilm0 as it e5ists0 is set in the vi+inity o/
"al+utta0 literally0 the +ity o/ Kali0 during the latter part o/ the 19
+entury2 Eddly0 the short story on
-hi+h ,ay #ased his /ilm did not provoe a similar out+ry upon pu#li+ation2 This -as largely #e+ause
P2K2 'uhopadhyay0 the >$alHa+ o/ $engal0@ -as a $rahmin0 the highest +aste in the (indu hierar+hy0
and thus some-hat prote+ted /rom harsh +riti6ues2 7n+identally0 'uhopadhyay did not +ome up -ith
the idea /or the short story all #y himsel/2 7t -as apparently #ased on a+tual events0 a++ording to
,a#indranath Tagore0 -ho a#andoned the idea o/ -riting the story himsel/ #e+ause o/ his mem#ership
in the $rahmo Sama)0 an elite group o/ modernist 7ndians -ho pu#li+ly opposed idol -orship2 Tagore
ne- his politi+s and opinions -ould taint the re+eption o/ the story he -anted to -rite0 so he o//ered
the idea /or the story to his /riend and author P2K2 'uhopadhyay2
,a#indranath Tagore had a massive in/luen+e on the young ,ay2
As a t-o year old0 ,ay heard the
songs that Tagore sang at the #edside o/ his si+ /atherA as a youth0 he attended SantinietanA and over
the years he tried to in+orporate into his -or TagoreZs vision o/ a li#eral so+iety -here -omen -ould
en)oy a higher status2 8ie the Tagores0 as David Koph signi/i+antly notes in The Brahmo Sama+ and
the Sha'ing of the Modern Indian Mind0 ,ayZs /amily enthusiasti+ally supported the $engal
,enaissan+e0 a movement o/ -estern edu+ated intelle+tuals -ho -ished to +reate a synthesis o/
enlightened (induism and *uropean li#eralism2 They -anted to e5tend e6uality to -omen through
edu+ation and marriage rights0 and they denoun+ed +ustoms su+h as -ido- #urning and +hild marriage2
7n /a+t0 ,ayZs o-n grandmother -as the /irst -oman do+tor in 7ndia2 7an $uruma0 in an intriguing
pro/ile on ,ay0 pu#lished in The 0e, :or Revie, of Boos 919 3ovem#er0 19&7:0 -ent on to depi+t the
maestro as >The 8ast $engali ,enaissan+e 'an@2 7nterestingly0 the ideals o/ the $engal ,enaissan+e
/orm the #a+drop o/ ,ayZs #evi2
4C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
A Photograph of Ray y !emai "hosh (#Delhi Art "allery)
As a master /ilmmaer0 ,ay su#stantially re<shaped 'uhopadhyayZs pithy story2 'uhopadhyay
#egins his tale -ith the senten+e0 >This is a story /rom a little over a +entury ago0@ re-inding the time
/rame one hundred years to the 1790s0 -hen $ritish rule and edu+ation -ere not /ormally entren+hed in
$engal and religion -as a more po-er/ul /or+e than in the 1&90s2 ,ay0 on the other hand0 /ast<
/or-arded the time /rame o/ the story eighty years /rom the 1790s to the 1&70s2 (e had a good reason
/or altering the period o/ the /ilm= #y pla+ing the narrative in the +onte5t o/ +olonial modernity0 in the
midst o/ arguments /or re/orm and so+ial +hange0 he made the +on/rontation #et-een Ima Prasad
9Soumitra "hatter)ee:0 the hus#and o/ Doyamoyi 9Sharmila Tagore: the Devi0 and Kaliinar 9"hha#i
46=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
$is-as:0 ImaZs /ather0 more dramati+ than in 'uhopadhyayZs story2 ,ay emphasiHes ImaZs pride in
his *nglish edu+ation0 -hi+h he +alls >ne- learning@ as opposed to his /atherZs >old learning0@ #ased on
studies o/ Tantra and Shati2 >The sonZs +hara+ter is very developed in this /ilm a++ording to my
/eelings0 /or dramati+ reasons0@ ,ay on+e told Andre- ,o#inson0 author o/ Satya+it Ray: The Inner
-ye2 >7 -as /ull o/ sympathy /or him2 7 #elieve his arguments -ere mu+h stronger than the /atherZs
arguments0 #e+ause o/ the irrationality involved@ 9,o#inson 4%<43:2
A Photograph of Prahat $%mar &%'hopa(hyay
(#Trio Do)%mentation of Pattrea)
Pra#hat Kumar 'uhopadhyayZs literary story is /ull o/ sharp +ontrasts2 There is a +ultural +lash
#et-een Kaliinar0 -ho #elieves his daughter<in<la- is a living god0 and Ima0 -ho re/uses to #elieve
this is possi#le2 KaliinarZs elder son0 Taraprasad0 sides -ith his /ather0 +reating +on/li+t #et-een
#rothers2 Doyamoyi0 a trusting and loving si5teen<year<old0 is a /oil to (ara0 TaraZs -i/e and KhoaZs
mother0 a proud0 )ealous -oman -ho dislies DoyamoyiZs +lose relationship -ith her son2 ,ay
ela#orated on these +ontrasting strands in 'uhopadhyayZs story and #rought them alive in /ilm2 *very
47=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
+hara+ter in #evi has a dramati+ +ounterpart= Doya has (ara0 Ima has Tara0 Kaliinar has the elderly
#eggar2 The tradition o/ Shati is )u5taposed -ith the modernity o/ $ritish edu+ation2 The reason o/ the
*nlightenment is )u5taposed -ith the emotion o/ pra+tising religion2
Another striing departure /rom 'uhopadhyayZs story is ,ayZs meti+ulous detailing o/ religious
ritual and pra+ti+e2 ,ay on+e told to Darius "ooper0 >7 had a lot o/ /un dire+ting the s+enes o/ ritual and
devotion0 designing the sets0 +ostumes0 and maeup@ 9"ooper !%:2 This is evident /rom the /irst s+ene
o/ #evi0 in -hi+h ,ay depi+ts the autumn harvest /estival o/ the Goddess Durga0 a -arrior goddess -ho
rides a lion2 Durga has ten arms and is sho-n illing a #u//alo demon2 ,ay starts the /ilm -ith these
images to sho- the unearthly spell that the 'other Goddess Devi +ould +ast on her devotees2 $y the
time Doyamoyi is trans/ormed into Devi0 the audien+e +annot help #ut #e spell#ound #y the po-er o/
Shati and a-ed #y a -oman -ho #rings together -ithin her #eing -omanhood0 motherhood0 and
sainthood2 These /emale /or+es0 ,ay su++ess/ully sho-ed0 -ere at the +enter o/ the Shati pra+ti+e in
$engali popular +ulture2 They -ere also0 as 'uhopadhyay illustrates in his short story0 /or+es that
-ere e6ually mysterious0 li/e<a//irming0 and dangerous2
The /ilm ironi+ally dis+loses that the reveren+e /or the goddess in /a+t leads to more oppression o/
-omen2 ,ay reveals the sa+redness o/ the /eminineA he gives us the goddess0 the image0 the myth0 and
therea/ter0 the ideal o/ /emininity is shattered2 'ost artisti+ally0 most poignantly0 he raises pro/ound
6uestions2 ;hy -ould a household -ith a /emale deity at its +entre #e governed #y a domineering
patriar+h? Er in a larger sense0 -hy -ould a so+iety that has -orshipped goddesses /rom time
immemorial #e andro+entri+0 misogynist? From 1edi+ times0 goddesses su+h as Prithivi0 Saras-ati0
Iras0 1a+h0 and Aditi have dominated the 7ndian imaginationA in spite o/ the prevalen+e and high
status o/ goddesses in the sa+red domain0 -omen in $engal and 7ndia /or the most part are su#ordinate
and dependent upon men2 There are s+holars -ho a+no-ledge that the trans/eren+e /rom mythos to
4B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
ethos is a#sent in 7ndian so+iety #ut ,ay goes #eyond stating the parado5= he pro#es deeply into the
phenomenon and illustrates the tragi+ /a+t that -omen in /lesh and -omen in stone are t-o totally
di//erent entities0 and ho- the identi/i+ation #et-een the t-o +an lead to a su//o+ating rather than
li#erating e5perien+e2 ;ith re/eren+e to ,ayZs /ilm adaptation o/ P2K2 'uhopadhyayZs literary tale
>The Goddess@ and the /ormerZs portrayal o/ a parti+ular 19
+entury $engali -oman in /ilm0 this
paper proposes to study the evolving 9rather0 de+lining: relationship #et-een Doyamoyi and Durga<
Kali on three levels= their impli+it asso+iation0 their e5pli+it +oales+en+e0 and their shattering
Although at the outset o/ #evi0 there e5ists no dire+t identity #et-een the all po-er/ul deity Durga<
Kali and the daughter<in<la- o/ the aristo+rati+ Kaliinar "houdhuri0 there appear striing a//inities
#et-een them2 Kaliinar0 literally the servant o/ Kali0 and a pious devotee o/ the /ormida#le #la+
goddess0 is0 in a +urious manner0 devoted to his younger daughter<in<la- as -ell2 (e +alls her >the little
mother@2 .ust lie Durga<Kali0 -ho does not have +hildren hersel/ #ut is nevertheless +alled >'a@ 9a
shortened /orm o/ the Sansrit matra0 meaning >mother@: Doyamoyi0 though +hildless0 is lovingly
addressed as the mother #y Kaliinar and the entire household2 (er young nephe- Khoa adores her
and the parrot in the +age +alls her >ma@ as -ell0 responding most a//e+tionately to her tender tou+h2
The #la+ goddess is envisioned as luminous radian+e #y her devotees and the very name
[DoyamoyiZ 9>mer+i/ul mother@: re+alls this #right +ompassionate aspe+t o/ the goddess2 As .ohn
;oodro//e notes in Hymns to the )oddess0 Kali -ith her t-o right hands +on/ers #lessings upon her
devotees= -ith the upper she dispels /ear0 -ith the lo-er she grants #oons2
Kaliinar tells her ho-
a/ter the death o/ his -i/e0 and a/ter his o-n physi+al a++ident0 he #e+ame devoted to this goddess2 (e
even thought o/ es+aping his sorro-s #y going on a pilgrimage0 #ut the #la+ goddess intervened to
#righten up his li/e #y sending Doyamoyi to him2 As he /ondly reminis+es0 >the little mother +ame to
49=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
his home2@ "learly0 he vie-s his sonZs #ride as the gi/t o/ the +ompassionate goddess2 The lin #et-een
the deity and the #ride is esta#lished in his mind /rom the #eginning2 *ven his -esterniHed >"hristian@
son0 DoyamoyiZs hus#and0 asso+iates her -ith the goddess2 For0 as a /lash#a+ dis+loses0 -hen he /irst
set his eyes upon the #eauty o/ his -i/e0 he e5+laimed= >you loo lie the goddess2@ The spe+tators
themselves +annot #ut lin the doll<lie /a+e o/ Doyamoyi and her deep0 dar eyes -ith the painted /a+e
and prominent eyes o/ Durga2 This image is deeply impressed on them /or it remains on the s+reen
throughout the opening o/ the /ilm as the titles move slo-ly #y2
An impli+it +on/usion #et-een the i+on o/ the goddess and the palpa#le Doyamoyi taes pla+e in the
-orship room o/ the mansion2 $oth visually and aurally it is a -onder/ul s+ene2 For the /irst time and
also the last until the +losing segment o/ the movie -e en+ounter the #la+ statue o/ the goddess2 7n her
Kali mani/estation0 the goddess +ommands a terri/ying presen+e2 She sports a large ne+la+e o/
de+apitated heads and she holds a s-ord2 A tender song is #eing addressed to the goddess2 From the
/rightening image o/ the goddess0 the +amera shi/ts to Doyamoyi0 endearingly maing o//ering to the
deity2 She has her head +overed and she is deli+ately arranging /lo-ers and in+ense /or the 'u+a
+eremonies2 E#viously there is no parallel #et-een the e5altation o/ the -orshipped and the humility o/
the -orshipper2 $ut as the +amera re+edes /urther #a+ and -e #egin to vie- the s+ene /rom the angle
o/ the /ather<in<la- and that o/ the elderly villager in the doorstep0 the division #egins to #rea do-n2
;ho is the su#)e+t o/ the /ather<in<la-Zs reveren+e? ;ho is the >ma@ -hom the villager seems to #e
ardently addressing? ;hen he re+ites0 >Qour son is in misery in your presen+e0@ -hose [presen+eZ does
he have in mind? ,ayZs +amera intimates a psy+hologi+al +on/usion #et-een the t-o in the imagination
o/ her devotees= /or the ri+h Kaliinar and the poor villager the pro5imity #et-een the goddess Kali
and Doyamoyi is physi+ally and emotionally +harged2 (o-ever0 one sear+hes in vain /or a real
asso+iation #et-een these t-o mani/estations o/ the /eminine2 ;here is the +onne+ting lin? 7n the
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a#stra+t0 Kali and Doyamoyi may share the same gender0 they may #oth remain the o#)e+t o/ the -ishes
and desires o/ others0 and there may #e a spatial +loseness #et-een them2 $ut the /a+t is that the idol
and the human /igure e5ist and /un+tion on t-o very distant and di//erent planes2
As the /ilm #egins0 the /irst time -e see Doyamoyi is -ith her hus#and and nephe- -at+hing the
/ire-ors as the image o/ Durga is #eing immersed2 At this point the +amera moves /rom the young
nephe- to-ards the un+le and then do-n-ards to the petite and shy Doyamoyi2 7n a -ay0 this des+ent
is indi+ative o/ the +ultureZs slant to-ards its living -omen2 7ndeed0 in this very /irst s+ene0 the +ontrast
#et-een the /eminine image /ervently li/ted on high and the /eminine person meely tu+ed #y her
hus#andZs side0 is made +onspi+uous2 "onspi+uous too is the di//eren+e #et-een the spheres o/ the
goddess and Doyamoyi2 The goddess is the sovereign o/ the +osmos2 The universe is the stage upon
-hi+h she a+ts /earlessly and autonomously2 *spe+ially0 in her mani/estation o/ Kali0 she is approa+hed
as the mistress o/ the /orests and mountains2 En the other hand0 DoyamoyiZs parameters are sharply
+ir+ums+ri#ed to the home2 *5+ept /or #rie/ instan+es 9as in the opening s+ene0 or -hen she is ready to
leave /or "al+utta -ith her hus#and0 or at the very end -hen she disappears into the mist:0 -e see her
-ithin the pre+in+ts o/ the home2 ;hile her hus#and studies la- in "al+utta and is e5posed to a variety
o/ s+enarios0 DoyamoyiZs e5perien+e is limited to the mansion2 7n spite o/ the /a+t that she is the mu+h
priHed daughter<in<la- o/ a -ealthy landlord0 she does not ever appear [/reeZ -ithin it2 ;hen her
hus#and ass her i/ she -ould move to "al+utta -ith him0 she /eels +onstrained #y the o#ligations to
her /ather<in<la-2 The >little mother@ o/ the household does not possess the /reedom to post letters to
her hus#and2 She does not even dare to hand them to a servant= she has to go through the +hannel o/ her
little nephe-M ;hereas the goddess is portrayed in (indu s+ripture and i+onography as dan+ing /reely0
moving a#out her +osmi+ terrain -ildly0 /ranti+ally0 out o/ +ontrol0 Doyamoyi is al-ays governed #y
proprietyA her spee+h0 gait0 and movements display an inner reserve and +ontrol2 The goddess o/ death
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lives on the periphery o/ +ulture0 and o/ten /re6uents the +remation grounds0 the #order o/ li/e itsel/A
Doyamoyi per/orms her +onventionally /i5ed role as a >little mother@ -ith her head +overed in
su#mission and humility0 amidst a highly >+ultured@ setting0 o/ +handeliers and 1i+torian /urniture0
sym#oliHed #y the lu5urious marriage<#ed0 the +entre o/ li/e itsel/2

Physi+ally too0 there is an immense di//eren+e #et-een the divine and the human /igures2 Apparently0
the idol<lie /a+es o/ Durga and Doyamoyi may appear similar #ut -hen looed at +losely -e realiHe
that there is an inherent spontaneity in the goddessZs smile -hereas DoyamoyiZs is al-ays restrained2
;hile #oth are im#ued -ith sensuality0 the goddessZs is 6uite e5pli+it and e5ternal0 -hile DoyamoyiZs
sensuality is deep and +onstantly -ithheld2 E/ +ourse0 the di//eren+e #et-een the Kali aspe+t o/ the
goddess and Doyamoyi is e5treme= the goddess is pit+h #la+ in +omple5ion0 she has /ear/ul teeth0
sunen eyes and a tongue that sti+s out to li+ #loodA Doyamoyi is /air0 and possesses so/t and gentle
/eatures0 radiating tran6uillity and s-eetness /rom every part o/ her #ody2 The goddess roams a#out
naed0 shameless0 -ithout gar# and ornamentsA DoyamoyiZs sari is al-ays draped around her0 in
eeping -ith her de/erent attitude2 (er eyes remain lo-ered in su#mission and she speas #ut little2
(o- +an Kaliinar +on)ure up an asso+iation #et-een these t-o diametri+ally opposed personalities?
(o- +an the human #e validated #y the divine? 3o- many -omen /rom -ithin the tradition may /ind
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this asso+iation honoura#le0 many outsiders may vie- this as e5alting the position o/ (indu -omen0
and many may -ish it repeated and emulated2 The asso+iation0 ho-ever0 is one that is made #y a
patriar+hal so+iety2 'en su+h as Kaliinar -ish to a#stra+t the -oman /rom a parti+ular personality
into a +ompassionate goddess and e5pe+t her to per/orm a nurturing role to-ards themselves and the
other mem#ers o/ the e5tended /amily2 The individual identity o/ the -oman is su#sumed under that o/
the goddess and she is /or+ed to live in a++ordan+e -ith the image o/ the Ether2 3o#le #enevolen+e
to-ards others governs the +hara+ter o/ the daughter<in<la- o/ the aristo+rati+ (indu /amilyA her o-n
-ishes0 time0 and spa+e are surrendered to them 9here0 one may also +ite the instan+e o/ Aparna SenZs
19&4 /ilm Parama:2 And yet the goddess -ith -hom she is assimilated is also the epitome o/
autonomy0 #ut this +hara+teristi+ o/ hers is not partaen o/ #y the human /or -e do not ever get the
impression o/ Doyamoyi or any -oman lie her #eing valoriHed #y the divine paradigm2 The -oman is
/or+ed to assume only +ertain 6ualities o/ the goddess and is not at li#erty to +hoose among them or
even tae advantage o/ the goddessZs +ardinal +hara+teristi+2 7n DoyamoyiZs deportment and a+tions -e
loo in vain /or the /reedom em#odied #y Kali2 The role o/ the goddess is imposed upon her /rom the
outside0 and +urtails her individuality and energy2 The divine model de#ilitates the -oman0 the
+on/usion -ith the goddess sti/les her2
The third eye is symbolically superimposed
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The +loseness #et-een the t-o /eminine /igures seen +ons+iously during the day is re<seen
un+ons+iously in a dream #y Kaliinar at night2 (is no+turnal vision +om#ines t-o +ategories o/
dreams demar+ated in traditional 7ndian medi+al te5ts0 #ringing together -hat he has seen in -aing
li/e 9drishta: -hile grati/ying a desire that +ould not #e /ul/illed in the -aing stage 9'rarthita:0 as
;endy EZFlaherty o#serves in #reams, Illusions, and other Realities2
That night the -ido-er has a
dream in -hi+h he sees the holy lamps en+ir+le KaliZs /a+e -hile the sistrum rings2 As the lamps go
around0 the sounds gro- louder0 and the #la+ /a+e o/ the goddess #lurs into DoyamoyiZs0 the third eye
o/ the goddess merging into the red dot on the -omanZs /orehead2 The third eye is an important sym#ol
in (induism0 signi/ying insight that trans+ends all ordinary per+eption2 The goddess Kali is endo-ed
-ith three eyes representing the moon0 sun and /ire0 #e+ause she surveys the entire universe0 -hi+h is
the produ+t o/ time2 The 'istress o/ Time 9[aliZ is the /eminine /orm o/ ala0 meaning time: +an
+learly dis+ern into the intrinsi+ nature o/ e5isten+e and +an see into past0 present0 and /uture
simultaneously2 A++ording to Kaliinar0 his dream -as the goddessZs -ay o/ revealing that his
daughter<in<la- is the avatara o/ Kali2 Ever-helmed -ith his numinous e5perien+e0 he rushes to
DoyamoyiZs #edroom and /alls on the ground0 prostrating himsel/ at her /eet2 This metamorphosis
+annot #e des+ri#ed as >the easy dri/t o/ the lovely silly young girl into the auto<into5i+ation0 the
nar+issism o/ #elieving that she is a goddess@ 9Kael %43<%44:2 7t is evident that the -oman does not
-ant to #e a goddess2 7t is not she -ho is into5i+ated #y the /antasy o/ in+arnation2 This is KaliinarZs
dream0 and /or him his prayers have #orne /ruition2 The o#)e+t o/ his devotion is hersel/ in+arnated in
his very daughter<in<la-2 Therea/ter -e do not see the image o/ Kali on the altarA Doyamoyi in person
has repla+ed her2 From a vital young #ride she is +hanged into a statue<lie surrogate o/ his goddess2
She is put on the pedestal0 -orshipped #y her /ather<in<la- and people around2 The -ealthy manZs
private dream #e+omes a pu#li+ reality2 The spa+ious mansion #e+omes +laustropho#i+ -ith the
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+onstant /lo- o/ pilgrims2 The temple room is /ull o/ grim<looing priests0 some o/ -hom -ave the
-his0 some light +andles0 some ring #ells and they all +hant hymns2 They sing praise to the goddess
-ho /or them is the sour+e o/ all -isdom0 the sour+e o/ all strength0 and the guardian o/ all2 Doyamoyi
is o//ered arati -hi+h is reserved /or sa+red images alone= platters -ith in+ense0 lights0 grains and
sa+red -ater +ir+umam#ulate her nonplussed /a+e2 Surrounded #y people0 #onded in garlands0
su//o+ated #y in+ense /umes0 and dea/ened #y loud +hants0 Doyamoyi /aints and +ollapses on the /loor2
Qet0 totally im#ued in their devotion and /ully a#sor#ed in their rituals to the sa+red o#)e+t0 no#ody
pays attention to the li/eless su#)e+t2 Perhaps in this state o/ e5isten+e0 there is no di//eren+e #et-een
+ons+ious and un<+ons+ious2 7nstead o/ e5amining her +laustropho#i+ atta+0 the -orshippers +ele#rate
it as a mira+le0 as a living proo/ o/ the goddess in+arnate0 /urther endorsing the identi/i+ation o/
Doyamoyi -ith Kali2
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For the /ervent devotees0 Doyamoyi is the goddess and that is her supreme status2 Thus she is
altogether a#stained /rom parti+ipating in the a+tivities o/ the household2 (er #edroom is moved
do-nstairs to the ground /loor0 +loser to the -orship room2 And to the -orship room she is +on/ined
morning and evening2 Slo-ly -e noti+e the deep sensuality e## a-ay /rom her /a+e0 and day #y day
she #egins to loo more and more lie an i+on2 The eyes that gave an amorous glan+e to her hus#and or
a tender loo to her nephe- no- appear glaHed2 The depth o/ her emotions gives -ay to a stone<lie
impassiveness2 *ven the +on/usion -ears o// as Doyamoyi #egins to a++ept the inevita#ility o/ her
present +ondition2 7roni+ally0 the more +entral she #e+omes to su+h sa+red a//airs0 the more tangi#le she
#e+omes to the humane2 (er tragi+ situation is en+apsulated in a poignant s+ene -here little Khoa is
playing -ith his #all and it tum#les into DoyamoyiZs #edroom2 The #oy -ho used to love his aunt
dearly and longed to sleep -ith her every night0 is no- /rightened to enter her room /or a moment0 )ust
to pi+ up his #allM
Qet0 /or Kaliinar and /ello- -orshippers0 Doyamoyi is the goddess2 Ever the years s+holars su+h as
,ita Gross0 David Kinsley0 "arl Elson0 '+KenHie $ro-n0 Thomas "o#urn have analyHed the
/undamental thea<logi+al +hara+teristi+s that are /ound in the 7ndian religions2 7n mu+h o/ (indu
theology0 literature0 and art0 the goddess is +on+eived as an em#odiment o/ su+h important
philosophi+al ideas as Shati0 maya0 lila0 'rariti0 and ali2 As an autonomous goddess0 Durga<Kali is a
primary mani/estation o/ Shati0 the +reative energy that underlies the universe2 ;ithout this /emale
po-er0 the +osmos -ould not +ome into e5isten+e2 She is the ontologi+al grounding2 She is also maya0
the e5traordinary po-er that play/ully0 e//ortlessly +reates and dissolves the -orld2 The phenomenal
-orld is her magi+al +reation0 daHHling the earthZs inha#itants2 As David Kinsley o#serves in The
S,ord and the .lute: %ali and %rishna= >7n KaliZs mad dan+ing0 dishevelled hair0 and eerie ho-l there
is made present the hint o/ a -orld reeling0 +areening out o/ +ontrol@ 9Kinsley0 %ali and %rishna 134:2
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She approa+hes the -orld as lila0 as an amusement0 a mere play2 (er a+tions are not pragmati+0 rather
utterly sportive2 She is 'rariti0 the primordial matter /rom -hi+h the phenomenal -orld emerges0 and
also the inherent urge0 the driving /or+e that sustains and re+reates its individual parti+ipants2 The
goddess thus +reates and impels her +reation to multiply and diversi/y2 And she is ali0 the 'istress o/
Time0 -ho snips o// the time /rom her +reatures -ith the s-ord that she holds in her hand2 All o#)e+ts
o/ this -orld must eventually yield to her po-er o/ annihilation2
The omnipotent one is the ultimate +reator0 preserver0 and destroyer2 This is the ideal e5tolled #y her
devotees lie Kaliinar2 Thus one assumes that -hen Doyamoyi is trans/ormed into the goddess0 she
too -ould #e endo-ed -ith the goddessZs multiple po-ers2 Su#rata 'itraZs +amera shi/ts /rom KaliZs
garland o/ severed human sulls to the garland o/ /lo-ers that Doyamoyi -ears2 ;hereas the garland
o/ the goddess e5presses her suHerainty over li/e and death0 DoyamoyiZs sym#oliHes her #ondage2 7n
the movement /rom her impli+it asso+iation -ith the goddess to her e5pli+it identi/i+ation -ith the
goddess0 she su#mits to in+reasing degrees o/ oppression and dehumaniHation2 ,ay #rings us /a+e to
/a+e -ith the irony that a person +ompletely identi/ied -ith the goddess possesses none o/ her po-ers2
The in+ongruous identi/i+ation #et-een the human and divine is ultimately torn asunder -hen Khoa
/alls seriously ill and dies in DoyamoyiZs lap2 The +amera no- shi/ts to the empty altar and then to the
image o/ the /our<armed Kali0 the image that -e have not seen sin+e KaliinarZs dream2 The empty
altar hauntingly stresses the separation #et-een Doyamoyi and the goddess2 There is no pro5imity
-hatsoever #et-een them= one sits devastated in her room a/ter the death o/ her #eloved nephe-A the
other stands supreme in her reigning glory -ith Kaliinar prostrated at her /eet0 -ondering -hat /ault
he had +ommitted to in+ur the -rath o/ the 'other2 7n DoyamoyiZs room0 on the other hand0 there is an
un+anny pier+ing luminosity2 ;e are startled #y the +ontrast #et-een the dar -om#<lie +ham#er o/
the goddess and its traditional setting and this #edaHHling rather 1i+torian #edroom2 At the end o/ this
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room0 /looded -ith an a#normal light0 Doyamoyi stands #ede+ed in #ro+ades -ith heavy )e-ellery0
her hair dishevelled0 deranged2 7n a +haoti+ state o/ mind0 she ass her hus#and to /i5 her ne+la+e0
>6ui+0 put it 6ui+ly2@ The inert /igure suddenly a+ts /renHiedA the deportment and manner that
remained so still and inanimate are no- a#rupt and )eryA on+e mute0 the voi+e is no- sharp and shrillA
and the glaHed sunen eyes #ulge out /ero+iously2 7s she /inally trans/ormed into the /ree and -ild
/igure o/ Kali? Physi+ally and psy+hologi+ally0 Doyamoyi is /ragmented0 splintered a-ay /rom the
-holeness o/ mortal -ays2

7nterestingly0 ,ayZs /ilm di//ers and departs /rom 'uhopadhyayZs story in several respe+ts2 7n the
original story0 the plot +on+ludes -ith a demure si5teen<year<old hanging hersel/A she -ould rather /a+e
death than the humiliation o/ #eing a /ailed healer0 a /alse Devi2 7n ,ayZs rendition0 the +hara+ter o/
Doyamoyi loses her mindA she runs a+ross a /ield near the /amilyZs mansion as the +amera sho-s her
dri/ting o// into a /ield o/ -hite /lo-ers0 slo-ly #eing engul/ed #y +louds o/ mist2 7n the original
version o/ #evi0 Doyamoyi -as sho-n dro-ning as a parallel to the immersion o/ the i+on o/ Durga at
the opening o/ the /ilm2 (o-ever0 as 'arie Seton re+ords in Portrait of a #irector0 the s+ene -as
ruined and +ould not #e re<shot2 ,ay then su#stituted a s+ene in -hi+h she died near the river #an )ust
CB=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
as her hus#and rea+hed her2 $ut prior to sending it /or the "annes Film Festival0 ,ay revised the end #y
removing the shot o/ DoyamoyiZs death +ompletely2
7n this0 the /inal version0 -e en+ounter Doyamoyi
#eing dra-n a-ay into the mist2 ;hile her /igure dissolves a-ay0 /ully arrayed in #ro+ades and )e-els0
-ith her dar thi+ hair lie KaliZs /alling loosely0 the +amera returns to /o+us this time on an
un/inished0 rather mysterious0 #lan<-hite +lay model o/ Kali0 -hi+h stands there -aiting to #e dressed
and de+orated /or -orship2 ;hile a gusty musi+ plays in the #a+ground0 the /ilm ends arousing a /lood
o/ emotions2 This am#iguous /inale suggests that -hen the human /eminine and the divine /eminine
+oales+e0 the human is utterly shattered in all her -eaness0 the divine emerges triumphant in her
tremendous mystery2 The human #e+omes a mere vi+timA the divine remains the eternal vi+tor2 The
-oman taing upon hersel/ the /renHy0 the -ildness o/ the goddess0 helplessly #ede+ed in her sa+red
+lothes and )e-els0 vanishes into nothingnessA the divine reappears stripped o/ everything #ut her naed
a#solute po-er2 Thus none o/ the situations0 #e it DoyamoyiZs impli+it asso+iation -ith the divine
/eminine0 or the e5pli+it identi/i+ation -ith her0 or the separation /rom her0 restore her to her right/ul
pla+e as e6ual -ith or superior to men2 7nstead0 all three reiterate that #elie/ in and -orship o/ the
goddess does not go -ith /emale suprema+y or even e6uality2 ,ayZs #evi re)e+ts the (indu goddess as
an essential theologi+al and so+iologi+al imageA he re)e+ts the +onstru+tion o/ a divine</emale synthesis2
As -e -at+h the se6uen+es o/ DoyamoyiZs relationship -ith the goddess0 the aspirations in validation
o/ the (indu deities0 so -ell<arti+ulated in ,ita GrossZs in/luential arti+le >(indu Female Deities as a
,esour+e /or the "ontemporary ,edis+overy o/ the Goddess@0 +rum#le #e/ore our very eyes2
;e en+ounter the immense #eauty and strength o/ the goddess0 a +om#ination that Gross /inds
>highly instru+tive to +ontemplate@ 9Gross %%%:2 From the #eginning to the end o/ the /ilm0 ,ay
pro)e+ts -onder/ul images o/ the goddess -hi+h unite the elements o/ her loveliness and her
invin+i#ility2 At the opening -e see the #eauti/ul Durga -ith her many arms #eing +arried in the
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pro+essionA to-ards the middle o/ the /ilm0 -e see the image o/ Kali proudly standing in the shrine0
pit+h #la+0 /ier+e0 s-ord in hand0 ne+la+e o/ sulls around her ne+0 indeed a most palpa#le
+on+retiHation o/ the idea o/ the holy0 a +omplete unity o/ the mysterium0 tremendum0 and /as+inasiumA
and at the very end0 -e see the image o/ the goddess in her naed po-er and gra+e0 an image that
trans+ends all either<or distin+tions0 that +om#ines the gorgeous Durga0 the horri/i+ Kali2 ;hile these
ma)esti+ images are pro)e+ted on the s+reen0 ,ay has en+hanting musi+ a++ompany them0 musi+ that
-as +omposed /or the /ilm #y Istad Ali A#ar Khan2 7n this per/e+t atmosphere +reated #y ,ay0 even a
modern spe+tator -ould #e entran+ed and +harmed into the deepest +ontemplation upon the goddess2
;e empathiHe -ith the devotion o/ KaliZs -orshippers0 #ut -hat positive e//e+t do their +on+eptions
and per+eptions have in reality? The very +ulture that reveres the goddess in this +om#ined /orm0
destroys the living -oman2 Doyamoyi is alienated /rom hersel/0 and /alls a prey to the paradigm2
The e5isten+e o/ opposites is a /undamental theisti+ +hara+teristi+ that Gross admires in the goddess2
She +ites Kali as her prime e5ample sin+e the goddess #oth +reates and annihilates0 and she -el+omes
#oth these aspe+ts o/ Kali2 Gross remars that even -hen the mistress o/ death dan+es -ith her garland
o/ sulls0 she demonstrates >the -ay to the ultimate goal0 li#eration@ 9Gross %%%:2 'u+h as -e -ould
-ish this ultimate ideal to #e realiHed0 the +onse6uen+es that are portrayed in ,ayZs #evi are 6uite the
opposite2 (er devotees +learly realiHe the #alan+e #et-een the pea+e and +reative po-er that is
#esto-ed #y her right hands as -ell as the destru+tive and anar+hi+ /or+e that +omes /rom her le/t
hands2 $ut this a-areness does not provide them -ith an insight into the +ontradi+tions o/ human li/e
and into the ultimate unity #eyond0 it does not ena#le them to a++ept the inevita#ility o/ death0 it does
not li#erate them /rom /inite atta+hments2 3one o/ the -orshippers re/le+t any inner trans+enden+e2
3o-here do -e sense a spirit o/ /reedom2 The suppli+ations to the supreme annihilator pertain to a
mere e5tension o/ /inite li/e rather than the e5perien+e o/ muti0 the (indu ideal o/ in/inite #liss and
6&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
li#eration2 *ven the prayers to the +oe5isten+e o/ opposites are shi/ting= loud +hants0 strong /ragran+e0
#ells0 and +ir+umam#ulation o/ lights eradi+ate any mood o/ play/ulness or /reedom2 And the -oman
-ho is vie-ed as an in+arnation o/ the goddess loses her sensuality0 her youth0 her li/e to deathM $ut
sui+ide is not the ultimate li#eration posited #y (indu philosophy2

Although Isha "hara#orty in
Condition of Bengali 3omen /round the H
Half of the IJ
Century -rites that in the se+ond hal/ o/
the 19
+entury0 sui+ide -as more +ommon among married $engali -omen due to in+reased so+ial
#ondage= >The $runt o/ /amily dis+ipline +ame do-n s6uarely on them and #e+ause they had no means
o/ es+ape0 even in the +ourt o/ la- R ;omen resorted to sui+ide in 4129\ +ases #y hanging0 4%29\ #y
poisoning and %2!\ ea+h #y dro-ning and sel/<-ounding@ 9"hara#orty 37:2 (o-ever0 -e turn in vain
/or li#eration to the goddess o/ li/e and death -ho em#odies it in hersel/ #ut holds it out to mortals only
as a tantaliHing ideal2
,ay artisti+ally demonstrates that the multivalent thea<logi+al image provides no resour+es /or
-omen in the 7ndian +onte5t2 7n spite o/ the vast potential in the divine /eminine0 -hi+h has #een
re+ogniHed #y -estern thiners0 /e- (indu -omen +an ever avail themselves o/ the energy and
/reedom o/ the ideal /emale2
The goddess has #een de/ined #y these 6ualities and +hara+teriHed as all<
po-er/ul /rom very early times2 The /i/th +entury #evi Mahatmya0 -hi+h +rystalliHed her image0
des+ri#es the genesis o/ goddess Durga0 ho- she -as +reated /rom the +om#ined po-ers o/ all the male
gods2 This holy te5t tells ho- she alone +ould de/eat demons0 and ho- the goddess Kali -as #orn /rom
the anger o/ Durga as she rode her lion to +on/ront her enemies2
$ut there is an immense +hasm
#et-een the /eminine in image and the /eminine in /lesh2 This dualism is deeply rooted in the (indu
tradition and has #een perpetuated /or +enturies2 The astounding +ontrast #et-een the image o/ the
divine and the status o/ -omen in the #evi$Bhagavat Purana has #een per+eptively analysed #y David
Dra-ing upon the #evi Mahatmya0 this 9
+entury te5t +ele#rates the goddess as the
61=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Iltimate ,eality in the +osmos2 The s+ripture praises the goddessZs mythologi+al importan+e -hile all
the male gods are su#ordinated to her2 7t +ele#rates her philosophi+al import and honours her ritualisti+
signi/i+an+e2 (o-ever0 the very same +omposer -ho venerates the goddess0 insults the living -omen
intolera#lyM A +lear antithesis #et-een the superhuman goddess and the su#human -oman is
esta#lished2 7n The Sri Mad #evi Bhagavatam0 /eminine nature is stigmatiHed as #ase= >Falsehood0 vain
#oldness0 +ra/tiness0 stupidity0 impatien+e0 over<greediness0 impurity0 and harshness are the natural
6ualities o/ -omen@ 91i)nananda 17:2 8ater in the te5t0 -omen are +ompared to lee+hes -ho su+ the
li/e /rom men #y stealing a-ay their virile semen and >their minds and -ealth and everything #y their
+rooed love +onversationsR@ 91i)nananda 43:2

7n the /inal +hapter0 it outrightly /or#ids -omen 9along
-ith shudras: /rom reading or re+iting the #evi$Bhagavat Purana itsel/= >3ever any -oman nor any
shudra is to read this hersel/ or himsel/0 even out o/ ignoran+eA rather they should hear this /rom the
mouth o/ a $rahmana@ 91i)nananda 119%:2 Thus the te5t that lauds the goddess de#ases -omen2 Su+h
se5ism and hatred o/ -omen +ontinues in (indu literature2 An important instan+e -ould +ertainly #e
the -ritings o/ ,amarishna -ho not only adored Kali as the Supreme 'over0 the 'other o/ the
"osmos0 #ut also dressed up and a+ted lie a -oman and immersed himsel/ in the /eminine mood2
(o-ever0 as "arl Elson notes in The Mysterious Play of %ali: /n Inter'retive Study of Ramarishna0
he looed upon real -omen as >/ero+ious0 vora+ious /elines +oming to devour him@ 9Elson0 Study of
Ramarishna 39:2
*ven in our /ilm0 -hereas the goddess dominates the entire li/e o/ the aristo+rat Kaliinar0 he tells
his son that the /ather must #e honoured as a god2 ;hen the son argues against the validity o/ his
/atherZs dream0 Kaliinar re+ites the 1edi+ hymn in Sansrit revering the /ather2 (o-ever0 this
harmonious relationship #et-een the divine god and the human /ather is a#sent in the +ase o/ the
mother and her divine parallel2 The divine mother dominates KaliinarZs /antasy #ut she #ears no real
62=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
+onne+tion -ith any #iologi+al mother2 7t is the paternal and not the maternal spirit that is applauded as
en+ompassing #oth the heaven and the earth2 Thus -e realiHe the +ru5 o/ the pro#lem= the (indu
goddess is too mu+h o/ a metaphor2 ;hen the maternal metaphor is applied to the goddess0 as in the
+ase o/ Durga<Kali0 some o/ the maternal virtues and po-ers o/ the earthly -oman are +hanged in the
pro+ess2 7n Aristotelian terminology0 the metaphor gives the goddess an attri#ute #elonging to the<Ether
9allotrion:0 to the -oman in /lesh0 #ut simultaneously0 taes a-ay an essential attri#ute 9oieion: o/ that
This denial o/ the essential attri#ute0 the palpa#le se5uality o/ the Se+ond Se50 +reates a drasti+
gul/ #et-een the +elestial and terrestrial -oman2 The >#asi+ally metaphori+al@ motherhood o/ the
goddess in (induism has attra+ted -estern /eministsA in her /reedom /rom literal mothering0 they sense
a -el+ome alternative to the traditional role o/ house-i/e2 The +onspi+uous a#sen+e o/ literal mother<
and<+hild i+ons amongst (indu /emale deities is #alan+ed #y the omnipresen+e o/ a metaphori+al
+reative motherhood0 -hi+h ena#les -omen to parti+ipate in the goddessZs li/e<giving potential2
the insiderZs point o/ vie-0 ho-ever0 the great metaphor only a#stra+ts -omen and pla+es them on a
Platoni+ pedestal2 The mother -ho is +entral to the (indu 3eltanschauung is not a real mother #ut an
idealiHed version o/ the mother as virgin0 an image -e /ind again in the "hristian notion o/ the 1irgin
$irth2 The latent /ear o/ the motherZs se5ual energy0 o/ her reprodu+tive and eroti+ po-ers0 e5plains
-hy the author o/ the #evi$Bhagavata Purana and later male devotees o/ the goddess despise -omen
in /lesh and #lood2 ;hile physi+al love maing is denigrated and repudiated as a #arrier to spiritual
advan+ement0 the metaphysi+al0 -ith the goddess0 is highly idoliHedA the partner in the pro+ess is hatedA
the partner in the latter0 adored2
Thus the image o/ the goddess in stone0 +lay0 or in verse0 #e+omes su//used -ith e5traordinary
holiness and sa+rality0 #ut as a result o/ its very sa+redness0 this metaphor o/ the goddess +annot easily
#e trans/erred to the realm o/ the human -oman2 ;hen she des+ends and +omes so +lose as to d-ell
63=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
-ithin a mortal /emale 9>stri avatara0 your -i/e is the goddess in+arnate0@ Kaliinar e5+itedly
e5+laims to his son Ima:0 the latter must #e elevated on to a pedestal so high that she is
+ompletely divor+ed /rom the everyday -orld2 DoyamoyiZs metamorphosis0 in /a+t0 #ears a tragi+
resem#lan+e to the phenomenon o/ Sati -hi+h also su#stantiates the +hasm #et-een the human and the
divine realms2 For +enturies0 the -omen o/ $engal have heard so+iety +alling upon them= >$e lie
Sati2@ 7ndeed0 as a -ido-0 young or old0 -as #eing prepared /or the /uneral pyre -ith her hus#and0 she
-as a++laimed as an in+arnation o/ the goddess2 $y per/orming this a+t o/ sel/<immolation0 the Sati
a+6uired divine po-ers= she +ould #esto- /ertility upon #arren -omen0 she +ould /ul/il the -ishes o/
young maidens0 she +ould lead her hus#and to ultimate li#eration #y ending /or him the +y+le o/ #irth
and death2 Ether -omen -anted to tou+h her and re+eive a pie+e o/ her +lothing2 8ie Doyamoyi0 she
#e+omes a goddess in+arnate0 a goddess -ho +an #e tou+hed and -orshipped2 For a moment the gul/
#et-een the human and the divine is #ridged0 #ut it is only /or a moment #e+ause the -oman is on the
verge o/ )umping on the pyre0 soon to give up her #ody and all her human -omanhood2 The (indu
goddess is simply not a means o/ re+on+iling -omen to their em#odied +ondition2 The lins0
asso+iations0 identi/i+ations that are /orged #et-een the human and the divine /eminine are thus
arti/i+ial and -arped2 The o#)e+tive +orrelatives o/ a mas+uline metaphor0 Doyamoyi0 Sati0 and other
su+h >goddesses@ are #ut -ea vi+tims and tragi+ su#)e+ts in their o-n +ulture2 The goddess is shati0
maya0 lila0 prariti0 ali0 R there is no end to her theologi+al meanings and /un+tions and +apa+ities2
$ut they are all so high up there0 so /ar /rom the -oman in /lesh and #lood0 living ne5t to us0 in our
home0 to-n0 or +ountry2 ;hether the trans+endent #eyond is imaged intimately in her i+on -hi+h is
hung up high or +arried up in pro+essions0 or -hether it is in+arnate -ithin a human -oman0 the
goddess remains distant and di//erent2
64=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
,ayZs /ilm thus provides a sharp antithesis to our aspirations /or the goddess paradigm0 and -as seen
as an atta+ on (induism as a -hole0 espe+ially on the (indu pra+ti+e o/ idolatry2 The 7ndian
Parliament /ell into an uproar2 Some mem#ers demanded #evi #e denied e5port +learan+e0 arguing that0
should /oreigners #e e5posed to the movie0 they -ould get a /alse impression o/ the 'other Goddess
and 7ndiaZs an+ient #elie/ in in+arnation2 7n+identally0 it -as denied an e5port li+ense until the then
Prime 'inister .a-aharlal 3ehru himsel/ intervened2 (e sa- ,ayZs /ilm and silen+ed its +riti+s #y
re6uesting that #e/ore they atta+ it0 they see it2 'ost parliamentarians didnZt #other to see the /ilm0 #ut
3ehruZs intervention saved #evi /rom #eing +ensored and liely /orgotten /orever2 'oreover as ,osie
Thomas notes in >San+tity and S+andal= 'ythologiHation o/ 'other 7ndia0@ ,ay -as even +riti+iHed #y
3argis 9the a+tress -ho -as ele+ted to the 7ndian Parliament:0 /or not sho-ing modern 7ndia to the
$ut ,ay himsel/ re/used to pander to >the love o/ the /alse<e5oti+@ 9,ay 4%:2 From a/ar the
goddess +an #e hailed as a utopian sym#ol #ut through the eye o/ a sensitive 7ndian vie-er0 the goddess
paradigm does not -or= she simply does not #ring a#out any improvement o/ -omenZs status in the
so+ial0 e+onomi+0 or politi+al realms2 Some -estern s+holars have also seen that the hope o/ a++ruing
so+ial and politi+al po-er through the goddess model is illusory2
;hile .oan To-nsend argues against
the goddess paradigm /rom an anthropologi+al perspe+tive0 ,ay argues artisti+ally and humanisti+ally
through the medium o/ /ilm2 $y /o+ussing on a parti+ular (indu -oman0 he reveals the predi+ament o/
millions o/ (indu daughters0 -ives0 mothers0 and sisters -ho are su#)e+ted to this e5treme ind o/
veneration0 su#mission0 and ultimately0 dehumaniHation2 There are no simple 6uestions in the /ilm2 The
spe+tatorZs mind and senses are +onstantly engaged in unravelling the deli+ate and intri+ate design o/
sights and sounds -hi+h +reate the mould o/ DoyamoyiZs vi+timiHation2 Through his arti+le >Art0
1ision0 and "ulture= Satya)it ,ayZs Apu Trilogy ,evisited@0 ;imal Dissanayae is 6uite right in
applying the +hara+teristi+ o/ drishya avya 9visual poetry: /rom Sansrit drama to ,ayZs /ilms2
7t is
6C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
indeed through poeti+ undertones and lyri+al s+enes that ,ay e5plores DoyamoyiZs tragedy0 at par -ith
the +lassi+al Gree tragi+ models shaped #y the lies o/ *uripedes and Sopho+les0 there#y #ringing
home the point that there is no +orrelation #et-een image and reality2 To paraphrase ,ay0 in spite o/
7ndiaZs modern advan+ements0 it is a land -here +o-s are still sa+red0 phallus is God0 and -oman is a
12 See Andre- ,o#inson0 Satya+it Ray: The Inner -ye2 3e- Delhi= E5/ord Iniversity Press0 %0042
%2 See "hidananda Dasgupta0 The Cinema of Satya+it Ray2 3e- Delhi= 3ational $oo Trust0 7ndia0
%0012 %&<302
32 For a +omprehensive study o/ the $engali ,enaissan+e0 see David Koph0 The Brahmo Sama+
and the Sha'ing of the Modern Indian Mind2 Prin+eton0 32.2= Prin+eton Iniversity Press0 19792
7an $uruma0 in a very interesting pro/ile depi+ts ,ay as >The 8ast $engali ,enaissan+e 'an@ in
The 0e, :or Revie, of Boos 919 3ovem#er0 19&7:= 1%<1!2
66=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
42 See .ohn ;oodro//e0 Hymns to the )oddess2 'adras= Ganesh ] "ompany0 19&42 %932
42 These +ategories are /ound in 'edi+al te5t attri#uted to "araa2 For a /ine dis+ussion see
;endy EZFlaherty0 #reams, Illusions, and other Realities2 "hi+ago= Iniversity o/ "hi+ago
Press0 19&42 %4<%72
!2 See 'arie Seton0 Portrait of a #irector: Satya+it Ray2 3e- Delhi= Penguin $oos0 %0032 14&2
72 See ,ita Gross0 >(indu Female Deities as a ,esour+e /or the "ontemporary ,edis+overy o/ the
Goddess2@ The Boo of the )oddess: Past and Present2 *d2 "arl Elson2 3e- Qor= "rossroad
$oos0 19&32 %17<%302
&2 See ,udolph Etto0 The Idea of the Holy2 3e- Qor= Gala5y= 194&2 34<372
92 7n 3omen in India: T,o Pers'ectives0 Susan ;adley -rites= >(indu +on+eptions o/ the /emale
pla+e (indu -oman in a position opposite to that o/ the Ameri+an -oman -ho is generally
#elieved to #e passive #y nature2 (indu -omen need only tae advantage o/ their de/ining
+hara+teristi+ -hereas Ameri+an -omen must over+ome theirs@ 9;adley 13%:2
102 For a /ine study and translation o/ this /i/th +entury te5t0 see Thomas $2 "o#urnZs -ncountering
the )oddess2 Al#any= SI3Q Press0 19912
112 See David Kinsley0 >The 7mage o/ the Divine and the Status o/ ;omen in the #evi$Bhagavat
Purana@ in /nima 9G1 919&%:= 40<432 3o- "2 'a+KenHie $ro-n in his study o/ this te5t0 The
Trium'h of the )oddess 9Al#any0 3e- Qor= SI3Q0 1990:0 tries to do-n play the in+ongruity
#y stating that >There is o++asionally at least a suggestion that the greatness and positive
attri#utes o/ the divine /eminine over/lo- into the so+ial realm0 even i/ only some-hat
67=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
tentatively2@ 9$ro-n %00:2 In/ortunately0 su+h streams o/ po-er have never su++eeded in
a//e+ting the so+ial realmA their in/luen+e has #een no more than a tentative suggestion -hi+h
has never #een +arried out2
1%2 See "arl Elson0 The Mysterious Play of %ali: /n Inter'retive Study of Ramarishna2 Atlanta0
Georgia= S+holars Press0 19902 392 (is study #egins -ith the apt 6uestion0 >7/ you en+ountered
someone -ho assumed the dress and demeanour o/ a -oman yet held a misogynist attitude0
-ould you not -onder a#out su+h a person?@ 9Elson0 Study of Ramarishna 1:2
132 See Stephen (alli-ell0 /ristotle7s Poetics2 8ondon= Penguin0 199!2 30<3%2
142 See Gross0 %%42
142 See Salman ,ushdie0 Imaginary Homelands; 8ondon= Granta $oos0 19902 10&<1092 Also noted
#y ,osie Thomas0 >San+tity and S+andal= 'ythologiHation o/ 'other 7ndia@ in Kuarterly
Revie, of .ilm and 5ideo 919&90 1ol2 %0 no2 3:= %72
1!2 See .oan $2 To-nsend0 >The Goddess= Fa+t0 Falla+y and ,evitaliHation 'ovement2@ )oddess
In Religions and Modern #ebate2 *d2 8arry ;2 (urtado2 Atlanta= S+holars Press0 19902 179<
172 See ;immal Dissanayae0 >Art0 1ision0 and "ulture= Satya)it ,ayZs Apu Trilogy ,evisited2@
Cinema and Cultural Identity2 *d2 ;2 Dissanayae2 8anham0 'D= Iniversity Press o/ Ameri+a0
19&&2 1032
6B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
>or)s $ited ? $onsulted
$ro-n0 "2 'a+KenHie2 The Trium'h of the )oddess: The Canonical Models and Theological 5isions
of the #evi$Bhagavata Purana2 Al#any0 3e- Qor= SI3Q0 19902 Print2
$eane0 ;endell "harles2 Myth, Cult and Symbols in Shato Hinduism: / Study of the Indian Mother
)oddess2 8eiden= *2.2 $rill0 19772 Print2
$uruma0 7an2 >The 8ast $engali ,enaissan+e 'an2@ The 0e, :or Revie, of Boos2 919 3ovem#er0
19&7:= 1%<1!2 Print2
"ooper0 Darius2 The Cinema of Satya+it Ray: Bet,een Tradition and Modernity2 "am#ridge=
"am#ridge Iniversity Press0 %0002 Print2
"o#urn0 Thomas $2 -ncountering the )oddess2 Al#any= SI3Q Press0 19912 Print2
"hara#orty0 Isha2 Condition of Bengali 3omen /round the H
Half of the IJ
$ardhan Press0 19!32 Print2
Do-ning0 "hristine2 The )oddess: Mythological Images of the .eminine2 3e- Qor= "rossroad
$oos0 19&12 Print2
Dasgupta0 "hidananda2 The Cinema of Satya+it Ray2 3e- Delhi= 3ational $oo Trust0 7ndia0 %0012
Dissanayae0 ;immal2 >Art0 1ision0 and "ulture= Satya)it ,ayZs Apu Trilogy ,evisited2@
Cinema and Cultural Identity2 *d2 ;2 Dissanayae2 8anham0 'D= Iniversity Press o/
Ameri+a0 19&&2 1032 Print2
Gross0 ,ita2 >(indu Female Deities as a ,esour+e /or the "ontemporary ,edis+overy o/ the
Goddess2@ The Boo of the )oddess: Past and Present2 *d2 "arl Elson2 3e- Qor=
"rossroad $oos0 19&32 Print2
)oddess E#eviA2 Dir2 Satya)it ,ay2 'r $ongo Films2 7ndia2 19!02 Film2
69=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Gaden0 *linor ;2 The ?nce and .uture )oddess: The Symbol for ?ur Times2 3e- Qor= (arper
and ,o-0 19&92 Print2
(alli-ell0 Stephen2 /ristotle7s Poetics0 8ondon= Penguin0 199!2 Print2
Koph0 David2 The Brahmo Sama+ and the Sha'ing of the Modern Indian Mind2 Prin+eton0 32.2=
Prin+eton Iniversity Press0 19792 Print2
Kael0 Pauline2 I !ost It at the Movies2 3e- Qor= 8ittle0 $ro-n ] "ompany0 19!42 Print2
Kinsley0 David2 The S,ord and the .lute: %ali and %rishna2 $ereley0 "2A2= Iniversity o/
"ali/ornia Press0 19742 Print2
<<<<<<<<<<2 >The 7mage o/ the Divine and the Status o/ ;omen in the #evi$Bhagavat Purana2@
/nima 9G1 919&%:= 40<432 Print2
'aHumdar0 $2"2 >Durga= (er Erigin and (istory2@ 1ournal of the Royal /siatic Society of )reat
Britain and Ireland 919!0:= 344<3!%2 Print2
Elson0 "arl2 *d2 The Boo of the )oddess: Past and Present2 3e- Qor= "rossroad $oos0 19&32
<<<<<<<<<<2 The Mysterious Play of %ali: /n Inter'retive Study of Ramarishna2 Atlanta0
Georgia= S+holars Press0 19902 Print2
EZFlaherty0 ;endy2 #reams, Illusions, and other Realities2 "hi+ago= Iniversity o/ "hi+ago Press0
19&42 Print2
Etto0 ,udolph2 The Idea of the Holy2 3e- Qor= Gala5y= 194&2 Print2
,o#inson0 Andre-2 Satya+it Ray: The Inner -ye2 3e- Delhi= E5/ord Iniversity Press0 %0042 Print2
,ay0 Satya)it2 ?ur .ilms, Their .ilms2 7ndia= Erient 8ongman0 %0042 Print2
,ay "ho-dhury0 $is-a#asu2 >"hala+hhitra<Sahitya@ 9Film 8iterature:2 #i'ali Saradiya 3um#er
91931:2 Print2
7&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
,ushdie0 Salman2 Imaginary Homelands2 8ondon= Granta $oos0 19902 Print2
Seton0 'arie2 Portrait of a #irector: Satya+it Ray2 3e- Delhi= Penguin $oos0 %0032 Print2
Singha0 .adunath2 Ram'rosad&s #evotional Songs: The Cult of Shati2 "al+utta= Sinha Pu#lishing
(ouse0 19!!2 Print2
Thomas0 ,osie2 >San+tity and S+andal= 'ythologiHation o/ 'other 7ndia2@ Kuarterly Revie, of .ilm
and 5ideo 919&90 1ol2 %0 no2 3:= %72 Print2
To-nsend0 .oan $2 >The Goddess= Fa+t0 Falla+y and ,evitaliHation 'ovement2@ )oddess In
Religions and Modern #ebate2 *d2 8arry ;2 (urtado2 Atlanta= S+holars Press0 19902 179<
%032 Print2
1i)nananda0 S-ami2 Trans2 The Sri Mad #evi Bhagavatam 9The Sa+red $oos o/ the (indus= 1ol2
%!:2 3e- Qor= A'S Press0 19742 Print2
;oodro//e0 .ohn2 Hymns to the )oddess2 'adras= Ganesh ] "ompany0 19&42 Print2
;adley0 Susan2 3omen in India: T,o Pers'ectives2 3e- Delhi= 'anohar0 19772 Print2
Mr; %austav %undu is a Research Scholar at the #e'artment of -nglish, 2niversity of Calcutta; His
s'ecialiLations include Postmodernism and Magical Realism, .ilm Studies and 5isual /rts, /da'tation
Studies and /udio$5isual Translations, a'art from his academic interests in Postcolonial 3orld
!iteratures, Continental Cultural Philoso'hies and Kueer Studies; His 'ublications, editorials and
conferences Enational and internationalA cover his diverse research interests;
Brat%a BasuFs 6la%s# $'allenging 8ege"on% fro" beteen the !yebros o"
Soura! Hu(ta

Introdu-tion# Bits ? (ie-es fro" an unorganised nig't diar%
(I ,ish to ,rite for all those eG'loited 'eo'le ,ho cannot be matched in dice, framed in a theory,
accommodated in a s'ecific structure but create an area of uneasiness and disturbance ;I ,ish to ,rite
on behalf of these 'eo'le;* 91A pp 34:
A vo+i/erous reader right /rom his student days0 $ratya $asu started his -riting -ith poetry #ut
eventually his love /or theatre prevailed over his -riting pre/eren+es2 Although his /irst e//ort -as an
adaptation #orn out o/ an [a++identZ 91A pp !:0 the void o/ a modern voi+e in play-righting -as /elt #y
$ratya -hile he -as venturing in all the re+ogniHed /orms o/ literature as a reader2 As he #e+ame
dire+tly involved -ith the pro+ess o/ serious theatre<maing as a mem#er o/ a group in the early [90s
he too to play-righting -ith the immediate target o/ eeping his group going and the distant o#)e+tive
o/ +reating a ne- theatre language0 the a#sen+e o/ -hi+h he had /elt as a reader and as an audien+e 2The
period -as mared #y a strong institutionaliHation o/ intelle+t #y the ruling +ommunist /or+e0 a
hegemony -hi+h had in/li+ted a ind o/ impoten+y in the +reative arena0 spe+ially theatre 2 The $engali
theatre s+ene -as largely dominated #y the repetitive values o/ the 'asters and propagandist theatre0
#oth o/ -hi+h -ere outdated and irrelevant in the period -hi+h -as -itnessing rapid so+io<e+onomi+
and +ultural +hanges +ourtesy o/ Glo#aliHation and operations o/ Epen 'aret *+onomy2 Thus $asu
had made up his mind0 that his pen -ould -or to meet the need o/ his theatre group #ut at the same
time -ould e5press his innermost /eelings in a -ay that is >not traditional2@ 91A pp 11: This
pen+hant /or moving in the di//erent tra+ out o/ the traditional path has #een a +onstant +hara+ter
o/ his )ourney0 ideology o/ his art and the theme o/ -ider politi+al movement involving him2
5nal%7ing $o""uni-ation# +'e Birt' of a ne/ t'eatre language
(;;;;;;;?ur theatre M -uro'ean as ,ell as loanatya 9/ol theatre:, can 'resent ,ords beautifully ;But
,hat it says through its classical voice and ,hat it does through a by$'roduct lie theatre has no
coherence bet,een them and hence is actually not an art;;;;*, $asu had serious dou#ts a#out the
limitation o/ +onventional language to e5press truth to the truest2 >That ,e cannot communicate
'ro'erly may be chiefly attributed to the obstacle called language;*91A pp 13:
The sear+h /or a true language o/ +ommuni+ation gave #irth to his maiden original play /shaleen 9The
1ulgar: -here he +hallenged the +onventional mas o/ +iviliHed language used in the so+iety2 $asu
72=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
depi+ted ho- a slang0 although not a re+ogniHed /orm o/ language0 +an a+tually #e more true and
honest than so +alled polished language o/ the so+iety -hi+h is intrinsi+ally /ilthy2 People go on to
pra+tise a language -hi+h only persuades to +on+eal rather than e5press2 And -hen a situation so
arrives -hen +on+ealment #e+omes impossi#le the e5pression #ursts out in /ilth and slang2 So0 -hat is
the harm i/ -e re+ogniHe it in ordinary parlan+e? $asu raises this uneasy 6uestion through /shaleen
-here a young Su)an a+tually /inds himsel/ marginalised and mis/it in the so+iety /or his use o/ slangs2
An e5+erpt /rom a +onversation in S+ene 3 o/ /shaleen #et-een Su)an and his /atherZs /riend
Taranath goes lie=
Taranath= 'y 6uestion +an #e a little distur#ing still 7 +anZt help #ut as you0 Su)an0 -hy do you utter
su+h #ad -ords?
Su)an 9surprised:= >$ad@ -ords?
Taranath= Qes0 they are #ad -ords indeed2
Su)an 9looing sorry:= 7 donZt get it0 have 7 dishonoured you?
Taranath= 3ot e5a+tly 222222 #ut0 -ell0 -hat you said )ust a little ago2222
Su)an= Qes0 go on22
Taranath = Qou -anted a spa+e to pass your0 er0 7 mean you said you -anted to [pissZ<should you have
uttered that -ord ?
Su)an = ;hy not0 may 7 as ? ;hatZs -rong -ith that?
Taranath 9depressed:= ;rong2222 -ell0 you +ould use the -ord >$athroom@ instead0 -ould that matter?
Su)an= E/ +ourse it -ould matter2 7t -ould not #e de/inite2 [$athroomZ needs /urther e5planation Osay0
/or -hat purpose -ould 7 visit the $athroom 0is it /or 222222
Taranath 9interrupts:= Got it 0 7 got it2 So0 is that -hy you use slang? To #e de/inite0 is it?
Su)an= Tell me -hi+h one is slang? From your point o/ vie- 0everything is a slang Taranath2
Taranath= *verything? Qou O
Su)an= E/ +ourse0 +anZt you measure ho- mu+h the num#er o/ -ords -e use is dropping day #y day? ;e
are maing -ords -ith letters0 senten+es -ith -ords O -hat a pie+e o/ art it is0 ainZt it? ;hat a great
idiom o/ sophisti+ation ] arti+ulation to understand people0 +iviliHation and this -orldM 3ot /or a single
time0 -e +are to dis+over that our ultimate moments0 purest #reath o/ /eelings are a+tually slipping
through the loopholes o/ these grandly +omposed +onstru+tions o/ language2
Taranath= still does not )usti/y use o/ slangs2222222
Su)an= SlangsM ;hat slang? To hell -ith slangM Thin o/ it Taranath0 -ords are lie onion<you +an
interpret it -ith every peel o/ it2 The #ottom line is 0-hether that +ommuni+ates or not2
73=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Taranath= "ommuni+ation is not ultimate0 there is something +alled so+ial a++epta#ility2 7s it also
something you -ould lie to O
Su)an= De+line 27 -ould lie to de+line so+ial a++epta#ility2 7 do not e5pe+t so+iety to a++ept me2 7t
should have enlightened me2 7nstead0 it dominates my language0 it +hoes my voi+e and stops my
messages 27 do not need the support o/ su+h a damned so+iety2 9%A pp 30<31:

As evident /rom the a#ove e5+erpt0 the sense o/ isolation and terminality remains e5tremely a+tive in
$asuZs sear+h /or a theatre language age and 6uest to re/le+t the +ontemporary times2 ;hat drives him
to -riting is summariHed in the /ollo-ing lines=
Iltimately0 it is a desire to narrate one person O 'r2 8i/e2 (e is dynami+0 energeti+0 and vi#rant and at
times0 sad0 o#s+ure0 depressed0 /rustrated2 At times0 he pre/ers to share over a drin in pu#li+ and
sometimes delivers monologue lie s-irling -ater2 1iolent0 ill tempered0 harm/ul at times and again
#road minded0 sympatheti+ and +hildish2 (e is in #oth ends o/ insult0 hatred and love2 Everall0 he is
interesting O som#re and humorous0 greedy and o#livious0 plaintive and +omple50 lover and hater0
emotional and logi+al at the same time2 7 -ant to read this man0 -rite a#out him0 and tie him up #y the
hand +u// o/ my time22222 >93A pp 41<4%:
.ust as $asu has d-elled into the versatility o/ li/e0 he has ept his plays e6ually novel2 (e has never
repeated su#)e+ts or styles in his endeavour2 8i/e0 -ith its /ull variety0 is present in ea+h o/ his plays2 7n
the /ollo- up to /shaleen0 $asu +ame up -ith /ranyadeb 9The Phantom:0 Muhomuhi Bosibar
9 Sitting Epposite *a+h Ether :0 Chatushon 9The ^uadrangle:0 Shahar :aar 9'y "ity Pal: and 5irus M
M2 7n /ranyadeb0 $asu +ontinued the outer pa+age o/ humour0 seen in /shaleen to depi+t a /uturisti+
narration o/ >man&s dee'er dream and crisis* 91A pp 19:2 7n Muhomuhi Bosibar0 Chatushon0 and
Shahar :aar0 $asu +on+entrated in peeling o// the di//erent +omple5 layers o/ human psy+hology and
interpersonal relationships2 (is plays e5posed the intri+ate politi+s o/ human relationships0 the politi+s
o/ human e5isten+e in +ontemporary +omple5 times2 7n his o-n -ords=
'y present e5isten+e0 relationship -ith +onsumer +ulture0 relation -ith +ommunity +ult0 in/luen+e o/
so+ial mind O 7 -anted to unearth the elements o/ my su#merged +ons+iousness0 -ithin my limitation o/
+ourse2 7 -anted to understand ho- +ommunity /eeling gives rise to /undamentalism and po-er stru+ture
lays out individuals amidst the under+urrents o/ so+iety22222222 7 -anted to 6uestion my e5isten+e O
74=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
personal0 so+ial0 state0 e+onomi+0 religious O 7 -anted to lo+ate this )ourney o/ +iviliHation in a ma+ro
sense2 91A pp 19:

7n his 6uest to 6uestion e5isten+e0 $asu has used his pro/oundly read no-ledge to a great e5tent2 (is
ideas0 ooHing /rom the innermost +ore o/ a passionate heart have #een -ell #a+ed up #y a learned
#rain2 A #rain0 that has assimilated the lies o/ Fou+ault0 Derida 0 Kant0 Ka/a and gone on to thoughts
in varied spheres lie literature0 philosophy0 history0 6uantum physi+s and management2 The
e5ploration o/ the politi+s o/ relationship and novel0 untou+hed areas lie $angla $and and
Glo#aliHation are re/le+tive o/ a sound politi+al sense in the play-right2 The protagonists o/ his initial
plays0 representatives o/ a young generation0 are smeared -ith utter +on/usion in their )ourney to
survive2 They /ight -ith themselves0 their o-n desperation in the /a+e o/ the politi+s o/ li/e and so+iety2
Through all these +hara+ters0 $asu has e5pressed an innate desire0 an honest e5pression -hi+h
un/ortunately the so+iety does not approve o/2 Sandeep0 in S+ene 3 o/ Muhomuhi Bosibar0 -ay-ard
in #et-een his passion and possession0 threatens Teesta in the most loving manner=
Teestadi0 till date 7 have not tou+hed even a /inger o/ yours2 And 7 -onZt #ut 7 tell you /or the last time O
i/ you do not ans-er my letter #y tomorro-0 7 shall iss you in this sta//room0 in /ront o/ every#ody2 9%A
pp 10& :
7n Chatushon0 Soumya0 a young aspiring /ilm maer0 -ho /alls in love -ith his #oss -i/e and
+onspires to murder him is also +on/used and /rustrated -ith his in+apa#ility and his time -hen 3ipa0
his #ossZ -i/e assures him that he -ill su++eed in his pursuit to #e+ome an artist0 Soumya mutters in
7 am not sure2 7t is so di//i+ult to #elieve2 That -hat 7 thin to #e +apa#ility may not #e proper 27
am so un+ertain a#out everything2 7 +annot #ut #e sure2 ;hy? ;hy +anZt 7 #e? 9%A pp 143:
7n the ne5t a+t0 #et-een a +onversation -ith his $oss a#out the present time0 Soumya +omments=
'ay #e you are right2 3o- a days0 -e do not #elieve ea+h other properly2 ;e suspe+t0 -e envy and -e
do that in a sophisti+ated /ashion2 That apart0 love0 passion0 trust0 /aith the +on+epts have +hanged2 $ut
7C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
again itZs not uni6ue /or our generation0 it is in totality0 pro#a#ility it is in the times2 9%A pp 14!:
$a#u o/ Shahar :aar is a young leader o/ a $angla $and0 -ho aspires to +reate good musi+ #ut is
+on/used a#out his +hoi+e o/ +ontent2 $a#u narrates=
7 gre- up in a pe+uliar home0 +onspi+uous and +ongested #ut #rimming -ith li/e2 'y eldest #rother -as
into politi+s2 (e -as a le/tist0 shot dead #y the poli+e in the seventies2 'iddle #rother0 a +ler0 -as miles
a-ay /rom anything di//erent2 And me O 7 -as seven -hen -ords hummed #y me O inside our tiny room
in Ahiritola O a tune di//used inside me O 7 -as so young #ut realised that my stars -ere pulling me into
it2 7 ased0 'other0 -ho is an artist? She said something sleepily -hi+h 7 did not get 27 -as t-enty -hen
7 le/t home po-ered #y ne-ly earned loose +ash /rom #its o/ per/orman+es2 'y li/e indi+ated that 7
ought to +reate ne- songs2 $ut ho-? Got no idea2 7 am trying to /ind out2 'ay #e this sear+h -ill
+ulminate into musi+2 ;hy is li/e so short? ;hy? Ah0 it +hoes2 9%A pp 1&7:
The individuals represent a generation and a +on/usion #orn out o/ politi+s #et-een the man and his
time2 For $ratya $asu0 his -as )ust a /oundation0 a pro+ess o/ departure onto a more +olle+tive politi+al
struggle -ithin the so+iety2
Loo)ing e%e to e%e /it' t'e Institution J <e'earsals of a <e!olution
Post Glo#aliHation0 the 199! 7ndian General *le+tion sa- a +on/used and /ra+tured mandate -hi+h
represented anti< in+um#en+y0 leading to ouster o/ the "ongress government at the +entre and /ormation
o/ a +oalition government -hi+h +ame to #e no-n as Inited Front2 7t +omprised se+ular out/its and
-as supported /rom outside #y the "ommunist Party o/ 7ndia<'ar5ist 9"P7<': and the "ongress2 The
-arring out/its had )oined hands to eep the other #ig party the $haratiya .anata Party 9$.P: out o/
po-er as it -as per+eived to #e a threat to 7ndiaZs se+ular identity2 $ut the +oalition /re6uently +hanged
leaders and -as literally toyed #y the "ongress2 7t /ell untimely leading to another general ele+tion in
199&2;est $engal0 -hi+h till then -as #i<polariHed #et-een 8e/t Front led #y the "P7<' and the
"ongress -itnessed ne- entrants O Trinamool "ongress0 a party /loated #y 'amata $aner)ee and her
supporters -ho #roe a-ay /rom the "ongress as they /elt that the party -as not sin+ere in its e//orts to
+ounter the ruling 8e/t Front and $.P0 a /airly none5istent out/it in $engal0 -hom Trinamool +hose as
its +oalition partner2 The Trinamool<$.P +om#ine /ared pretty -ell in their maiden venture2 A/ter the
/all o/ 1a)payee government in 13 months0 the +om#ine0 -ith rene-ed vigour po-ered #y dreams o/ a
$aner)ee<1a)payee government at the +entre repeated their su++ess in 1999 General *le+tion2
76=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Trinamool #e+ame an important ally o/ the $.P led 3DA government at the +entre and ept the 8e/t
Front government at ;est $engal in +onsidera#le unease -ith /re6uent threats o/ imposition o/ Arti+le
3!42 For the /irst time0 sin+e +oming to po-er in 19770 the 8e/tist /or+es o/ ;est $engal appeared to
#e in trou#le and the stage -as set /or their ouster in the ensuing %001 Assem#ly ele+tion2 Although
things turned out 6uite di//erently due to $aner)eeZs immature de+ision to leave the 3DA and )oin
hands -ith the "ongress0 the stage -as set /or voi+ing a protest against the in+um#ent 8e/t Front -ho
had in/li+ted a grand hegemony in all spheres o/ pu#li+ li/e in ;est $engal during their un+hallenged0
undistur#ed t-enty /our years o/ misrule2
The +ommunist movement pioneered in 7ndia #y the state o/ ;est $engal0 had on+e /a+ilitated
+ultural movements lie the 7PTA2 $ut in an e//ort to +ontrol the artisti+ e5pressions #y the iron /ist o/
politi+al agenda0 it disillusioned talented artist -ho parted -ays /rom 7PTA2 (o-ever0 these artists
-ere #y ideology le/tists and the path they +hose -as also ain to the 7PTA prin+iples2 7n +ase o/
Theatre0 the pu#li+ stage started in 1&7% soon gave -ay to the group Theatre 'ovement0 thoroughly
le/tist in nature0 led #y great artists o/ +ali#re lie Sam#hu 'itra0 Itpal Dutt and A)itesh
$andyopadhyay 9though 'itra in+reasingly distan+ed himsel/ /rom le/t:2 7n post +olonial 7ndia 0
mostly dominated #y the "ongress party0 this theatre -as at its #est 0 voi+ing its +on+ern /or the people
against +lass e5ploitation and imperialism 2The e5tremist movement o/ the [!0s0 its suppression #y
/or+e in the [70s and the emergen+y had prepared an ideal #a+drop /or theatre to /lourish2 $ut post
19770 as the 8e/t Front +onsolidated itsel/ in su++essive governments and trans/ormed into an ele+tion
ma+hinery0 regimentation too pla+e in all se+tions o/ so+iety in+luding intelligentsia and art2 Theatre
lost its protesting nature and slipped into a strange hi#ernation o/ indi//eren+e and silen+e2
$asu0 -ho had started 6uestioning this o#liviousness in so+iety and arts +hallenging the +onventional
models o/ +ommuni+ation and so+ial norms0 re+eived an impetus /rom the anti<le/t movement o/
'amata -hi+h a+ted as a -ider politi+al support to depart onto the ne5t level o/ +olle+tive protest2 As
an artist derives inspiration /rom the +hanges around him0 and $asu0 vigilant as he is0 +ommitted to
re/le+t his time in his plays0 got the spar /rom this temporary #ut /uturisti+ +hallenge to 8e/t
hegemony2 Post the ele+tion de#a+le o/ Trinamool in %001 -here 8e/t Front managed to hang on -ith
allegations o/ a rigged mandate0 $asu +ome up -ith his /irst ma)or #o5 o//i+e hit play 3inle T,inle in
%00%2 Ising the metaphor o/ ,ip 1an ;inle0 $asu #rings a "P7<' a+tivist Sa#yasa+hi -ho had
disappeared in the tur#ulent *mergen+y period during a poli+e +hase0 #a+ to present and +ompares the
77=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
shi/t in ideologi+al paradigm o/ the "P7<'2 Sa#yasa+hi to his astonishment /inds out that the dreams o/
a so+ialist0 +lassless so+iety -hi+h had driven him and many others lie him to tae up the party line
had a+tually not happened and the #ourgeois vi+es -hi+h they -ere supposed to /ight had a+tually
#e+ome a part and par+el o/ the party he /ollo-ed2 Sa#yasa+hi /inds himsel/ +lueless and isolated in
/a+e o/ the +rass mer+enary tenden+ies o/ his +omrades and /undamentalist tenden+ies o/ the ne-
generation -ho have given up hope -ith the le/tist /or+es /or their +orruption and totalitarian
regimentation2 $asu very adeptly s-it+hed time Hones to remind the initial dreams -hi+h had /uelled
the +ommunist movement in $engal only to lament the ideologi+al deviation o/ the "ommunists2 7t is a
/a+t that the rise o/ 'amata $aner)ee in ;est $engal is attri#uted to the disillusioned supporters o/ the
"P7<'2 The vie-ers o/ theatre0 mostly edu+ated middle +lasses have traditionally #een le/t in+lined and
their pulse -as a#ly +aught #y $asu and as a result the play0 produ+ed #y theatre group Sansriti and
dire+ted #y De#esh "hattopadhyay0 en)oyed huge audien+e2
7n S+ene ! o/ 3inle T,inle0 in a +onversation -ith ,a)en0 a /riend -ho #elieved in e5treme le/t
-ing politi+s0 Sa#yasa+hi realised that the nature and +hara+teristi+ o/ di//erent institution had
undergone a +hange and there/ore the ideologi+al e6uations have +hanged2 An e5+erpt /rom the
,a)en= Sa#yasa+hi0 you had attended the DQF
state +on/eren+e at Sishmahal in (o-rah in 19700 isnZt
Sa#yasa+hi= Qes0 7 had2 So -hat?
,a)en= Do you remem#er the State Se+retaryZs report? "ome on0 tell me2
Sa#yasa+hi= "on/is+ate the properties o/ Tata<$irla and multinational +ompanies<,esist the intrusion o/
+apital in the name o/ industrialiHation<-e need )o#0 give us )o# or else give unemployment
su#sidy22222222#ut -hy do you as all these?
,a)en= That implies that the +all -as given to resist #ig #ourgeois0 to stop toying -ith the unemployed
youth in the name o/ 7ndustrialiHation2 ;ell0 -hat -as the name o/ the then DQF state se+retary? "ome
on Sa#yasa+hi0 tell his name2
9A/ter a silen+e Sa#yasa+hi hisses out:
Sa#yasa+hi= $uddhade# $hatta+harya2
,a)en= "orre+t2 And that is pre+isely -hy Ananda#aHar
today praises $uddhade# $hatta+harya2 *arlier0
it didnZt2 9%A pp %74<%7!:
A/ter the narro- es+ape o/ %0010 the "P7<' under the leadership o/ the "hie/ 'inister $uddhade#
$hatta+harya undertoo an e//ort to +hange the partyZs image /rom the erst-hile anti<industrialist to
7B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
pro<industrialist2 $hatta+harya propounded that the government has to se+ure employment
oppurtunities /or the ne- generation -hi+h -as possi#le only through industrialiHation2 7n order to -oo
investment o/ private +apital in the state and prove their sin+erity a#out #eing pro<+apital0 $hatta+harya0
his 8e/t Front government as -ell as "P7<' +reated +ir+les in +lose pro5imity -ith #ig industrial
houses and #usinessmen lie Tata and the 7ndonesia #ased Salem Group2 This -as a ma)or ideologi+al
shi/t /or a +ommunist party lie "P7<' -hi+h -as #orn in 19!40 splitting the "ommunist Party o/ 7ndia
9"P7: #e+ause the latter +hose to )oin hands -ith #ourgeois /or+es headed #y "ongress to pursue a
re/ormative agenda2 'any "P7<' -orers and supporters +omprising o/ la#ourers0 /armers and the
intelligentsia +ould not a++ept this party stand2 The vi+es in the party that gre- a#ound in a se+tion o/
po-er hungry and money hungry mem#ers0 sin+e it +ame to po-er in 19770 had alienated many honest
and +ommitted party -orers /rom the mainstream o/ the party2 People -ere angry -ith the partisan
administrationZs misrule and -anted a +hange2 They +ould not spea out as the party -as vindi+tive
against any sort o/ protest2 7t had its iron /ist +ontrolling all spheres o/ li/e= /rom +ivil so+iety0 artists
and edu+ators to trade unions2 $asuZs play had given the people a opportunity to relate to their #roen
dreams and dissent2
,udraprasad SenGupta0 veteran theatri+ian and himsel/ a staun+h +ommunist rea+ted in a very
personal /ashion a/ter seeing 3inle T,inle2 *5+erpts /rom his revie- o/ the play=
>Did 7 see mysel/ in the mirror o/ Sa#yasa+hi? (e has returned a/ter %! years o/ sa##ati+al0 +annot
re+ogniHe his o-n son0 7ndra0 -ho is prepared to side -ith rightist /or+es2 7n 7ndra0 7 thin0 7 heard the
apparent o#livious0 suppressed and angry lament o/ my +hildren2 7ndraZs mother0 ,a)lahi0 loves to live
on in the memories o/ the [70s2 7 +an see my sisters and -ives o/ /riends in her2 Sa#yasa+hiZs /riend
,a)en le/t the party to )oin the 3a5al#ari2 Presently he lives under the +onnotation o/ [8yangraZ i2e2 8ame
,a)en2 (e reminds me o/ so many old /riends -ho are no- pro/essionals<some o/ them have shi/ted to
Ameri+a0 some have shi/ted politi+al allegian+e and some0 lie ,a)en0 have -ithdra-n into a shell2 The
+hara+ter o/ Sanat "hara#arty0 one -ho #e+ame ina+tive during the days -hen the party -as +ornered0
has presently /lourished -hen the party is in po-er2 The +hara+ter -as so identi/ia#le<7 +ould relate to
him in the #attle o/ Plassey as -ell as in the image o/ $atu in TagoreZs Chaar /dhyay2 The +hara+ters are
all atta+hed to ea+h other #y the relation o/ #lood0 time or politi+s #ut they +ountered0 +hallenged and
yet0 -ept /or ea+h other2 Dis+overing all o/ them together0 a/ter so many years<it seemed as i/ the sea o/
time and e5perien+es over a period o/ three de+ades illuminated itsel/ #e/ore me in a span o/ t-o hours2@
79=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
3inle T,inle -as indeed a pioneering a+t in a sense that #e/ore it0 -ith the e5+eption o/ (ara
$hatta+haryaZs /dvut /ndhaar0 produ+ed #y Anya Theatre under the dire+tion o/ $ivas "hara#arty0 no
other play had the guts to pass +omment on the politi+al s+enario o/ ;est $engal2 Any#ody -ho
+riti+iHed the ruling 8e/t -as su#)e+ted to state sponsored suppression and +leverly +ra/ted so+ial and
+ultural isolation and silent #oy+ott2 Something -hi+h $ratya $asu himsel/0 in an intervie- given to
,a#i Shanar $al in %0070 +oined as the [politi+s o/ silen+eZ and opined that this (silence com'rises a
cultural 'olitics;* 91A pp 97<9&:2 (e pla+ed it as a dialogue in the /ourth s+ene o/ his play Hemlat,
Prince of )aranhata0 -here a +hara+ter Suhen0 a lo+al goon0 threatens= "If ,e in the elections this
time, ,e ,ill seal your mouth by a selota'e*; 94A pp 94:
$asuZs honest0 true and dire+t re/le+tion o/ the o#vious and +ourage to +all a spade0 a spade0 -as lie
a spat o/ /resh air into the su//o+ating arena o/ /ine arts2 The le/tist hegemony had gagged up the /ree
voi+e o/ artists and +ivil so+iety -ho never protested against any -rong doing o/ the "P7<'2 This play
#y $asu a+tually provided the mu+h needed impetus to the artists to revive their /ree spirit and
over+ome the /ear o/ state suppression2 They indeed opened up and too to streets /ive years later -hen
the in/amous 3andigram and Singur happened and started the movement to oust le/t /rom ;est $engal
-ith the slogan<[Pori#orton "haiZ 9;e -ant "hange:2 The +ivil so+iety movement a+ted as a +atalyst to
+hanneliHe the dissent o/ the people against the 8e/t0 -hi+h lost their #ase in the state in the General
*le+tion o/ %009 and -as eventually ousted /rom po-er in the ;est $engal Assem#ly ele+tion o/ %0112
The Trinamool "ongress /ormed the government -ith 'amata $aner)ee as the "hie/ 'inister2 $asu0
-ho de/eated heavy-eight "P7<' leader Goutam De# /rom the Dumdum +onstituen+y0 -as s-orn in
as the *du+ation 'inister as a mar o/ re+ognition o/ the +ivil so+iety e//orts in #ringing the +hange2
Brat%a BasuFs (la%s# Is it t'e (oliti-s or is it t'e +i"eK
There is al-ays an deli#erate attempt to la#el or #rand a +reative person and his -or and it -as in no
time that 3inle T,inle and $ratya $asu -ere #eing sti+ered #y the term [politi+alZ0 mu+h in the
lines o/ Itpal Dutt and his theatre2 Although Itpal Dutt himsel/ #randed himsel/ to #e a propagandist
o/ 'ar5ist philosophy0 $asu denied o/ having -ritten any [politi+alZ play as su+h2 (e insisted that his
plays did +ontain elements o/ politi+s in them2 The elements o/ politi+s are sometimes a+utely visi#le in
the play lie in 3inle T,inle and sometimes +on+ealed in the under+urrents o/ emotion and /eelings2
Although0 he denies o/ -riting a politi+al play till date #ut admits the /a+t that his plays have an
element o/ politi+s in it2 7t -ill #e relevant to 6uote a part o/ an intervie- $asu gave to Theatre "riti6ue
B&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Satya $haduri /or S/S theatre magaHine in %00&=
Satya= Does $ratya $asu /eel that 3inle T,inle is a politi+al play?
$ratya= 3o0 he does not2
Satya= (e does not?
$ratya= A hundred times he does not2 To the #est o/ my +ons+iousness0 7 have not -ritten a single
politi+al play2
Satya= Does not 3inle T,inle have a +over o/ politi+s on it?
$ratya= 3inle T,inle is a story o/ t-o di//erent times0 t-o personalities0 t-o generations2 Qes0 it has
politi+s a++ompanied #y the angst o/ t-o people0 one -ho has /ailed and the other emitting the +ry o/
/ailure and also the /ailure o/ a person -ho tried to understand the time2 This is -hat it +omprises2 There
is politi+s /or sure in it as there is politi+s in a similar -ay in /shaleen too2
Satya= Qes #ut politi+s in /shaleen is not /rom a partisan vie- as it is in 3inle T,inle2
$ratya= 3o0 there is no partisan vie- in 3inle T,inle2 There is no party #ias in it rather a dispassionate
e//ort to re/le+t t-o time /rames2
Satya= 7s not there a dialogue to-ards the end o/ the play as<[tae side0 tae sideZ?
$ratya= That dialogue says<[Tae a side or else your +ondition -ill #e )ust lie ,ip 1an ;inle2Z That
means those -ho /ail to tae a side /all in misera#le +ondition2 That is the message2
Satya= 7s that not e6uivalent to highlighting a spe+i/i+ side?
$ratya= ;hi+h side are you re/erring to? At least 7 do not no- o/ any mention o/ a spe+i/i+ side2 7/ you
get a hint0 that is entirely your responsi#ility2
Satya= Fine0 let the readers tae the responsi#ility o/ /inding out -hether the play advo+ates taing a
parti+ular side2 7 -ould not rather +omment on it2
$ratya= 7 also /eel that this should #e le/t /or the readers to de+ide2 91A pp 13%<133:
7n the play0 Baabli0 $asu depi+ts the li/e and vie-points o/ an e5treme le/t -ing a+tivist /rom the vie-
point o/ the middle +lass so+iety0 espe+ially through the eyes o/ a young girl2 The girl0 Baabli0 +annot
relate to the ideas and #ehaviour o/ the young a+tivist0 Kora0 -ho -as taing a shelter in their home2
$aa#liZs parents and #oy/riend0 essentially middle +lass value mongers are at a sea as they /ail to
a++ommodate Kora -ithin their /rame-or o/ a se+ured li/e2 $aa#li is inspired to give up her se+ured
li/e and -ants to venture in the -orld o/ Kora -hi+h eventually doesnZt happen2 The open ended play
thro-s a -ide range o/ 6uestions to the people regarding the e5tremist movement as -ell as the
/alla+ies o/ our so+ial norms0 the -ay middle +lass lead li/e -ith utter indi//eren+e /or the so+iety2 $asu
B1=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
6uestions the indi//eren+e0 sel/ishness and puts us in /ront o/ the mirror to re evaluate -hat our
happiness means2
The pro#lem o/ 'aoist violen+e0 the latest /orm o/ na5allite movement has #een an important
pro#lem in 7ndia -hi+h has erupted out o/ disproportionate development and +ontinuous oppression
and #a+-ardness o/ +ertain se+tions o/ people and pla+es in the +ountry2 The Government has used the
state ma+hineries lie ?'eration )reenhunt to +rush the 'aoists #ut only temporarily2 7n Baabli0 $asu
6uestions the sin+erity o/ the state in addressing these issues2 (e presents the issue logi+ally /or the
thining man to argue2 7n S+ene 40 in order to mae Kora tal0 $aa#li tries to e5+ite him #y mo+ing
at his e//orts to #e+ome "he Guevara2 (o-ever0 at the end o/ logi+ and +ounter logi+0 Kora has his
Kora= 9in a lo- voi+e: 7 no- /rom the +ore o/ my heart that 7 no- to love manind2 'ay #e0 it is a
di//erent pattern2 And that is -hy0 that is only -hy you have alienated me /rom yoursel/2 98ight
de+reases: The other0 $a#li0 all -e have learned is to di//erentiate ourselves /rom the other and the other
/rom ourselves2 Di//erentiate in every sense2 The state and its su#)e+ts0 the people0 is also di//erent /rom
ea+h other2 People /eel < there is the government and here am 72 The state is unidire+tional in approa+h <
either you are -ith me or else you are my enemy0 the other2 Ether0 other every-here0 in our homes0 even0
my shado- is a ZotherZ today < t-o di//erent entities2 9smiles: "My body aches for I ,restle ,ith my
shado,&2 9%A pp 309:
To-ards the end o/ the play0 in S+ene 190 as Kora prepares to go /or his partyZs assignments0 $aa#li
admits to Kora that her eyes have opened to the hollo-ness o/ the reality she lives in2 She says=
$aa#li= 7 am saying these as 7 realise that -e are indeed -rong some-here2 Grossly -rong2 Eur li/e style
ornamented #y a +om#ination o/ pea+e<+om/ort<-orries<an5iety<run<halt<maret +ompetition<
entertainment0 is a+tually a Hero2 A #ig Hero2 ;e are a #un+h o/ dead0 stati+ people -ho are in/lating this
Hero to mae it loo lie a huge gas #alloon<huge0 +olour/ul and /ashiona#le2 9%A pp 334:

Baabli in ultimate reality is the narration o/ +on/used state o/ young minds -ho are taught to #e
am#ititious and sel/ +entred in the /a+e o/ reality o/ deprivation0 -hi+h they are grossly una-are o/2
8ie /shaleen and 3inle T,inle0 $asuZs Baabli0 too #e+omes a mirror o/ the present +on/using times
and the +on/used people -ho #elong to this time2 "ommunism0 'aoism are )ust institutions -hi+h are
+ausing +hanges in the so+iety2 These +hanges are leaving people helpless as they /ind it di//i+ult to
B2=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
+ope -ith rapid +hanges and $asu -ishes to address their +on/usion #y +hallenging the institutions0
o/ten ending up #eing la#elled [politi+alZ2
$asu has +hosen novel methods and idioms to e5press ea+h o/ his su#)e+ts -hi+h again has #een
di//erent /rom the previous #ut the t-o +ommon aspe+ts in almost all his plays remain +onstant < /irstly0
he threatens hegemonised institutions /orming the e5terior o/ his plot and se+ondly0 he e5plores his
time through the +on/usions o/ a protagonist -ho #elongs to this time2 ;hen he +ame into the -orld o/
+reativity he -as 6ui+ to realiHe that the 6uality o/ -or -as hardly a +onsideration /or getting
re+ognition2 ,ather0 +erti/i+ates o/ people in po-er or men -ho matter are more essential2 'any
talented artists -ho /ail to master the art o/ o#taining +erti/i+ates and #a+ing o/ the right people lag
#ehind -hile others -ith little or no +redential hog the limelight2 $asu -as e5tremely distur#ed #y the
ne5us o/ +ronyism that e5isted in the -orld o/ arts and literature2 (e re/erred to it in many intervie-s
and aptly portrayed it in his play Page N, It&s /lso a )ame2 The -orld o/ arts and literature -as given
the /orm o/ an under-orld -here +ultural ma/ias /orm their o-n ghettos and strive to dominate the
artist +ommunity and government institutions ] a-ards2 (is protagonist a young artist 'anohar
'iddya tries to +apture the reins /rom the veterans only to #e de/eated at the end2 Although the /o+us
-as on +ulture the play re/le+ted the po-er struggle going on in the -ider arena o/ politi+s2 The
/rustration o/ an artist una#le to #rea the )in5 o/ +ronyism -as re/le+ted #y $asu in his Kavya 3atya
#ar+i'arar Mar+inara2 Set in a lo+ation o/ Sonaga+hi in 3orth Kolata0 9in:/amous /or prostitution0
$asu e5plored the most an+ient and inevita#le element o/ se5uality to assess human psy+hology2 An
intelle+tual vents out to a prostitute=
Girl= ;ho are these people?
7ntelle+tual9smiles: = They are the mainstay o/ our e5isten+e2 There they are < let me introdu+e /rom le/t0
Paternal In+le Senior0 'inister0 .ournalist0 Sponsor and Audien+e2 Qour +reation may #e really great <
#e it addition o/ -ords0 #looming the +olours o/ your heart on the +anvass0 rendering your voi+e -ith
tone and tune0 e5ploding magi+ on the stage < #ut -ithout their support you are a lie0 your -ords lie0
+olours lie0 tunes lie0 la#ours lie0 everything lies<lies<lies2 And there 7 am0 standing amidst all o/ them0
young mysel/2 94A pp !4:
The /rustration o/ youth0 the /rustration o/ an artist -as +arried /or-ard #y $asu in plays lie Hemlat,
Prince of )aranhata0 Babar er Prarthana 9The Prayer o/ $a#ar: and %rishnagahabar 9The $la+
hole:2 ;hile the /irst -as an inspiration /rom ShaespeareZs (amlet0 Prin+e o/ Denmar set in todayZs
time at 3orth o/ Kolata0 the se+ond -as inspired /rom poetry o/ Shanha Ghosh de#ating religious
B3=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
/undamentalism0 something $asu had dealt in a mu+h dire+t /ashion in his earlier play Sateroi 1uly
9Seventeenth .uly:2 The thrilling +ourt room drama0 #y $asuZs o-n announ+ement -as a remae o/
Itpal DuttZs a++laimed play Manusher /dhiare2 %rishnagahabar is a sensitive portrayal o/
homose5uality0 a /irst time in $engali Theatre0 -hi+h +entres on the li/e o/ an unsu++ess/ul painter and
e5poses the #rittleness o/ our so+ial stru+ture2
The high point o/ narration o/ artisti+ +risis +ame in %009 -hen $asu again re+eived unpre+edented
audien+e support /or his play0 Ruddhasangeet 9The Sti/led Song:2 $y then0 the 3andigram<Singur
had +reated a -ave o/ resentment against the 8e/t Front and in %00& Pan+hayat ele+tion it had
lost a siHa#le portion o/ their rural stronghold2 $asu and other pro<+hange intelle+tuals -ere /irmly
#ehind 'amata $aner)ee and Trinamool looed poised /or a good result in the ensuing General
*le+tion2 The 8e/t had -ithdra-n their support /rom the "entral Government led #y the "ongress Party
-hi+h no- -anted Trinamool as an ally2 An allian+e #et-een Trinamool and "ongress meant
+onsolidation o/ anti le/t votes in one #o5 -hi+h signalled danger /or the +omrades2 "harged up /rom
his e5perien+es o/ taing part in the Singur<3andigram movements and /or that #eing ousted /rom
Theatre Groups he -as -oring -ith0 $asu +hose to depi+t intelle+tual suppression o/ an artist through
the lives o/ t-o o/ the most admira#le $engali artists < /ilmmaer ,it-i Ghata and ,a#indra sangeet
singer De#a#rata $is-as2 $oth o/ them0 in spite o/ #eing staun+h +ommunists -ere ro##ed o/ artisti+
/reedom #y institutional suppression < the /ormer #y the "ommunist Party and the latter0 #y the 1isva
$harati 'usi+ $oard2 The appearan+e o/ stal-art +ommunist leader .yoti $asu and Pramod Das Gupta
and /amous people lie Santosh Kumar Ghosh0 Sam#hu 'itra0 (emanga $is-as0 Salil "ho-dhury0
Su+hitra 'itra0 as +hara+ters in the play made the audien+e nostalgi+2 The /ar+e o/ en6uiry +ommission
+onstituted #y the "ommunist Party against ,it-i Ghata alleging him to violate party line /or artisti+
li#erty and the /alla+y o/ #an on De#a#rata $is-as #y the 1isva $harati 'usi+ $oard on grounds o/
e5+essive musi+ hands ] melodrama +hanneliHed the dissent that the pu#li+ had /or top heavy
institutions2 En+e again $asu e5posed po-er stru+ture and +rony pra+ti+es through a $io<play2
The play raises the de#ate o/ artisti+ e5pression versus art as a tool /or politi+al propaganda -hi+h
haunted the 7PTA in the post +olonial era2 7n this +onte5t De#a#rata $is-as +omments in the opening
s+ene o/ Ruddhasangeet=
De#a#rata= ;hat +an 7 say? The pro#lem is that some /eel that the #attle is politi+al -hile others opine
that it is +ultural2 The /a+t is0 even a/ter attaining independen+e many people o/ our +ountry are starving<
this is not only politi+al #ut a +ultural pro#lem as -ell2 7/ a song #rings tears to your eyes or a #oo
B4=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
astounds you then one should understand that this astoundment is not limited to +ultural territory only2 7t
also has a politi+al angle to it -hi+h our leaders should realise2 94A pp 30%:
7n a +onversation -ith ,it-i Ghata0 in the very ne5t s+ene0 a#out the degeneration o/ the 7PTA0
$is-as again voi+es his apprehension a#out the po-er o/ the state=
De#a#rata= ;hy should artists hang around? For your party? 8isten ,it-i < *sta#lishment or
7nstitution0 as you +oin it has never tolerated originality2 3ever0 in no +ountry and in no time has that
happened2 A true artist -ill have to /a+e this pro#lem that he -ill #e /eared #y the others < #e+ause he
intends to #rea the tradition2 So0 there -ill #e strong e//orts to stop him2 Qou -ill realise it as your li/e
goes on222222222222 94A pp 30&:

8ater0 in the same +onversation0 $is-as raises a pertinent0 /uturisti+ and dangerous 6uestion=
De#a#rata= *verything is /ine2 $ut ,it-i0 +an you guarantee that your party -ill not /ire at the +ommon
people on+e it +aptures state po-er? 94A pp 310:
The people o/ ;est $engal had -itnessed 3andigram )ust a +ouple o/ years #a+2 The play
Pashuhamar0 produ+ed #y Pan+ham 1aidi and dire+ted #y Arpita Ghosh -as not allo-ed to #e staged
in parts o/ ;est $engal as it -as per+eived to #e anti +ommunist2 $ratya $asu -as driven a-ay #y his
theatre group /or having spoen against the "P7<' led 8e/t Front2 ,uddhasangeet e+hoed the so+io<
politi+al mood o/ the people2 The Trinamool<"ongress grand allian+e -on ma)ority o/ the seats in ;est
$engal leaving the 8e/t #leeding2
<einfor-ing Saha$iya in (ost--'ange Bengal
The appre+iation and outloo to art and +ulture in $engal during the 34 year 8e/t regime has never
#een approved #y $asu as he /elt that philosophi+ally it -as partisan and veiled under -hat he #elieves
to #e [$ramhoZ approa+h imported /rom /oreign2 The mass +ulture0 +omprising elements o/ popular
+ulture as -ell as religion -as looed do-n upon #y the le/t intelle+tuals and they re+eived a set#a+2
So+io<+ultural #ehavarial norms0 starting /rom -ay o/ e5pression to li/e style -as getting sophisti+ated
mu+h to the lines o/ minority +ulture2 $ut the huge mass o/ people0 their everyday li/estyle and
+ommuni+ation patterns remained the same #ut -as never dis+ussed or -ritten a#out2 The $engali
so+io<+ultural and religious -ay o/ li/e -as marginalised as the $engalis -ere advo+ated to #e+ome
;orld "itiHens and indi//erent to religion and regional identity2
'amata $aner)ee0 -hose -ay o/ +ommuni+ation -as mu+h rooted to the ground and not a++ording to
the [$hadraloZ norms o/ sophisti+ation lie her le/t adversaries lie $uddhade# $hatta+harya0 /a+ed a
BC=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
lot o/ ridi+ule and +riti+ism /rom media and intelle+tuals2 (er style -as not suita#le and #e/itting /or
the "hie/ 'inisterZs position and her party Trinamool -as looed do-n upon as a party o/ goons as
+ompared to the "P7<' -ho had plenty o/ intelle+tuals in their side2 $ut over the years the 8e/tZs
misrule and +ultural and religious indi//eren+e had alienated them and their philosophies /rom the
masses -ho -ere taing a liing /or 'amataZs style o/ +ommuni+ation2 ;hile a spee+h #y a 8e/tist
leader -ould usually +ontain a+ademi+ e5planations o/ 'ar5ism and e+onomi+ +onnotations o/ open
maret e+onomy0 'amata -ould +ite Tagore and ,amarishna Paramahansa in the most lu+id -ay
-hi+h even a id -ould understand2 7n a very su#tle manner she -ould remind people o/ $engalZs
golden days and $engali i+ons -hi+h may #e termed as a re)uvenation o/ $engali identity and $engali
nationalism in the masses2 She -ould -ant a $engali to /eel that sGhe is a $engali rather than a 'ar5ist
Some-here do-n the line $ratya $asuZs e//orts to +hallenge the le/t hegemony in the +ultural arena
/ound a strong support in 'amata $aner)eeZs +ommuni+ation strategy0 -hi+h0 he +oined as [Saha)iyaZ=
To $ratya $asu0 'amata $aner)ee is a tor+h #earer o/ -hat he re/erred to as the [Saha)iyaZ s+hool o/
7ndian philosophy as against the -esterniHed intelle+tual $ramho tradition in $engal2 >3hat ,e see no,
is an assertion of this Saha+iya culture reflected in the Fuotations cited by Mamata from Ramarishna,
Sarada and 5iveananda; This as'ect of Bengal&s life is reflected in the Mangal %avya, in the literature
of Bharat Chandra; Baner+ee is the face of this change2@94:
7n the same +onte5t0 $asuZs opinion -as +ited as=
(er style and +ontent o/ +ampaigning0 peppered -ith religion0 prose0 verse and songs +ertainly seem to
#e -oring2 This is evident -hen $ratya $asu says he is dra-n to-ards 'amataZs politi+al aestheti+s
-ithout maing any re/eren+e to her painting0 musi+ or poetry2 (She is a creative 'erson, ,hose 'olitics
,ill reflect that@0 he +ontrasts the 8e/tZs [-esterniHedZ +ultural philosophy -ith 'amataZs indigenous0
grassroots aestheti+s2 94:
7n the same +onte5t the name o/ Ittam Kumar also +omes into dis+ussion as $engalZs matinee idol -ho
-as not given due respe+t #y the 8e/t2 7n /a+t the on+e /lourishing $engali Film 7ndustry degraded
a-/ully a/ter Ittam KumarZs death in the early [&0s and the government too very little interest in its
revival as they /elt that it -as a typi+al petty #ourgeois industry2 7nstead they devoted more attention to
B6=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
the Parallel "inema movement -hi+h -as #randed to #e le/tist although it had little mass #ase2 $asu
too up the issue in his %013 play Cinemar Mato2 (e did not tae any side #ut presented #oth genres
o#)e+tively and pointed out the /eudal as -ell as humanitarian angles to the $engali mainstream /ilm
industry to +arve out its )ourney < past0 the +hanges and the days to +ome2 The play reminds us o/ the
$engali e//orts in /ilm #usiness -hi+h has lie other Kolata industries /ailed to garner su++ess giving
-ay to non<$engali #usinessmen to +ontrol the /inan+es o/ $engal2 *5+erpts /rom S+ene 1 o/ the play=
Dipayan= 9thins: Z7&? 7s it? .ust a minute < let me see my note#oo2 Dear Prith-i0 again a very small
o#servation /or you2
.ayanti= ;hat is that?
Dipayan= Films released in Z7& are 31 o/ -hi+h only /ive have #een produ+ed #y non< $engalis2 %! o/
them made #y $engalis2
Prith-i)it= 7nteresting o#servation2 'ight )ust help me in my ne- s+ript2
Dipayan= 3ot /ive0 its /ive and hal/ to #e e5a+t2 [Dui PurushZ -as )ointly produ+ed #y Sunil ,am and
Satish 'uhopadhyay2 They again teamed up the ne5t year to produ+e [De#das2Z 9!A pp 7<&:
A little later0 in the same +onversation0 Dipayan updates his in/ormation=
Dipayan= Dear Prith-i0 another interesting in/ormation /or you < 37 /ilms released in %0000 t-o de+ades
a/ter the passing a-ay o/ Ittam Kumar o/ -hi+h %4 have #een produ+ed #y non $engalis2
Prith-i)it= 7nteresting indeed2
Dipayan= Private television +hannels have already entered the maret #y this time < _ee in Z9!0 * T1 in
April Z990 Aaash $angla in Z990 /ollo-ed #y si5 more +hannels or should 7 say si5ers o/ +hannels? ;hat
do you say master Prith-i)it? 9!A pp 1!:
$asu tra+es the reasons /or degradation o/ the erst-hile /lourishing $engali /ilm industry mainly
/o+ussing on its ina#ility to +hange -ith the +hanging times2 (e sym#olises the /ailure through A#hi)it
Dutta Gupta -ho remains immersed in the lega+y and misdeeds o/ his de+eased /ather0 hails it as #lue
#lood and despises $engali television and its soap industry2 *ventually0 he poses /aith on a young
aspiring /ilm maer Prith-i)it -ho is thining to #ring a#out a ne- /ilm language and hopes that
$engali /ilm industry -ill #e revived2 The /la-less and engaging de#ate #et-een the ne- and old
s+hool o/ +inema -ith the under+urrents o/ an artistZs +risis0 relationship e6uations0 e//e+ts o/ a rapidly
+hanging so+iety and ignition o/ a $engali nationalism in the /orm o/ nostalgia maes Cinemar Moto a
multi layered re/le+tor o/ the +hanging times0 so+ieties and its people2 As poet .oy Gos-ami opines <
>Time flo,s on in the 'lays of Bratya Basu; Time of the ne, era ,hich embraces us, time of the bygone
era, the times are constantly changing 'laces; They are s'eaing sometimes through 'regnant, multi
B7=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
layered dialogues or sometimes through easy tradition; But they are s'eaing $ about you, about him,
about me and also about the one inside me;;;;;;;;*94A For-ard:
+'e mani"esto born out o" heartbeat# +o/ards a t'eatre of "aLi"u" i"(a-t
7t is indeed a very simplisti+ +on+lusion that $ratya $asu is a play-right -hose plays had played the
role o/ a +atalyst in #ringing politi+al +hange in ;est $engal2 Timeline analysis -ould suggest that his
play-riting +areer has run parallel to the anti<le/t movement and his high points do +oin+ide -ith the
high points o/ ele+toral su++ess o/ the Trinamool "ongress2 $ut0 even a/ter taing into +onsideration the
/a+t that he #e+ame a mem#er o/ the Trinamool and in /a+t an important minister in 'amata $aner)eeZs
+a#inet0 it +annot #e said that he is an anti<le/t artist or his plays are anti +ommunist and pro<Trinamool2
(e +annot #e #randed in the /rame o/ Itpal DuttDs relationship -ith the +ommunist party2 (is plays
+entre on time and human +risis rather than party politi+s2 The /a+t that he +hallenged hegemony
shouldnDt #e +ollapsed -ith +hallenging the "P7<'2 (e has +hosen the +hanging time0 esta#lishment0 its
systems and its threats to humans as his opponent rather than )ust a politi+al party2 Pra#ir 'itra o/
?'eration H9I90 (amid o/ Babarer Prarthana0 (emlat o/ Hemlat, Prince of )aranhata0 Anshuman o/
%rishnagahabar0 Sandeep o/ Muhomuhi Bosibar0 Baabli0 Soumya o/ Chatushon0 Su)an o/ /shaleen0
A+tor o/ Mrityu Is,ar 1ounata0 $a#u o/ Shahar :aar0 'anohar o/ Page N, It&s /lso a )ame0 .oy)it o/
Cinemar Moto are not vi+tims o/ a mere politi+al party #ut vi+tims o/ a degenerating +ommunity0 a
de+aying nation0 a naive rea+tion<less so+iety and in -ider sense an impotent0 in/li+ted time2 7n the
play-rightZs o-n +on/ession0 an e5+erpt /rom an intervie- given to young theatre dire+tor Avi
"hara#arty in %009 /or ,evie- Previe- magaHine=
,P= Some#ody told me that Ruddhasangeet is the se+ond part o/ ;inle T,inle2 7s your +ontinuous
+riti6ue o/ the le/t politi+s not #e+oming a #rand? Qou have -ritten varied plays ranging /rom /shaleen0
Muhomuhi Bosibar0 ?'eration H9I90 and #ar+i'arar Mor+inara to %rishnagahabar2 DoesnZt this over
simpli/ied #randing hurt you? DonZt you regret it?
$ratya $asu= 7 do not regret #e+ause it is up to them -ho have interpreted it in this /ashion2 ;henever 7
-rite a play 7 try to mae it di//erent /rom the rest2 7 do not #other -hether it goes against or in /avour o/
the 8e/t2 'ore important is0 -hether it goes against or in /avour o/ me2 7t does not -or -ithin me that 7
have -ritten something against the 8e/t as /or 3inle T,inle and Ruddhasangeet is in 6uestion2 7 have
narrated the history o/ last 40 years through a play0 -hi+h 7 do not no- -hether any other art /orm has
#een a#le to do2 'y +onsideration -as that 3inle T,inle starts during the period o/ *mergen+y and
ends in %00%2 Ruddhasangeet starts in 194& and ends in 19792 That implies that 7 have tried to interpret
BB=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
$engalZs politi+al0 so+ial and e+onomi+ li/e o/ the last 40 years2 The e5tent o/ my su++ess is a di//erent
issue2 $ut 7 have tried2 ;hether the 8e/t has #ene/itted or su//ered losses /rom my e//orts is something
-hi+h -ill #e no-n -hen you ] 7 -ill not #e around anymore2 7ts good i/ this is evaluated #eyond our
e5isten+e2 91A pp 1!3<1!4:
As the ne- times herald in $engal0 post<8e/t era0 one -ill eagerly a-ait $asuZs -ritings to sear+h
themselves and their +on/usions in a time that appears to get only more threatening to the tenderness o/
human 6ualities2 (e has started -ell #y proposing his version o/ pro/essional theatre -hi+h he has
+oined ["ompany TheatreZ2 ;ell0 is it not an attempt to shae the /oundations o/ the Group Theatre
/ormat #orn out o/ an essentially +ommunist ideology and nurtured #y a parti+ular "P7<'? ;e shall
dis+uss later2
12 Demo+rati+ Qouth Federation is the youth /ront o/ the "ommunist Party o/ 7ndia9'ar5ist:2
%2 Ananda#aHar Patria is the largest selling daily ne-spaper in $angla
32 7n %0070 the ;est $engal government noti/ied to a+6uire land /or a proposed +hemi+al hu# in
3andigram0 a village in 'idnapore distri+t2 A se+tion o/ /armers revolted against the de+ision
and poli+e /ired on them illing many2 The area -itnessed politi+al distur#an+e and state
oppression leading to anti government /eeling throughout the state2 Similarly0 a huge area o/
produ+tive land -as a+6uired /or Tata 3ano +ar /a+tory2 7n #oth +ases the /armers -ere not
happy -ith the governmentZs stand2 Trinamool "ongress and the +ivil so+iety led a movement
against the 8e/t Front on #oth these issues2 The 8e/tZs /all in ;est $engal is hugely attri#uted to
this movement2
12 Gupta0 So#han 9*d2:<"Bratya&9Pu#= Deep PraashanAKolataA%013A7S$3 97&<93<&%040<74<0:
%2 $asu0 $ratya<"0ata Samagra$5ol;I&9Pu#=Ananda Pu#lishersAKolataA%004A7S$3 &1<774!<43%<
32 $asu0 $ratya$"Theatre 0iye&9Pu#= Saptarshi PraashanAKolataA%013A7S$3 97&<93<&%70!<%9<&:
42 $asu0 $ratya<"0ata Samagra$5ol; H&9Pu#= Ananda Pu#lishersA KolataA %010A 7S$3 97&<&1<
B9=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
42 Gupta0 'ono#ina<"#idi: / Political Biogra'hy&9Pu#= (arper "ollins 7ndiaA 3e- DelhiA%013A
7S$3 97&<93<40%9<1!&<9:
!2 $asu0 $ratya<"/ro #uti 0ata& 9Pu#= Deep PraashanA KolataA %014A 7S$3 :

Sourav )u'ta is /ssistant Professor at Centre for 1ournalism 4 Mass Communication in Central
2niversity of ?rissa, %ora'ut; He is one of the /ssistant -ditors in 1ournal of Bengali Studies; He has
been a noted dramatist and is founder of Theatre S'andan;

3ro" Suffering to <e!olt and <e2e-tion# 5 Stud% of t'e Bengali ,alit
Narrati!es 1% Jatin Bala and Mtt'an(ada Bi2ali
5sit 6anda
51stra-t# In the 'ost$modern era, ,ith the celebration of 'lurality of cultures, genders and ethnicities, there has
emerged a gro,ing claim for ensuring an eFual re'resentation for each class, caste, gender, race and culture; In
other ,ords, literature is eG'ected not to eGclude any class or caste, gender or culture, considering them inferior
or obscene; !ie any other literature, -nglish literature also reFuires articulating the feelings and sensibilities,
ho'es and des'airs, anGieties and as'irations of all dis'ossessed tribes across the globe; The dalit literary
movement in India received its im'etus ,ith the advent of leaders lie B; R; /mbedar in Maharashtra, ,ho ,ith
his follo,ers turned to Buddhism and revolted against the caste$based discrimination 'reached by Hinduism;
/mbedarite 'hiloso'hy and thought function as the guiding force behind the #alit literature; / sincere endeavour
to 'romote dalit cause and #alit literature in Bengal in an organised ,ay became 'erce'tible only to,ards the end
of the IJO9s; 3ith Professor /chintya Bis,as as its President and a multitude of 'romising ,riters as its members,
the Bengali #alit Sahitya Sanstha ,as founded in IJJH; 1atin Bala and 2tthan'ada Bi+ali are 'rominent ,riters of
Bengali #alit literature; Bi+ali&s story (.isherman* 'ortrays a tragic 'icture of the miserable 'light of the lives of
the fishermen of a tra,ler called Maa /bhaya, ,ho due to their o,n disharmony have been economically
victimised in the hands of the rich tra,ler$o,ners; -rasing the barriers 'ut among them by class, caste and creed,
all these eG'loited 'eo'le 'erceive the necessity of being united and forming a single family of "fisherman& both on
land and ,ater to ,age a successful battle against the ,ealthy o,ners for the establishment of their rights; Bala&s
story (Payer Talar Mati* ca'tures the tragic tale of suffering and humiliation of a Shudra called Haladhar
Halder, caused by the cons'iracy of the u''er$caste Brahmins of his village ,hen they find their authority and
traditions threatened by a 'erson belonging to the ( lo,est of the "lo,ly castes&*; The final im'ression the story
leaves is not that of a tale of 'assive suffering and endurance but of a tale of a defiant s'irit of a dalit in the face of
enormous tyranny and eternal history of o''ression by the u''er castes; -mbodying in literature not only the
humiliations and sufferings eG'erienced by the dalits but also their re+ection of and revolt against the 'revalent
o''ressive socio$economic order, Bala and Bi+ali see to bring about a social change by arousing consciousness
about the dis'ossession and de'rivation of a certain section of humanity;

Ee% >ords# Bengali #alit !iterature, Bengali #alit Sahitya Sanstha, Chaturtha #uniya, 1atin Bala, 2tthan'ada Bi+ali,
".isherman&, "Payer Talar Mati&
7n his #oo The -m'ire 3rites Bac0 $ill Ash+ro/t has aptly pointed out that >'arginality #e+omes an
unpre+edented sour+e o/ +reative energy@ 911%:2 Ash+ro/tZs argument may #e +orro#orated #y the
glaring e5amples o/ literatures produ+ed #y the $a+)eong o/ Korea0 'idgan o/ Somalia0 $uraumin o/
91=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
.apan0 and #alits o/ 7ndia2 *5amples +ould #e multiplied2 Althusser0 Grams+i0 Fou+ault0 Fanon0 Said
and 3gugi have pla+ed the 6uestions o/ marginality at the +entre o/ dis+ussion2 7n the post<modern era0
-ith the +ele#ration o/ plurality o/ +ultures0 genders and ethni+ities0 there has emerged a gro-ing +laim
/or ensuring an e6ual representation /or ea+h +lass0 +aste0 gender0 ra+e and +ulture2 There has #een a
re)e+tion o/ the pra+ti+e o/ privileging o/ any parti+ular type over others2 7n other -ords0 literature is
e5pe+ted not to e5+lude any +lass or +aste0 gender or +ulture0 +onsidering them in/erior or o#s+ene2
8ie any other literature0 *nglish literature also re6uires arti+ulating the /eelings and sensi#ilities0
hopes and despairs0 an5ieties and aspirations o/ all dispossessed tri#es a+ross the glo#e0 -ho +onstitute
in Gayatri "hara#orty SpivaZs -ords the >Fourth ;orld@2 >Fourth ;orld@ is +omprised o/ the -orldZs
original people -ho have #een pushed to the margins /or the esta#lishment o/ the +iviliHation in the
+ontemporary -orld2 As (ar#ir Singh ,andha-a +laims0 >#y des+ri#ing multilingual0 multi+ultural
ethos o/ these oppressed people@0 literature -ill #e+ome a tool in so+ial empo-erment o/ the
do-ntrodden and dispossessed /or the esta#lishment o/ egalitarian so+iety 9ii:2
'adara "hennaiah0 a +o##ler<saint -ho lived in the region o/ ;estern "haluyas in the 11
and is o/ten regarded as the >/ather o/ 1a+hana poetry@ is one o/ the /irst #alit -riters in 7ndia 9A#edi
14:2 >The term [dalitZ +omes /rom the Sansrit [dalanZ -hi+h means [to grindZ2 So literally it suggests
that -hi+h has #een ground do-nA it also means [o/ the soilZ in 'arathiRThe origin and use o/ the
term [dalitZ has #een tra+ed #a+ to the 3ineteenth +entury 'arathi So+ial re/ormer0 'ahatma .otirao
Phule@ 9Singha0 >3arrativising@ 31:2 The dalit literary movement in 7ndia re+eived its impetus -ith the
advent o/ leaders lie $2 ,2 Am#edar in 'aharashtra0 -ho -ith his /ollo-ers turned to $uddhism and
revolted against the +aste<#ased dis+rimination prea+hed #y (induism2 The struggle o/ Phule against
+aste domination provided inspiration to Am#edar -ho dealt -ith the issues o/ dalits through his
-ritings and politi+al a+tivism2 Am#edar laun+hed a -eely +alled Moo 0aya in 19%02 Am#edarite
92=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
philosophy and thought /un+tion as the guiding /or+e #ehind the #alit literature2 The -ors o/ #alit
literature pu#lished during this period -as +ons+iousness<raising and in+luded -ritings o/ $a#urao
$agul0 3amdeo Dhasal and ,a)a Dhale2 This dalit literary movement -as a +olle+tive endeavour o/ the
3eo<$uddhist elites to +reate a ne- +ulture o/ so+ial e6uality2 The su#se6uent dalit -ritings sought to
address the oppressed0 the untou+ha#les0 the vi+tims0 and the oppressors2 $y the 19!0s0 -ith this ne-
trend in -ritings0 a sense o/ dalit +ons+iousness -as strengthened2 This dalit +ons+iousness inspired
many dalits to +ome /orth -ith their -ritings in 'arathi0 (indi0 Tamil0 Gu)rati and Pan)a#i2
"onse6uently0 there happened a #lossoming o/ #alit literature in a large num#er o/ regional languages
in 7ndia2 As it has #een noti+ed0 >Dalit literature is pan<7ndian in its s+ope0 impa+t and motivation O
+utting a+ross provin+ial and linguisti+ #oundaries@ 9,andha-a iii:2 7n 197%0 the #alit Qouth o/
'aharashtra laun+hed their o-n organiHation0 the #alit Panthers2 Shanarrao Kharat narrates the heart<
/elt sorro- o/ #alit li/e in stories lie [,ama 'aharZ0 [Sang-aZ0 [DaundiZ and [$hatZ2 (o-ever0
savarna -riters have #een +riti+iHed #y dalit +riti+s /or their /ailure to portray #alits a++urately2 "riti+s
lie Sharanumar 8im#ale and Kan+ha 7laiah have sought to /ormulate a di//erent aestheti+s /or
evaluation o/ dalit te5ts2
(#alit literature is that literature0 -hi+h is -ritten #y one -ho is #alit #y #irth0 -hi+h is /illed -ith
re#ellion and re)e+tion0 and -hi+h gives e5pression to #alit +ons+iousness@ 98im#ale 104:2 7t is also
something >-hi+h artisti+ally portrays the sorro-s0 tri#ulations0 slavery0 degradation endured #y dalits@
930:2 E/ +ourse0 non<dalits have also -ritten a#out dalits2 #alit -riters have #een #asi+ally +on+erned
-ith narrating their dalit e5perien+es0 arti+ulating their responses and rea+tions to the so+io<e+onomi+
status o/ the dalits0 and em#odying dalit agony0 assertion0 resistan+e0 anger0 protest and mo#iliHation2
Sharanumar 8im#ale presents a ne- set o/ +riteria /or appraisal o/ #alit -riting=
93=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
The three values o/ li/e O e6uality0 /reedom and solidarity O +an #e regarded as
+onstituting the essen+e o/ #eauty in dalit literature2 The aestheti+s o/ dalit literature
rests on= /irst0 the artistsZ so+ial +ommitmentA se+ond0 the li/e<a//irming values present in
the artisti+ +reationA and third0 the a#ility to raise the readerZs +ons+iousness o/
/undamental values lie e6uality0 /reedom0 )usti+e and /raternity2 91%0:
The ma)or issues -hi+h have so /ar +on/ronted the -riters0 poets and +riti+s o/ dalit literature may #e
summed up as the /ollo-ing= 91: -hether the dalit -riters really have their o-n language other than the
language they +all brahminicalA 9%: -hether the dalit -riters have their o-n literary tradition other than
the brahminical literary traditionA 93: -hether only a dalit +an +reate dalit literature as it is only sGhe
-ho +an give a true e5pression to dalit e5perien+eA 94: -hether the dalit literature should #e )udged #y
a ne- aestheti+s other than the dominant aestheti+s o/ brahminical literary traditionA 94: -hether a
-riting must e5press dalit +ons+iousness in order to #e in+luded in the +anon o/ dalit literatureA 9!:
-hether savarna +riti+s +an o//er proper evaluation o/ dalit literatureA 97: -hether the nature o/ the
dalit literary movement is lie that o/ $la+ literary movement0 et+2
"ons+iousness a#out dalit -riting did not develop early in $engal2 "aste<related issues are less
arti+ulate than other so+io<politi+al issues in $engal so+ial li/e2 (o-ever0 the voluminous and rhymed
te5t 9191!: -ritten #y a dalit poet named Tara "handra Sarar on the li/e o/ Thaur (ari+hand may #e
regarded as one o/ the earliest $engali dalit literary te5ts2 Thaur (ari+hand and Thaur Guru+hand o/
the 'otua +ommunity voi+ed protest against the +aste<#ased dis+rimination su//ered #y dalits to-ards
the #eginning o/ the t-entieth +entury2 7n 19%10 the dalit poet ,ai+haran $is-as0 through the
pu#li+ation o/ his +olle+tion o/ poetry +alled 1atiya 1agaran0 sought to generate among the dalits
a-areness a#out the oppression and hegemony o/ the Brahminical tradition o/ so+ial order2 >The
religious0 so+ial and politi+al stan+e o/ some o/ these pre<7ndependen+e dalit -riters +ontri#uted
94=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
+onsidera#ly to-ards the emergen+e o/ a distin+tive dalit identity among the post<7ndependen+e dalit
-riters o/ $engal@ 9Singha0 and A+harya0 >7ntrodu+tion@ 55vii<555viii:2
E/ +ourse0 in $engal0 there is a long tradition o/ raising voi+e in /avour o/ the dalits2 7sh-ar "handra
1idyasagar su++eeded in his attempt to ensure the lo-er<+astes youthsZ a++ess in Sansrit "ollege2
*arlier this privilege -as availa#le only to the $rahmins and $aidyas2 ;riters #elonging to the upper<
+aste (indus lie 'ani $andopadhyay0 Sarat "handra "hattopadhyay0 Tarasanar and $i#huti#hushan
/o+used on the sorro-s and )oys o/ the proletariat in their -ritings2 Tagore trans/ormed a 9Dalit:
$uddhist legend into a lyri+al play +alled Chandalia2 (o-ever0 as it has #een o#served0 >any and
every narrative a#out the marginalised +annot #e +alled dalit literature2 7n /a+t0 dalit +ons+iousness is
the soul o/ dalit literature2 7ts identity lies in its very dalitness0 in its +ommitment to the dalit +ause0 in
its pledge to trans/orm the stru+ture o/ so+iety@ 9Singha0 and A+harya0 >7ntrodu+tion@ 55v:2
7n re+ent times0 -riters lie 'ahas-eta Devi0 A#hi)it Sen0 De#esh ,ay0 Anil Gharai0 'anoran)an
$yapari and several others have #een -riting to the +ause o/ the su#altern2 'ahas-eta De#i has
+omposed plays lie Mother of I9ON0 2rvashi ?& 1ohnny0 Bayen and 3ater2 She has -ritten a#out the
!odhas0 Shabars and Santhals o/ ;est $engal2 The tri#als o/ Sing#hum distri+t have #een /eatured in
Anil GharaiZs -ritings2 .atin $ala and $ra)en 'alti+ have e5+elled in short stories2 Although #alit
literatures in other languages as -ell as $la+ literature or literatures o/ the a#original groups o/
various nations have re+eived re+ogniHa#le volume o/ national and international +riti+al attention0
$engali #alit literature has #een vi+tim o/ relative indi//eren+e o/ the +riti+s2 Spiva has translated and
sought to #ring to the /ore literary and so+ial -orth o/ 'ahas-eta DeviZs -ritings2 $ut most o/ the
other -riters o/ $engali #alit literature have /ailed to dra- ade6uate attention o/ the savarna +riti+s2
(o-ever0 +ertain university departments have in+luded $engali #alit -ritings in translation in their
9C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
A sin+ere endeavour to promote dalit +ause and #alit literature in $engal in an organised -ay #e+ame
per+epti#le only to-ards the end o/ the 19&0s2 ;ith Pro/essor A+hintya $is-as as its President and a
multitude o/ promising -riters as its mem#ers0 the Bengali #alit Sahitya Sanstha -as /ounded in 199%2
7n their pu#lished mani/esto0 as some o/ their o#)e+tives0 the mem#ers o/ the organiHation de+lared to
-or /or the prosperity o/ #alit literature and +ulture0 to mae dalits /eel sel/<+on/ident0 to /ight against
all sorts o/ inhuman so+ial dis+rimination0 and to organise Sangeetis to mae dalits a-are o/ their rights
and duties2 Sin+e then0 #alit literary movement in $engal has #een striving hard to eep pa+e -ith its
regional +ounterparts a+ross 7ndia2 To a+hieve their goals0 the Bengali #alit Sahitya Sanstha started
pu#lishing a 6uarterly entitled Chaturtha #uniya 9The Fourth ;orld: /rom 19910 -ith A+hintya $is-as
as its editor2 7t aimed at voi+ing the agonies and protests0 thoughts and ideas0 /ears and aspirations o/
the so+ially and e+onomi+ally marginalised se+tions o/ +aste<ridden (indu so+iety2 ,eaders o/ $engali
#alit literature have -itnessed the emergen+e o/ a host o/ po-er/ul dalit poets0 novelists and story
-riters during last /e- de+ades2 'anohar 'ouli $is-as0 Kapil Krishna Thaur0 A+hintya $is-as0
Go#inda Shoundyo0 'ahanlal Pradhan0 Goutam Ali0 Anil Gharai0 Susanta .ana and 3alini $era have
#een produ+ing literature as valua#le as the #est o/ dalit -ritings produ+ed in other parts o/ 7ndia2
Bengali #alit Sahitya Sanstha has promoted the pu#li+ation o/ anthologies o/ $engali dalit stories lie
Chathurtha #uniyar )al'o 9199!:0 )ram )an+er )al'a 9%000: et+2 There has also #een the pu#li+ation
o/ other anthologies o/ dalit stories lie %rishna Mrittiar Manush 919&&:0 %a o /nyanyo )al'o
9%010: et+2 Anil GharaiZs /irst novel 0unbari has #een translated into *nglish2 Susanta .ana has
authored t-o novels0 #roha and Parveen Iliasher 1eevan Britanto2 Tarer %anna: Titisha0 Bibita
2thane )har et+2 are some o/ the /e- volumes o/ poetry +omposed #y 'anohar 'ouli $is-as0 an
a++omplished #alit -riter and a+tivist o/ $engal2 3early all these -ritings represent the li/e o/ the
do-ntrodden and many o/ them em#ody dalit +ons+iousness through realisti+ depi+tion o/ the
96=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
su//ering0 revolt and negation o/ the dalit2 They o//er -ide spe+trum o/ e5perien+es shared #y the dalit
people in their daily lives in +ontemporary so+ial system2
Sin+e nearly the -hole o/ #alit literature has #een in regional languages0 the e5igen+y o/ translation
o/ su+h #alit te5ts into *nglish is undenia#le to ensure greater +ultural visi#ility2 Translation is also
ne+essary /or a /ruit/ul dialogue #et-een the mainstream and #alit literatures2 In/ortunately0 in the
realm o/ translation into *nglish0 $engali #alit literary te5ts and their -riters have su//ered
+onsidera#le volume o/ negligen+e2 Gayatri "hara#orty Spiva has sought to address this short+oming
to some e5tent #y translating into *nglish the ma)or -ors o/ 'ahas-eta Devi on tri#al literature0
+ulture and upheaval2 ,e+ently0 in another praise<-orthy attempt0 Pro/essor Sanar Prasad Singha and
Dr2 7ndranil A+harya have )ointly edited a +ompilation o/ some eighteen dalit stories translated into
*nglish #y numerous e//i+ient translators2 This anthology entitled >Survival and ?ther Stories@ has
#een pu#lished #y Erient $la+S-an2 'y paper originates /rom a yearning to /ill the hiatus in the
domain o/ +riti+al studies on $engali #alit narratives0 -hi+h is mared #y a dearth o/ +onsidera#le
amount o/ +riti+al attention2 T-o stories #y $engali Dalit ;riters .atin $ala and Itthanpada $i)ali0
-hi+h in their translated /orms have /ound a++ommodation in Survival and ?ther Stories 9%01%:0 are
appropriated /or analysis in this paper2
An '2 A2 /rom ,a#indra $harati Iniversity0 Itthanpada $i)ali -as #orn in a Poundra /armer /amily
in a village o/ South %4 Parganas in 19402 An a+tive parti+ipant in the #alit literary and +ultural
movement in $engal0 $i)ali has e5+elled in -riting essays0 poems and stories2 (is $engali story
[FishermanZ /irst appeared in Chathurtha #uniar )al'a in 199!2 $i)aliZs story portrays a tragi+ pi+ture
o/ the misera#le plight o/ the lives o/ the /ishermen o/ a tra-ler +alled Maa /bhaya0 -ho due to their
o-n disharmony have #een e+onomi+ally vi+timised in the hands o/ the ri+h tra-ler<o-ners2 Inlie a
-riter o/ mainstream literature0 instead o/ /o+ussing on any parti+ular individual0 $i)ali introdu+es a
97=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
+ommunity -ho are /ishermen #y pro/ession2 Although they /orm >one group O one /amily@ on -ater0
on land they are segregated #y #oth +aste and religion0 providing the tra-ler<o-ner opportunity /or
their e+onomi+ e5ploitation= >En land they have di//erent +astes O 1ele0 Poundrashatriya0 Teli0
0amasudra0 %aibarta0 and so on0 or they +ould #e 'uslim@ 9$i)ali 171:2
Fishermen lie Parimal $is-as0 ,ahim Sheih0 Prana# 8al0 ,atianta and Durgapada #elong to the
e+onomi+ally deprived0 underprivileged0 lo-est strata o/ $engal so+iety2 Through the in+lusion o/
,ahim Sheih0 a 'uslim among these /ishermen $i)ali has e5tended the semanti+ s+ope o/ the term
[dalitZ2 Apart /rom a ma)ority o/ them #eing mem#ers o/ the lo-est varna o/ +aste<ridden (indu
so+iety0 these people are truly [dalitZ in the sense o/ #eing so+io<e+onomi+ally oppressed and +ulturally
deprived in the hands o/ the a//luent se+tion o/ the so+iety2 7n the latter sense0 even a 'uslim lie
,ahim Sheih +an #e a dalit2 Thus $i)ali e5tends the +on/ines o/ the dalitised so+iety and erases the
#oundary o/ religion in his portrayal o/ dalit e5perien+es2 As vi+tims o/ e+onomi+ ine6uality0
irrespe+tive o/ religious +reed0 all the /ishermen are dalits2 7gnoring all the personal haHards at home
and di//i+ulties on tur#ulent -ater o/ the deep sea lie storms and pro#a#le imprisonment in the hands
o/ marine poli+e o/ /oreign +ountries0 these poor /ishermen set out /or /ishing in the sea and go on
per/orming physi+ally demanding daily +hores on the tra-ler during the days o/ /ishing2 People lie
,atianta #e+ome +ompelled to #oard the tra-ler0 leaving his ailing son at home0 even -hen he is 6uite
du#ious a#out his sonZs re+overy2 $ut the duties on the tra-ler during /ishing O >dra-ing the net0
#reaing the i+e<+u#es0 preserving the /ish@ O are so la#orious and e5a+ting that even an an5ious /ather
lie ,atianta +annot a//ord to thin a#out his sonZs illness2 During the period o/ /ishing0 >[thiningZ
#e+omes a lu5ury they +annot a//ord@ 9$i)ali 171:2 During their return )ourney0 some o/ the /ishermen
are led to a re/le+tion on the sad +ontrast #et-een their hard toil and the meagre earning2
$i)aliZs so+ial +ommitment as a dalit -riter0 ho-ever0 does not terminate -ith the portrayal o/ the
9B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
miseries o/ the so+ially marginaliHed and e+onomi+ally do-ntrodden2 (is story mirrors [dalit
+ons+iousnessZ as the /ishermen lie Durgapada and ,atianta arti+ulate a ne-ly aroused a-areness o/
their e+onomi+ e5ploitation in the hands o/ the tra-ler<o-ner= >;hat do -e get? ;e0 -ho toil so
hard? 2 2 2 The net pro/it is then divided #et-een the o-ner and the /ishermen in the proportion o/ ten
and si5 -ith the o-ner taing the greater part2 2 2 2 (o- mu+h is le/t /or us? ;e donZt get even t-o
thousand rupees a month2 And you see it is all our la#our0 all our toil O -e -ho have our lives O and
deaths too O on -ater 2 2 2@ 9$i)ali 17%:2 7n addition0 these /ishermen identi/y their +aste<#ased and
+reed<#ased segregation as the sole agent /or their dis+ordan+e -hi+h maes them su#)e+t to the eternal
e+onomi+ deprivation #y the o-ners= >;e +an never #e united #e+ause o/ our o#session -ith +aste and
+reed2 7 am a Poundrashatriya0 7 +all Prana# a Teli0 Prana# +alls Parimal a .ele0 Parimal +alls
Durgapada a 3amasudra0 and Durgapada in turn +alls ,ahim un+le a 'uslim@ 9$i)ali 173:2 $i)aliZs
story ends -ith an a//irmative note2 *mpo-ered #y the ne-ly aroused +ons+iousness o/ #eing
e5ploited0 Durgapada +alls /or a re)e+tion o/ this inhuman so+ial order #ased on +aste<hierar+hy and a
revolt against the e+onomi+ in)usti+e= >;e have only one +aste O one religion O that o/ /isherman2 ;e
have to #e united and stand up to the employers A our share hen+e/orth -ill not #e the smaller si5 annas
in a rupee0 #ut the greater ten annas0 that is0 /ive<eighthsA -e shall distri#ute the greater share amongst
ourselvesA the lesser part -ould go to the o-ner@ 9$i)ali 173:2 *rasing the #arriers put among them #y
+lass0 +aste and +reed0 all these e5ploited people per+eive the ne+essity o/ #eing united and /orming a
single /amily o/ [/ishermanZ #oth on land and -ater to -age a su++ess/ul #attle against the -ealthy
o-ners /or the esta#lishment o/ their rights2 $i)aliZs story assumes a universal appeal as it upholds the
idea that the oppressed people a+ross the glo#e +an have only one +lass O one /amily2 As the -riter
envisions0 this sense o/ solidarity and /raternity among the do-ntrodden is essential /or their li#eration
/rom oppression2
99=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
$orn in 1949 into a 0amashudra /amily in the village o/ Dang<Padiali in .essore distri+t o/
$angladaesh0 .atin $ala has a+tively parti+ipated in the $angla dalit literature movement2 An '2 A2 in
$engali /rom the Iniversity o/ "al+utta0 .atin $ala has spent his servi+e li/e as an o//i+er in various
government departments and earned his /ame as an a++omplished poet0 essayist0 story -riter and
novelist in the domain o/ $engali dalit -riting2 .atin $alaZs story [Payer Talar 'atiZ -as pu#lished in
the anthology entitled )ram )an+er )al'a in %0002 Su#se6uently0 this $engali story got translated #y
Asho Sengupta as [En Firm GroundZ into *nglish2 $alaZs story +aptures the tragi+ tale o/ su//ering and
humiliation o/ a Shudra +alled (aladhar (alder0 +aused #y the +onspira+y o/ the upper<+aste $rahmins
o/ his village -hen they /ind their authority and traditions threatened #y a person #elonging to the >
lo-est o/ the [lo-ly +astesZ@2 $ut the greatness o/ $alaZs story does not lie in its meti+ulous depi+tion
o/ the sorro- and e5ploitation o/ the dalits #ut in its /inal impression2 And the /inal impression the
story leaves is not that o/ a tale o/ passive su//ering and enduran+e #ut o/ a tale o/ a de/iant spirit o/ a
dalit in the /a+e o/ enormous tyranny and eternal history o/ oppression #y the upper +astes2
;ith his o#vious /o+us on the empo-erment o/ the dalits and #y +on+entrating his attention on the
su//ering and resistan+e o/ a lo-er<+aste person +alled (aladhar (aldar0 .atin $ala sees to retrieve the
voi+e0 spa+e and identity o/ the marginalised in (indu so+iety -hi+h the Brahminical so+ial order
strives to suppress or silen+e2 (aladhar or (ala 9the a##reviation +arries a note o/ disregard and negle+t
preserved /or him #y the upper<+aste (indus: +auses resentment to the village $rahmins0 -hen one
E+to#er morning he derisively mimi+s the pro+ess o/ o//ering ritual li#ation to their de+eased
/ore/athers #y the village $rahmins lie Goul "hara#orty in the near#y $hairavi ,iver2 Furious at the
o#servan+e o/ the rituals o/ the dead 9-hi+h is hitherto +onsidered to #e a sole prerogative o/ the upper<
+aste (indus: #y a Shudra lie (ala0 "hara#orty gets involved in an alter+ation -ith him2 ;ith his
-itty retorts0 (aladhar em#arrasses "hara#orty and ruthlessly e5poses the emptiness o/ the ritual
1&&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
traditions o/ the $rahmins2 *5tremely humiliated0 enraged at the auda+ity o/ a Shudra0 and alarmed at
the event o/ a ShudraZs de/ian+e o/ the $rahmini+al order and attempt to +lim# up the so+ial ladder0 all
the a//luent upper<+aste $rahmins o/ the village get united and -arn (aladhar= >Intou+ha#le Shudra0
#ase<#orn pie+e o/ mu+0 dare you tal #a+ to us $rahminsM Do you no- the +onse6uen+e o/ su+h
de/ian+e@ 9$ala 73:? To restrain a resolute and de/iant (aladhar0 the upper<+aste (indus lie (aren
'uher)ee 9o-ner o/ an oil mill:0 (aru ,oy 9the ri+e mill proprietor:0 Samir ,oy 9the ration shop
dealer: and (arish Dash Sharma 9the pan+hayet president:0 -ho also /orm the a//luent se+tion o/ the
so+iety0 as the +ustodians o/ the so+iety0 step in against (aladhar in order to prote+t the long<+herished
traditions and +ustoms o/ a +aste<ridden so+iety= >8isten0 (ala2 7/ you -ant to stay on in this village you
have to respe+t its traditions and +ustomsA or else0 you are /ree to leave2 2 2 2 7t -ill tae us only a
moment to remove the ground #eneath your /eet@ 9$ala 73:2 *ven their admonitions /ail to +ur# the
indomita#le spirit o/ (aladhar -ho un-averingly voi+es his demand /or so+ial e6uality and )usti+e=
>$ut do you have the right to a+t as you -ish0 masters? 3ature allo-s us e6ual opportunityA you +annot
deny me -hat nature has given me0 +an you? 9$ala 74: @
A sin+ere0 honest and sil/ul mason as (aladhar has #een0 he gets appointed #y $ha#ani+haran ,oy0
the headman o/ the neigh#ouring Anandapur village /or the renovation o/ a dilapidated house #uilt #y
$ha#aniZs /ather2 (aladhar toils hard /rom da-n to dus to lend the old #uilding an artisti+ loo2 $ut
-hen the )e-ellery de+orating the temple deity o/ $ha#aniZs house goes missing0 the $rahmins
assem#le and gra# the opportunity /or retaliation against (aladhar2 They strive hard to +onvin+e
$ha#ani that (aladhar0 a #ase #orn is the main +ulprit2 ;hen summoned #y $ha#ani0 guiltless and
inno+ent (aladhar #oldly denies his involvement in the misdeed2 $ut $ha#ani+hran -ho is >#linded #y
the mali+ious mis+hie/ o/ the +onspiratorial $rahmins@ pronoun+es punishment= >Tie this rogue to a
tree2 Give him a hundred lashes2 7/ he doesnZt return the )e-ellery even a/ter this0 shave his head0 tar
1&1=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
and /eather him0 mar+h him through the streets and #anish him /rom the village@ 9$ala 74:2
$alaZs narrative no- turns into a tale o/ torment and e5ploitation o/ the dalit #y the a//luent upper<
+aste (indus2 $ala o//ers a moving des+ription o/ the insult and a//li+tions o/ the poor mason in the
hands o/ the devilish $rahmins -ho are portrayed as the perpetrators o/ inhuman atro+ities against the
lo-er +astes -hen they /ind their suprema+y threatened #y the latter= >They dragged (aladhar to a
neigh#ouring mango grove and #ound him to one o/ the trees there2 A sturdy and seasoned +ane -as
#rought and then the servants and these gentlemen too turns -ith it eeping +lose +ount o/ the
hundred lashes +utting into (aladharZs #are #ody@ 9$ala 74:2 $alaZs narrative also em#odies dalit
+ons+iousness O a +ons+iousness against slavery2 The s+orn/ul and mo+ing -ords o/ the enraptured
and vindi+tive $rahmins help agonised (aladhar realiHe ho- he has #een the vi+tim o/ their plan o/
revenge2 As understanding da-ns on his mind0 (aladhar +an relate him -ith the eternal tradition o/
humiliation o/ the lo-er +astes #y the upper<+aste (indus2 7n the -ords o/ the narrator0 >This -as
merely a re<ena+tment o/ an eternity o/ oppression2 (e -as the latest vi+tim o/ a history o/ greed and
tyranny@ 9$ala 74:2
The intensity o/ the +ruelty o/ the village $rahmins proves too severe to spare (aladharZs -i/e and
his small +ottage in the village= >The -ea -alls o/ the small house -ere i+ed in0 the roo/<tiles
smashed and a #on/ire made o/ their meagre possessions2 Sarala and her +hildren -ere driven out lie
stray dogs and +ats2 "lut+hing the /ive<day<old +hild +lose to her and gripping her little sonZs hand0
Sarala stum#led through the dar lanes /inally rea+hing the dusty /ield on the edge o/ the village@ 9$ala
7!:2 $alaZs narrative portrays the tyranni+al $rahmins as lust/ul vultures in pursuit o/ (aladharZs -i/e2
(is delineation e5poses the hypo+risy o/ the upper<+aste (indus -ho despite their loathing o/ the lo-er
+astes have no reservation in trying to en)oy the #ody o/ the -omen #elonging to the lo-er +astes= >The
depraved $rahmins0 still in pursuit0 -ere loath to spare her2 Tearing at her +lothes0 they made their
1&2=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
lust/ul intentions +lear@ 9$ala 7!:2
$alaZs story0 ho-ever0 does not end -ith the portrayal o/ the anguish o/ the dalits2 7t asserts dalit
sensi#ility and pro+eeds to in+orporate the #old revolt and re)e+tion #y the dalits o/ a religion and
so+ial order that deny them sel/<respe+t2 ;hen to-ards da-n (aladhar0 -ith his a+hing and #leeding
#ody0 returns home0 he dis+overs to his utter dismay his house to #e destroyed and his -i/e and +hildren
to #e missing2 ;hen he loos at the sy0 he /inds the moonless sy to #e /looded -ith the light o/ the
millions o/ stars2 $eing #lessed #y the nature0 >For the /irst time in his li/e he /elt /irm earth #eneath his
/eet@ 9$ala 7!:2 (aladharZs revolutionary dalit sensi#ility ena#les him to reverse the rhetori+ o/ hatredA
-ith e6ual +ontempt he loos at the shado-y houses o/ the upper<+aste (indus= >;hat ignominy0 to
live among men -ho +an stoop so lo- as to hate me only #e+ause 7Zm lo-<#ornM 9$ala 7!:@ The
demand made #y the dalits in $alaZs story is the /undamental demand o/ humans /or #eing treated as
humans2 7t is the demand /or li#erty0 e6uality and honour2 And more importantly0 the /eeling o/ rage in
(aladhar is soon su#stituted #y his /irm resolution to o//er a vehement resistan+e to the une6ual so+ial
order2 This re#ellious spirit is an essential ingredient in Dalit literature /or true dalit -riting should see
to promote the re)e+tion o/ an oppressive so+ial system and +reation o/ a ne- -orld -hi+h is /ree /rom
the malady o/ +aste<hierar+hy2 ;ith the limited strength they have at their disposal0 the dalits in $alaZs
story su++eed in thro-ing a +hallenge to the upper<+aste (indus2 This is e6ually true in +ase o/ #oth
(aladhar and his -i/e Sarala2 During her molestation #y the $rahmins0 Sarala >/ought #a+ the #easts
-ith her nails and teeth till she -as a#le to /ind shelter #ehind a #ush o/ thorns@ 9$ala 7!:2 Similarly0
(aladhar also /eels a radi+al trans/ormation -ithin himsel/= >Slo-ly0 ho-ever0 (aladhar /ound his rage
and despair #eing repla+ed #y a /irm resolve to resist0 as i/ his #attered and #loodied #ody -as #eing
re#orn /rom this li/etime o/ in)usti+e and su//ering to /ind a ne- sel/hood o/ protest2 (aladhar /elt that
he -as the /irst man o/ a ne- -orld@ 9$ala 77:2 ;ith this dream o/ the +reation o/ an oppression</ree
1&3=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
ne- -orld through revolt #y the dalits0 $alaZs story o++upies a remara#le pla+e in the domain o/
$engali dalit -riting2 ,epresenting authenti+ shame0 sorro-0 -rath0 and indomita#le hope o/ the dalits0
$alaZs narrative provides inspiration /or struggle to the marginaliHed2
A++ording to Pradeep K2 Sharma0 >Dalit literature is a po-er/ul medium o/ e5pression that eeps
Dalit movement sustaining and provides an untiring Heal@ 97&:2 Dalit movement aims at the
esta#lishment o/ an egalitarian so+iety through empo-erment o/ the dalits and eradi+ation o/ +aste<
#ased dis+rimination2 Dalit literature em#odies dalit e5perien+e and provides inspiration /or struggle to
the marginaliHed2 7t represents a revolt o/ the marginaliHed people and su#altern +ulture against
dominant ideology and +ultural hegemony o/ the elites2 The analysis o/ the delineation o/ the so+io<
politi+al s+enario in the sele+ted narratives o/ .atin $ala and Itthanpada $i)ali helps us identi/y the
origin o/ the distress o/ the do-ntrodden in $engal so+iety2 Su+h +reative attempts #y #alit -riters
see to urge the politi+ians0 intelle+tuals and so+ial thiners to /rame and adopt poli+ies /or the
#etterment o/ the marginalised se+tion o/ $engal so+iety2 #alit -ritings lie those o/ $ala and $i)ali
-ith their su#stantial artisti+ merit and tremendous so+ial signi/i+an+e eventually result in the
su#version o/ the hegemony o/ mainstream literature -ritten #y the savarnas2 *m#odying in literature
not only the humiliations and su//erings e5perien+ed #y the dalits in their daily lives #ut also their
re)e+tion o/ and revolt against the prevalent oppressive so+io<e+onomi+ order0 $ala and $i)ali see to
#ring a#out a so+ial +hange #y arousing +ons+iousness a#out the dispossession and deprivation o/ a
+ertain se+tion o/ humanity2 Indou#tedly0 su+h narratives and their translations into a language lie
*nglish -ould help in transposing the marginalised dalit -riters0 -ho are -oring /or li#eration o/
dalits and elimination o/ so+ial ine6uality and in)usti+e0 /rom the periphery to the +entre and ensure a
pla+e o/ re+ognition /or $engali dalit -riting in the +anon o/ 7ndian dalit literature2
1&4=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
>or)s $ited
A#edi0 _air2 Contem'orary #alit !iterature: Kuest for #alit !iberation; 3e- Delhi= Arise
Pu#lishers and Distri#utors0 %0102 Print2
Ash+ro/t0 $ill0 Gareth Gri//iths and (elen Ti//in2 The -m'ire 3rites Bac: Theory and Practice in
Post$colonial !iterature2 8ondon= ,outledge0 19&92 Print2
$ala0 .atin2 >En Firm Ground2@ Trans2 Asho Sengupta2 Survival and ?ther Stories: Bangla #alit
.iction in Translation2 *d2 Sanar Prasad Singha and 7ndranil A+harya2 3e- Delhi= Erient
$la+s-an0 %01%2 7%<772 Print2
$i)ali0 Itthanpada2 >Fisherman2@ Trans2 Snehasis 'aity2 Survival and ?ther Stories: Bangla #alit
.iction in Translation2 *d2 Sanar Prasad Singha and 7ndranil A+harya2 3e- Delhi= Erient
$la+s-an0 %01%2 170<732 Print2
8im#ale0 Sharanumar2 To,ards an /esthetic of #alit !iterature: History, Controversies and
Considerations; Trans2 Alo 'uher)ee2 Delhi= Erient 8ongman0 %0042 Print2
,andha-a0 (ar#ir Singh0 ed2 #alit !iterature: Contents, Trends and Concerns; 3e- Delhi= Sarup
$oo Pu#lishers Private 8imited0 %0102 Print2
Sharma0 Pradeep K22 #alit Politics and !iterature2 Delhi= Shipra Pu#li+ations0 %00!0 %0112 Print2
Singha0 Sanar Prasad0 and 7ndranil A+harya2 >7ntrodu+tion2@ Survival and ?ther Stories: Bangla
#alit .iction in Translation2 *d2 Sanar Prasad Singha and 7ndranil A+harya2 3e- Delhi= Erient
$la+s-an0 %01%2 55i<5l2 Print2
Singha0 Sanar Prasad2 >3arrativising the 'arginaliHed= From Su#altern Studies to Dalit
;riting2@ Middle .light %21 9%013:= %9<332 Print2
1&C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
/sit Panda is /ssistant Professor of -nglish, Belda College E5; 2;A, Belda, Paschim Medini'ur, 3est
Bengal, India; The ,riter has to his credit a number of scholarly articles on /frican, Indian and British
literatures 'ublished in a number of refereed +ournals lie /''ro'riations, !itsca'e, Middle .light etc;
-ndo,ed ,ith a good flair for creative ,riting, the author has also submitted his doctoral thesis on
3ole Soyina at 5idyasagar 2niversity E5;2;A, India;
Nitai in Bois'no1 o!e"ent and Literature
Sa%antan +'a)ur
7n order to +leanse a +asteist $engali so+iety o/ /i/teenth +entury A2D2 -ith his pro/ound love0
+ompassion and tears0 Sripad 3ityananda0 +ollo6uially no-n to the $engalis as 3itai and sometimes
/ondly +alled 3itai+hand0 mani/ested himsel/ as a re/ormer o/ a rigidly hierar+hi+al $rahminism0 and as
a pioneer o/ the movement +alled Gau`iya 1aiBJavism 9Gouriyo $oishno#ism:2 (is prin+ipal vie-0
in/luen+ed #y the devotional message o/ Sri "haitanya 'ahapra#hu 9+ollo6uially no-n as Gour0 as
together they made the legendary duo Gour<3itai: -as to uni/y the people /rom di//erent +astes0 +reeds
and religions under a single um#rella in $engal0 and in this -ay his e//orts +an #e said to have resulted
in a proto<$engali nationalist +onsolidation2 7t is -ith this holy vision o/ +onsolidating the $engali
people0 he tried to upli/t our so+iety to that height -here there -ould #e no +aste dis+rimination0 no
violen+e0 no pre)udi+e0 and no intoleran+e and -here people -ould #e )udged not on the #asis o/ their
e5ternal mars o/ religion #ut on the #asis o/ a shared humanity2
Nit%ananda and 8is 5ge
During the era o/ Sri "haitanya 'ahapra#hu $engali +ulture and so+iety -ere pro/usely #leeding due
to the several violent attempts made #y the +ontemporary 'uslim rulers to spread their religion
throughout $engal2 At this hour o/ +risis0 $engali so+iety -as dominated #y a rigid +aste system0 and
"haitanya realised the urgen+y o/ re/orming the so+iety2 A historian -rites O>(ussain Shah0 the
emperor o/ Gour0 -as /irstly a Healot o/ i+ono+lasm2 During the a#sen+e o/ ,a)a Pratap ,udra /rom
Erissa in +ourse o/ his -ar/are in the De++an0 (ussain Shah raided the +ountry and destroyed hundreds
o/ its pi+tures6ue temples and dis/igured a large num#er o/ images o/ gods and goddesses@2 N1O The
+ondition in $engal dangerous2 "haitanya and his /ollo-ers had to see help /rom ,a)a Pratap ,udra in
order to +ross the $engal<Erissa #order -hile going to Erissa2 7n Atul Gos-amiZs edition o/ Chaitanya
Bhagbat -e /ind that -hile +rossing the #order0 ,am "handra Khan0 the o//i+er ,a)a Pratap,udra0
too all possi#le +are o/ "haitanya and his /ollo-ers so that they +ould es+ape the molestation /rom the
#ands o/ 'ohammedan Healots2N2O (o-ever0 many a++ounts survive -hi+h esta#lish that a num#er o/
'uslims -ere also greatly impressed #y "haitanyaZs religious movement and #e+ame his staun+h
/ollo-ers2 3evertheless0 the oppression o/ 'uslim royal po-ers -ent una#ated2 .ayanandaZs Chaitanya
Mongol in/orms us that (ussain Shah ordered a general devastation o/ 3adia and its lo+ality2 A++ording
1&7=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
to .ayananda0 there -as a village +alled Pirulla0 near 3adia0 -hi+h -as totally +aptured #y 'uslim
army2 They +arried on oppressions and /or+ed $rahmins to +onvert to 7slam2 7t is o#served= >;henever
there stood a $anyan tree0 held sa+red #y the (indus0 it -as +ut to pie+es or uprootedRRThe temples
-ere -ere #roen and gods dese+rated222 These 'ohammedans ruined the no#le $rahmin /amilies o/
This -as the +ondition o/ $engal in the middle ages2 7t /or+ed Sri "haitanya to introdu+e a ne-
religion o/ $oishno#ism #ased on e6uality and /raternity and in order to /ound that movement he
needed an ultimate human #eing lie 3ityananda2 $oth 'ahapra#hu and 3ityananda +omprehended
that i/ they +ould not uni/y all the oppressed (indus in a single +ultural #ody and +ould not o//er an
in+lusive0 universal dharma to invite people /rom other religions0 then $engal -as doomed at the
hands o/ 'uslim oppression2 $ut realising the di//i+ulty in maing mainstream $rahminism 9Sanatana
Dharma: an in+lusive religion0 they pre/erred $oishno#ism that derives its strength /rom its
in+lusiveness and simpli+ity2 The seeds o/ Gouriyo $oishno#ism -ere planted #y "haitanya
'ahapra#hu0 #ut the real nourishment -as done #y 3ityananda -ho ended the politi+al and religious
su//ering o/ $engali people2 (e #rought sta#ility and organisation in the movement2
+'e 6ro(agation of Bois'no1 o!e"ent
1aiBJavism -as not a ne- phenomenon2 The +on+ept o/ 1aiBJavism -as pro#a#ly introdu+ed in $engal
#y the later Sen Kings2 N4O During the Sen rule in $engal0 an attempt -as made to spread and popularise
the tradition o/ Krishno -orship2 The ruler 8ohon Sen en+ouraged his poet laureates to -rite verses
on Krishno and ,adha2 The result o/ su+h en+ouragement is .oyde#Zs )itagovinda2 $ut a/ter the /all o/
the Sen dynasty and -ith the arrival o/ 'uslim rulers the pra+ti+e o/ /ollo-ing $oishno#ism in $engal
-as under terri#le atta+2 8ater Sri "haitanya along -ith 3ityananda too the initiative o/ re<
esta#lishing the tradition #ut had reinvigorated it a++ording to the so+ial and politi+al ne+essities o/ the
age2 They too it as an instrument to do the -el/are o/ the so+iety in my opinion2
3o- a 6uestion may arise here < in -hat respe+t does the $oishno#ism o/ 3itai<Gour di//er /rom the
/ormer one? The ans-er is very simple2 ;hile the /ormer pra+ti+e o/ $oishno#ism +on+entrated on
spreading the tradition o/ -orshipping ,adha<Krishno -ithout #eing propelled #y an impending so+ial
+risis0 the $oishno#ism introdu+ed #y Sri "haitanya and developed #y 3ityanada -as /ormulated to
address the +ontemporary tur#ulent +ir+umstan+es2 This movement had an aversion to logi+0 pro#a#ly
1&B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
#e+ause logi+ -as o/ no help2 As Surendanath Dasgupta -rites= >The introdu+tion o/ the mysti+
/ormula o/ in+omprehensi#ility seems to dis+harge the 1aiBJavas o/ this s+hool /rom all responsi#ility
o/ logi+ally e5plaining their dogmas and +reeds thus un+ontrolled /rom the domain o/ reason to the
domain o/ Purani+ /aith o/ mythologi+al +hara+ter2@NCO ;hile des+ri#ing the prin+iple o/ $oishno#ism0
Sri "haitanya himsel/ pens do-n one shloa0 -hi+h is still +onsidered in $oishno# [Sama)Z 9so+iety: to
#e #asi+ +reed o/ this movement< Al ^ AA(LA (dld A*Al Vthe man -ho is as insigni/i+ant
as grass yet tolerant as the tree0the man #ere/t o/ honour and so+ial re+ognition yet -ho -as al-ays
eager to honour and respe+t other is the true heir o/ his philosophyW 2
Inder the light o/ this shloa i/ -e analyse the li/e o/ 3ityananda -e -ill see that during his stay in
3a#ad-ip as -ell as his )arhasta 9domesti+0 married period:0 he himsel/ pra+tised this philosophy to
sho- his /ollo-ers the -ay o/ $oishno#ism2 A++ording to him the only -ay through -hi+h a human
soul +ould #e eman+ipated and rea+h the state o/ spiritual salvation -as #y the +ontinuous +hanting o/
>3aamgaan@ and the persuasion o/ $hati2 7n 3a#ad-ip during their dan+ing and +hanting they
em#ra+ed the do-ntrodden0 the lo-est o/ the lo-0 out+asts0 #oth (indus and 'uslims2 To give their
mission a /ruit/ul end0 Sri "haitanya sent 3itai+hand to +orre+t the t-o re+less Shato tyrants o/
3a#ad-ip0 .agai and 'adhai2 'ahhapra#hu pro#a#ly ne- that to uni/y the diverse (indu so+iety0 he
-ould /irst have to #ridge the gap #et-een Shatos and $oishno#s2 For this di//i+ult tas o/
re+on+iliation he +hose 3itai+hand2 3itai+hand too the +hallenge and -ith his philosophy o/ non
violen+e and love0 -on over .agai and 'adhai2 3etai+handZs ne5t target -as "hand Ka)i0 the then
'uslim ruler o/ 3a#ad-ip2 $oth 3itai and Gour understood the importan+e o/ #ringing men /rom other
religion dire+tly into the main stream o/ $oishno#ism0 /or they realised that this -ould not only mae
$oishno#ism popular among all people #ut also -ould enri+h (indu so+iety2
These in+idents +learly sho- the /a+t that 3itai+hand and Gour #oth hold the vie- that the true
meaning o/ religion should #e to em#ra+e people not to dis+riminate among them<
ld ld Al ^d l(A
*dAl(Xd Xll lA (A
^l^ ^l ^ *dl A
A *A (A (*l 3X d+11 N6O
1&9=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
;hile staying at 3ila+hal 9Puri0 Erissa:0 Sri "haitanya de+ided to send 3itai to $engal2 Apart /rom
spreading the holy +hant o/ [(are KrishnaZ 3ityananda -as instru+ted to try and remove the overall
a+ute la+ o/ moral sense and narro- mentalities2 The a+tual motive #ehind this sin+ere e//ort -as to
+reate a -ell<organiHed (indu so+iety #y /ostering togetherness0 to +are o/ the hitherto negle+ted
+lasses o/ people and to strengthen (indu resistan+e against the threat o/ 7slam2 7n /a+t 3ityanada -as
spe+i/i+ally told to eradi+ate the su//erings o/ the lo-<#orn through the -ays o/ devotion and love2
(ailing this mission 8o+handas -rites<
3(Xd Al l Al l l((
T U*+ A *A Ul(A11 N7O
,eturning /rom 3ila+hal to $engal0 3ityananda realised that it -ould #e impossi#le to spread the
essen+e o/ the movement through out $engal -ithout a -ell<stru+tured organisation2 So he de+ided to
spread his dis+iples geographi+ally0 -ho are today no-n in 1aishna# so+iety as D,!aadas'a Ho(alF
9Dadosh Gopal0 T-elve Apostles:, throughout $engal in order to disperse the message o/ love0devotion
and humanity2 $rinda#an Das0 in a [Pada#aliZ0 depi+ts ho- 3itai+hand too the initiative along -ith
his devotees to propagate the vision o/ Sri "haitanya in $engal<
(d Al Xld ld h1
(d *d+l *d ( ( d d
3XhA ^l(L Adh11 NBO
Follo-ing the advi+e and lessons o/ 3itai+hand0 the Dadosh Gopal /ounded [sri(atF 9the meeting pla+e
o/ $oishno#s: throughout $engal -ith the vie- o/ tea+hing people the value o/ true devotion2 From
,amaanta "hara#ortyZs study o/ $oishno#ism in $engal it #e+omes 6uite evident that to spread the
essen+e o/ $oishno#ism 3itai really -ored as a true leader and a true statesman2 (e +on+entrated on
the +reation o/ organiHation0 and a+hieved su++ess in that2
3ityananda -as a gi/ted organiHer o/ the masses2 (e +onsidered the do-ntrodden to #e his
responsi#ility and his heart +ried /or them2 In/ortunately very /e- history -riters do-n the +enturies
have taen noti+e o/ the humanitarian ground o/ his +hara+ter2 They have 6uestioned his liings /or
ornamentsA #ut #eing an [AvadhootZ mon 3itai -as #eyond the general restri+tions and +onstraints to
#e o#served #y any ordinary sadhu; *ven some people thought o/ him as a -ay-ard man o/ unsound
mind2 7t -as ho-ever 'ahapra#hu -ho -as al-ays +on+erned a#out him and stood #y him all the
11&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
time0 /or it -as in him that "haitanya /ound the true propagator o/ the movement he desire to spread
throughout $engal2 'urari Gupta in his [Kar+haZ des+ri#es -hat he had seen in his dream < 3ityananda
ra+ing along -ith 'ahapra#hu +lose on his heels holding an um#rella over 3ityanandaZs head2 7ndeed
"haitanya never too the um#rella o// to leave 3itai unprote+ted2 En the other hand 3ityanandaZs li/e
had only one o#)e+tive < #ringing 'ahapra#huZs li/e and mission to +omplete /ruition2
3ityananda lives in the realm o/ in/inite2 The moment -e try to evaluate the li/e o/ [Pagla 3itaiZ0 -e
/all into a +on/usion< ho- to #egin and -here to #egin2 The nature o/ the su#)e+t is pre+isely the reason
-hy 3ityananda has #een analysed #y many -riters o/ $oishno# literature /rom di//erent perspe+tives2
For instan+e the poet -ho /irst s+ripted 3ityanandaZs [#ha#dharaZ 9ideas: is $rinda#an Das2 7n his
Chaitanya Bhagbat he +learly des+ri#es 3ityananda as a mani/estation o/ the +on+ept o/ Avadhoot2
$rinda#an Das in a [Pada#aliZ -rites<
AlA* dl*+Xld
^ Tld l l7 ^Ald11
Xhd Xhd h l
^l(d l(d 3(X hd *l11 N9O
7n the +hapter 13 o/ Chaitanya Bhagbat there are +ertain lines -hi+h highlight that ho- 3ityananda
too "haitanyaDs order to spread the +hant0Z(are KrishnaZ< /rom door to door irrespe+tive o/ gender
0+lass0 +aste and religion<
A A AlA* A *dlA
A Xld 3l *d* 3*l11
3 d(d d(d *d l UVl
* U * *d * Vl1
5 AlA* 3Ud X*Xl ^ld
^(d l+ l ^ld ld11 N1&O
These rhythmi+al lines highlight his universal0 pioneering vision /or $oishno#ism2 The ne5t important
poet -ho praised 3ityananda and sa- him as a man o/ supreme po-er spreading Krisna >tat-a@ is
Krishnadas Ka#ira)2 Krishnadas Ka#ira) in his Chaitanya Charitamrito -rites that during his visit to
111=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
$rinda#an0 Ka#ira) /elt the po-er o/ 3ityanadaZs #lessings that provided him the a#ility to -rite on
su+h an e5alted su#)e+t2
AlA* AlA* dlX
^l*ld * ^l( ^lA *lA hlX11 N11O
(is admiration /or 3itai on+e again /inds an e5pression in the shloas o/ the /irst +hapter o/ the
[AdililaZ2 7n the /i/th +hapter Ka#ira) -rites<
Ad(^ l( * (AlA*
A dlX,(L(Ad AlA*11 N12O
Another +ontemporary0 'urari Gupta0 in his %archa0 though very #rie/ly hinted that Sri "haitanya
trusted 3ityananda -ith the tas o/ spearheading the $oishno# movement in $engal2 7t -as in 3itai
that Gour /ound the presen+e o/ >A,L,A* 9permanen+e0 no-ledge0 happiness:0 -hi+h together
+hara+terise an a#le leadership /or $engal2
E#servant historians o/ the $oishno# movement have a+no-ledged 3ityananda to #e a true
demo+rat2 7ndeed0 to +hallenge the dominan+e o/ the 'uslim Healots and e5treme so+ial #arriers0 3itai
dared to tae an initiative in +onsolidating the $engali people2 Though many -ould tell us that it -as
nothing more than a devotional movement0 #ut /rom the -ritings o/ di//erent +ontemporary poets it +an
#e said that it -as a movement o/ so+ial re/ormation in $engal0 delivering a lethal #lo- to
untou+ha#ility2 Today0 the 7ndi+ $engali so+iety is again at a +riti+al )un+ture0 and -e need to #e
reminded o/ the supreme organising e//orts o/ 3ityananda again2
V1W'a)umder0Das0,amesh "handra2Chaitanya and His /ge2 pp 43
V%W"haitanya $hag#at0 Atul Gos-amiZs edition 0pp 3&4<3&!
V3W W'a)umder0das0,amesh "handra2Chaitanya and His /ge2 Pp44
V4W 'a)umder0das0,amesh "handra2Chaitanya and His /ge2 pp 43
V4W Dasgupta Surendranath2 / History of Indian Philoso'hy 2 719"am#ridge0"am#ridge Iniversity
Press019!1:2pp 1!V1&0400<40W
V!W Sahityaratna0(arerishna0ed; Boishnob Podaboli; "al+utta= Sahitya Sansad 19!1 2pp 474
V7W Sahityaratna0(arerishna0ed2 Boishnob Podaboli; "al+utta= Sahitya Sansad 19!12 pp 4!3
112=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
V&W Sahityaratna0(arerishna0ed2 Boishnob Podaboli; "al+utta= Sahitya Sansad 19!1 2pp 474
V9W Sahityaratna0(arerishna0ed2 Boishnob Podaboli; "al+utta= Sahitya Sansad 19!12pp474
V10W Chaitanya Bhagbat0Suumar SenZs *dition 013
+hapter2 pp1%&
V11W0V1%W Ka#ira)0 Krishnadas2Chaitanya Choritammrito 2
>or)s $ited
12 "hara#oty0,amaanta2 Boishnobism in Bengal2 "al+utta=Ananda Pu#lishers019&&
%2 Das0 (aridas2 )ouriyo Boishnob /bhidan 291olume 1] %:
32 Dasgupta Surendranath2 / History of Indian Philoso'hy2
71 9"am#ridge0 "am#ridge Iniversity Press019!1:2 pp 1!V1&0400<40W
42 #himahi 9Souvenir0 *+haragram0 $ir+handrapur0 $ir#hum :2 %00!0 %009
4% Chaitanya Bhagbat0Atul Gos-amiZs *dition
!2 Ka#ira)0 Krishnadas2Chaitanya Charitammrito2
72 Chaitanya Bhagbat0Suumar SenZs *dition
&2 Sahityaratna0(arerishna0ed2 Boishnob Podaboli. "al+utta= Sahitya Sansad 019!1
Sayantan Thaur teaches -nglish at S;.;S;Mahavidyalaya, Birbhum, 3est Bengal;
+'e o!e"ent >it'in# 5 Se-ret Huide to *soteri- &aayaasaadhanaa in
,e1a(rasad Band%o(ad'%a%
&. +8* *N+<P 64IN+
<<Eh0 thou the /ollo-er o/ siddhaacaarya0 let me #e initiated in the e56uisite aayaasaadhanaa
9+orporeal pra5is: o/ caryaa'adaaaras;
$$ Qou0 a non<initiated person as -ell as a mem#er o/ a+ademi+ tri#e0 o/ te+hni+al intelligentsia0 an
inorgani+ intelle+tual0 are not allo-ed to do so<<you are not li+ensedR2 they0 the siddhaacaaryas -ould
not allo- you to -rite the se+rets o/ su+h saadhanaa 9pra5is: as your purpose is su#)e+ti/i+ation0
su#)e+tion and o#)e+ti/i+ation o/ our do+ile #ody2 The siddhaacaarayas have a deep aversion to
re+ondite s+holarship2 Thus spoe they0 [Rthe s+holars +ould not tae it in their vo+al +ords 9throat
caraG+y+le:@ 9'ada0 1&:2
<<Am not agreeing -ith your rendering o/ the caryaa 1&2 Taraprasanna $hatta+harya 913%3 $angaa#da0
+/2 Shastri: and Suumar Sen 9194!: interpreted it di//erently in $angla translation= >s+holars09-ho
no- you as a /orm o/ the pleasure o/ asara, (letter@: have never shunned you o//@ 9p2 140 in Shastri
13%3 $angaa#da0 #ra+eted interpretation is in original:2 7t is totally antitheti+al to your translation2
<< 7n this line0 T+<l l(d *? A X7T 9GG#idu)Eno<loE tore EnTho nE melEiGG:0 7 have
emphasiHed on the >A X70 9i2e20 >s+holars +annot getGmeetG+on)ugateGinter+ourseG+opulate V+/2
'onier<;illiams /or the meaning o/ amelW -ith her V#ombinii0 untou+ha#le lo-er +aste /emaleG the
/emale /or+eW:@2 The ver#0 >X7 9X Sansrit amel: -ith negative<marer is very mu+h important and
must #e noted2 The same root is used 7 times 9'adas !0 t-i+e in &0 t-i+e in 3&0 44 and o/ +ourse in the
'ada 1&: in caryaa in the sense o/ >getG meetG +on)ugateG inter+ourseG +opulate@2 Surprisingly enough0
in +ase o/ only 1&0 the meaning is di//erently interpreted2
Dasgupta 919!9: also0 -hen dis+ussing the general outloos o/ saha+iyaas0 -rote a su#+hapter0
>Aversion to re+ondite s+holarship@0 -here he detailed the apathies o/ saha+iyaas to-ards s+holars
919!9=43<4:2 'unidatta -rote in the +ommentary o/ the 'ada ! that the egoist s+ripture< dependent
s+holars -ould not #e a#le to de+ipher this theory and pra5is 9o/ aayaasaadhanaa:bthey +annot read
it #y their heart2
<<$ut the -ord0 GGbidu+?no$lo?GG is used here in a positive sense2 Dasgupta 919!9= 104: translated that
114=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
line as0 >R V#Wut the learned never +ast thee o// the ne+2@M
<<That may #e a possi#le translation i/ -e have to #elieve in the plural interpretations o/ te5ts2 As
s+holars are depending heavily on the throat cara 9roughly0 +y+le0 literary0 >-heel@: /or delivering
their in/ormative no-ledge through their meta<speaing0 they +annot leave #ombinii0 the /emale
/or+e2 $ut0 these s+holars are entitled 9adhiaarin: to lo-<stratum pra5is2 They are #uying and selling
no-ledge2 "ompare 'ada no2 100 -here 'unidatta -rote in his +ommentary0 >Eh #ombii0 thou must
leave the selling2@ 7 do not -ish to sell the se+rets in the marets o/ s+holars in lieu o/ ephemeral
money<sign0 sorry2
<<;hy are you privileging or providing relative importan+e to your translation over others?
<< That is also a pro#lemati+ 6uestion2 Shastri0 13%3 himsel/ +reated a pro#lem 9p2 33:= though0 in the
manus+ript o/ the caryaa'ada0 a++ording to Shastri0 the +on)un+t letter 9nn: denoting negative marer
is #lurred due to depre+iation 9+/2 /n2100:0 he still read and preserved 9?:Ginserted the negative marer
-ith the ver#0 'aritya+anti0 >leaveGshun o//@ in the 'unidattaZs te5t0 >teha'i anthe sambhogacare
aharnishanna EaharnisamPnaA 'aritya+ntii QtiR@ V>They do not shun o// that /rom their throat cara /or
the -hole day and nightW2 7/ >P 9nn:@ -as not to #e /or+e/ully inserted0 my proposition is valid0
other-ise notM ;ere Shastri et al2 res+uing the +ondemned s+holarship?
And se+ondly0 as you have +ited Dasgupta 919!9= 104: partly0 7 -ish to 6uote the /ull translation /rom
the same sour+e0 >E/ -hat nature is0 oh #ombii, thy +leverness? The aristo+rats are outside thee and the
%aa'aaliis are -ithin 9i2e2 the arrogant pundits and the orthodo5 priests +an never have any a++ess to
the Saha+a$0airaatmaa0 #ut only the %aa'aalii yogins +an realiHe her:2 Thou hast spoiled everything0
through the la- o/ +ause and e//e+t thou hast destroyed the moon 9R2:2 Some spea ill o/ thee0 #ut the
(earned never )ast thee o"" the ne)k@ 97#id= 104<4:2 As asso+iated -ith the +onte5t or pre<te5t0 i2e20 the
negation o/ s+holarship should also #e implied here2 7 do not understand the translation o/ the last line2
ThatZs my /ault2
<<Franly speaing0 7 do not also understand the a#ra+ada#ra o/ caryaa, espe+ially 'unidattaZs
+ommentary2 The pro#lem youZve raised seems to #e a hermeneuti+ pro#lembpro#lem arises due to
the gap #et-een per+eption and understanding2 Please help me to understand the mum#o<)um#o o/
$uddhist taantria pra5isbespe+ially the se+rets o/ /emale /or+es0 the nature o/ #ombii0 nairaatmaa
et+2 Sometimes 7 have a /eeling that these are nothing more than pornographies2
<<Eh0 thou male0 thy entry<point is then the /emales?
11C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
<<taantria<pra5is is itsel/ a male<+entri+ saadhanaa2 ;hat shall 7 do then?
<<7/ you simply -ish to understand it0 please read t-o stories o/ Taaraanaath Taantri #y
$i#huti#husan $andyopadhyay2 9First one -as pu#lished in 1344 $angaa#da in a +olle+tion +?nmo o
mrittu 9$irth and Death: and the se+ond one -as in 193& A2D2 in a +olle+tion inn?rd?l;A
Taaraanaath0 the main +hara+ter o/ these t-o stories0 /a+ed di//erent /emales0 -ho are simultaneously
+aring selves and de+eivers -ith de/inite gradation a++ording to the strata o/ taantria pra5is2 (o-ever0
you -ould not mae it out -ithout no-ing the +orporeal #ut not in terms o/ anatomo<+lini+al
+on)e+tures2 Qou0 post<'anhattan s+holar0 the pro)e+t<'A30 the +olla#orator0 are only interested in the
anatomo<#io<politi+al intervention on the #ody o/ the o#)e+ti/ied su#)e+t /or the sae o/
<<Eh0 -hat a +ontinuityM From Caryaa'ada to $i#huti#husanbas i/ the thousand<year<+ir+le has #een
<< 7 donZt no- -hy people are -riting deterministi+ linear history o/ literature #y dividing #ody o/
history into me+hani+al periods 9$andyopadhyay0 %00!#0 %009a:2 'oreover0 they are +on/using the
history o/ ar#itrary0 *5ternaliHed 8anguage 9as opposed to "artesian 7nternaliHed 8anguage: -ith the
history o/ literature #y superimposing one over the other2
<<ThatZs the pragmati+ -ay to understand the origin and development o/ the $angla language and
nation state2
<<7Zm neither interested in this type o/ genealogi+al /antasy<<the origin -ith a +ausal relationship 9as
there is no +ausality at allbyou may +onsult 3aagaar)una or David (ume in this regard: o/ periods
-ith metaphysi+al origin nor in the retrospe+tive imagi3AT7E3 o/ a state0 -hether it may #e 3epali0
Asamiya0 Ediya or $angla2 Kaanhapaada and other caryaa'adaaars did not +all themselves $engali
+itiHensM That -as not thereb not out there0 -ithin the su#)e+tivities or ontologies o/ those +omposers2
7nstead0 7 -ish to attain salvation through the saha+iyaa path2
<< ;hat are you saying? There are philologi+al eviden+es and caryaa'adaaars themselves mentioned
the names0 GG#E3goGG and GG#EgalEGG in the 'adas 39 and 492
<< Are those terms implying the same geo<polities as it is understood today? 'oreover0 please +he+ the
meaning o/ GG#E3goGG in 'unidattaZs +ommentary2 7n +ases o/ padas 39 and 490 the term is used in a
spe+ial sense -ith using the rhetori+ o/ vyaa+a 9>having the appearan+e o/R@0 >simulated0 de+eit/ul0
/alse@:2 'unidatta -rote that GG#EgalEGG #ears the meaning o/ +ouissance o/ t-o letters
116=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
9asarasuhaadvaya:= GG#E3GG and GGlE3GG0 t-o mnemoni+ devi+es /or remem#ering #ody<pointsR
<<Again an a#ra+ada#raM 7tZs too /ar</et+hed a meaning2 7Zm not -ith 'unidatta2
<<7/ youZve enough patien+e0 7 may des+ri#e some o/ the /eatures o/ aayaasaadhanaa /or the sae o/
loasamgraha 9roughly speaing0 so+ial +ommitmentGengagement:R22 $ut that is an unspeaa#le Hone0
GG#apEthatiitEGG0 >#eyond the path o/ language@ 9'ada 37:2
1. ,*$I68*<INH +8* S*$<*+S 43 $<P6+I$ B4,P
--Are you sleeping or -aing? (o- do you prove the realities o/ these t-o stages? 8et us +onsider
'adas %0 13 and 4! in this +onte5t2 7Zm reiterating KeatsZs 6uestion >Do 7 -ae or sleep?@ Am 7
sleeping or -aing no-?
<<"he+ it #y the indu+tive veri/i+ation2 .ust pin+h your sin and /eel the painR
<<At the dreaming<stage0 7 might do the same thing0 pin+hing my #ody and +anZt distinguish #et-een
these t-o2 1eri/i+ation holds no -aterbit +an easily #e /alsi/ied2 Qou no-0 Taarannaath Taantri /elt
the same 9+/2 story 7: bhe -as +on/using t-o states o/ #eing -hen he met a /emale /or+e0 a mad
damsel0 'aaglii 9not in the pathologi+al sense o/ the term:2 ;hen did he -itness 'aaglii? ;hen -as he
-aing or dreaming? Er0 S-inging in<#et-een these t-o?
<<ThatZs an imaginary narrative0 not to #e taen seriously2
<<Then you +anZt also tae 'ada % and 13 seriously as -ell2 7n 'ada %0 #reathing 9the -ord0 GGsasuraGG is
used0 lit2 >/ather<in<la-@0 #ut punning made it to #e asso+iated -ith shvaas GGSaSGG0 #reathing2: is
sleeping -hereas /emale /or+e is -aing2 And in 130 >dreaming in -aing@ is put /or-ard /or
understanding suunyataa and arunaa -ithin the +orporeal<#oat2
<< ;hat are these= suunyataa and arunaa?
<<For that understanding0 you need philosophiHingR2i2e20 philosophy is to #e used as a per/ormative
ver#2 Philosophy is0 a/ter all0 a per/orman+e2
<<Then0 -here is the entry<point? From -here should 7 start?
<<8et us start /rom language2 There are /our types o/ >languages@ +orresponding to /our states o/ #eing2
7Zm /ollo-ing $hatrihari and A#hinavagupta as -ell Manduyo'anisad in this regard2
12 Baihari= speaing in -aing<state V+aagrataW -ith ar#itrary ephemeral epi<phenomenal
utilitarian sign<systems0 /alsest state2
117=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
%2 Madhyamaa= speaing in the /alser dream<state or sva'naavasthaa2
32 Pasyantii: unspeaing in a deepest sleeping<state or susu'tiA /alse<state and
42 Paraavaa= [paraaZ means [#eyondZ and [vaaZ is speaing:A this trans+endental unspoen and
unspeaa#le Hone is to #e a+hieved #y pra+ti+ing +ertain /ormal or non</ormal te+hni6ues to #e
/ound -ithin the #ody2 7t is neither true nor /alse0 #ut one +annot des+ri#e it #y means o/
baiharii, madhyamaa et+2 7t is something >#eyond@ logos and not related to >God@ per se2
Supreme God is per+eived in deep dreaming0 i2e20 a /alse state2 At this level0 silen+eme -ould
gulp do-n non<silen+eme 9a la 8aalan= GGniSSE#do )edin SE#dere ha#eGG:2 ;hat is to #e
mentioned is that the di//erent #ody<parts and +hannels -ithin the +orporeal are related to these
/our states o/ 9non<G: spee+hes2
<<As /ar as 7 understand0 you are reiterating (9igh: philosophy -ritten in Sansrit2 (o- do you relate it
-ith so<+alled 89o-: philosophy o/ siddhaacaarys -ritten in an anti<language 9(alliday0 197&:0
sandhyaa$6sandhaabhaasa 9t-ilight or intentional language that is to #e dealt -ith pragmati+s:? ;hy
did 'unidatta SansritiHe it?
<<There -as a distin+t dis+ourse re+eption #et-een so<+alled ( and 8beven you -ould not #e a#le to
de+ide the e5a+t status o/ donor and re+eptor as #oth the 8 and ( are +ontri#uting2 And Sansrit is a
metalanguage /or the sharers o/ the no-ledge2 $andyopadhyay 9%000: sho-ed this logisti+s in<
#et-een /olsongs and +lassi+al songs /ollo-ing Tagore<D2P2'uher)i +orresponden+e2
<<That seems to a di//usionist2 'ay #eM 7Zm noti+ing that you are providing relative importan+e to
'araavaa; En the +ontrary0 Guha 9%009= 4&0 /n2 1: did not give any importan+e to su+h metaphysi+al
state o/ language as he said0 in the +onte5t o/ ,a#indranathZs poetry0 that the spiritual 9though
>aadhyaatmiataa@ +annot #e translated as [spiritualityZ0 aadhi simply means >sorro-@: value o/
language might #e in+reased due to the introdu+tion o/ Paraavaa0 #ut the theoretical significance o/
su+h +ategoreme -as opa6ue2
<<Guha is a great s+holarM $ut he did not understand that the Paraavaa is a god<less state0 thus devoid
o/ so<+alled spirituality2 Qou +annot denote it #y asara0 alpha#ets0 viH0 a0 u0 mb10% and 3 are denoted
-ith these three letters respe+tively2 En the other hand0 the meaning o/ asara is totally di//erent in the
phase o/ 'araavaa= na srati iti0 there is no se+retion o/ rasa, there is no essen+ebthere is no sense<
per+eption or /eeling 9thus the term asarabrahman is +onstru+ted2 The +on+ept o/ 1edanti+
11B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
asarabrahman +anZt #e +on/used -ith the monotheisti+ notion o/ god0 brahman +anZt #e -orshiped0
#ut that #ig<all<in+lusive 7 +an #e rea(iHed through 'ratyabi+naa or retrospe+tion:2 This state needs no
+hanting o/ mantras or psalms0 thus -e +all it a+a'aa Ena +a'aS no chantingA saadhanaa2 Theoreti+ally
speaing0 the /irst three stages related to theist +on)e+tures 9at the byabahaaria and 'raatibhaasia
levels: +anZt #e negated -ithout the introdu+tion o/ Paraavaa= Guha also +ut a sorry /igure to
understand the signi/i+an+e o/ +orporeal theory 9GGde(otEttoGG: o/ su#<alterns in the poems o/
,a#indranath0 though he himsel/ is the initiator o/ su#<altern s+hool2
<<(o- dare you? ;hat is GGde(otEttoGG?
<<8et us start -ith the +on+ept o/ three naadis 9'adas 110 %0:= idaa, 'ingalaa, susumnaa2 Though there
are di//erent names o/ these three in di//erent s+hools o/ taantris2 8et me enlist it in three +olumns /or
your +onvenien+e=
L*3+ 43 +8* B4,P I,,L* 65+8 <IH8+ 43 +8* B4,P
idaa susumnaa; 'ingalaa
lalanaa avadhuutii rasanaa
'ra+naa madhyamaa arunaa
aali aali
moon sun
Passive prin+iple0 /emale A+tive Prin+iple0 male
1o-els "onsonants
<<;hat 7Zve o#served is that0 in this parti+ular +onstru+tion o/ ta5onomiHation o/ #ody= 9a: the male<
/emale prin+iple is -oring here -ithin a single #odyA the 6uestion is -hether they are gendered or
simply a matter<+ons+iousness dualism? 9#: 7 thin that the term0 >madhyamaa* is not as same as the
madhyamaa$stage o/ language2 They are di//erent2 The 6uestion is= -hat do -e understand as
madhya'anthaa or ma++him maarga 9the middle pathb-hi+h is in<#et-een the t-o poles o/
e5travagant +onsumerism and a+ute austerity:0 is that related to madhyamaa per se? 9+: 7 do not /ind
any physiologi+al eviden+e /or su+h #ody<stru+ture2 The +onstru+tion is totally antitheti+al to modern
119=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
medi+al gaHeA 9d: Apart /rom male</emale duality -ithin a #ody0 the lunar<solar asso+iation is also
o#served2 ;hat is the +osmologi+al position o/ caryaa'adaaaras?
<< 8et me ans-er= 9a: 7tZs an aporia0 unde+ida#le de+ida#le and $andyopadhyay 9%00%: dis+ussed this
aporia in the +onte5t o/ saamhya darsana2 $ut it is to #e dis+ussed in the +onte5t o/ dan+ing damsels2
9#: The >middle path@ as it is understood #y you is not at all related to mahaayaana maadhyamia
s+hool o/ thought2 Madhyamaa or avadhuutii is the naadi, the middle naadi in #et-een aali and aali
9/or more synonyms0 +/2 Dasgupta0 1974=1440 /n2 %:2 7/ 'ra+naa or suunyataa 9the dis+riminative
no-ledge o/ tathataa >thatness@0 >su+hness@: is to #e /used or mingled -ith arunaa 9the #enevolent
a+tivity /or eradi+ating sorro-s0 loasamgrahaTthe goal o/ (bahu+anasuhaya,
bahu+anahitaaya*T(the pleasure and -el/are o/ many@M:0 the ultimate -isVhWdom o/ void 9bodhicitta:
might #e a+hieved through the saamarasya 9e6uili#rium o/ rasas0 >essen+e0 -hat is tested or /elt@: o/
avadhuutii6madhyamaa; 9+/2 madhyamaaUmaadhyamia: 9+: Though 7 have the e5perien+e o/
pra+ti+ing -ith +orpse0 donZt have the no-ledge o/ modern medi+al ta5onomiHation o/ +orporeal2 7
+anZt ans-er your 6uestion2 9d: Do you no- the GG#hanDe #rommanDoGG<theory? The #ody resem#les
the universe= >The -ay this universe s-ings through high and lo- tide0 7 /eel the very same pulling in
the /lo- o/ #lood in my naadi2@
<<ho- +an it #e possi#le? Eur universe +onsists o/ so many gala5ies and there are #la+ holes0 -orld o/
anti<matter et+2 and not all o/ them are -ithin the limit o/ my per+eption2 (o- do 7 per+eive su+h
GG#hanDe #rommanDoGG?
<<Thus +ame the +on+ept o/ void +ons+iousness0 nothingness0 -hi+h is neither bhaava 9e5isten+e: nor
abhaava 9a#sen+e:0 or nirvana 9roughly0 [e5tin+tionZ:0 #ut nihsvtvabhaavatva 9non<e5isten+e o/ 7<
dentity as -ell as my<dentityA $andyopadhyay0 %0132 "/2 +ommentary on 'ada %1:2 'ind is only
responsi#le /or this illusory -orld2 Distur#ed +ogito is the +ause o/ all spatio<temporal e5isten+e 9'ada
<<(o-ever0 it is di//i+ult to +o<relate the /our states o/ #eing and language -ith the naadis2 (o- do you
asso+iate these t-o?
<<8et me then ela#orate $uddhist 4 and (indu ! 9c%: caras in this asso+iation 9see ta#le 77 and the
diagram also:2 Firstly0 see #elo- the list o/ eight caras0 -hi+h are pla+ed in these nadis0 a++ording to
(indu taantri method2 ;ithout no-ing these details0 you +anZt de+ipher the mysteries o/ #ody as
depi+ted in the Caryaa'ada2
12&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
12 <oot -a)ra 9muulaadharaa:= 8o+us= $ase o/ spine in tail#oneGem#ryoni+ tail area2
%2 Sa-ral -a)ra 9svadhisthaana:= 8o+us= 8o-er a#domen0 a#out % in+hes #elo- the navel and %
in+hes in2
32 Solar 6leLus9Na!el @u"1ili-al -ordA -a)ra 9mani'ura:= 8o+us= Ipper a#domen in the
stoma+h area2
42 $ardia- )akra 9anaahata:= 8o+us= "enter o/ +hest )ust a#ove heart2
42 +'roat )akra 9visuddha: < 8o+us= Throat0 vo+al +ords2
!2 Bro/9(ituitar% -a)ra 9aa+naa:= 8o+us= Forehead #et-een the eyes2
72 $ro/n -a)ra EsahasraaraA: 8o+us: The very top o/ the headG +ere#ral +orte52
&2 Void -a)ra Eturiya$turiya6ati$ati suunyataaA: 8o+us= Top o/ the +ere#ral +orte5boutside #ody0
#ut part o/ the #odyboutside in and inside out2
All these eight caras are redu+ed to /our caras in the $uddhist system=
I; nirmaanakaaya* Eamalgamation of muulaadhara, svadhisthaana, Mani'ura carasA
H; dharmakaaya* Eanaahata caraA
V; sambhogakaaya* Evisuddha caraA
N; mahasukhakaaya+usniskama(a )akra EsahasraaraA
7t is to #e noted that 'unidatta simultaneously deployed >(indu@ 9an um#rella termA a mirror image o/
some other organiHed religions: taantri and $uddhist taantri terms in +ourse o/ e5plaining the 'adas2
This type o/ epistemologi+al amalgamation entails syn+reti+ donor<re+eptorsZ re+ipro+al dis+ourse
re+eption2 7t is also a hindran+e /or a person0 -ho is trying to understand caryaa'ada as sGhe +ould not
mae the mystery out o/ it -ithout no-ing these s+hools2
<<7Zve t-o 6uestions here= 9a: ho- do 7 +orrelate all these caras -ith naadis and -ith the states o/
#eing? 9#: ;hat are roles o/ damsels in this type o/ saadhanaa?
<< ,egarding 6uestion 9a:0 7 must say that di//erent #ody<parts 9/our to seven points -ithin the
individual #ody<<di//erent s+hools thin di//erently:0 -hen are +onne+ted #y the #ody<+hannelsGnaadis0
121=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
are supposedly non<deta+ha#ly +onne+ted -ith the -hole universe<<part merges -ith the -hole<<
parti+ulars have #e+ome universal9s:<<this is the tra)e+tory o/ small i to #ig 72 At this moment0 there is at
a time an identity and non<identity -ith the Iniversal 72 As 7 +annot depi+t >it@ -ith +rude baihari
9there are also su#tle baiharis, #ut you +anZt glori/y it as Guha0 i#id did:0 7 +ould not help mysel/ #ut
to introdu+e the term >silen+eme@0 though 7 no- this mu+h that 7 do not no- nothing a#out
trans+endental a#soluteGuniversal silen+eme2
And regarding 9#:0 7Zve a +ounter 6uestion= Do you have any e5posure to KaaluutZs 9Samaresh $asu:
t-o novels related to KonarDs Sun Temple? These t-o novels0 GGnir)aEn SoiEteGG >8onely Seashore@0
V19!1 revised version0197%W and GGSambo66 V>Son o/ Krishna0 a mythi+al +hara+ter@0 1977G7&W are t-o
types o/ travelogues b /irst one -as a physi+al travel /rom Puri .agannath temple to Konar -ith /our
-ido-s and a virgin0 and the se+ond one -as a mental travel to the Sun temple2 'y 6uestion is= -hy
did Kaaluut put /our -ido-s and a virgin in his novel? Tapan Sinha0 -hen de+ided to /ilm this
narrative0 produ+ers -ere not interested at all in the narrative o/ /our -ido-s and a virginZs )ourney
to-ards a temple that is endo-ed -ith the inner +orporeal stru+ture as it is depi+ted in tantra2
<<<;hat are you doing? Firstly0 you have mentioned $i#huti#aa#u and no- KaaluutM Are you +raHy?
Qou are introdu+ing modern literature to understand an+ient te5t? ;hy is it so? Kaaluut himsel/
de+lined to asso+iate himsel/ -ith tantra in the +onte5t o/ solar<-orship at the #eginning o/ the
novel0 GGSam#oGG2
<<Kaaluut repeatedly used the -ord >#reathing@ 9a ey<term in Tantra: and its synonyms /or the +are
o/ sel/2 7Zm interpreting these /our -ido-s and a virgin as the /ive 9or more: /emale /or+es 9candaali,
dombii, savarii, yogini, nairatmanii, saha+asundarii et2al: as they -ere /ound in the Caryaa'ada<te5t2
*ven you +an asso+iate it -ith $i#huti#aa#uZs t-o stories0 -here Taaaranath vividly des+ri#ed the role
o/ su+h /emale /or+es2
<<Are you per+eiving +ontinuity in the history o/ literatureR?
<<;e need to -rite themati+ history o/ literature instead o/ linear +hronologi+al deterministi+ history2
<< ;hatever that may #e0 let us not distra+t /rom de+iphering the nature o/ /emale /or+es in
Caryaa'ada; 'ay you please e5plain meaning o/ 'ada 100 -here it is said that Dom#ii +lim#s upon a
lotus -ith si5ty</our petals and is dan+ing? Er0 -hatZs a#out the ro-ing the #ody<#oat 9+/2 'ada &0 90
14:2 $oat is used as ut'resaa 9+omparing0 illustrating #y a simile0 irony: alamaara #y those damsels?
7 dare that you may no- )ump to TagoreZs golden #oatR
122=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
<<They are produ+ed #y the yogi+ pra+ti+esbthey are rising /rom one cara 9in this +ase0
nirmaanaaaya and +lim#ing to another to attain mahaasuha, (+ouissance*bitZs a type o/ up-ard
mar+hing o/ the /emale /or+es and generally interpreted as sati2 For the philosophi+al e5planation0
please see $andyopadhyay0 %00% and /or the #oat0 you may vie- the ar+hite+tural pattern o/ %aahara
deula 9re+tangular /emale shrine -ith a triangular inverted<#oat<shaped roo/2 7n Eriya0 baithaa aharu
means >#oat@:0 -hi+h are e5+lusively dedi+ated to sati 9/emale: -orship0 in Edisha0 7ndia2 These
shrines are e5+eptionally di//erent /rom other male shrines2
<<;hat is the role o/ lotus and num#ered petals here in this te5t?
<< 'unidatta /re6uently used the terms related to as'hut0 >#lossom0 #loom0 #urst0 or split open@0
+ompare it -ith $hatrihariZs +on+ept o/ >s'hota@ 9lit2 spar0 +/2 GGs'GG0 66s'hGG similarity: and then try to
realiHe the #lossoming o/ petals2 Qou may +ompare this s'hota -ith the AanandavardhanaZs +on+ept o/
dhvani 9not in the sense o/ spee+h sound:2
There are imagined lotuses -ith de/inite num#er o/ petals 9though0 there are +ontroversies regarding
the num#er and +olor o/ petals: in ea+h cara and ea+h petal is ins+ri#ed -ith a bii+a 9lit2 seed:0 -hi+h
is +omposed o/ t-o spee+h soundsGphones= the /irst one is a vo-el or +onsonant and the se+ond one is
invaria#ly a velar nasal sound GG3GG0 e2g20 GG#E3GG and GGlE3GG as mentioned earlier2 These bii+as are
nothing more than a mnemoni+ devi+e /or remem#ering the lo+i o/ caras and repeated +hanting is
nothing more than a +on+entration<e5er+isebyou are +on+entrating on a parti+ular point2 'oreover0
there is a distin+t goal /or using velar nasal= as per pla+e o/ arti+ulation0 a+tive dorsum 9#a+ o/ the
tongue: is pressed against ina+tive velum 9so/t palate: to produ+e su+h soundA and as per manner o/
arti+ulation0 in produ+ing this nasal sound0 the egressive airstream e5its through oral and nasal +avity
a/ter initial suspension in the oral +avity2 Thus0 it is a /ull utiliHation o/ pulmonary airstream through
oral and nasal +avities2 7n +ase o/ bii+a0 aum GGo'GG0 the #a+ mid vo-el is nasaliHed0 i2e20 the egressive
airstream enters and e5its through #oth the +avities2 (o-ever0 all these /ormal e5er+ises are dis+arded
at the 'aaramaarthia level o/ 'araavaa2
<<There/ore0 you need baihari0 -hi+h youZve dis+arded earlier2
<<Ittering bii+a -ith aahata 9>-ounded@0 as spee+h organs0 -hi+h are primarily respiratory organs and
sometimes utiliHed V#y #eingsW /or +he-ing /oods0 are pressing ea+h other: dhvani 9as opposed to
anaahata VnaPaahata0 [not -oundedW here is nothing more than a step o/ the ladder /or attaining the
highest stage o/ 'araavaa2 The +orporeal is an ar+he<-ritten mass at its initial state2
123=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
<<7t seems highly metaphysi+al as -ell as an idealisti+ theory that +annot #e a part o/ our daily li/e2
There are privileged terms and su#ordination o/ states o/ #eing2 (o- +an 7 per+eive that my pulmonary
airstream is going to the sa+rum and returning to my head through three nadiis ignoring the thora+i+
diaphragm? ;e +anZt do -ith su+h non<sense2
<<Thin in terms o/ glands instead o/ only pulmonary system or thin a#out esophagus #eside laryn50
pharyn5 or #ron+hial tu#e2 7t depends on youR -hat do you -ish to per+eiveR 7n +ase o/ interpreting
the Konar sun templeZs ar+hite+ture 9Erissa0 7ndia:0 there are t-o divergent as -ell as antitheti+al
per+eptions2 3irmal umar $ose 919%!0 193%: per+eived the outer #ody o/ this temple and on the other
hand0 Stella Kramris+h 9194!: per+eived the inner #ody2 The main point o/ their disagreement might
#e posed as= -ere the #odies o/ the >(indu@ temples +onstru+ted on the #asis o/ physiologi+al +orporeal
or non<medi+al meta< physiologi+al +on)e+ture o/ #ody?
<<7Zm not interested in su+h polemi+s2 $ut0 7Zve a personal 6uestion= are you really pra+ti+ing all these
mum#o<)um#os in your personal li/e?
<<;hen 7 +anZt parti+ipate in the +olonially imposed +leri+al )o#s in a+ademio+ra+y0 i2e20 +olle+ting
in/ormative data or +orpse o/ +orpus /or the 'asters o/ the Iniverse so that they +an e5e+ute good9M:
governmentality 9is it not a spying? Third ;orld [s+holarsZ are -oring as -at+hdogs:A -hen 7 donZtZve
any option to )oin politi+al parties as there is no option 9as 5 politi+al partydy politi+al party:A -hen
+limate has +hanged due to rampant industrialiHation and #urning o/ /ossils0 hydro<+ar#onsA -hen
surplus<la#or<e5tra+tion #y the minority parasiti+ usuries is a )usti/ied a+tivityA -hen only money<signs
9the greatest metaphysi+s in the earth as it e6ualiHes the une6ual: persists and share<maret is
proli/erating metaphysi+allyA -hen o//ense to other is the strategi+ de/ense and manu/a+turing arms and
ammunition is )usti/ied and rationaliHedA -hen only maret /undamentalism is -oring ideology0 7
+anZt help #ut tae my re+ourse to su+h +ounter<metaphysi+s o/ 'ra+naa and arunaa2 ;e are -ithin
the apo+alypse due to the anthropogeni+ glo#al heating2 ;hat shall 7 do no- e5+ept to a+hieve
'araavidyaa0 not the a'araavidyaa? 7t is the movement -ithinR2
64S+-S$<I6+# 5 35$+M5L 3I$+I4N5L *V*N+
The person0 /ollo-er o/ the siddhyaacaryaas0 -as #rought into the la#oratory o/ the "ryptology
department under the 3ational Se+urity "oun+il o/ the De/ense 'inistry2 (er #rain -as s+anned #y
using Single Photon *mission Tomography 9SP*T:2 That test dis+overed a pe+uliar phenomenon=
though there -as an >intense neural a+tivity@ in the /rontal lo#e o/ her #rain0 the parietal lo#e -as
124=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
totally ina+tive2
(o-ever0 'ratibimban0 >re/le+tion@ does not -or due to the usual anthropo+entri+ limit o/ per+eption2
Thus spoe 'unidatta0*yathaa Eas ifA sva'ne Ein dreamA sva'ratibhaasam Eself as illusory a''earanceA
yathaadarse E+ust that is to be seenA 'ratibimbam EimageA tadrisamantaraa E+ust lie that 'erce'tion in
the interiorA bhaababi+naanam Euniversal consciousnessA 'asya E'erceiveA2@ 9+/2 'ada 4!:
SPN$<*+I$ <*6<*S*N+I4N 43 $4<64<*5L-64IN+S# D8IN,MF +5N+<5 5N,
BM,,8IS+ +5N+<5
S$844LS 1
@negation of au"A
Mandyukoponisad States
o" being
;aing<stateV+aagratW Dream<state or
Deepest sleeping<state
or susu'ti
3either -aing0 nor
Gradation o" ,a(sehood Falsest Falser False Trans+endental spa+e
Bhartrihari -
on s(ea)ing
Baihari madhyamaa 'asyantii paraavaa
Bouddha Darsana
on s(ea)ing
on the states o" or(d0s1
*piphenomenal -orld
o/ illusion0 -here -e
are playing -ith toys
or painting on a
+anvas 9'ataaaasa:or
per+eiving a rope as a
Pra+ti+al or pragmati+
-orld o/ appearan+e
Per+eiving image in
the mirror
"/2 PlatoZs "ave
Per+eiving the sour+e
o/ image as real
sour+e o/ image and 7
d #ig 7
a--ording to D8induF
@u"1rella ter"A#antra
$ro- cara to Throat
through naadis
$ro- cara to
"ardia+ cara
through naadis
$ro- cara to 3avel
cara or to sa+ral
through naadis
$ro- cara to Sa+ral
and root cara and
#a+ to void cara via
+ro-n cara through
a--ording to Buddhist
sambhogaaaya dharmaaaya nirmaanaaaya mahasuhaaaya
Mudra mahaamudraa dharmamudraa armamudraa samayamudra
Devisakti 0'aryaapada1 Paandaraa, Candaali,
et al;
#ombinii, Maamaii
et al;
!oconaa, niraatmaa
et; al
:oginii, Taaraa,
saha+asundarii et al;
12C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
The follo,ing 'a'ers Eboth in Bangla and in -nglish as ,ell as Italian translationA of the 'resent
author are utiliLed for ,riting this 'a'er: Readers may ctrlPright clic on the hy'erlin to have the
full$teGt 'a'er:
%0132 >8anguage= From 7< Dentity to 'y<Dentity@2 S2 7mtiaH (asnain0 Sangeeta $agga<Gupta and
Shailendra 'ohan /lternative 5oices: EReAsearching !anguage, Culture, IdentityW eds22 3e-+astle0
IK= "am#ridge S+holar pu#lishing2 9pp2 14&<73: 7S$3<10= 1443&471!e f 7S$3<13= 97&<1443&471!%2
%01%2 - [ln 5oarch ot Llngulstlcs ot 5l|oncomo :
Caryapada]2 Prana# K2 "haro#orty ed2 Interaction 17772 9pp2%3<31: 3a#ad-ip0 ;est $engal2
7ndia2 7SS3 %%77<4334
%011a2 X*lAld(*d d+ " *l(d AXl(lLAl 2 ,evie- Arti+le= >onaraer bibaran #y 3irmal
Kumar $asu@ 9*d2 Prasen)it Dasgupta0 Somyen Pal %009:2 $andyopadhyay0 Sumahan !oui2 71=1<%
9pp2111<1%1:2 7SS3 %%30<7&0e ,evised 1ersion o/ The ,evie- pu#lished in Sen0 Asho ed2 Baromas2
9%009: 1ol2312 9pp2%&!<&&:
%011#2 The Psy+hology o/ Silen+e= The Story o/ $harat2 #iaforia0 3o2 40 .uly %0112 7taly2
%011+2 An 7ntervie- -ith De#aprasad $andyopasdhyay on The Psy+hology o/ Silen+e= The Story o/
$harat2 #iaforia0 3o2 40 .uly %0112 7taly2
%011d2 ! "#$%&'()*+,-.,-/$%0('12/*340$15$6$7$-'$/180$91$8:::;<
%009a2 >Ad(dl ** Ull -*lA :AXAld *lA 98inear (istory o/ 7ndi+ 8anguage= Some
Pro#lems o/ (istoriography:2 -d; Charoborty, Barun; Tomar sristrir '?th E/carya Suumar Sen
Commemoration 5olumeA; %olata: /'arna Boo #istributors; E''; NNO$YIA ISB0 OI$OZ9VZ$YJ$H
%009#2 - ; {lon-Llngulstlcsot5l|oncomo:La|on}@ Shatinath .ha
ed2 ?cin 'ahi; !alon saMrogrontho2 1ol2ee2 3adia0 ;est $engal 8alon 'ela Samiti2 9pp2 1!<%4:2
,evised version= %01%2 ei nisErgo pEtro2 7=1 9pp2 9<1!:
%0072 >( l dX( --' Uld ' (A @ 9(anging #et-een Sleeping and ;aing << [7ndianD
Philosophy:2 Te'antar 21ol2 1 9pp2141<!!: Kolata= Sanhati2
126=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
%00!a2 >7 A( AXAld A(A@2 9Pro#lems o/ Possession:2 Baromas0 1ol ee17770 E+to#er Z0!2 9pp2
%17< %%: ,eprinted in Interaction2 3ov2 Z092 9pp2 4<11:2
%00!#2 B CDE {3ang|a: AGonoao|oglca| |antasy:@2 S?tob?rser aloe b?0go
bh?0go0 Kolata= Pusta $ipani2 9pp2 4%!< 447:2 First pu#lished in %0042"hattopadhyay0 D2 ed2
Pariathaa2 177=% 9pp2 3%0<40:
%0042 F CGH GIJK JK DF; LIJK ['Whon5l|oncoWou|d5wa||owlon-
5l|onco':Llngulstlcsot5l|oncoW2 -bang Mushayera2 e7=49pp2 %%!<47:2,232 43193G94
%00%2 >SoulZd in and out= ,epresentation o/ $ody0 3o<$ody in the (indu Philosophy2@ .rom the
Margins2 9pp2 1&%<%0%:2 Kolata
%0012 >Follore= Sear+hing /or 8ogisti+s2@ Singh0 I232 ed2 Culturation2 1a,harlal Handoo
.elicitation 5olume2 'ysore= "7782 7S$3 &1<734%<094<72 9pp2%!<34:
%0002 >Folsong<"lassi+al Songs= The Dis+ursive Formation o/ Dividing Pra+ti+e*; Pondicherry
Institute of !anguage and Culture 1ournal of #ravidian Studies2 9pp2 !3<70:2 Pondi+herry2 7SS3 0971<
$ose0 32 193%2 Canons of ?rissan /rchitecture2 "al+utta= ,2 "hatter)ee2
ggggggggggggggg2 19%!2 onaaraer bibaran2 *dited *dition %0092 Kolata= 3e- Age2
$hatta+harya0 $2 19&42 5aaya'adiya2 1ol2 72 Kolata= Pas+im#anga ,aa)ya Pusta Parsad2
ggggggggggggggggg2 19912 5aaya'adiya2 1ol2 772 Kolata= Pas+im#anga ,aa)ya Pusta Parsad2
$hatta+harya0 I2 13!4 #angaa#da2 baanglaar baaul o baaul gan2 Kolata= Erient $oo "o2
Dasgupta0 S2 134% #angaa#da2 Bhaaratiiya sadhanaar aiya; Kolata= 1isva $harati2
gggggggggggg2 19!%2 ?bscure Religious Cults2 Kolata= Firma K282'2
127=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
gggggggggggg2 19742 /n Introduction to Tantric Buddhism2 Kolata= Iniversity o/ "al+utta2
Guha0 ,2 %0092 abir naam o sarbanaam2 Kolata= Talapaataa2
(alliday0 '2 A2 K2 197&; !anguage as a Social Semiotic2 8ondon *d-ard
7yaer0 K2A2S2 19!92 Bhartrihari2 Poona= De++an "ollege2
Kavira)0 G2 19942 taantri Sadhona o Siddhanto2 91ol2 7 ] 77:2 $ardhaman= $ardhaman Iniversity2
Kramris+h0 S2 194!G7!2 The Hindu Tem'le2 91ol2 7 ] 77: Delhi= 'otilal $anarasidas Pvt2 8td2
'onier<;illiams0 '2 1&992 / Sansrit -nglish #ictionary2 Delhi= 'otilal $anarasidas
Sanyal0 32 19&72 %aarutirtha alinga2 Kolata= $harati $oo Stall2
Shastri0 (0 T2 $hatta+harya2 13%3 #angaa#da2 ha+aar bacharer 'uraano bangaalaa bhaasaay bouddho
gaan o dohaa2 Kolata= $angiya Saahitya Parisat2
Sen0 S2 194!2 Caryagiiti$'adavalii2 $ardhamaan= Saahityasa#haa2
"E8EP(E3= Ahar $andyopadhyay
#r #eba'rasad Bandyo'adhyay, 'rofessionally trained in !inguistics ,ith a 'rolific out'ut of research
,ors, is an /ssistant Professor at the Indian Statistical Institute, %olata;
6artition of India and t'e $'roni-le of t'e *astern 3rontier#
a((ing t'e S'ort 3i-tions in Bengali on igration, ,is(la-e"ent and
<efugee Struggle
Eallol Hango(ad'%a%
19472 7ndia is Partitioned2 This is perhaps the pinna+le o/ disaster in the 7ndian Su#<+ontinent against the triumph o/
"ertain in+idents +arry their a/termath in their o-n right2 'any -ritings re+urrently yearn /or the lost homeland due to
Partition and migration2 A +olle+tion o/ $engali short stories -hi+h re/le+t the sentiments o/ the time have #een dis+ussed
-ith an attempt to underline the personal and so+ial struggle in/li+ted on a generation2
Partition0 #order0 uprooted0 re/ugee0 migration2
;hatever may #e the reasons or motivations and )usti/i+ations /or a++epting the partition o/ the +ountry
#y the national leaders0 /or millions o/ people the 7ndependen+e o/ the +ountry #rought terri#le
su//ering and humiliation0 /ear o/ loss o/ human dignity and a mor#id sense o/ isolation o/ #eing
uprooted2 [Although the proposal /or Paistan -as pla+ed #e/ore the +ountry in the 1930s and pressure
/or the #i/ur+ation o/ 7ndia mounted up in the 1940s0 the very reality o/ the division o/ the +ountry in
1947 +ame as a rude sho+2Z
;hat -e must noti+e is that there have #een partitions on either side o/
the 7ndian #order O *ast and the ;est and the t-o land masses not only have a geographi+al divide #ut
also have very distin+tly di//erent human e5perien+es -hi+h are intrinsi+ally related to the +hara+ter o/
partition on #oth sides o/ the #order2 [;hat is uni6ue a#out the $engal partition is that unlie the
massive e5+hange o/ populations in 1947<4& and till 1940 on the -estern #order0 the in/lu5 o/ re/ugees
a+ross the $engal #order has never stopped0 to date2 7t has sometimes s-ollen to a deluge and
sometimes #een redu+ed to a tri+le0 #ut it has never dried up2Z
Though the migration a+ross the
$engal #order into ;est $engal0 Assam and Tripura -as o/ staggering proportions0 it -as spread over
years in a steady and +ontinuing steam0 a+ross -hat remains0 a >porousD #order2 ["ompared to the
nature o/ #order and #oundary in the ;est -here politi+al0 strategi+ and military +onsiderations have
+onverted the entire region into t-o rigid divisions0 the dividing line in the *ast is porous and
129=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
5fter"at' of Bengal (artition
The Partition o/ $engal #rought a#out a huge migration o/ the (indu middle<+lass population o/ *ast
$engal to ;est $engal0 prompted #y /ear and an5iety and the +ons+iousness o/ #eing aliens in a
[/oreignZ land2 The #order land turned into a vast territory o/ the destitute0 the metropolitan "al+utta
suddenly #e+ame a vast slum0 /or de+ades the rail-ay plat/orms0 spa+es under /lyovers0 pars and
pavements #e+ame the home o/ human #eings2 The 7ndian Government did not have a -ell /ormulated
and thought out poli+y o/ reha#ilitation /or the 7ndi+ $engalis /rom *ast Paistan and ;est $engal did
not have the resour+es to +ope up -ith the num#ers arriving everyday at its doorstep2
En the *astern #order the [otheredZ +ommunity /a+ed a mena+ing trauma= the (indus in *ast Paistan
e5perien+ed the term udbastu 9uprooted /rom home: a/ter they -ere rendered homeless2 They -ere also
entrapped in sporadi+ in+idents o/ +ommunal violen+e and as minorities -ere le/t to the plight and /ury
o/ mo# violen+e2 Sin+e 1930s sporadi+ in+idents o/ +ommunal violen+e have #een registered2 A/ter
Kolata0 3oahali and Tripura this illness #e+ame an epidemi+2 The +ountry -as partitioned to stop
+ommunal violen+e and save people2 Partition +ould not stop violen+e and illings O history says so2
7nstead it has made lahs o/ $engalis homeless and penniless2 (indus have #een +onstantly evi+ted
/rom $angladesh2 (istorian Amalendu De has pointed out to the 1941 *ast $engal "ensus report -hi+h
sho-s the (indu population as %&\2 7n 1991 that has e##ed to 1024\2 ;e do not no- o/ any other
+ountry in the -orld -here the population o/ minorities has dropped 1G3 in 40 years2 From 1947 to
1971 during the period o/ *ast Paistan the ma)ority +ommunity o/ 'uslims had /or+ed the minority
(indus to /lee the +ountry2 7t -as envisaged that a/ter the #irth o/ $angladesh it -ould +ome to an end2
(o-ever this did not happen2 The re/ugee in/lu5 in 1970<71 is estimated at a#out 9 million0 i2e20 13 \
o/ the population o/ *ast Paistan0
the ma)ority #eing (indu2
>ritings on 6artition in Bengali J +'e Beginning
The partition o/ $engal in 1947 remains the gravest event in the history o/ $engali<speaing people
tou+hing all spheres o/ their li/e= e+onomi+0 so+ial0 religious0 +ultural0 politi+al and linguisti+2 The
trauma o/ the separation in villages and +ities0 the physi+al su//ering and tormentation0 the silent tears
and pier+ing +ries permeated deep0 /ermenting into the +reative pro+essA thus giving rise to a ne- ind
o/ literature= the -ritings and e5pressions o/ separation and homelessness2 Annada Shanar ,ay0 in an
immensely 6uota#le $engali rhyme voi+ed his protest against the a#surdity o/ +ountryZs #i/ur+ation=
13&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Qou s+old the little lass
;hen she drops the glass
$ut -hat a#out you0
adult #rats
;hen you shatter 7ndia
into little parts2
9trans2 Sisir Kumar Das:
The pro#lems o/ partition -ere large and penetrating2 'any -riters addressed the politi+al and
emotional issues asso+iated -ith them2 A not so -ell no-n -riter 'anoran)an (aHra -rote a short
novel Mahanagare Dabana( 9;ildi/re in the "ity: in 194! des+ri#ing the in+idents o/ the riot that
/ollo-ed in response to 'uslim 8eagueZs +all /or Dire+t A+tion on 1! August 194!2 7n 1947 3a#endu
Ghosh -rote a novel 2hiars (en 9Fier+e 8ane: -hi+h had graphi+ and minute re+ords o/ the madness
that gripped the +ity o/ "al+utta2 (o-ever0 the /irst -ell no-n novel -as pu#lished only in 1944 on
the su#)e+t2 7t -as 3arayan SanyalZs Ba(mik 9it -as part o/ a trilogy: and therea/ter a spate o/ novels
/ollo-ed in 19!0s and 70s2 Fe- mentiona#le ones are .yotirmoyee DeviZs !par Ganga 3par Ganga
919!7:0 Pra/ulla ,ayZs &eya 2atar 4ouko 91970:0 Sunil GangopadhyayZs .r$un 91971:0 Atin
$andopadhyayZs 4i(kontho 2akhir &ho$e 91971: and Gour Kishore GhoshZs trilogy < 5a( 2are 2ata
4are 9197&:0 2rem 4ei 919&1:0 and 2rotibeshi 91994:2
5 "%riad refle-tion of t'e eLigent ti"es - Bengali s'ort fi-tional (rose
8iterature arti+ulated the sentiments o/ the times and emerged as an alternative ar+hive2 The little
narratives stood against the grand stories0 the o//i+ial -as pitted against the uno//i+ial -hi+h re+orded
the daily +hroni+les and sho-ed the a+tual e//e+t o/ o//i+ial de+isions in everyday li/e o/ the people2
People -ere +entral to the literary representations0 moulding the per+eption o/ the age0 its
+ontradi+tions0 travails and an5ieties2 Against the novels on partition the short story too held a position
o/ pre<eminen+e till re+ent times2 The short story en+apsulated individual /ates and +arried as mu+h
pun+h as the epi+ s-eep o/ novelisti+ time -ithin its short duration2 'u+h has #een -ritten a#out the
#a+drop o/ PartitionA here 1% $engali short /i+tions
have #een sele+ted on the #asis o/ their /o+us on
the spe+trum o/ the human pro#lem -hi+h /orms the theme o/ this paper2 They are penned #y -riters
on either sides o/ the eastern $order o/ 7ndia2
131=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
En 14 Septem#er 1947 3ehru in an aerial survey o#serves that t-o re/ugee +olumns -aling to-ards
either dire+tion o/ the #order0 #oth 40 miles long2 Though the re/ugee +olumns in the east -ere not as
+on+entrated as on the -estern #order0 as they -ere not perpetuated #y immediate mo# /ury0 the
misera#le train o/ people uprooted #y /ear0 apprehension and despair /rom a+ross the eastern #order0
-aling in #oth dire+tions0 to the land o/ sa/ety0 -as a +ommon sight at the time o/ Partition2 7n the
story 2ather &anta ,amesh "handra Sen -rites o/ one su+h group trudging /rom east to -est0 +arrying
meagre #elongings0 +on/ronts another group lie itsel/0 +onsisting o/ mainly -omen +hildren0 the
elderly and a /e- men0 )ust as hapless as itsel/2 There is a moment o/ silent empathy #et-een them as
they siHe ea+h other up and re+ogniHe their similar plight0 #e/ore going their opposite -ays2
The ,ad+li//e a-ard allo+ated the t-o #orders that +reated Paistan and partitioned 7ndia2 A/ter the
,ad+li//e $oundary -as announ+ed on 1! August 19470 there -as no t-o -ay migration on the eastern
#order0 unlie the near +omplete s-ap o/ populations on the -estern #order0 and this has #een the
general pattern o/ migration in the east e5+ept /or a #rie/ period in 1940<41 and individual +ases in
19!4<!42 The human stream has +ontinued /lo-ing0 only /rom east to -est /rom $angladesh0 and has
never stopped till today0 as ,ana#ir SamaddarZs essayDs title says0 [Still They "ome O 'igrants in the
Post<Partition $engalZ2
7t has #een a story o/ long dra-n out migration and a seemingly unending
struggle /or the survival o/ the east $engali re/ugee +rossing to ;est $engal0 Assam0 and $ihar over the
[porousZ #order2
7n the li/e o/ the protagonist in !par 3par 9This Side and That Side:0 a story #y 'ano) $asu0 a
similar plight o/ displa+ement is e5perien+ed a year #e/ore Partition during the 3oahali violen+e2
3oahali led to $ihar violen+e0 -hi+h then had reper+ussion in other distri+ts o/ east $engal2 The
minority +ommunity o/ the -ell<to<do (indus lie (imangshuZs /amily in -'ar ?'ar -ere at the
re+eiving end o/ the violen+e2 A -ay o/ li/e is disrupted as households #rea up and are s-ept a-ay2
Then (imangshuZs /amily mem#ers are le/t -ith no other option #ut to /a+e unemployment and
homelessness in the +ontinuing struggle as east $engali re/ugees in 7ndia2
.)harya &ripa(ani 'o(ony #y $i#huti#hushan $andyopadhyay en+apsulates the /ear o/
displa+ement0 the -orry a#out relo+ation and the e5ploitation o/ su+h an5ieties o/ -ould<#e re/ugees #y
pro/iteers0 around the time o/ Partition2 7t sho-s ho- east $engali re/ugees in 7ndia -ere sold marshy
land and given rosy promises o/ development2 The +autious narrator in the story +omes all the -ay
/rom .essore to inspe+t the [+olonyZ -hi+h turns out to #e miles a-ay /rom the station and the Ganga
132=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
river0 and lie mu+h o/ the lands given to east $engal re/ugees0 is -ater logged0 mos6uito in/ested and
a verita#le )ungle o/ s-ampy undergro-th2 7n the end #y the t-ist o/ /ate0 a++ording to the ,ad+li//e
,eport0 the narratorZs village is allo+ated to ;est $engal0 sho-ing ho- the #order de/eated many
e5pe+tations o/ -here it -ould [pla+eZ them2
The a#surdity o/ dra-ing #oundaries on -ater and the darly amusing story o/ asserting rights and
privileges as +on/usion prevails -hen people are le/t on the [-rongZ side0 -hile their means o/
livelihood have #een trans/erred to the other0 maing one<time +itiHens [/oreignersZ overnight and
+reating suspi+ion amongst erst-hile neigh#ours0 is told in Annada Shanar ,ayZs story .ngina
Bidesh2 ;hat appears to #e the /retting o/ a man0 delirious -ith /ever0 turns out to #e a story a#out the
dispute round the -aters o/ the Ganga -here it merges -ith the Padma2 The pro#lem is ho- does one
dra- a line o/ demar+ation a+ross -ater?
!par Ganga 3par Ganga0 a story #y .yotirmoyee Devi is a#out the +rossing o/ the #order a/ter
Partition0 o/ people in -hole /amilies0 -ho leave /ields o/ /lourishing paddy and homesteads #ehind0
+arrying very little in their sear+h /or a sa/e haven2 The sel/<styled guardians o/ the #order on either
side are out to mae a pro/it2 This story is a#out Sudam and his pretty0 young -i/e0 Durga2 'en -ith
money and #eauti/ul -omen are easily spotted and noted #y those guarding the #order2 Sudam +rosses
to Kolata leaving Durga to /ind %4 rupees as the pri+e to tae his pretty -i/e a+ross the #order2 (e
returns a/ter many days0 #y -hi+h time Durga has taen the only option le/t to a de/en+eless0
apparently a#andoned -omen0 o/ dro-ning hersel/2 Sudam then #e+omes the +raHed hus#and looing
/or his lost -i/e2
The #order #et-een 7ndia and Paistan not only +reated t-o +ountries0 #ut segmented /amilies0
+ausing the immense pain o/ separation #y a de/ining line -hi+h has #een almost un+rossa#le /or years0
e5+ept as the /inal +rossing /or people -ho have le/t one +ountry /or another0 /or good2 This is the
dilemma /a+ed #y 3eelima in Shimanta #y Salam AHad0 -hen she re+eives a telegram in $hagyaul in
*ast Paistan0 saying that her aged /ather0 -ho migrated to Karimgange in 7ndia in 19470 no- -ants to
see her0 perhaps0 /or the last time2 For many0 lie her /ather0 it -as a )ourney o/ no return2 So 3eelima
arranges to -ear a red sari and hopes her /ather -ill get her message to +ome and see her /rom the other
side o/ the river at a +ertain point0 at an appointed time2 She sees a vague /igure in the distan+e #ut is
not sure -hether her /ather -ith his /ailing eyes0 is a#le to see her as -ell2 T-o helpless human #eings0
3eelima and her hus#and0 Po#itra Saha0 #rea do-n -eeping un+ontrolla#ly0 po-erless #eside the
133=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
politi+al #arrier that they have neither +reated nor -anted2
;ritten lie a diary0 5anmabhumi #y Samaresh Dasgupta has all the nostalgia o/ a re/ugee
remem#ering his motherland2 The narrator is an artist -ho paints the lands+ape o/ -hat he has le/t
#ehind -ith its romanti+ +onnotations and the reality o/ Sealdah Station
-hi+h #e+ame prover#ial as
the +ro-ded arrival point and inde/inite re/uge /or the destitute /rom east $engal and later0 *ast
Paistan2 The re/ugee narrator +ontinues to miss the land o/ his #irth and en+ounters the sar+asm o/
those -ho have not #een uprooted /rom a /airly prosperous agri+ultural #ase and +annot +omprehend
the -hole truth o/ -hat the dispossessed have lost2 The ne- #order has separated /amilies as the
narratorZs parents0 un+les and aunts stayed #a+ and died there0 -hile his generation -as sent to 7ndia2
7n his story Shamikshan
-riter Su)an#ilash $is-as narrates the harro-ing tale o/ s6uatters inside
Sealdah Station0 -here0 -ithout -or0 /ood or shelter0 people are le/t to either die lie the protagonist
Sudhanya or +ommit sui+ide lie his -i/e Sulata0 to es+ape a li/e o/ shame or are orphaned as their son
is0 -ithout the sustenan+e and se+urity that east $engali re/ugees re6uired at the time o/ Partition2
7n the story !k 5anmer 6irn #y Dipanar Das #oth the narratorZs and his un+leZs /amilies have #een
/or+ed to /lee their homeland at the time o/ the Partition0 and though the narratorZs /ather someho-
manages to mae a living /or his /amily0 the #rother is never a#le to re+over the [so+ial dignityZ he
ne-0 in -hat -as east $engal2 Deep in de#t and desperation0 he disappears a+ross the #order0 perhaps
looing /or his homeland a/ter losing his mental #alan+e2
The themes o/ /amilies #eing separated0 o/ tentative returns to oneZs roots0 the +all o/ the an+estral
land and oneZs home0 are re+urrent themes in post<Partition literature as in AhtaruHHaman *liasZs story
.nya Ghare .nya Sar2 Prodip has returned to his /atherZs old home -here his -ido-ed paternal aunt0
Pishima and +ousins still live2 7t is not e5a+tly a sense o/ home<+oming that Prodip /eels0 #ut perhaps0
an une5pressed attempt to /eel and hear o/ his late /ather on+e again0 to dis+over /amilial traits in
Pishima0 to #e assured #y a sense o/ +ontinuity as Prodip /eels restless in his o-n /ra+tured e5isten+e2
The /a+t that he has never settled do-n0 #ut moves a+ross 7ndia and travels to Dhaa0 3arayangan) and
Agartala0 -here his /amily has #een s+attered0 sho-s the /ragmentation and s+attering o/ people -hi+h
the Partition +aused2
The most pervading emotion in the -riting on Partition is nostalgia0 the memories o/ home and the
a+ute agony o/ losing it /orever2 The $engali -ord udbastu remained imprisoned in the pages o/
di+tionary till 19472 Suddenly it #e+ame a part o/ the daily e5perien+e2 Similarly the *nglish -ord
134=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
[re/ugeeZ0 -hi+h #e+ame a part o/ the $engali vo+a#ulary0 a+6uired ne- signi/i+ations2 [These t-o
-ords O [udbastuZ and [re/ugeeZ +ontain the -hole history o/ $engali su//ering and humiliation0 agonies
o/ inse+urity and horrors o/ leaving the an+estral home O in an en+apsulated /orm2Z
De#esh ,oyZs story 7dbastu 6uestions the very identity o/ a /amily o/ a hus#and0 his -i/e and
daughter2 Protagonists Satya#rata 8ahiri and Anima0 uprooted /rom east $engal /ollo-ing Partition0 are
dou#ted #y the proposition that they have /aed their true identities2 The story sho-s the #iHarre legal
investigations +arried out in the 7ndian Inion -hen it is /a+ed -ith the 6uestion o/ approving property
#ought #y re/ugees0 demanding +erti/i+ates /rom people -ho have /led -ithout their #elongings0
dou#ting the [purityZ o/ -omen -ho /inally made it a+ross the #order0 )eopardiHing the very identity o/
their o//spring2
Bana 6angshir Deshe #y Amar 'itra is set on the (ili #order o/ ;est Dina)pur in 199!2 7ndia has
de+ided to demar+ate the #order -ith $angladesh -ith #ar#ed -ire /en+e2 The #ar#ed -ire -ould
pro+laim all trespassers as [in/iltratorsZ0 i2e20 illegal immigrants -ho had no right to +ross over0 rather
than re/ugees or migrants0 negating the assuran+e on+e given to people /a+ing displa+ement -hen
Partition -as a++epted #y 7ndia and Paistan0 -ho -ere told that they -ould /ind re/uge in the +ountry
o/ their +hoi+e or the one they -ere /or+ed to inha#it2 The #order has segmented homesteads0 lands0
lives and identity2 The #ar#ed -ire -ill trap them as never #e/ore2 Protagonist Aloa -ants to see the
#order and +omes a++ompanied #y her hus#and0 Su#ir2 "on/rontation -ith the #order demysti/ies
Aloa as she /inds that [everything is )ust the same0 yet0 everything is di//erentZ2
As dis+ussed /rom the a++ount o/ short stories -e see so+ial de#a+les to personal en+ounters o/ the
darest moment o/ 7ndian history re/le+ted in $engali literature2 The stories mentioned a#ove and many
more +over a -ide time span0 /rom pre<Partition days to the present and the narratives poignantly
portray the dilemmas o/ people -ho see only /uHHy /rontiers and emotional homelands -here +oldly
and irrevo+a#ly dra-n #orders +ome into e5isten+e2 ;hile the #order on land +an #e #ar#ed ho- +an
minds #e /en+ed? The stories depi+t the dilemma o/ the times some-hat impinging on the /ar<rea+hing
permanent s+ars o/ the issue /or generations to +ome2
13C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
12 Das0 Sisir Kumar0 [Struggle /or Freedom= Triumph and TragedyZ0 / History of Indian
!iterature: IJII$IJ8Z0 3e- Delhi0 19940 p2 3702
%2 Fraser0 $asha#i 9ed2:0 7ntrodu+tion to Bengal Partition Stories: /n 2nclosed Cha'ter0 3e-
Delhi0 %00&0 p2 42
32 $ag+hi0 .asodhara and Dasgupta0 Su#horan)an 9ed2:0 [The Pro#lemZ0 Porous Borders: #ivided
Selves O a symposium o/ Partitions in the *ast0 Seminar 'agaHine0 Fe#ruary0 %00%2
42 Das0 19940 p2 37&2
42 Samaddar0 ,ana#ir 9ed2:0 Reflections on Partition in the -ast0 3e- Delhi0 19970 p2 10!2
!2 The "olle+tions /rom -hi+h the stories 9e5+ept Shamishan: are sele+ted are=
AHad0 Salam0 #eshbhager )al'o0 Kolata0 199&2
$andyopadhyaya0 'ana#endra 9ed2:0 Bhed Bibhed0 Kolata0 199%2
"hattopadhy0 Sudin and Das0 Sa+hin0 #anga ? #eshbhager )al'o0 Kolata0 %0002
72 Samaddar0 19970 p2 &72
&2 Pra/ulla "hara#arti des+ri#es the s+enes at Sealdah Station as [The Gate-ay to (ell2Z See
"hara#arti0 Pra/ulla Kumar0 The Marginal Men0 Kolata0 19990 pp2 11<1%2
92 Shamishan0 an unpu#lished story #y Su)an#ilash $is-as0 a -riter -ho had +ome /rom east
$engal to Kolata2 See endnote 1190 Fraser0 %00&0 p2 432
102 Das0 19940 p2 3792
%allol )ango'adhyay, after com'leting his Masters in Bengali from 1adav'ur 2niversity ,ent on to do
a 'ost graduate di'loma from Satya+it Ray film and Television Institute of India; He currently teaches
in the Bengali de'artment of 1ogesh Chandra Chaudhuri College as an /ssistant Professor, under
2niversity of Calcutta; He had edited and co$scri'ted documentaries and shorts, and ,ritten on
comics, theatre, film and literature; His current ,ritings include M gra'hic novels on 5iveananda,
memoirs of Partition and Himalayan travel ,ritings;
i-'ael ad'usudanFs $olla1oration and $ollusion
/it' ,o"inant $olonial $ulture in Meghanadbadh &avya
,e1 ,ulal 8alder
/ashar Chholone Bhuli 9!ured by Ho'e, as translated #y Gopa 'aHumdar: is the most re+ent title o/
'i+hael 'adhusudan DuttZs #iography0 -ritten #y Ghulam 'urshid2 >Ene o/ the greatest poets o/
$engal0 espe+ially distinguished as an epi+ poet and as the /irst $engali -riter o/ #lan verse@
9'urshid0 3!%: b as -ritten #y his /riends in the ins+ription o/ his tom#0 /or his great a+hievement in
moderniHing the $engali literature0 is depi+ted to #e a person de+eived #y hope O a single hope o/
#e+oming an *nglish poet2 'adhusudan0 #orn in a -ell to do upper +lass ayastha /amily had an
inordinate /as+ination /or *nglish language and +ulture2 (e in his youth sighed /or >Al#ionZs distant
shore@ and -anted to esta#lish himsel/ as an *nglish poet there2 (is -hole li/e -as spent in pursuing
that dream o/ going to *ngland0 as it -as >earthly paradise@ to him2 (is #e+oming a "hristian -as only
a logi+al step to-ards his goal o/ a+hieving a ne- identity as an *nglish poet2 Ghulam 'urshidZs
#iography o/ 'adhusudan sho-s ho- he -as preo++upied -ith the only dream o/ #e+oming an *nglish
poet throughout his li/e till he eventually realiHed his mistae0 during his years in *ngland and *urope0
-hen he under-ent a series o/ e5perien+es0 -hi+h +ured him o/ his almost /atal Anglo<mania2 So at the
later part o/ his li/e he em#ra+ed his native language realiHing the malad)ustment involved in sel/
/ashioning himsel/ in the -estern mould0 as he -rites in the poem >$engali@<
E $engal0 many )e-elersM All the treasures o/ your store
7n /olly 7 ignoredA in #e/uddlement o/ mind2 9Trans2 'arian 'addern0 73:
'adhusudan0 thus0 registered the impa+t o/ #oth +olonialism and -esterniHation O his li/e itsel/ +an #e
read as an allegory o/ -hat 3andy +alls >loss and re+overy o/ sel/ under +olonialism2@
'eghanad and ,avana0 the protagonists o/ Meghanadbadh %avya0 are usually represented in the
popular 7ndian tradition0 some-hat similar to that o/ Satan in the ;estern tradition2 ;hy 'adhusudan
is deli#erately inverting that tradition o/ the Ramayana to mae ,avana and 'eghanad heroi+ Vand
tragi+W /igures0 instead o/ ,ama and 8asmana0 is something -hi+h is not so easy as to say that he is
imitating 'iltonZs Satan2 From his personal letters -ritten to his /riends0 -e +ome to no- that he has
137=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
a great veneration /or the greatest *nglish poet 'ilton2
That he -as in/luen+ed #y the ;est is true0 #ut
apart /rom ;esterniHation there are other /a+tors that do +ome into light i/ -e try to see -hy
'adhusudan is deli#erately inverting the popular (indu mythology2 7snZt the /a+tor o/ rea+ting to the
+olonial psy+hology also -oring in 'adhusudanZs mind -hen he is maing ,avana and 'eghanad
the heroes o/ his magnum opus?
Till the 1&%0s and 1&30s the *ast 7ndia "ompany in 7ndia has only #een #usy maing money and the
$ritish sahi#s -ere respe+t/ul to the 7ndian traditions0 +ustoms0 and deities2 Till then it -as only a#out
e+onomi+ally e5ploiting 7ndia2 *ven the o//i+ial language o/ the ,a) -as Persian /or the /irst seventy<
/ive years o/ the $ritish rule2 The $ritish rule then -as in some -ay a +ontinuation o/ the +onventions
o/ the 'ughal *mpire0 rather than the appli+ation o/ the *uropean state+ra/t2 7t is only a/ter the
emergen+e o/ 8i#eral and Itilitarian thining and the emergen+e o/ the middle +lass evangeli+al spirit
in *urope that ;est #egan to per+eive the +olonial rule as their religious duty O as their +iviliHing
mission0 as their method o/ appropriation o/ their drive /or mastery over the oriental 9semi: #ar#arians2
The s+holars lie .eremy $entham and .ohn Stuart 'ill +on+eptualiHed that +olonialism is >a ne+essary
step to progress and as a remedy /or /eudalism2@ 93andy 1%: Thus0 +olonialism proper started in 7ndia
-ith the emergen+e o/ 'odern *urope0 as $ipan "handra says >"olonialism in 7ndia -as as 'odern a
histori+al phenomena as 7ndustrial +apitalism in $ritain0 the t-o developed together@ 9%7%:2
7t is in the +onte5t o/ the *uropean mission o/ +iviliHing the 9semi:#ar#arians that 3andy tals a#out
the homology #et-een se5ual and politi+al dominan+e2 A++ording to this homology the -est sa- and
pro)e+ted themselves as mas+uline #e+ause o/ their politi+al and so+io<e+onomi+ dominan+e and
legitimiHed the dominan+e over the [/eminineZ orient0 as 3andy -rites O >"olonialism R -as
+ongruent -ith the e5isting ;estern se5ual stereotypes -ith the philosophy o/ li/e0 -hi+h they
represented2 7t produ+ed a +ultural +onsensus in -hi+h politi+al and so+io<e+onomi+ dominan+e
sym#oliHed the dominan+e o/ men and mas+ulinity over -omen and /emininity@ 94:2 The /irst rea+tions
o/ the 7ndians +oming in +onta+t -ith the +olonial +ulture -ere simply to mimi+ the *nglish and
*uropean +ulture and to de/eat the $ritish in their o-n game2 3andy sho-s ho- the -riters lie
13B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
'adhusudan Dutt0 $anim "handra "hatter)i and others #egan to +ele#rate [shtriyahoodZ or [hyper<
mas+ulinityZ o/ the /igures /rom the 7ndian mythology to /ight #a+ the +olonial paradigm o/ the so
+alled mas+uline -est2 $engalis -ere the /irst to +ome in +onta+t -ith $ritish and there/ore they -ere
the /irst to mimi+ the ;estern model o/ s+ienti/i+ progress0 *nlightenment0 ,enaissan+e O to moderniHe
7ndia0 to /ight against the +olonial po-er2 7n the /ield o/ so+ial re/orms ,a)a ,am 'ohan ,oy and
others tried to /ight against the internal so+ietal and religious pro#lems0 to re/orm and mae the 7ndian
so+iety prepared to /ight against the +olonial rulers2 These so+ial re/ormers -ere all edu+ated in the
-estern tradition o/ *nlightenment and ,enaissan+e and they -ere using that edu+ation /or the
#etterment o/ the masses o/ 7ndia2
7n the /ield o/ modern 7ndian literature0 the /orerunners -ere all edu+ated in the -estern tradition o/
thoughts and it is this edu+ation o/ theirs that made them imitate the -estern model o/ -riting2 $anim
"handra "hatter)i0 the /irst modern novelist o/ $engali literature0 -rites his /irst novel Ra+mohan&s 3ife
in *nglish0 #ut soon realiHes that -riting in mother tongue -ill #e more pre/era#le and /ruit/ul0 and
shi/ts to $engali language2 Similarly0 the /irst modern $engali poet0 'i+hael 'adhusudan Dutt starts
his literary +areer as an *nglish poet0 or to use a #etter e5pression0 starts his +areer striving to #e an
*nglish poet0 giving us the pioneering 7ndian *nglish poetry2 $ut similar to $anim "handra "hatter)i0
he too realiHes that he +an do a lot many i/ he shi/ts to his mother tongue as the means o/ literary
e5pression2 This de+ision o/ home+oming to the mother tongue made him the pioneering modern poet
in $engali literature2
7t is generally #elieved that 'adhusudanZs -ritings are dire+t imitation o/ the -estern -riters0 and at
the same time0 it is also +ontemplated that0 in nineteenth +entury $engal0 'adhusudanZs li/e portrays
the su//ering that the +olonial pro+ess maes the +oloniHed go through as he /ails to see the #eauty and
depth o/ the 7ndian +iviliHation and tries to #lindly imitate the ;est not only in literature0 #ut in
religion0 in +ulture0 in li/e0 -hi+h +an #e des+ri#ed as [-esto5i+ationZ2 $ut to understand 'adhusudan
and his -ritings -e need to go #eyond his apparent into5i+ation /or the -est and see the real #eing that
emerges out -hen that phase o/ into5i+ation gets over2 7t is impossi#le /or native elite in the nineteenth
+entury $engal to deny the ;estern in/luen+e as the tone o/ the age -as set in that /ashion in "al+utta2
All the youths0 edu+ated in (indu "ollege0 "al+utta0 aspired to #e -estern O and 'adhusudan #eing an
139=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
e5traordinary genius in the /ield o/ literature0 espe+ially poetry0 o#viously dreamt o/ #e+oming an
[*nglish poetZ2 (is -hole li/e -ent on in +arrying out the only dream O to trans+end the limits o/ #eing
a [native eliteZ to get in+luded in the /oreign elite +lass2 $ut at last he realiHes the pain o/ trying to attain
the impossi#le and -ith a [+riti+al a-arenessZ +omes #a+ to the native elite +lass2 This )ourney /rom
native elite to the attempt to get in+luded into the /oreign elite and #a+ to the native elite should not #e
seen as a de/eat o/ 'adhusudan Vor o/ the +oloniHed0 in generalW0 nor should it #e seen as a triumph o/
modernity over traditionA #ut it demonstrates a +omple5 interplay as 'adhusudan +ame #a+ to the
native +lass -ith a +riti+al synthesis O a synthesis -hi+h made him produ+e many great $engali literary
-ors in general and Meghanadbadh %avya in parti+ular2
7n Meghanadbadh %avya0 'adhusudan is deli#erately inverting the tradition o/ The Ramayana to mae
,avana and 'eghanad the heroes o/ his magnum opus2 Some s+holars thin that this is a deli#erate
inversion /ollo-ing 'iltonZs Satan2 $ut Ashis 3andy points out that it has other impli+ations0 having
its roots in the +olonial +ulture2 7n The Intimate -nemy: !oss and Recovery of Self 2nder Colonialism0
3andy points out t-o homologies -hi+h #rings out the psy+hologi+al #a+ up o/ the -est to +oloniHe
the A/ro<Asian +ountries as the >the +rudity and inanity o/ +olonialism are prin+ipally e5pressed in the
sphere o/ psy+hology2@ 9%: A++ording to the homology #et-een se5ual and politi+al dominan+e the
;est sa- and pro)e+ted themselves as mas+uline #e+ause o/ their politi+al and so+io<e+onomi+
dominan+e and dominated the /eminine Erient2 'oreover the ;est #egan to per+eive Erient as [1eiledZ
O [1eilZ immediately #e+ause a sym#ol o/ resistan+e -hi+h made the ;est desire to unveil the Erient2
7n addition to that0 the su#sidiary homology #et-een +hildhood and the state o/ #eing +oloniHed -here
the +hild is no more seen as the [smaller versionZ o/ the adult0 #ut as [in/erior versionZ0 to #e edu+ated0
to #e made mature2 Through these t-o homologies the ;est tried to legitimiHe their drive /or mastery
over people -hom they stereotyped as 9semi: #ar#arians and unGsemi +iviliHed2
'adhusudan0 as a produ+t o/ the period o/ the initial en+ounter o/ the +olonial $ritish and 7ndia0
rea+ted to the +olonial paradigm o/ the e6uation o/ politi+al and se5ual dominan+e2 'adhusudan
9similar to $anim "handra "hatter)i:
pi+ed up +hara+ters /rom 7ndian mythology0 to disapprove the
14&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
-estern notion o/ the Erient as /eminine2 'adhusudan -rote to ,a) 3arain in 1&!0 O >7 must tell you0
my dear /ello-0 that though0 as a )olly "hristian youth0 7 donZt +are a pinZs head /or (induism0 7 love
the grand mythology o/ our an+estors2 7t is /ull o/ poetry2 A /ello- -ith an inventive head +an
manu/a+ture the most #eauti/ul things out o/ it@ 9Madhusudan Rachnavali0 447:2 'adhusudan having a
great no-ledge a#out the poeti+ 7ndian mythology used it to /ight against the +olonial paradigm #y
maing the traditional heroes o/ The Ramayana /eminine and unheroi+ /igures0 and maing ,avana and
'eghanad the tragi+ heroes2 'adhusudan gre- up in his +hildhood listening to the stories o/ 7ndian
mythology /rom her mother and -as edu+ated in the -estern li#eral ideas and -estern +ulture and
literary /ashion o/ the -est in his youth2 (e assimilated the eastern and -estern mythologi+al0 literary
and +ultural prototypes to manu/a+ture something -hi+h is at on+e thought to #e a dire+t imitation o/
'iltonZs Satan #y some s+holars0 #ut at the same time vie-ed as an attempt to /ight #a+ the +olonial
homology on the other2
Though $uddhadeva $ose in >Sahitya "har+ha@ de#uns the idea that in 'adhusudan -e do /ind an
assimilation o/ the east and the -est and says that it is a+tually in ,a#indra 3ath Tagore that the real
assimilation o/ the eastern and the -estern +ultures taes pla+e in $engali literature 931:0 and it is
thought that 'adhusudan is -estern to the +ore o/ his heart and soul0 #ut at the same time his )ourney
o/ #e+oming -estern and the /ailure to #e so should not #e seen as a /ailure altogether #e+ause the
)ourney had a greater signi/i+an+e2 There are some /ailures that mae people learn more than -hat they
+an learn /rom the su++ess2 'adhusudanZs /ailure0 in his desire to get re+ognition as a great *nglish
poet0 should not #e vie-ed as a +ollapse altogether0 as his /ailure to a+hieve so made him realiHe the
vanities o/ his -ishes2 ,ealiHing the vanities he moderated his desire and /ought #a+ against the
parameters that he on+e dreamt o/2 This )ourney to prove himsel/ as an *nglish poet -as long and
painstaingly distress/ul0 #ut the pain that 'adhusudan has to go through to realiHe the vanities o/ that
dream must have #een even more pain/ul2 S+holars and +riti+s o/ 'adhusudan point out his )ourney to
transgress /rom the [native elite +lassZ to the [/oreign elite +lassZ as a pain/ul so)ourn0 -hi+h the
+ir+umstan+es o/ the nineteenth +entury $engal imposed upon himA #ut the return )ourney to [native
elite +lassZ /rom the [/oreign elite +lassZ is [sel/<in/li+tedZ O and the s+holars on 'adhusudan generally
negle+t this )ourney o/ 'adhusudan2 This e//ort that he put in to de-esterniHe himsel/ Vi/ not /ully0 #ut
141=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
partiallyW is -hat maes him rea+t against the +olonial po-er in a parti+ular -ay -hi+h resulted in the
inversion o/ the protagonists o/ The Ramayana2
7n the inversion o/ the +hara+ters o/ The Ramayana0 -e do see in 'adhusudan Dutt a /as+ination /or
the +olonialist mas+ulinity O #ut that /as+ination is there more to /ight against the so<+alled mas+uline
-est2 For 'adhusudan0 unlie Gandhi0 the -ay to resist the mas+uline -est is not [livatvaZ
0 #ut an indigenous mas+ulinity O the mas+ulinity that he per+eives in 'eghanad and
,avana2 'adhusudan per+eives the rashashas in the position o/ the inno+ent pre<+olonials0 #rave #ut
/oolish0 there/ore easily de/eated #y e//eminate ,ama and 8asmana2 The rashasa +lan o/ ,avana is
sho-n to #e e5traordinarily #rave and honest0 -hereas ,ama and 8asmana are sho-n to #e +unning in
their nature2 ;ithout their +unningness it -ould #e impossi#le /or them to ill 'eghanad in a #attle i/
'eghanad -ould have +ompleted the >nium#hila yagna2@ 7t -as essential /or 8asmana to disrupt that
-orship o/ 'eghanad so as to stop him /rom attaining the divine po-er and gra+e2 $ut the -ay ,ama
and 8asmana de+ide to murder 'eghanad only portrays them as +unning murderers0 rather than gods
-ho are /ighting a #attle /or their rights2 'adhusudan des+ri#es ho- 8asmana taes the help o/
goddess 'aya to slay 'eghanad O
Goddess 'aya revealed her presen+e0 #esto-ed
The #oonA she the o+ean o/ +ompassion0 saidA <
>Delighted0 pleased -ith you0 today0
Eh son o/ +haste Sumitra0 < gods0 goddesses
AllM $asav has0 heavenZs o-n arms
Sent /or youA 7 am here in person
At lord ShivaZs #ehest to a++omplish
Qour tas0 destined2 ;ielding +elestial arms0
'ighty one0 -ith $ivishana along0
Pro+eed into the +ity0 -here ,avani
Does Qa)na 3ium#hila at the pedestal0
;orshipping lord 1aish-anara0
7n a /lash0 poun+ing as the panther0 set upon0
142=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Slay the rashasaM $y your gra+e0
Qe t-o enter unseenA as the s-ord in sheath0
7Zll shroud you -ith the +harmed veilM@ 9Trans2 #y Shyamal $andopadhyay0 140 <141:
The >+harmed veil@ suggests the +unning nature o/ ,ama and 8asmana -ho no- that in an e6ual
#attle it -ould #e impossi#le /or them to de/eat 7ndra)it V'eghanadWA there/ore they use their
shre-dness to murder 'eghanad2 This +unning0 e//eminate and sly nature o/ >,ama and his ra##les@ is
portrayed against the #rave mas+uline ,avana and 'eghanad to spot out the nature o/ the entry o/ the
+olonial po-er into 7ndia2 $andopadhyay -rites O >The re#el in 'i+hael had his sympathy turned -ith
any#ody -ho /ought his right against intrudersA he V,avanaW -as #ound to #e his /avourite2@
9Introduction0 5:
The $ritish have also entered 7ndia #y using their shre-d sly mind0 -hi+h not only has ruined the
7ndian so+ietal and e+onomi+ /a#ri+0 #ut also has harmed its #a+#one #y +orrupting its +ulture2
Shyamal $andopadhyay -rites O >The -ar -as one o/ heroi+ de/ense #y the ,ashasas o/ their
motherland@ 9Introduction0 55ii:2 ,ama and his +ompany -ere intruders to the +ity o/ 8ana0 and it is
6uite o#vious that 'adhusudan0 -hile rea+ting against the +olonial -est -ould tae up the most
popular tale o/ 7ndia2 (e too up the Ramayana #e+ause he sympathiHed -ith the /ortune o/ ,avana
and 'eghanad0 as he -rites O >7 despise ,ama and his ra##le2 The idea o/ ,avana elevates me@
9^uoted in Shyamal $andopadhyay0 5vii:2 ,avanaZs idea elevates his mind as he +ould identi/y himsel/
-ith the /ortune o/ ,avana0 -ho is trying to save his motherland /rom the intruders2 A++ording to
'adhusudan Dutt0 it is not that the pre<+olonial 7ndians -ere /eminine and immature as the +olonial
-est per+eives it0 #ut they -ere #rave0 mas+uline #ut inno+ent lot Vlie 'eghanad and ,avanaW2 7n
Meghanadbadh %avya0 [inno+en+eZ again is not a negative +hara+teristi+ as the -est per+eives it O the
+olonial -est per+eives the +oloniHed as the in/erior version o/ the adults -ho are to #e taught and
edu+ated to mae them +iviliHed2 The inno+en+e that is generally asso+iated -ith the +hildhood is
supposed to #e a mar o/ righteousness and re+titude is pro/essed as a la+ #y the +olonial +ulture o/
the -est2 'adhusudan0 -ho is mu+h in/luen+ed #y the ,omanti+ Poets and their ideas0 di//ers /rom the
+olonialist propaganda2 Though in the +ele#ration o/ the >aggressive mas+ulinity@ he is taing up the
parameter o/ the +olonial homology o/ the se5ual and politi+al dominan+e0 #ut at the same time he
143=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
di//ers /rom the +olonialist mission -hen it +omes to the 6uestion o/ inno+en+e to #e seen as a la+ o/
superiority and e5+ellen+e2
'i+hael 'adhusudan Dutt0 thus0 tries to /ight #a+ the +olonialist -est in his li/elong desire to e6ual
the +olonial masters2 *arlier he tried to e6ual them #y imitating their +ulture0 #ut -as not in+luded into
their +ommunityA realiHing the /utility o/ his attempt he /ought #a+2 $ut -hat he +ould not a+hieve
militarily0 he tried to a+hieve that through his poetry O thus his style too is mas+uline2 (is o#session
-ith the >mas+ulinity@ -as su+h that not only he praised the mas+ulinity o/ ,avana and 'eghanad
-hi+h -as earlier thought to #e demoni+A #ut his style o/ -riting itsel/ #e+ame very mas+uline2 (is
mas+ulinity in style +onsists o/ #eing #rave to innovate the >amitrashar +hhanda@ in $engali language
and literature and in innovating a language in $engali0 -hi+h has its elegan+e o/ its o-n2 Shyamal
$andopadhyay points out several distinguishing /eatures o/ 'adhusudanZs >amitrashar +hhanda@ O
>First0 the theme and the -ords -ere /reed /or the /irst time /rom the +ompulsion o/ pun+tuation2
Se+ond0 the phrases rise up to the theme0 to the musi+ o/ the poetry0 the passion0 the s-eeps o/
imagination0 the melan+holy sadness that -eaves the verse /orm2@ 9Introduction0 555viii:2
As $engali language is not #ound #y +ompound -ords and phrases0 there/ore it -as e5tremely
di//i+ult /or any poet to -rite in #lan verse0 #ut 'i+hael 'adhusudan Dutt su++eeded in in/using into
the $engali language the >amitrashar +hhanda@ #y varying rhythms0 phrases0 stops and +reating ne-
-ords o/ musi+ and po-er that trans+ended the routine /rame o/ $engali language2 S+holars on
'adhusudan are o/ the opinion that there are +ertain distin+t +hara+teristi+s o/ 'adhusudanZs poetry O
>R a preponderan+e o/ un+ommon0 di//i+ult -ords R la+ o/ simpli+ity and straight/or-ardness in the
+onstru+tion o/ senten+es0 < a +om#ination o/ mas+uline -ords arti/i+ially #ound together0 < /ar/et+hed
metaphors and imageries O and o/ +ourse #oundless passion0 imagination and /lights o/ /an+y get out o/
+ontrolA un+onventional +onstru+tion o/ ver#s -hi+h are #asi+ally nouns and ad)e+tives O and a /re6uent
mi5ture o/ +haste and +ollo6uial -ords and phrases@ 9Shyamal $andopadhyay0 Introduction0 555viii:2
These +hara+teristi+s o/ his verse have made his poetry over-helming2 To a+hieve this over-helming
su++ess in innovating the [mas+ulinityZ o/ the $engali language he did not have to #e too +autious as he
-rites to ,a) 3arain O >7 had no idea0 my dear /ello-0 that our mother tongue -ould pla+e at my
144=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
disposal su+h e5haustless materials and you no- 7 am not a good s+holar2 The thoughts and images
#ring out -ords themselves O -ords that 7 never thought 7 ne-2 (ere is a mystery /or you2@ 9^uoted in
Shyamal $andopadhyay0 %&: These lines /rom 'adhusudanZs letter points out that the mas+ulinity that
he #rought to $engali language is #e+ause the theme o/ the grand de/eat o/ 'adhusudan -anted that
ind o/ mas+uline language2 The >mystery@ that 'adhusudan tals a#out is not mystery #ut
[spontaneous over/lo- o/ po-er/ul emotionsZ O the emotions that -ere there in his heart o/ not #eing
in+luded into the [/oreign elite +lass2Z There/ore he +hooses not >veera rasa@ V+ourageW as the theme o/
his epi+0 as 'adhusudan -rites to ,a) 3arain O >R 7 am going to +ele#rate the death o/ my /avourite
7ndra)it2 Do not #e /rightened0 my dear /ello-2 7 donZt trou#le my readers -ith vira ras@ 9Madhusudan
Rachanavali0 44!:2 7n another letter he -rote to his /riend O >Qou must not0 my dear /ello-0 )udge o/
the -or as a regular [(eroi+ PoemZA 7 never meant it as su+h2 7t is a story0 a tale0 rather heroi+ally told@
9^uoted in Shyamal $andopadhyay0 55i:
The theme o/ the epi+ poetry usually deals -ith the >vira rasa@ Vthe heroi+W0 #ut as 'i+hael
'adhusudan Dutt pointed out 'eghanad#adh Kavya does not deal -ith the heroi+ tale o/ 'eghanad
#ut deals -ith the >aruna rasa@ VpathosW o/ ,avana2 $harata muni0 in his /amous te5t 0atya Shastra
says O >The Karuna ,asa taes its origin through di//erent $havas either at the sight o/ the death Vor
murderW o/ the dear one or -hen unpleasant -ords have an adverse impa+t2@ 979<&0: Meghanadbadh
%avya starts -ith the ne-s o/ 1irvahuZs death and ends -ith the lamentation o/ the death o/ 'eghanad2
From the very #eginning to its end the epi+ deals -ith the [sthayi #havaZ Vemotional stateW o/ >soa@
Vgrie/W2 The grie/0 that 'adhusudan e5perien+ed in his -ish to #e+ome an *nglish poet is not similar to
that o/ the grie/ o/ ,avana2 $ut #oth o/ them are trying to /ight /or their motherland2 ,avana is trying to
/ight it -ith his military /or+e0 -hile 'i+hael 'adhusudan Dutt is trying to /ight it -ith his mas+uline
poetry2 $oth o/ them are using their mas+ulinity to over+ome their grie/2 'adhusudanZs grie/ is in his
sel/<in/li+ted pain as he -anted to #e an *nglish poet and latter realiHed that it -as a vain attempt0 and
,avanaZs grie/ is in his sel/ in/li+ted su//ering as he says O
Alas0 Surpanaha0
;hat inauspi+ious hour -as it you des+ried O lu+less0
This venomous deadly serpent
14C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
7n the /atal Pan+ha#ati -ood?
;hat evil moment0 Vsharing your lamentW0
Did 7 /or+e .anai0 as the tongue o/ /lame2
7nto this golden 8ana0
7 le/t /or the densest -ood O alone0
Seeing sola+e in this #urning agonyM 9Trans2 #y Shyamal $andopadhyay:
$oth ,avana and 'adhusudan have in/li+ted pain upon themselves and there/ore its 6uite natural that
'adhusudan Dutt -ould tae side -ith ,avana and -ould +ele#rate his mas+ulinity #e+ause in the
+ele#ration o/ ,avanaZs +ause0 'adhusudan Dutt +an see himsel/ /ighting2 Thus though the tale o/
Meghanadbadh %avya is that o/ a grieved /atherZs su//ering0 #ut itZs also a tale o/ /ighting #a+ that
pain heroi+ally2 'adhusudan Dutt thus attains the grandeur that he -anted to a+hieve all his li/e O #y
telling his o-n tale o/ /ight against the intruders through ,avana2 7t +an #e that 'adhusudan Dutt is
/as+inated #y the +olonialist mas+ulinity #ut the latter 'adhusudan is trying to +ele#rate the indigenous
mas+ulinity o/ ,avana and 'eghanad to #attle against the +olonial -est and his o-n -esterniHed early
12 From his letters0 -e +an /ind out the veneration 'adhusudan had /or 'ilton2 'adhusudan -rote to his /riend ,a)
3arain < >R 'ilton is a grand #eing lie his o-n Satan0 he is /ull o/ the lo/tiest thoughts0 #ut has little or nothing
that may #e +alled amia#le2 (e elevates the mind o/ the readers to a most astonishing height2 $ut he never tou+hes
the heart and that is the +onse6uen+e? (e has a glorious name #ut /e- readers2 (e is Satan himsel/2 ;e
a+no-ledge him to #elong to a /ar superior order o/ #eingA #ut -e never /eel /or him2 ;e hear the sound o/ his
ethereal voi+e -ith a-e and trem#ling2 (is is the deep roar o/ a lion in the silent solitude o/ the /orest2@
9Madhusudan Rachnavali0 4!1: 7n another letter to ,a) 3arain0 'adhusudan -rote O >7/ your /riends no-
*nglish0 let the read the Paradise !ost0 and they -ill /ind out ho- the verse0 in -hi+h the $engali poetaster -rites0
is +onstru+ted2 The /a+t is0 my dear /ello- that the prevalen+e o/ $la+ verse in this +ountry0 is simply a 6uestion o/
time2 8et your /riend guide their voi+es #y the pause 9as in *nglish #lan verse: and they -ill soon s-ear that this
is the no#lest measure in the language2@ 9Madhusudan Rachnavali, 44& O 49: or in another letter to the same /riend
he -rites >7 donZt thin it impossi#le to e6ual 1irgil0 Kalidasa and Tasso2 Though glorious0 still they are mortal
poetsA 'ilton is divine@ 9Madhusudan Rachnavali0 447:2
%2 $anim "handra "hatter)iZs [SannyasisZ in /nandamath mimi+s priesthood in some versions o/ -estern
"hristianity and his essay on %rsna 93andy0 %3<%4:2
146=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
32 Ashis 3andy points out in The Intimate -nemy: !oss and Recovery of Self under Colonialism that there are t-o
-ays o/ /ighting against the +olonial homology #et-een se5ual and politi+al dominan+e2 The /irst is to /ight #a+
the +oloniHers #y de/eating them in their o-n game2 As the early nineteenth +entury s+holars0 -ho tried to imitate
the +olonial +ulture to prove that0 do it they are #etter in that too2 $ut GandhiZs -ay to rea+t -as altogether
di//erentA he dis+arded the +olonial homology o/ se5ual and politi+al dominan+e #y saying that [livatvaZ or
androgyny is superior to mas+ulinity and /emininity2
72 $andopadhyay0 Asit Kumar 919&3: $angla Sahitya /dhuniata "al+utta2
&2 $asu0 .ogendranath0 91993: 'i+hael Madhusudan #utt7s 1ibancharit0 Deys Pu#lishing0 "al+utta2
92 $haratamuni0 0atya Shastra0 translated #y A $oard o/ S+holars0 Sri Satguru Pu#li+ations0 Delhi2
102 $ose0 Amalendu 919&1: Michael Madhusudan #utt0 'aers o/ 7ndian 8iterature Series0 Sahitya
Aademi0 3e- Delhi2
112 $ose0 $uddhadeva 91943: Sahitya Charcha, Signet Press0 "al+utta2
1%2 "handra0 $ipan0 >"olonialism0 Stages o/ "olonialism0 and "olonial State@0 .ournal o/ "ontemporary
Asia0 1ol2 100 19&02
132 "ohn0 $ernard "20 >,epresenting Authority in 1i+torian 7ndia@ in /n /nthro'ologist /mong Historians
and ?ther -ssays0 E5/ord Iniversity Press0 Delhi0 pp2 !3%<&%2
142 Dutt0 'i+hael 'adhusudan0 Meghanadbadh %avya in Khetra Gupta 9199!: edited Madhusudan
Rachnavali0 Sahitya Samsad2
142 Dutt0 'i+hael 'adhusudan0 Meghanadbadh %avya, Translated #y ,a)endranath Sen 919%!: Pu#lished
#y the author0 $enaras2
1!2 Dutt0 'i+hael 'adhusudan0 Meghanadbadh %avya0 Translated #y Shymal $andopadhayay 919&!:
Tomsi Pu#li+ations0 "al+utta2
172 Khetra Gupta 9199!: *dt2 Madhusudan Rachanavali0 Sahitya Samsad0 "al+utta
1&2 Khetra Gupta0 Madhusudan %abi /tma ? %avya Sil'a0 A2K2 Sarar and "ompany0 "al+utta2
192 'addern0 'arian 91977: $engali Poetry into -nglish: /n Im'ossible #ream[ *ditions 7ndian0 "al+utta2
%02 'aHumdar0 'ohitlal 9199&: Ka#i Madhusudan0 $odhadaya 8i#rary Pvt2 8td0 "al+utta2
%12 'urshid0 Ghulam 9%003: !ured by Ho'e, Trans2 #y Gopa 'a)umdar2 EIP
%%2 'urshid0 Ghulam 91997: /ashar Chalone Bhuli, Ananda Pu#lishers Pvt2 8td20 "al+utta2
%32 3andy0 Ashis 919&3: The Intimate -nemy: !oss and Recovery of Self 2nder Colonialism, EIP0 Delhi2
147=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
%42 ,oy "houdhari0 Tapan 9199&: -uro'e Reconsidered: Perce'tions of the 3est in the 0ineteenth Century
Bengal EIP0 Delhi2
%42 Sarar0 Suso#han 91979: ?n the Bengal Renaissance0 Papyrus0 "al+utta2
%!2 Sen0 Amit 91947: 0otes on Bengal Renaissance0 3ational $oo Agen+y Pvt2 8td2 "al+utta2
#eb #ulal Halder is an /ssistant Professor in %irori Mal College, 2niversity of #elhi; Besides
0ineteenth Century Bengal, his areas of interest include !iterature of Romantic and 5ictorian -ra,
Indian !iterature in -nglish6 translation among others; He has co$authored boos on Technical 3riting
and Communication and .oundational Conce'ts of Translation, and edited Po'ular .iction: Critical
Literature ? o!e"ent in t'e Mahishasurmardini- Sele-ted Verses of t'e
Devi Mahatmya9 Durga Saptashati and t'e Bengali $rossroads
San2a% Eu"ar
The 'a'er sees to eG'lore linages bet,een literature and its "movement& beyond its basic time, format and s'ace; The
literature under observation, in this 'a'er, is the teGt Mahishasurmardini, i;e;, some of the selected verses of the ancient
Sansrit teGt #evi Mahatmya6 #urga Sa'tashati, ,hich narrates the story of )oddess #urga, slaying a demon called
Mahishasur; The theme has moved beyond literature, over a time, and assumed many eGtra$literary formats such as
de'iction of goddess #urga along ,ith and as slaying the demon Mahishasur in the Indian scul'tural, 'ainting and audio$
visual musical and filmic traditions;
?ne such "movement& is the "Chandi'ath& Einvocation of #evi #urga, through musical form of recitationA by Birendra
%rishna Bhadra, first broadcast in the form of a live orchestriLation by the /ll India Radio, Calcutta, in IJVH, and since
then, has been continuously an annual feature on the /ll India Radio, %olata, on the aus'icious occasion of Mahalaya,
albeit in recorded version since IJY9s; The recitation of chosen Sansrit verses has been beautifully 'laced in the midst of a
variety of Bengali classical and fol songs\ collectively these songs have "moved& beyond their time of com'osition, i;e;, the
third and fifth centuries Ethe Sansrit onesA to the t,entieth and t,enty first centuries /;#; These have also moved to the
're$recorded audio and video format from, essentially, the literary format\ and these have "moved& to all to'ogra'hical
locales covered by the /ll India Radio and6or inhabited by the Bengali community, ,ithin and outside India; /nd thus, a
humble and mortal em'loyee of /ll India Radio, Birendra %rishna Bhadra becomes a celebrated legend and immortal
name in each and every Bengali household;
7ndia is a multilingual and multi+ultural +ountry2 These attri#utes0 in turn0 have #een no sudden or
overnight developmentsA instead0 thousands o/ years o/ +ontinuous +ultural evolution and progression
have +ontri#uted to the attainment o/ this admira#le /eat2 These0 indeed0 mae 7ndia one o/ the /inest
spe+imens o/ li#eral pluralisti+ so+ieties o/ the +ontemporary -orld +iviliHations2 7ndiaZs multilingual
and +ultural +hara+ters have #een /irmly rooted in a uni6ue synthesis among religions0 literature and an
un#roen Heal o/ su++essive generations o/ its people to put this synthesis to a variety o/ +ultural
(induism0 one o/ the most important +omponents o/ 7ndiaDs multi+ultural identity0 has #een having no
homogeneous attri#ute2 De/ined #y the Supreme "ourt o/ 7ndia as a DD-ay o/ li/eD0 it en+ompasses
multipli+ity o/ gods and goddesses0 ea+h -ith -ell<de/ined physi+al and spiritual /orms0 themes and
attri#uted /un+tions2

All o/ them have ri+h literary /oundations0 +ompiled over #y a su++ession o/
generations o/ people0 #elonging to di//erent times and spa+es2 *a+h (indu godGgoddess has #een
as+ri#ed -ith #iographi+al stories e5plaining +olour/ully the o#)e+tives and a+ts o/ (isG (er li/e and
149=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
servi+es to-ards the #etterment o/ humanity2 The su++essive generations o/ the 7ndian people0
pro/essing to (induism0 have #een #ringing out these to their imagined humaniHed /orms /rom out o/
their literary narratives and have +reated multiple +ultural /estivities around the gods and goddesses0
#oth as /ree</ettered0 as -ell as +y+li+ +ultural +ele#rations2 The /ormer /ormat ena#les the (indu gods
and goddesses to #e put to +ele#rations at any time o/ a year in various /orms o/ arts and +ultures0 su+h
as0 musi+0 dan+e0 drama0 painting0 ar+hite+ture and s+ulpture2 The latter /ormat is +y+li+ in nature0 #ased
on the appli+ation o/ the lunar +alendar0 -herein these gods and goddesses0 -ith their spe+i/i+s0 are
#ound in distin+t +ultural patterns o/ +ele#rations on parti+ular dates and months o/ a year2 $y virtue o/
these0 they o++upy signi/i+ant spa+e in the psy+he o/ the popular +ultural imagination2
(indu gods and goddesses su+h as ,ama0 Krishna0 Ganesa0 Durga0 Shiva and many others0 have #een
li/ted /rom their respe+tive literary narratives and on the #asis o/ ela#orated attri#utes /ound in su+h
narratives0 given humaniHed /orm2 *ver sin+e the #eginning o/ the pra+ti+e o/ +arving out #eauti/ul
statues out o/ a variety o/ stones and su#se6uently0 some other materials0 these gods and goddesses0 /or
instan+e0 have #een an integral part o/ the evolution and progression o/ 7ndian s+ulptural traditions
in+luding those o/ $uddhism and .ainism2 7n present times0 there hardly e5ists any territorial lo+ation
in 7ndia0 -here one +annot noti+e #eauti/ul statues o/ these gods or goddesses0 enshrined in numerous
temples0 varying /rom ela#orate and #eauti/ully +onstru+ted ar+hite+tural masterpie+es to smaller
roadside pavement shrines2 'any o/ su+h temples e5ist #eyond the politi+al /rontiers o/ 7ndia0
espe+ially0 in /oreign land -ith a history o/ 7ndian settlements2 These gods and goddesses -ith their
respe+tive s+riptures also o++upy prominent pla+es in the sphere o/ 7ndian musi+ and dan+es< +lassi+al
as -ell as popular0 paintings0 drama and others2 The Radha$%rishna theme0 in #oth o/ its su#<themes O
union and separation0 as a loving +ouple0 has #een one o/ the most +ommonly employed moti/s o/
musi+ and dan+e0 +lassi+al as -ell as popular0 in+luding the 7ndian "inema2 Festivals lie Ramnavmi
and #asahara along -ith "ele#rations o/ ,ama<,avana story in the /ormat o/ Ramalila are +ele#rated
-ith great hlan0 pomp and grandiosity0 in /ree /ettered as -ell as +y+li+ /ormats2 Similarly0 1anmashtmi,
#ahi Handi0 and Holi have a readymade Krishna theme in musi+0 dan+e and +inemati+ e5hi#itions0
along -ith their annual +ele#rations as /estivals -ith /i5ed dates in /i5ed months2 These also o++upy a
prominent position in modern audio<visual mediums0 su+h as +inema0 radio0 television0 internet and
mo#ile phones et+2 ;ith the multipli+ation o/ su+h mediums0 stories related to spe+i/i+ (indu gods and
goddesses have almost #e+ome daily doses o/ popular +ultural and entertain<mental diet2
1C&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
The Mahishasurmardini 9the slayer o/ #u//alo demon: is one su+h highly +ele#rated literary theme2 7t
is a part o/ a prominent Sansrit te5t +alled the #evi Mahatmya 9The Su'reme )oddess:0 also no-n as
the #urga Sa'tashati and the Chandi'ath
2 This te5t has a total o/ 700 verses2 This te5t0 in turn0 is part
o/ a larger Sansrit te5t +alled the Marandeya Purana2 The Mahishasurmardini te5t0 as+ri#ed to a
$rahmin sage no-n as 1aysa0 is #elieved to have #een +ompleted #et-een 3rd and 4th +enturies
7t is a story -hi+h +ele#rates the +ommon theme o/ stories +ontained in various (indu s+riptures0
-hi+h +ommonly sho- the vi+tory o/ the good over the evil2 'ahishasur in this story represents a
dreaded evil /or+e0 the ing o/ demons0 -ho -as so po-er/ul so as to have su++ess/ully de/eated gods
and had +aptured s,arga 9heaven0 the a#ode o/ gods and goddesses:2 The gods0 to es+ape 'ahishasurDs
+ruelty and to re+laim their lost a#ode0 invoed the trinity o/ (indu gods< the $rahma0 1ishnu and
'ahesh-ar 9Shiva:2 All these Gods assem#led together and +reated goddess Durga0 out o/ their
+om#ined po-er2
Further0 the gods delegated their +om#ined po-er to her and there#y made her the
supreme po-er in /eminine /orm -ith the purpose to eliminate 'ahishasur and to li#erate the gods and
goddesses and their heavenly a#ode2
*6uipped -ith +om#ined strength0 the goddess0 then0 /ought
against 'ahishasur and his large army o/ demons2 First0 she destroyed 'ahishasurZs army2
a/ter a /ier+e #attle0 'ahishasur -as grounded and the Devi trampled him under her /eet and illed him
-ith her trident2
All the gods and goddesses0 )u#ilant over the DeviZs /eat0 then0 /ormed a +ir+le and
o//ered prayers to (er2
The theme o/ Durga<'ahishasur #attle has #een rendered into 7ndiaZs various +ultural /orms2 Durga
idols have long +ome to asso+iate 'ahishasur as an integral part2 The most standard posture o/ a Durga
7dol is one0 -herein she0 adorned -ith di//erent -eapons in her hands0 eeps her one /eet on her vehi+le
9lion: and the other /eet on the +hest o/ the grounded or a seated 'ahishasur -ith trident in/li+ting
in)uries on his #ody2
This standard posture o/ Durga 7dols dates #a+ to the #eginning o/ the /irst
+enturies o/ the "hristian era2 Ene o/ the earliest spe+imen o/ stone statues o/ Durga in its standard
posture #elongs to the /irst +entury and has #een ept at the government museum in Ittar Pradesh2
Another stone statue0 #elonging to the /ourth +entury0 is ept at the Shimla museum in (ima+hal
Similar Durga<'ahisasur stone statues0 in Mahishasurmardini posture0 #elonging to the /i/th
and si5th +enturies0 one may see at the G-alior museum in 'adhya Pradesh and the ,avana Padi "ave0
Aihole0 in Karnataa0 respe+tively2
The Shiva temple at Kit+hing in Erissa +ontains a tenth +entury
1C1=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Mahishasurmardini statue2
The Mahishasurmardini /mbia temple at .agat in ,a)asthan has a tenth
+entury idol and "hidam#aram temple in Tamil 3adu has an eleventh +entury Durga statue in the
Mahishasurmardini posture2
82 Susan (untington and .ohn "2 (untington also e5hi#it some o/ the
early representations o/ Mahishasurmardini in stone in their #oo2
Ene o/ these representations is
that o/ a Durga statue0 dating #a+ to the seventh +entury0 in the Durga temple0 at Aihole in
Similarly0 another representation is that o/ a seventh +entury stone statue /rom the
(ima+hal Pradesh state museum2 Ether e5amples o/ su+h statues may in+lude Mahishasuramardini at
'amallapuram0 in Tamil 3adu0 7ndia0 #elonging to the seventh +entury 2
1idya Dehe)ia also re/ers to
a Mahishasurmardini statue -hi+h is at the Qogini temple0 lo+ated in $heraghat in 'adhya Pradesh2
The theme has #een employed in paintings as -ell2 7n /a+t0 the 3ational Ar+hives in Kathmandu has a
painted version o/ the te5t #evi Mahatmya2 These paintings sho- traditional 3epali artists
e5perimenting -ith a ne- medium in 1&!32 The al#um +ontains a series o/ images in se6uen+e0
illustrating the events o/ the #evi Mahatmya2 Almost every painting +orresponds to a spe+i/i+ verse o/
the poem2 7t has #een studied #y 'asahide 'ori and Qoshio 'ori in one o/ their #oos2
Some o/ the
paintings o/ these are illustrations o/ the theme o/ Mahishasurmardini2
Thousands o/ mud<-ood<stra-
Durga idols are made every year in this style0 to +ele#rate Durga Pu)a and are immersed in di//erent
-ater #odies upon the +ompletion o/ this Pu)a2 'odern "alendar art is yet another domain -here
Mahishasurmardini theme is one o/ the most prominent themes2 Any and all average (indu household
hang +alendars on -alls o/ their houses -ith the +alendar o/ Durga0 invaria#ly in this style2
This prelude0 attempting to set+h the happy synthesis #et-een literature and religion in 7ndia and the
+ultural +ele#ration o/ this synthesis in multi/arious -ays0 #rings us to the +entre stage o/ this paper0
i2e20 the Mahishasurmardini as a radio programme0 dissemination o/ this theme to all territorial +orners
o/ 7ndia0 under the radio +overage0 and the +onse6uent religious<+ultural impa+t upon the people -ho
#e+ame ha#ituated over time0 to its listening2
;hile radio still +ontinues to serve as one o/ the largest means o/ mass +ommuni+ation0 it #rings an
instant nostalgi+ +onne+t to all su+h people -ho are #orn and #rought up in 7ndia during the pre mass
multimedia age2 The /ll India Radio -ith its +ommer+ial #road+asting arm0 5ividh Bharati0 had a
1C2=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
golden era0 -herein0 it played the role o/ a national edu+ator as -ell as entertainer -ith the help o/ its
#ou6uet o/ various audio programmes o/ tremendous so+ial and +ultural values
2 7n the a#sen+e o/
other means o/ mass media0 the nation depended solely on ,adio #road+asts /or its daily doses o/
,adio #road+asting made a hum#le #eginning in 7ndia in 19%4 -hen a private radio +lu#0 the Madras
radio club0 started a limited #road+ast in the 'adras Presiden+y2 The $om#ay station o/ the 7ndian
$road+asting +ompany -as opened in 19%72 The 7ndian $road+asting "ompany started its "al+utta
station in the same year2
(o-ever0 the 7ndian $road+asting "ompany did not su++eed in e5panding
and managing radio #road+ast and #y 19300 it #e+ame #anrupt2 At this )un+ture0 the $ritish
Government o/ 7ndia stepped in0 pur+hased the assets o/ the 7ndian $road+asting "ompany0 and #egan
its operation0 al#eit0 no- as a Government enterprise -ithin the department o/ 7ndustry and 8a#or0 a/ter
having renamed it as the 7ndian State $road+asting Servi+e2
The 7ndian State $road+asting Servi+e
-as renamed as the /ll India Radio 9A7,: in .une 193!2 Finally0 it -as renamed as /ashvani in
7n order to +ompete -ith ,adio "eylon0 -hi+h -as eating into large +ommer+ial opportunities
o/ the /ll India Radio0 the Government o/ 7ndia started 5ividh Bharti as the "ommer+ial $road+asting
servi+e o/ /ll India Radio in 19472 7ts main ingredient -as /ilm musi+2 7t started a++epting +ommer+ials
/rom 3ovem#er 19!7 on-ards0 #ut #y that time it had a dedi+ated audien+e and su++ess/ully +ompeted
-ith the /oreign radio net-or in terms o/ popularity2
The /ll India Radio added another /eather in its
-ing in 19&&0 -hen the 0ational Channel -as started0 essentially as a night servi+e to entertain /a+tory
-orers0 /armers0 drivers0 soldiers and students2 Further0 in %0010 the /ll India Radio laun+hed .M II0
later renamed as the .M )old due to its popularity -ith the younger generation2 Today0 the /ll India
Radio #road+asts in %4 languages and 14! diale+ts0 in+luding /rom the north<eastern states2 7ts e5ternal
servi+es +over %7 languages0 in+luding /oreign languages2 7t has %14 stations and 337 transmitters2 7ts
+overage is as -ide as 9124% per+ent o/ the area and 99213 per+ent o/ the population2
The address 10 Garstin Pla+e0 remained an important address in the erst-hile "al+utta0 no- Kolata2
7t -as the o//i+ial address o/ the /ll India Radio in "al+utta #e/ore it got shi/ted to its present lo+ation
at *den Gardens2
,adio #road+ast in "al+utta0 maring its #eginning under the aegis o/ the 7ndian
$road+ast "ompany in 19%70 su#se6uently +ame under Government +ontrol2 7t is in this radio station
that su+h a +ultural masterpie+e as the Mahishasurmardini radio programme -as +on+eived0 -ritten
and per/ormed in 193% and sin+e then it has #een in annual #road+ast -ithout any #rea /or the last &0
1C3=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
7ts importan+e is not only in the /a+t that it is the longest running radio programme in 7ndia #ut
also in the pu#li+ applause and appre+iation -ith -hi+h this programme has #een greeted #y people in
general and $engalis in parti+ular over the de+ades2 7nitially0 /or years0 this programme -as per/ormed
live on the parti+ular day o/ Mahalaya2 8ater0 sometimes in 1970s0 it +ame to #e re+orded and
therea/ter0 the re+orded version #egan to #e #road+ast annually2
The assem#lage o/ luminaries -as huge in terms o/ artists o/ +ali#re -ho +ontri#uted to the maing
o/ this programme2 7n its /inal /orm the s+ript is prepared #y $aidyanath $hatta+harya0 popularly
no-n as $ani Kumar0 -hereas various narratives in Sansrit and $engali verses o/ the s+ript have
#een re+ited #y the legendary $irendra Krishna $hadra himsel/0 and the musi+ +omposition is done #y
one o/ the most prominent musi+ dire+tors o/ early $engali and (indi /ilms0 Pana) Kumar 'ulli+2
$esides0 the s+ript in+ludes a num#er o/ Sansrit and $engali songs2 The latter +ategory in+ludes #oth
+lassi+al as -ell as /ol musi+2 The singers o/ these songs in+lude $engali singing marvels o/ the
yesteryears lie0 Supriti Ghosh0 Di)en 'uher)ee0 Shipra $ose0 'ana#endra 'uher)ee0 Krishna
Dasgupta0 Shyamal 'itra0 Ashima $aner)ee0 Arati 'uher)ee0 Sumitra Sen0 Sandhya 'uher)ee0 Tarun
$aner)ee0 Pratima $aner)ee0 Pana) 'ulli+ and Itpala Sen2
The duration o/ this programme is a#out 90 minutes2 7t is a s+ript narrating the illing o/ the $u//alo
headed ing o/ the demons0 'ahishasur #y the Goddess Durga2 The highly dramatiHed narratives in
$irendra Krishna $hadraZs #aritone voi+e are interspersed -ith 1& songs o/ -hi+h 4 songs are in
Sansrit and rest 14 in $engali2 The s+ript may appear in the /ollo-ing ta#ular manner=
1&2 Qa "handi 'adhuaita #hareRR2 hridaya )anani0 ya 'ahishamardiniR 9"horus=00=00=34:
Sansrit song
192 Singhastasha Shashisehara 9"horus= 0020%243: Sansrit song
%02 $aa)lo Tomar Aalor $enuR29Female=00=04=3!: $engali song
%12 .ago Tumi .ago22 .ago Durga 9'ale=00=09=1!: $engali Song
%%2 Ego Amar aagomoni aaloR9Female=00=1%=40: $engali Song
%32 Ta#o A+hinto ,upa "harita 'ahima22 9'ale=00=17=3&: $engali Song
%42 Sansrit songR9"horus=00=%4=0!:
%42 Ahil $imane Ta#o .ayganR9Female=00=%9=14: $engali Song
%!2 Shu#hro Sanho ,o#eR9Duet=34A30: $engali Song
%72 Dasnaam Das#hu)anamR22'ahishasurmardini22 9"horus=00 =39=00: Sansrit Song2
1C4=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
%&2 3amo "handi 3amo "handi .ago ,ata#ee)oniintini0 .ago 'ahishasur#imardini 9'ale=
00=44=1%: $engali Song2
%92 'ago To#o $ine Sangeeto Premo 8alito= 3ihilo Prane Diner Tare Tare ,onito 9Female=49=00:
/ollo-ed #y 0arayani 0amastute 9Sansrit re+itation #y $hadra:
302 $imane $imaneRR 9Female= 00=49230:
312 .aya )aya (ey 'ahishasurmardiniRR.aya .aya .aap KareRR 9"horus=1=03=14: Sansrit
song2 Follo-ed #y the Chandi'athR :a devi sarbabhuteshuW; 0amas tatsyayR 91=04=40<
3%2 (ey "hinmoyi RRRRRR2 9'ale=1=10=3!: $engali Song2
332 Amolo Kirone Tri#hu#ano 'onoharini 9Female= 1=14=30: $engali Song2
342 ,upangdehi .ayangdehi .ashodehi Pro+hodaheRR Sansrit Song 9'ale= 1=19=04:
342 Shanti Dile $hori Duho ,a)oni Galo 9Female= 1=%!=4&:2 $engali Song2
Given the spa+e +onstrains0 it is not /easi#le to transport the entire *nglish translation o/ the s+ript in
the present paper2 Qet0 some parts o/ it0 7 intend to present here0 so as to give a taste o/ the +ontent and
the overall literary #rillian+e o/ the s+ript2
?m singhasta shashisehara marat'rahyaichaturbhribhu+e
Sanha charadhanusharanch dadhti netrestribhi shobhita
#urga durgatiharini bhavtu no ratnollasatundla
9The one -ho is riding a lion0 -hose head is adorned #y the moon0 -ho shines lie the #rightest
9'arat: gem0 -ho holds +on+h0 +hara0 #o- and arro- in her /our hands0 adorned -ith three eyes0
-hose di//erent parts o/ #ody is adorned -ith #eauti/ul arm #and0 ne+la+e0 #angles0 -aist #and and
anlets -ith s-eet #eats0 and on -hose ears gem laden ear rings shine0 that goddess Durga is going to
remove all our di//i+ulties:2
The a#ove te5t is put to a #eauti/ul +horus song -hi+h appears in the s+ript at the distan+e o/ % minutes
and 43 se+onds /rom the #eginning2 7t has #een dire+tly taen /rom the Sansrit #urga Sa'tashati2
Similarly another import /rom the #urga Sa'tashati in the trans+ript is the /ollo-ing=
?m +ayanti Mangla Bhadraali %a'alini
#urga shama shiva dhatri s,aha s,adha namostute2 91:
1CC=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
9.ayanti0 'angla0 Kali0 $hadraali0 Kapalini0 Durga0 Khsama0 Shiva0 Dhatri0 S-aha and S-adha0
Popular #y these names .agdam#e0 a++ept my reveren+e2:
Ru'an dehi +ayan dehi yasho dehi d,isho +ahi2 93:
9The slayer o/ 'adhu and Kaita#h and the one -ho granted #oon to $rahma0 hey Devi0 a++ept my
reveren+eA Qou give me no-ledge o/ the #eing o/ the sel/0 give vi+tory 9over atta+hments: give me
/ame 9o/ attaining no-ledge: and destroy enemies 9lie lust and anger: :
Mahishasurnirnashibhatanamsuhde namah
Ru'an dehi +ayan dehi yashodehi d,isho +ahi; 94:
9The slayer o/ 'ahisasur and the devi -ho gives happiness to devotees0 a++ept my reveren+eA you give
me no-ledge o/ the #eing o/ the sel/0 give vi+tory 9over atta+hments: give me /ame 9o/ attaining
no-ledge: and destroy enemies 9lie lust and anger: :
5andita dighrayuge devi sarvasaubhagyadayini
Ru'an dehi +ayan dehi yasho dehi d,isho +ahi2 97:
9,evered #y all +oupled /ooted Devi and the one -ho gives +omplete /ortuneA you give me no-ledge
o/ the #eing o/ the sel/0 give vi+tory 9over atta+hments: give me /ame 9o/ attaining no-ledge: and
destroy enemies 9lie lust and anger: :
/chintyaru'charite sarvashatruvinashini
Ru'an dehi +ayan dehi yasho dehi d,isho +ahi2 9&:
9DeviMM QouZre /orm and +hara+ter are indestru+ti#le2 Qou are the annihilator o/ all enemiesA you give
me no-ledge o/ the #eing o/ the sel/0 give vi+tory 9over atta+hments: give me /ame 9o/ attaining
no-ledge: and destroy enemies 9lie lust and anger: :
0atebhya sarvada bhatya chandie durita'ahe
Ru'an dehi +ayan dehi yasho dehi d,isho+ahi2 99:
9Destroyer o/ sins0 hey "handie0 those -ho #o- their heads #e/ore you in devotionA you give them
no-ledge o/ the #eing o/ the sel/0 give vi+tory 9over atta+hments: give me /ame 9o/ attaining
no-ledge: and destroy enemies 9lie lust and anger: :
#ehi Saubhagyamarogyan dehi me 'armam suham
Ru'an dehi +ayan dehi yasho dehi d,isho +ahi; 91%:
1C6=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
9Give me /ortune and good health and the a#solute happinessA you give me no-ledge o/ the #eing o/
the sel/0 give vi+tory 9over atta+hments: give me /ame 9o/ attaining no-ledge: and destroy enemies
9lie lust and anger:
5idehi devi alyanam videhi 'armam shriyam
Ru'an dehi +ayan dehi yasho dehid,isho+ahi; 914:
9DeviM 'ae me #lessed2 Give me the #est virtuesA you give me no-ledge o/ the #eing o/ the sel/0
give vi+tory 9over atta+hments: give me /ame 9o/ attaining no-ledge: and destroy enemies 9lie lust
and anger: :
#evi bhata+anoddamdattanandodayembie
Ru'an dehi +ayan dehi yasho dehi d,isho +ahi; E%3:
9Devi "handieM Qou al-ays give a#solute pleasure 9or happiness: to your devoteesA Qou give me
no-ledge o/ the #eing o/ the sel/0 give vi+tory 9over atta+hments: give me /ame 9o/ attaining
no-ledge: and destroy enemies 9lie lust and anger: :
Patni manoramam dehi manobrittanusarinim
Tarini durgsansarsagarasya ulodhvam2 9%4:
9Give me a #eauti/ul -i/e -ho -ill a++ompany me as 7 desire0 -ho -ill tae me out o/ all pro#lems in
the di//i+ult o+ean lie li/e and -ho is #orn in a no#le +lan:2
The a#ove import appears in the trans+ript at the distan+e o/ one hour nineteen minutes and /ive
se+onds and has #een used as one o/ the songs2 The rest o/ the trans+ript +ontains prayers to Goddess
Durga and $engali narrative o/ +reation o/ the Goddess along -ith the episode o/ ea+h God parting
hisGher po-er -ith and reposing in the Godess2
(o-ever0 -hat pro#a#ly mae the entire trans+ript
hypnoti+ in e//e+t0 is the mysti+al0 musi+al and highly passionate +hants o/ the Chandi'ath in the voi+e
o/ $irendra Krishna $hadra2 3ot )ust the lyri+s0 #eginning -ith0 >:a #evi SarvabhuteshuR@0 #ut the
mesmeri+ manner in -hi+h the narrator has +hanted these verses rotating in #et-een the lo-0 medium
and high pit+hes o/ his voi+e and there#y e5empli/ying a splendid -or o/ voi+e +ontrol and #ased on it
a rare genius spe+imen o/ voi+e modulations0 all +om#ine to mae the +hants eternally lovea#le and
liea#le2 The /ollo-ing is the te5t o/ the Chandi'ath0 on+e again0 taen /rom the #urga Sa'tashati2
0amo devyaimaha devyai Sivayai satatam namaha
0amaha 'raritiyai Bhadrayai niyaatah samatam; 91:
1C7=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
9;e #o- to the Goddess0 to the great Goddess0 to the energy o/ in/inite GoddessA -e prostrate0 -ith
hands together0 to 3ature0 to the e5+ellent one:2
Roudrayinamo 0ityayi )auryayi #hatrayayi namo namah
1yotsnayayai Chenduru'inyayi suhyayisatatm namah; 9%:
9;e #o- to the ,eliever o/ the Su//erings0 to the eternal0 to the em#odiment o/ rays o/ lightA -e
+ontinually #o- to the Goddess -ho mani/ests light0 to the /orm o/ devotion0 to (appiness:2
%alyanyai 'ranatam vrddhyayai sidhhyai urmo namonamah
0aiirtyayi bhubratam !ashmyai sharvanayayitey namo namah; 93:
9;e #o- to the -el/are o/ those -ho #o- to +hange0 to per/e+tion0 to dissolution0 to the -ealth -hi+h
sustains earth0 to the -i/e o/ +ons+iousness0 -e #o-:2
#urgayai durga'arayai saraayai sarvaarinyai
%hyatyai tathaiva rsnayai dhumrayai satatam namah; 94:
9;e #o- to the one -ho removes di//i+ulties0 -ho removes #eyond all di//i+ulties0 to the essen+eA -e
+ontinually #o- to the doer o/ all0 to per+eption and to the unno-a#le one:2
/ti saumyat raudrayai natastastasyai namo namah
0amo +agat'ratishtayai devyai rtyai namo namah;*E4:
9;e #o- to the e5tremely #eauti/ul and to the e5tremely /ier+e0 -e #o-0 -e #o-A -e #o- to the
esta#lisher o/ the per+eiva#le -orld and -ho is the mundane e5isten+e0 -e #o-0 -e #o-0 -e
+ontinually #o- to her:2
:a devi sarvabhuteshu 5ishnu mayeti shabdita
0amstastyai ,0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 9!:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho is addressed as the per+eiva#le /orm o/
+ons+iousnessA ;e #o- to her0 -e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a devi sarvabhuteshu chetnayetyabhi dhiyate
0amstastyai ,0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 97:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides all throughout the +ons+iousness and is
no-n #y the re/le+tions o/ the mindA ;e #o- to her0 -e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu Bhuddhi ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 9&:
1CB=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ intelligen+eA -e #o- to her0
-e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu 0idra ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai ,0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 99:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ sleepA -e #o- to her0 -e
#o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu %sudha ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 910:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ (ungerA -e #o- to her0 -e
#o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu Chaya ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 911:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ appearan+eA -e #o- to her0
-e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu Shati ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 91%:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ energyA -e #o- to her0 -e
#o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu Trishna ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai ,0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; E13:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ desireA -e #o- to her0 -e
#o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu %santi ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 914:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ Patient /orgivenessA -e #o-
to her0 -e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu 1ati ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 914:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ all living #eingsA -e #o- to
her0 -e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
1C9=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu !a++a ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 91!:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ humanityA -e #o- to her0 -e
#o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu Shanti ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 917:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ pea+eA -e #o- to her0 -e
#o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu Shraddha ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 91&:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ /aithA -e #o- to her0 -e #o-
to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu %anti ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 919:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ #eauty enhan+ed #y loveA -e
#o- to her0 -e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu !ashmi ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai ,0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 9%0:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ true loveA -e #o- to her0 -e
#o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu 5ritti ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 9%1:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ +hangeA -e #o- to her0 -e
#o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu Smriti ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 9%%:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ memoriesA -e #o- to her0
-e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu #aya ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 9%3:
16&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ +ompassionA -e #o- to her0
-e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu Tustiru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 9%4:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ Satis/a+tionA -e #o- to her0
-e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi Sarvabhuteshu Matri ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 9%4:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ motherA -e #o- to her0 -e
#o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
:a #evi SarvabhuteshuBhranti ru'en samasthita
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 9%!:
9;e #o- to the divine Goddess in all e5isten+e -ho resides in the /orm o/ +on/usionA -e #o- to her0
-e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
Indiyanamadhishtatri bhutanam chaileshu yaa,
Bhuteshu satatam tsayai vya'ti devyai namo namah; 9%7:
9Presiding over the senses o/ all #eings and pervading all e5isten+e0 to the omnipresent Goddess -ho
individualiHes +reation -e #o-0 -e #o-0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
(Chitiru'en yarsnametad vya'a sthita +agat
0amstastyai, 0amastastyai namastastyai namo namah; 9%&:
97n the /orm o/ the +ons+iousness she distinguishes the individual phenomenon as the per+eiva#le
universeA -e #o- to her0 -e #o- to her0 -e +ontinually #o- to her:2
$engali +rossroads0 in this paper0 have multidimensional +ultural +onnotations2 They en+ompass some
o/ the +ultural idioms0 themes0 and pra+ti+es -hi+h instantly transgress intra<$engali divisions on the
lines o/ +aste0 gender and e+onomi+ a//luen+e2 The -hole +ommunity stands as one uni/ied +ommunity
in matters o/ its +ultural +ele#rations0 -hi+h are mared #y /renHied spirit and atmosphere0 -eaved
around ea+h o/ su+h /estivals it +ele#rates2 The +ele#rations re/le+t the +ommunityZs unity in diverse
+ultural +ele#rations through shared language0 literature0 +ultural +ustoms and pra+ti+es2 The li#eral
temperament and up#ringing ethos in an average $engali /amily in+ul+ate a natural taste to-ards
161=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
li#eral arts < musi+0 dan+e0 paintings et+2 7t +ele#rates0 /or instan+e0 -ith insatia#le Heal0 the name o/
,a#indra 3ath Tagore0 along -ith the series o/ literature produ+ed #y him2 The epi+entre o/ su+h
+ele#rations is -ith the 1isva $harati Iniversity0 due to its asso+iation -ith ,a#indra 3ath Tagore0 and
the Rabindrasangeet0 the lyri+al e//lores+en+e o/ Tagore0 is the su#)e+t o/ musi+al )ourneys in su+h
+ele#rations2 Ene o/ su+h +ele#rations has #een reported in the (indu in the /ollo-ing manner=
A pa+ed *den -itnessed a +ultural homage on the 14&
#irth anniversary o/ ,a#indra
3ath Tagore and Shah ,uh Khan added [Tagore Saha#Z0 a ne- mode o/ address /or the
$ard2 The %%00 <seater S+ien+e +ity auditorium -as )am pa+ed2 The opening evening o/
the t-o day soiree +entered around [,a#indra 3ather Pan+haanyaZ0 literally meaning
[TagoreZs /ive daughter2
Then again0 $engal unites to +ele#rate Goddess Kali 9the e5treme /orm o/ Durga: along -ith
,amarishna Paramhansa and his dis+iple 1iveananda2 3ot many $engali households0 one may +ome
a+ross0 -hi+h do not have some [divine spa+eZ /or Goddess Kali and ,ama Krishna Paramhansa0 or a
+alendar o/ these /igures0 to say the least2 'arried $engali ;omen e5hi#it -ith pride their Shaha
9#angle made out o/ +on+h shell:2 And the +ommunity +ele#rates its sporting /avourites su+h as the *ast
$engal and the 'ohan $agan /oot#all teams0 or the Kolata 3ightriders 9T<%00 "ri+et team0 o-ned #y
the /amous 7ndian A+tor Shah ,uh Khan: or the [Prin+e o/ KolataZ0 Sourav Ganguli2 Su+h
+ele#rations do not remain +on/ined to the territorial limits o/ the state o/ ;est $engal0 instead0 these
travel along -ith the travels o/ $engali +ommunity #oth -ithin and outside the +ountry2
$irendra Krishna $hadra 91904<1991: is one su+h +ele#rated i+on0 -ho died a long time #a+0 yet his
voi+e and re+itation visit ea+h $engali household in the pre<da-n hours o/ the day o/ Mahalaya0 every
year and thus have #e+ome eternal and an important epitome o/ the $engali +ultural nationalism2
0Birendra &rishna Bhadra% 2hoto )ourtesy* 8an$an Mitra, &o(kata, 20091
162=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
$hadra -as an 7ndian #road+aster0 play-right0 a+tor and theatre dire+tor /rom Kolata2 (e )oined the
/ll India Radio, Kolata in the early 1930s and -ored /or many years2 (e produ+ed and adapted
several plays2 A graduate /rom KolataZs S+ottish "hur+h "ollege0 he is +redited -ith -riting some
plays in+luding Mess 0o; NJ and dire+ted a theatre produ+tion titled0 Sahib Bi,i )ulam0 a stage
adaptation o/ $imal 'itraZs +ele#rated novel2 (e -rote the s+reenplay /or a /ilm0 0isshidha Phal
91944:2 Qet0 he remains the most no-n /or his re+itation and rendition o/ Mahishasurmardini2
02anka$ Ma((i)k% 2hoto 'ourtesy, the #ribune, 'handigarh, :
May 200;1
Pana) 'alli+ -as one o/ the +ele#rated musi+ dire+tors and a+tors o/ the 3e- Theatre0 Kolata0
-ho -ored in /ilms along -ith other great /ilm personalities su+h as Kundan 8al Sehgal0 ,2 "2 $oral0
Devai $ose and others0 during the 1930s and 40s2 (e s+ored musi+ /or /ilms lie #ena Paona
9$angla= 193%:0 :ahoody i !adi 9(indi= 1933:0 My Sister 91944: et+2 (e teamed up -ith , " $oral to
+ompose some timeless melodies /or /ilms lie #evdas 91934:0 #hoo' Chhaon 91934A, President and
Muti 91937:2 (e did his a+ting stint also in some o/ the /ilms lie Muti 91937: and %a'al %undala
91939: et+2
,a)i# Gupta0 9a grandson o/ Pana) 'ulli+: -ho has -ritten a #iography o/ Pana)
'ulli+ titled as Betar Chalachchitrer 1agatey Prabad'ratim Sangeet Sadha Pana+ %umar Mullic
9The ,adio and "inema -orldZs popular 'usi+ 'aestro Pana) Kumar 'alli+:0 #elieves that he
9Pana) 'ulli+: -as the /irst musi+ dire+tor to #ring su+h -estern +on+epts as harmoniHation0
interlude and +ountermelody into 7ndian /ilm musi+2
$irendra Krishna $hadra0 Pana) 'ulli+ and $ani umar +ame together to +reate this timeless
masterpie+e < musi+al drama0 -hi+h en)oys the distin+tion o/ #eing the longest running radio
programme0 sin+e its /irst #road+ast on the /ll India Radio0 Kolata 9then "al+utta: in April 193%2
7nitially0 the #road+ast -as s+heduled to #e aired on the o++asion o/ [$asantaZ0 or the spring season2
163=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Follo-ing the tremendous popular response0 its produ+ers de+ided to #road+ast it on the morning o/ the
[Mahashasti&0 or the se+ond day o/ the Durga Pu)a2 A/ter an over-helming response /rom the listeners0
the team +ame up -ith a s+ript in syn+ -ith musi+ and songs and de+ided to air it on the day o/
Mahalaya0 /ive days #e/ore Durga Pu)a < the day the goddess is #elieved to start her home-ard )ourney
to her parental earthly a#ode2 The sho- -as /irst aired in 19370 -ith Pana) Kumar 'ulli+ on the
musi+ and $hadra as its narrator2 >7t -as an instant hit -ith numerous letters0 phone +alls /rom the
pu#li+0 some personally0 +ame do-n to the A7, o//i+e to +ongratulate the team0ZZ says Pradip Kumar
'itra0 station dire+tor0 Kolata2 The team o/ 40 artists and 'usi+ians "onstituted several stal-arts lie
Di)en 'uhopadhyay0 Arati 'uhopadhyay Supriti Ghosh0 and Sandhya 'uhopadhyay2
0. photograph shos the Mahishasuramardini )re rehearsing the programme
02hoto 'ourtesy<#imes 'ity, #he #imes o" India, &o(kata, 1;
3)t 2012%1
$esides0 this team had some mem#ers /rom the 'uslim #a+ground -ho played Shehnai during the
per/orman+e2 "ertain se+tions o/ the $rahmins0 ho-ever0 opposed the programme0 on the ground that
#eing a shudra0 $irendra Krishna $hadra -as not entitled to render the Chandi Path2 $ani Kumar lent
his +omplete support to $hadra2 (e threatened to +all o// the produ+tion i/ $hadra -as removed on the
#asis o/ +aste #ased pre)udi+es2
2 The A7, sold its mareting rights to ('1 in 1970s2 S F Karim0 the
#usiness (ead o/ ('1 #elieves that in every /orm0 the Mahishasurmardini is the highest selling
$engali num#er2
7t has #e+ome an integral part o/ Durga Pu)a +ele#rations2 ,outine li/e in an average $engali
household +omes to a +omplete halt and the /estive gear taes pre+eden+e over all other aspe+ts o/ li/e
/or a -ee2 (uge pandals -ith sparling #eauty and grandiose are ere+ted every year to house the
statues o/ Goddess Durga in the +ompany o/ her +hildrenA the Gods Ganesh0 Karti0 and the Goddesses
8ashmi and Saras-ati and0 o/ +ourse0 the demon 'ahishasur2 Apart /rom the regular -orshipping o/
164=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
the Gods and Goddesses0 a host o/ +ultural a+tivities < singing0 dan+ing0 painting0 dramati+s et+20 tae
pla+e simultaneously2
The -hole o/ ;est $engal0 neigh#ouring .harhand0 $ihar0 Erissa and all su+h
pla+es -ithin and outside the +ountry -hi+h have siHea#le $engali population get +ompletely
su#merged in this /estive /ervor2 The Durga Pu)a is +ertainly a high -atermar o/ $engali +ultural
nationalism -hi+h #rings the #iggest sense o/ unity to its +ultural identity2
The Mahishasurmardini radio programme o++upies a pla+e o/ +entral importan+e in the s+heme o/ the
Durga Pu)a +ele#rations2 7t is #road+ast on the pious day o/ Mahalaya, -hi+h mars the end o/ impure
Pitri'asha and +ommen+ement o/ the pious #evi'asha2 7ts #road+ast timing is /i5ed at 4 A' on that
parti+ular day2 The pe+uliarity o/ this timing adds an air o/ mysti+ism around it -hi+h is deeply
entren+hed in the memories o/ those -ho have gro-n up0 listening to this #road+ast2
;ith the
multipli+ation o/ +ommuni+ation mediums o/ the present times0 although the +ountryZs dependen+e on
,adio is on the -ane0 yet0 -hen it +omes to the Mahishasurmardini ,adio programme0 it distin+tly
appears as a ma)or e5+eption2 ;ashington #ased $angla ,adio -e#site advertises its s+hedule /or
Mahishasurmardini #road+ast -hi+h +overs San Fran+is+o0 ;ashington D"0 $erlin0 Sydney and
"al+utta2 $a+ home0 governed #y the popular demands0 various F' radio +hannels have also started
#road+asting this +omposite +ultural phenomenon= the voi+e o/ $irendra Krishna $hadra0 the in/alli#le
s+ript o/ $ani Kumar and the timeless +ompositions o/ Pana) mulli+2 7t has #e+ome an integral part o/
$engali +ultural nationalism0 #oth -ithin and outside o/ this +ountry0 on the strength o/ the
uninterrupted &0 years o/ annual #road+ast0 as the o//i+ial +ommen+ement o/ the Durga Pu)a
16C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
0.)tress Soumi(i Bisas donning the ro(e o" Durga to ena)t Mahisasurmardini%
She as $oined by &ohinoor Sen Barat ho a(so )horeographed this dan)e drama%
2hoto< 'ourtesy, #he #e(egraph, &o(kata, dated 2=
Sept 20111
Notes ? <eferen-es
1: A landmar )udgement #y a three .udges #en+h o/ the Supreme "ourt headed #y .usti+e 1erma0
dated 11
De+0 19942
%: 7n the south 7ndia0 the te5t is usually no-n as the #evi Mahatmya0 -hereas in the north 7ndia0
it is more popularly no-n as the #urga Sa'tashati2 7n $engal0 the land o/ -orshippers o/
supreme /emale pro-ess0 the te5t is usually re/erred to as the Chandi'ath;
3: Dhal0 Ipendra 3ath0 Mahisasura in art and thought2 Delhi0 7ndia= *astern $oo 8iners019910
p2 4&2 See also0 Pargiter0 Frederi+ *den0 and .oshi K282 Shastri2 TDevi 'ahatmya2T The
Marandeya Puranam: sansrit teGt, english translation ,ith notes and indeG of verses; Delhi
97ndia:= Parimal Pu#li+ations0 %0042 333<3&3:2
166=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
4: From the po-er o/ 8ord Shiva the /a+e o/ Goddess -as /ormed0 /rom that o/ Qama her hair -as
/ormed and /rom that o/ 1ishnu her hands -ere /ormed2 From the po-er o/ moon her t-o #usts
-ere made0 /rom the po-er o/ 7ndra her middle part0 /rom the po-er o/ 1aruna her +al/Zs and
thighs and /rom the po-er o/ earth her #ehind2 (er /eet -ere made #y the po-er /rom $rahma0
her toes /rom the po-er o/ Sun0 /rom the Ashta 1asus her /ingers and /rom the po-er o/ Ku#era
her nose -ere made2 (er teeth -ere made -ith the po-er o/ Pra)apathis lie Dasha and her
three eyes /rom the po-er o/ God o/ /ire2 From the po-er o/ da-n and dus -ere made her eye
#ro-s0 /rom the po-er o/ God o/ -ind her ears and then po-er /rom all other devas #e+ame
one and she -as /ormed2 #urga Sa'tashati0 'adhyama "haritam0 "hapter %>The Killing o/
'ahishasuraZs army@ 1erse nos213<170 Geeta Press= Gprahpur019910 Pp077<7&:
4: 8ord Shiva too the po-er o/ trident and gave it to her2 8ord 1ishnu too the po-er o/ his holy
-heel and ma+e and gave it to her2 1aruna 9God o/ rain: gave her the "on+h0 /ire god Spear0 and
the God o/ -ind the 6uiver /ull 9ine5hausti#le: o/ many arro-s2 The thousand<eyed 7ndra -ho
-as the ing o/ devas too the diamond /rom 1a)rayudha 9-eapon made o/ diamond: and #ell
/rom his elephant 7ravatha and gave it to her2 Qama0 the God o/ death gave her a sta// made
/rom his death sta//0 1aruna his rope made and the +reator $rahma gave #ead +hain /or praying
and pot /or taing -ater2 The Sun God gave her all the rays taen /rom every hair pore o/ his
#ody and the God o/ time 9Also God o/ death: gave her his s-ord and a sparling shield2 The
sea o/ mil gave her the very +lear garland o/ pearls and ever /resh and never destroying set o/
+loths2 The sea o/ mil gave her the very +lear garland o/ pearls and ever /resh and never
destroying set o/ +loths2 The God o/ sea gave her garlands made o/ never /ading /lo-ers to -ear
over her head and ne+ and a very pretty lotus /lo-er and the (imalaya0 gave her a lion to ride
and several type o/ gems2 Ku#era0 the god o/ -ealth0 gave her a go#let /ull o/ -ine2 Ananta0
-ho -as the ing o/ snaes and -ho #ears the earth0 gave her a snae garland de+orated #y
pre+ious )e-els2 The a#ove stanHas indi+ate that the Goddess had 1& hands and -as the #asi+
po-er #ehind all the Gods2 Thus presented #y many other ornaments and -eapons #y other
devas0 she again and again shouted -ith po-er/ul laugh and the entire sy -as /illed her Sound2
#urga Sa'tashati0 'adhayama "haritam0 1erse nos219<310 Geeta Press= Gorahpur0 19912
167=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
!: #urga Sa'tashati0 'adhayama "haritam0 First "hapter0 >The Killing E/ 'ahishasurZs Army@0
verse nos201<!&0 Geeta Press= Gorahpur01991 0Pp074<&72
7: 7#id2 The Se+ond "hapter0 >The Killing o/ 'ahishasurZZ0 1ersenos0 1<410 Geeta Press=
Gorahpur0 19910 Pp0 &&<9!2
&: #urga Sa'tashati0 The 'adhyama "haritam0 The Third "hapter0 > The Prayer o/ Saradi
DevtasZZ0 1erse nos20 1<3!0 Geeta Press= Gorahpur0 19910 PP097<10&2
9: 7n huge Pu)a pandals a+ross Kolata and else-here0 7t has #een a +ommon e5perien+e to -at+h
su+h idols -hi+h +an #e ele+tri+ally operated and sho- some movements2 There also DurgaZs
trident is usually made to move and sym#oli+ally tou+h 'ahishasurZs +hest2
10: $erson0 "armel0 The divine and demoniac: Mahisa7s heroic struggle ,ith #urga0 Delhi=
E5/ord Iniversity Press0 19942
11: i#id0 plate 172
1%: i#id0 Plates %0 ] %12
13: i#id0 plate %42
14: 7#id0 plates0 %7 and %! respe+tively2
14: (untington0 Susan 820 and .ohn "2 (untington0 The art of ancient India0 3e- Qor= ;eather
hill0 19&42
1!: i#id0 p<3%72
17: i#id0 p<30%2
1&: Dehe)ia0 1idya0 >Kala+huri 'onar+h and (is "ir+ular Shrine o/ the Qoginis@ in Royal 'atrons
and great tem'le art0 $om#ay= 'arg Pu#li+ations0 19&&2 77<&40 P0 &3: The temple is #elieved to
have #een +onstru+ted #et-een 974 and 10%4 AD2
19: The #evi Mahatmya paintings preserved at the 3ational Ar+hives0 Kathmandu2 Toyo= "entre
/or *ast Asian "ultural Studies /or I3*S"E0 19942
%0: i#id0 Pp20 &1 and &%2
%1: >7ndia o//ers spe+ial opportunities /or the development o/ #road+asting2 7ts distan+es and -ide
spa+es alone mae it a promising /ield2 7n 7ndiaZs remote villages there are many -ho0 a/ter the
16B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
days -or is done0 /ind time hang heavily enough upon their hands0 and there must #e many
o//i+ials and others -hose duties +arry them into out o/ the -ay pla+es -here they +rave /or the
+ompany o/ their /riends and the sola+e o/ human +ompanionship2 There are o/ +ourse0 too0 in
many households0 -hom so+ial +ustoms de#ars /rom taing parts in re+reation outside their
homes2 To all these and many more0 #road+asting -ill #e a #lessing and a #oon o/ real value2
$oth /or entertainment and edu+ation its possi#ilities are great0 and as yet -e perhaps s+ar+ely
realiHe ho- great they are2 $road+asting in 7ndia is today in its in/an+y0 #ut 7 have little dou#t
that #e/ore many years are past0 the num#er o/ its audien+e -ill have in+reased ten/old0 and that
this ne- appli+ation o/ s+ien+e -ill have its devotees in every part o/ 7ndia2ZZ 8ord 7r-inZs0 the
then vi+eroy o/ 7ndia0 spee+h at the inauguration o/ the $om#ay station o/ the 7ndian
$road+asting +ompany0 on %3
.uly 19%72
^uoted /rom the >report on the progress o/ $road+asting in 7ndia0 up to the 31 mar+h 1939@0
Pu#lished #y the manager o/ pu#li+ations0 Delhi0 19402 See also0 Alasdair Pinerton0 [,adio and
the ,a)= $road+asting in $ritish 7ndia 910%0<1940:@0 1R/S0 Series 30 1&0 % 9%00&:0 Pp2 1!7O1910
P0 1!72
%%: (ardeep Singh "handpuri0 [radioRsome one still loves youZ0 ;indo-s0 The Saturday Tribune,
"handigarh0 4
.an %0032
%3: Alasdair Pinerton0 >,adio and the ,a)= $road+asting in $ritish 7ndia 910%0<1940:0@1R/S0
Series 30 1&0 % 9%00&:0 P0 1742
%4: >Pushing /rontiers@0 .rontline2 1olume %3<issue 11== .une 3<1!0 %00!2
%4: 7#id2
%!: 7#id2
%7: 'any #ig artists o/ stage0 +inema0 and 7ndian musi+ /re6uented the /ll India Radio #uilding in
its early days2 7t has a portrait gallery -hi+h eeps photographi+ memories o/ those -ho visited
here2 Some o/ these names in+lude0 ,a#indra 3ath Tagore0 A#anindra 3ath0 ,adharishnan0
A+harya Pra/ulla "handra ,ay0$irendra Krishna $hadra0 Sharat "handra Pandit et+2 Great
artists lie Kamal .haria0 Angur#ala and ,a#indrasangeet singers lie Kania $andhopadhyay
and Su+hitra 'itra0 radio artists lie $ela De0 3ilima Sanyal0 Pana) Kumar 'ulli+ et+2 had
a+tive asso+iation -ith the /ll India Radio #uilding at its original lo+ation22
169=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
%&: 7n 197!0 the /ll India Radio0 Kolata0 de+ided to #road+ast another version o/ the
Mahishasurmardiniand the Chandi'ath, -hi+h had a prominent $engali a+tor Ittam Kumar as
the singer and another prominent $engali musi+ian0 (emant Kumar 'uhopadyay0 as the musi+
dire+tor2 A/ter the #road+ast0 the response -as /ar /rom /avora#le0 a++ording to ,atna Sen0 the
,adio presenter -ith /ll India Radio2 >The /ashvani $havan -as /looded -ith angry phone
+alls demanding the return o/ the original2@ ^uoted /rom Prem Kumar 1is-as0 >Timeless
Tunes@0 the Indian -G'ress0 %9
Sept0 %00&2
%9: These are the illustrations o/ opening o/ those songs -hi+h are interspersed -ith the re+itation
o/ narratives2 (ere0 7 have tried to measure the distan+e at -hi+h0 ea+h o/ these songs appears in
the trans+ript2 For instan+e0 the last song appears at a distan+e o/ one hour0 t-enty si5 minutes
and /orty eight se+onds /rom the #eginning o/ the trans+ript2 Further0 the soloG +horus and maleG
/emale singing have also #een attempted to #e identi/ied -ith ea+h song2 In/ortunately0 at this
stage0 7 am in no position to identi/y individual singers o/ ea+h o/ these songs0 given the time
+onstrain -ithin -hi+h 7 am re6uired to present this paper and almost a near a#sen+e o/ relia#le
supporting literature on the trans+ript2 Qet0 in /uture0 this handi+ap -ill +ertainly #e removed2
30: This is merely a /un+tional translation o/ the original Sansrit te5t2 7t may vary in -ord -ise
a++ura+y0 #ut the meaning more or less remains the same2
31: #urga Sa'tashati0 Geeta Press0 Gorahpur0 19912 P21&!2
3%: 7#id0 Pp230<342 7n /a+t0 there are total %4 verses in this se+tion0 #ut the trans+ript +ontains only
10 o/ these2 The /irst line o/ ea+h o/ these Sansrit verse is sung #y a male voi+e and the se+ond
line is /ollo-ed #y a +horus in all these verses used in the trans+ript2
33: The theme o/ the +reation o/ the Goddess and her empo-erment through +om#ined parting o/
individual GodZs strength have #een taen /rom the #urga Sa'tashati and a/ter having rendered
these in $engali0 the maers o/ this programme have used in the re+itation2 See re/eren+e
num#ers 4 and 4 in the notes and re/eren+es se+tion o/ this paper2
34: #urga Sa'tashati0 Geeta Press0 Gorahpur0 19912 Pp2110<1142 E/ the 30 verses in this se+tionA
the /irst %& verses have #een used in the trans+ript leaving out the last % verses2
34: 'eena $aner)ee0 >Songs /orever /or the +ity o/ )oyZZ0 The Friday *ntertainment0 the Hindu
Delhi0 %3 rd 'ay %00&2
17&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
3!: Pran 3eville0 Tri#ute0ZZ Golden *raZs 'elody 'anZZ0 Spe+trum0 the Sunday Tribune0 &
37: ^uoted /rom the Telegra'h0 Kolata0 dated 9
.anuary %011
3&: For /ive years0 sin+e its in+eption0 the musi+al -as +alled Basantes,ari; 7n this version0 the
Chandi'ath -as done #y $ani Kumar himsel/0 -hile $hadra narrated the prose and ,ai "hand
$oral s+ored the musi+2 7n the revised Mahishasurmardini edition0 the verses and the narrative
-ere done #y $irndra Krishna $hadra and the musi+ -as s+ored #y Pana) 'ulli+2 .hilmil
'uher)ee Pandey0 >Spirit o/ 'ahalaya /or &0 Qears0@ Times "it0 The Times of India, Kolata0
E+t %01%2
39: De#aleena Sengupta0 >the voi+e +arries on@0 Business Standard0 Kolata0 %4 Sept %0112
40: 7#id2
41: 7#id2
4%: As the +ultural se+retary0 Sri Sri Sar#a)anin Durga Pu)a "ommittee0 Delhi Administration Flats0
Timarpur0 Delhi0 7 +arry the responsi#ility o/ onstage an+horing and present a #ou6uet o/
"ultural programmes on the days o/ Mahashasti, Mahasa'tami, Mahaashtmi0 and Mahanavmi
#et-een &pm and 10230pm2 7t in+ludes songs0 dan+es0 one a+t plays et+2 From 10230 on-ards
-e o//er the stage to pro/essional artists -ho +ome to per/orm0 o/ +ourse0 against /ees0 mostly
/rom Kolata and also /rom 'um#ai2 These programmes in+lude0 or+hestra0 magi+ sho-0
puppet sho-0 >dha +ompetitionZZ dan+e drama et+2 The "ommittee also +ondu+ts in<house
Painting0 alpana0 re+itation0 >haathe haadi #hanga@ 97n a #lind/olded state one re6uires to #rea
an earthen pot using a sti+: et+2
43: Although0 7 am a non<$engali0 7 am no e5+eption to this aura o/ mysti+ism2 70 too0 +onne+t
nostalgi+ally to my gro-ing up days at ,an+hi 9no- the +apital o/ .harhand: -hi+h had 9still
has: large num#er o/ $engali households in the to-n as -ell as around my home2 *very year0
my eldest #rother0 8ate0 Dr Anil Kumar Singh0 used to put alarm on the pre+eding night o/
Mahalaya so as to #e a#le to -ae up at the early +old hours and #e a#le to listen to the sounds
o/ +on+h +ells0 shehnai0 tabla0 /lute along -ith #eauti/ul Sansrit and $engali songs and a#ove
all the superlative rendition and re+itation #y $irendra Krishna $hadra2 70 as a gro-ing +hild0
lie millions o/ other +hildren0 used to listen to it in a hal/ slept hal/ a-ae state2 This paper is
171=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
my -ay o/ paying tri#ute to my #rother Dr Anil Kumar Singh -ho is no longer -ith us2
44: Supratim Sanyal0---2-ashington#anglaradio2+om2 Post dated0 10
April %0102
San+ay %umar is /ssistant Professor of History at Shyam !al College, 2niversity of #elhi;
Li1eral Indi!idualis" in t'e *arl% $areer of Mt(al ,utt and Nationalis" in
t'e +/ilig't of 5"ritalal Basu.s Life# 5 <e!ie/ of !n)ore and 8oshoraa$er
ousu"i Bis/as ,asgu(ta
-ncore is a +olle+tion o/ short stories in $engali related to theatre2 $arring one original story penned #y
Dutt himsel/ -hi+h +omes at the end o/ the +olle+tion0 all o/ them are translated #y Dutt /rom di//erent
E++idental languages= /our Fren+h stories0 three ,ussian0 one Spanish0 three *nglish and one Ameri+an2
This +olle+tion -as /irst pu#lished in 19!%0 and prior to that all o/ these stories -ere pu#lished in #esh0
the intelle+tual<+ultural /lagship magaHine o/ the Ananda#aHar group2 The year in -hi+h Itpal Dutt -as
#orn0 -hi+h is 19%90 Amritalal $asu passed a-ay2 This is an ar#itrary +oin+iden+e0 #ut the history o/
$engali stage in the last +entury has this signi/i+ant +oin+iden+e0 #e+ause the 1930s -ere a -atershed2
The +ommunist party and its +ultural -ing0 7PTA -ill steadily rise throughout the 1940s0 and the le/t<
leaning theatre movement -ill eventually ill the nationalist theatre o/ the previous era2 Amritalal $asu
-as more +ommonly no-n as Amritalal $ose0 $ose #eing the angli+ised version o/ $asu 974:2 Itpal
DuttDs surname reveals an e6ually strong angli+isation o/ the $engali surname Datta2 Another ar#itrary
+oin+iden+e is that #oth o/ these t-o theatre personalities -ere upper +aste $engali Kayasthas2 $e/ore
-e dis+uss any /urther0 let us introdu+e the se+ond te5t in our revie-0 -hi+h unlie -ncore0 is not a
/i+tional -or2
Roshoraa+er Roshoothon: /mritalal Basur /attootha 9The (umorous A++ount o/ the King o/
(umour= The Auto#iography o/ Amritalal $asu: is a +olle+tion o/ t-o memoirs and an o#ituary -ritten
#y Amritalal $asu 9or $ose0 as he seems to have #een +alled in those days o/ ,a):2 7t has a se+tion o/
annotations #y 7ndra)it $andyopadhyay -hi+h is sadly disappointing2 The annotations are not spe+i/i+
to Amritalal0 $engali stage and other +ontemporary a+tors at all0 and the -riter has )ust shared 9read
D+opiedD: some general 9mostly irrelevant: in/ormations a#out pla+es0 events and personalities -hi+h are
availa#le /rom any #oo -hi+h +hroni+les the history o/ Kolata and $engal2 And there are some
ridi+ulous in/ormations lie the Kasaitola 9$ut+hersD Area: is assumed #y the annotator to #e the ha#itat
o/ those -ho did the sa+ri/i+ial illing 9D#oliD: at Kalighat 9137:2 Kasai is a pro/ession that has even
remotely no +onne+tion -ith (indu sa+ri/i+ial o//erings 9those -ho per/ormed the sa+ri/i+ial illing o/
animals in Shato rituals -ere +alled Kamar Vliterally #la+smithW in $engali so+iety: and that this +lass
o/ pro/essional #ut+hers +alled KasaiG^assa# are invaria#ly 'uslim in religion 9the -ord itsel/ #etrays
173=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
its Ara#i+ origin0 -hi+h is gassa#0 -hi+h means Dto +ut or slitD:0 #ut su+h +on/usion pro#a#ly no-
+hara+terises a large tra+t o/ our historiography these days2
First o/ all0 let us /or-ard t-o o#servations a#out -ncore= this story +olle+tion spe+i/i+ally tells us a
lot a#out the li#eral individualism -hi+h -as /or-arded as a re#u// to nationalism #y a segment o/
$engali intelligentsia0 most nota#ly led #y Tagore in early days0 and in the post<7ndependen+e period0
+hampioned #y Ananda#aHar group2 Se+ondly0 this +olle+tion tells us a#out the internationalist
dimension o/ the intelle+tual +urrent -hi+h -ent into the maing o/ the intelle+tual phenomenon +alled
Itpal Dutt2 This is indeed strange that -ncore is dominated #y individualism -hereas Roshoraa+er
Roshoothon is a -or that is dominated #y a 3ationalist spirit o/ the +olle+tive2 7t has #een repeatedly
harped in the dominant version o/ o/ $engalDs stage history o//ered #y the intelligentsia that the
+olle+tive spirit in the $engali per/ormative arts emerged only a/ter the le/t li#eral 7PTADs taeover o/
$engali stage and +inema during the 1940s and that the earlier periodDs un<regenerate theatre
9+ommer+ial theatre0 as it -as disparagingly +alled: and +inema -ere +entred on individuals2 ,epeated
so o/ten0 it gained an aura o/ revolutionary truth= -e #egan to #elieve that the true +olle+tive0
demo+rati+ spirit in $engali stage and +inema emerged only a/ter the advent o/ the +ommunism<
inspired artists on the s+ene2 The a+tual truth o/ history -as /ar more +ompli+ated than this0 as Tamal
DasguptaDs arti+le in the "inema issue o/ .$S 91ol210 3o2%: did esta#lish in its dis+ussions on Dhira)
$hatta+harya0 Ahindra "houdhury and Durgadas $andyopadhyay2
;hat is 6uite interesting is that all o/ these stories in DuttDs -ncore +an #e +alled mani/estos o/
militant individualism2 7t is di//i+ult to /ind the Dutt o/ )irish Manosh in this #oo0 -ho -ould uphold
the +ommunity as opposed to li#eral universal<humanist individual and -ould de/end (indu revival o/
nineteenth +entury $engal against the aggressive agenda o/ $ritish +olonisation2 (ere -e may o#serve
that the short storyDs very in+eption has #een in the -om# o/ modern li#eralism0 #ourgeois
individualism and the rise o/ middle +lasses2 3othing +aptures the spirit o/ the gesells+ha/t o/ a
+apitalist0 +ontra+tual so+iety the -ay short story does2 Ene reason -hy Tagore -as a great short story
-riter and a great -riter o/ lyri+s -as pre+isely this= these t-o are intensely individual genres as
opposed to the more +olle+tive /ormat o/ novel -hi+h really #elongs to a previous age o/ roman+e0 as
$animDs novels testi/y2 Short story #elonged to a ne- anti<+olle+tive ethos0 it represented an
individualist -orld vie- -hi+h -anted to dissolve the threatening0 mena+ing +olle+tive -hi+h
en+roa+hes on the individualDs su#)e+tive uni6ueness and -anted to uphold the li#erty o/ the individual2
174=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
That these stories -ere pu#lished in A$P /lagship #esh is signi/i+ant0 let us repeat2 There -ere 9and
still are: t-o main #ul-ars -oring against a politi+al +onsolidation o/ the $engali people throughout
our history o/ last hundred years= one -as a li#eral0 universal0 humanist individualist thought +urrentA
the other -as a ;est<+entri+ internationalism2 They o/ten go hand in hand0 are o/ten overlapping and
-ncore #rings #oth these t-o +urrents together2 ;hile ea+h o/ these stories registers the rise o/ the
individual0 -ith all o/ his small desires0 /rustrations0 a+hievements and pains0 they do so in a -estern
setting0 in a +olle+tion o/ stories -ritten #y some o/ the -estern masters o/ this +ra/t0 and all o/ them are
asso+iated -ith theatre0 that is the theatre o/ the -est2 The unsuspe+ting reader -ould de/initely emerge
more individualisti+ a/ter reading them and -ithout even #eing a-are o/ the /a+t0 -hi+h is an
a+no-ledgement o/ the po-er o/ the translator as -ell2 The #est -ay to prevent a $engali
+onsolidation is to mae the $engalis /all in love -ith everything un<$engali0 and this strategy has
-ored -ell2 Surely it is narro-ness to insist that -e shall only love our o-n +ulture0 in the manner o/
7s-ar Gupta -ho said that even the dogs o/ $engal are dearer to him than the Gods o/ else-here2 At
times su+h a strategi+ narro-ness +an save a +ommunity and universal humanism at times +an dissolve
a people0 a tri#e0 a nation2 A dis+ussion o/ the narrative stru+ture and +ontent and a literary analysis o/
the stories is #eyond the s+ope o/ our present revie-0 #ut DuttDs e5+ellent +ommand over dialogues and
his sil/ul use o/ +ollo6uial $engali language -hi+h -e -itness in his plays +an already #e dis+erned in
these stories2 8ater Dutt a+6uired a legendary /ame as a multi<linguist0 and these stories /orm a
#eginning o/ that legend o/ DuttDs +ommand over several *uropean languages2
Amritalal -as #raHenly +ommunal in his memoirs0 -ithout +aring /or any politi+al +orre+tness2 (e
does not have any pretensions either2 (e -ill narrate the e5alting moments o/ the #irth o/ $engali
nationalist +ons+iousness 9o/ -hi+h $engali theatre -as a part: -hi+h gave #irth to su+h a +olle+tive
struggle against the $ritish imperialism0 that0 sin+e then0 the Anglo<Sa5on sponsorship to ea+h and
every politi+al and religious /ormation 9in+luding $engalDs o-n /ormations: in the su#+ontinent has
#een +al+ulated in terms o/ its potential a#ility to #e hostile to-ards a $engali nationalist +onsolidation2
$ut -hile narrating that inspiring a++ount one o/ the /irst statements -hi+h he sel/<disparagingly maes
is this= >7 am a +hara+terless a+tor0 holy -ords -ill not suit my tongue@ 94:2 Amritalal #elonged to a
+lass o/ $engali giants -ho moved mountains and yet never #oasted0 #e+ause a /ish does not #oast o/
s-imming2 AmritalalDs memoirs dra- a very gripping image o/ the interrelatedness o/ so+iety0 history0
+ulture and +ustom<tradition<+onvention -ith theatre2 Theatre is not an a+t o/ individualist e5pression
17C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
/or Amritalal0 #ut is a part o/ the so+io<histori+al +onte5t o/ its times2
Amritalal misses the Kolata o/ his +hildhood 9he -as #orn in 1&43: -hi+h -as a /ar more $engali
Kolata 94:A he laments that $urra#aHar is no- $engali<less -hi+h0 as he re+ords0 used to #e
+ompletely dominated #y the $engalis 99:0 he ridi+ules the $engalisD ne-/ound pan<7ndia sensitivity as
>8onaate ,aa#on molo0 $eula 3ede #aeul holo@ 9-hi+h roughly translates as= (amlet dies in
Denmar0 and .uliet #e+omes hysteri+al -ith tears: 913:2 7nternationalism did not /lourish in those
days0 #ut -e +an imagine that Amritalal -ould have +astigated it -ith even more vehement sar+asm2
The /a+t that all su+h supposedly universal +reeds are a narrative +on/usions0 -hi+h mi5es +hara+ters
/rom di//erent plays and times0 +an #e a theoreti+al po-erhouse to +om#at the /or+es inimi+al to a
$engali nationalist +onsolidation2 Truly as Freud said0 the poets arrived there #e/ore us all and
dis+overed -hat the later ages -ould theorise upon2 The +reative e5pressions +an +ome up -ith
stru+tures o/ /eeling -hi+h the theoreti+al en6uiry -ill +at+h up -ith mu+h later2
Amritalal highly values physi+al edu+ation /or $engali youth as opposed to #ooish no-ledge 9%4:0
and this is undou#tedly related to the intensely physi+al nature o/ theatri+al per/orman+e0 -hi+h unlie
some other art /orms0 as Terry *agleton on+e /amously noted in an intervie- -ith ,oger S+rutton0 is a
humanitiesD version o/ the s+ientistsD la#oratory -here +olle+tive -or is done2 Against the impotent
politi+s o/ resolutions and meetings 9here Amritalal again +astigates the pan<7ndia +ons+iousness o/ the
edu+ated $engalis:0 -hat the nationalist thespian pre/ers is the treatment meted out #y ,ani ,ashmoni
to the oppressive poli+ies o/ ,a)0 -hi+h -as the $engal tigressDs +unning lo+ed in a +om#at -ith
imperial e+onomy 931:2 $e/ore #eing +harmed and +arried a-ay #y anything /oreign0 Amritalal -ants a
+are/ul remem#ran+e and investigation o/ our o-n lineage and lega+yA the over-helming
9+ontemporary: $engal admiration /or the German model o/ universal edu+ation0 and the .apanese
model o/ sho-ing respe+t to the /ore/athers0 are the t-o instan+es -hi+h Amrittalal 6uotes in this
regard to +laim that these admirations result /rom an amnesia0 #e+ause these pra+ti+es e5isted in $engal
as -ell 93!<37:2 AmritalalDs times -ere still traditional0 #ut they do not seem to #e +asteist0 e5+lusionary
and hierar+hi+al2 People had a sense o/ a +ommon #elonging to the $engali identity2 AmritalalDs
admiration /or ,ani ,ashmoni proves that there -ere upper +aste people in nineteenth +entury $engal
/or -hom the nationalist a-aening had a++eptan+e /or a dalit leadership2 ;hy this strain o/ thought
never gained su//i+ient strength is a point /or the $engali nationalists to ponder over2
176=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
These memoirs o/ Amritalal do not aim to #e historiography0 #ut they nonetheless o//er interesting
glimpses /rom the maing o/ the nationalist +ons+iousness in nineteenth +entury $engal2 (e suggests
that the root o/ $animDs $onde 'atorom 91ande 'ataram: -as taen /rom the /irst line o/ a $engali
primer 9long e5tin+t: titled Shishubodho 939:2 As Amritalal humorously re+ords0 in one in+ident a
$ritish -hile dying in Kolata +ommits his /inal prayer as /ollo-s >(eaven tae my soul and "al+utta
eep my #ones@ 949:0 -hi+h is an interesting illustration o/ the -hite manDs asso+iation -ith the +olony2
Amritalal +alls the pu#li+ stage o/ his times the >demo+rati+ stage@ a/ter Shishir Ghosh -ho -as highly
pleased -hen he heard that AmritalalDs theatre +ompany +alled itsel/ D3ational TheatreDA Amritalal in
his o#ituary o/ Shishir Ghosh said= >(e -as a +omplete $engali@ 999:2 The same adage applies a#out
Amritalal2 (e too -as a +omplete $engali2
This is interesting to note that #oth nationalism and le/t<li#eral individualism +ame to $engal /rom
the ;est2 $ut -hile nationalism aimed to strengthen the +ommunity0 li#eralism -anted to dissolve it0
and as a result0 -hile nationalist a-aening in $engal is mared #y an intelle+tual and +ultural /lourish
a++ompanied -ith an e+onomi+ and politi+al +onsolidation o/ the $engali people0 the rise o/ le/t and
#ishsomano# ideologies resulted in a de+line o/ the $engalis0 mared #y their politi+al and e+onomi+
disen/ran+hisement /rom po-er esta#lishments and a +ultural stagnation2 $oth ideologi+al /rames have
their merits and demerits2 $oth have their intelle+tual high points and lo- points2 $oth have their
seletons in the +up#oard and the mad-omen in the atti+2 $oth have their limitations and promises2 ;e
need to +ontinue to study them and +ompare them0 i/ -e -ant to understand the history o/ $engal in
last t-o hundred years2
$asu0 Amritalal2 Roshoraa+er Roshoothon2 Kolata= Sam#ad0 %0132
Dutt0 Itpal2 -ncore2 Kolata= Deep Praashan0 %0132
Mousumi Bis,as #asgu'ta is /ssistant Professor of -nglish at /urobindo College, 2niversity of #elhi;
She holds a first class masters in -nglish from 1adav'ur 2niversity, %olata EH998A; She is one of the
founding editors of .ournal o/ $engali Studies;
,'orai $'arita anas# 5 ,o-u"entation of Hand'ian %t' and Indian
3reedo" o!e"ent
Sa(tars'i ait%
Inparalleled $engali novelist Satinath $haduriZs one o/ the greatest +reations is [Dhorai
"harita 'anasZ2 The novel +aptures the li/e struggle o/ a +ommon person named [DhoraiZ
-ho #elonged to Tatma Tri#e 2 The novelist used t-o popular myths named [Gandhian 'yth[
and ,amayanaZs 'yth in an intri+ate -ay2 *ven Dhorai had a golden opportunity to meet
-ith 'ahatma Gandhi 2 The novelist depi+ts the real vision o/ 3on "o<Eperation 'ovement
and Satyagraha 'ovement in rural villages o/ $ihar2 'oreover Dhorai is the "entral
Protagonist as pro)e+ted #y the author2 The li/e<struggle o/ Dhorai and the impa+t o/ Gandhin
'yth and the myth [,ama<,a)yaZ le/t a strong and everlasting impression in the novel2
Pi+ture o/ Sri Satinath $haduri Front page o/ the 3ovel
I65$+ 43 +8* H5N,8IN 4V**N+ IN +8* IN, 43 $44N 6*46L* 5S
6I$+M<IS*, IN +8* N4V*L #
The main o++upation o/ the Tatma tri#al people is +learing the sand /rom -ell and the -ors o/
[gharamiZ that is masonry2 Dhorai -as the son o/ $udhni and her anonymous hus#and2 A/ter
the death o/ DhoraiZs /ather $udhni married another person named $a#ulal "haprasi2 $oua
$a-a i2e2 $o#a $a#a -ho -as a spee+h<impaired saint0 nurtured Dhorai 2 Dhorai married
17B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
[,ampiyariZ i2e2 ,amia #ut she #etrayed him2 Dhorai departed his #irth pla+e Tatmatuli and
+ame to Koeritola 2 (ere a -ido- -oman named Sagia supported Dhorai in his struggle2
,o)a0 ,o)gar and ,amayana are the three main li/e</or+es o/ Tatma tri#e2 Ene day ,o#ia
dis+overed a -hite image on a green /oreign pumpin and moreover the -hite /a+e -as that
o/ Gandhi)iZs2 *ven a mousta+he -as seen on it2 Tatma people thought that it -as the
[+harismaZ o/ so +alled [Ganhi $a-aZ or [Gandhi $a#aZ i2e2 'ahatma Gandhi2 They thought this
#e+ause the Tatma people -ere su#merged in the muddy -aters o/ superstition2 $oua $a-a
started -orshipping that pumpin and on that [sa+redZ day $oua $a-a #aptiHed Dhorai0 and
Dhorai -as renamed Dhorai $haat instead o/ Dhorai Tatma2 Dhorai #e+ame so+ially upli/ted
and he turned e6ual -ith ,e#an Guni2 Dhorai used to sing the /amous $atohi song /or
-orshipping Gandhi $a-a2 En the other hand0 ,e#an Guni -as a +harlatan -ho used to earn
money #y sho-ing the pumpin -ith the image o/ Gandhi ins+ri#ed on it2
A++ording to the villagers o/ rural areas o/ $ihar0 ele+tion -as nothing #ut a ritual +eremony
/or esta#lishing the most a-aiting [,ama ,a)yaZ2 This mis+on+eption -as the result o/ the
planning o/ party volunteers and their +ampaign2 Dhorai -as greatly impressed #y GandhiZs
spee+h2 'ahatma Gandhi told in his spee+h in .irania that the +ause o/ the earth6uae in 1934
in #ihar -as [paapZ i2e2 [sinZ +ommitted against the Hari+ans2 7nspired #y GandhiZs spee+h0
Dhorai parti+ipated in the ^uit 7ndia 'ovement o/ 194% 2
H5N8I B5>5 VS. H5N,8I# +8* P+8 5N, <*5LI+P #
A++ording to the Tatma tri#al people 'ahatma Gandhi -as a supernatural0 po-er/ul hero -ho
-as the su++essor o/ ,ama+handra as in TulsidasZs [,am "harita 'anasZ2 So itZs not possi#le
/or any Government to send him to )ail2 Dhorai -ent to hear the spee+h o/ Gandhi)i -ith a
lot o/ e5pe+tation2 3evertheless0 he #e+ame a-are that there had #een a #arrier #et-een him
and 'ahatma Gandhi2 Further0 he /elt that the #arrier -as #eing put up #y some ["ongress-allasZ
i2e2 "ongress Partymen2 Gandhian ideals -ere valua#le and Gandhi -anted to rea+h out to the
+ommon people #ut +ould not penetrate the #arrier +reated #y "ongress leaders -ho hanered a/ter
politi+al0 e+onomi+ and so+ial pro/its2
$a#usahe# $a+h+han Singh0 a +ruel _aminder sent his son 8adli $a#u in "ongress in order to
perpetrate his reign as a _aminder2 The land re/orm poli+y o/ the /irst "ongress Government
+ould not rea+h the grass<root people2 *ven 8adli $a#u unla-/ully +aptured the post o/ the
179=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
"hairman o/ Distri+t $oard diso#eying the order o/ "ongress (igh "ommand2 'ahatma Gandhi
himsel/ promised that he -ould usher in the so +alled [,ama ,a)yaZ2 $ut the ideal o/ ,ama
,a)ya soon revealed itsel/ to #e nothing #ut a utopian +on+ept2 ,ural 7ndia -as in/luen+ed very
mu+h #y GandhiZs -ords2 The +ommon people parti+ularly the Tatma tri#al people o/ $ihar
thought that Gandhi)i -as the [AvatarZ o/ ,ama+handra o/ Ramayana and he himsel/ +ould
+reate a ne- era o/ truth and )usti+e in Kali Quga2 They de/ined the meaning and signi/i+an+e
o/ Satyagraha in their o-n -ay2
;hen a gang o/ [volunteersZ o/ "ongress used to +ome in Koeritola to +ampaign /or the
Sayagraha movement0 the lo+al tri#al and rural people thought that it -as /ar more interesting
a thing than the usual stu// o/ their o-n /estivals0 /or e5ample the /amous [,am helia Dan+eZ o/
their o-n +ulture2 *ven Dhorai did not understand the meaning o/ [SatiagiraZ i2e2 the
Satyagraha2 $ut all the people in+luding Dhorai -ere mesmeriHed #y the magi+al attra+tion o/
Gandhi2 Dhorai -anted to devote himsel/ as a soldier o/ the [,aghupati o/ KaiyugaZ i2e2
Gandhi -rote in [Qoung 7ndiaZ that i/ he had the opportunity o/ re#irth0 he -ould pre/er to
#e #orn in the su#altern +lass and he -ould try his #est to serve these so+ially and
e+onomi+ally distressed people2 This -as his dream2 #horai Charita Manas +hroni+les a mi+ro<
history o/ the Gandhian period and 7ndian /reedom movement2 ;2 ( 2 (udson said = >8iterature
is a vital re+ord o/ -hat men have seen in li/e 0 -hat they have e5perien+ed o/ it0 -hat they
have thought and /elt a#out those aspe+ts o/ it -hi+h have the most immediate and enduring
interest /or all o/ us2 7t is thus /undamentally an e5pression o/ li/e through the medium o/
This +omment is appli+a#le /or Satinath $haduriZs novel2 The authorZs attitude to-ards li/e is
a#solutely lie that o/ a painter to-ards a human lands+ape2 (e painted the +hara+ter o/ Dhorai as
a representative o/ su#altern so+iety2 Satinath $haduri himsel/ -as a mem#er o/ "ongress Party2
(e devoted himsel/ to so+ial -ors0 organiHed sava<samitis i2e2 +ampaigns at Tiapatti Ashram
in Purnia0 $ihar2 (e -as popularly no-n as [$haduri)iD2 (e -as imprisoned many times #y
the $ritish "olonial Government2 8ater he le/t "ongress and )oined "ongress So+ialist Party2
$ut still later he had to resign /rom that party as -ell2 Satinath did not surrender his +ons+ien+e
to politi+al a//iliation0 and did not let his pen to #e su#dued #y the so +alled [Dolo<tontroZ 9Party<
1B&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
+entri+ system:2 (e #elieved in the po-er o/ +ommon people and true grass<root demo+ra+y2
Dhorai is the spoesman o/ his ideas2
12 Satinath $haduri = A monograph #y S-asti 'ondal 2 Sahitya A+ademy 0 %010 2
%2 $ipan "handra 0 Amalesh Tripathi 0 $arun Dey = S-adhinata Sangram 2 3ational
$oo Trust 0 7ndia 2 19&3
32 Satinath $aduri = Dhorai "harita 'anas 2 $engal Pu#lishers 0 3e- Print %00& 2
42 ;illiam (enry (udson 0 An 7ntrodu+tion to the Study o/ 8iterature 0 ,adha
Pu#lishing (ouse 0 Kolata 2
42 ,2 ,2 Di-aar 0 Gen2 ed2 $ihar through the ages 2 $om#ay 0 Erient 8ongman 0
1949 p2 !!& 2
Sa'tarshi Maity holds an M/ in Bengali from 2niversity of Calcutta EH9I9A; His 'ublished articles
include (Buddhadeb Bosur "/ %hana Haat& : "/dhuni Bangla %obita: Ru'e Borne Bibhabe*,
(Bonofuler #ana $ Poribesh Chetonar /loe*, Professor Shonu, %ol'obigyan -bongW& in various
scholarly collections and +ournals;
Seeing, Be%ond Seeing# 6oetr% of o!e"ent and o!e"ent of 6oetr%
,e1an2an ,as
Poetry has an intri+ate relationship -ith movement2 (ere -e tae movement in the sense o/ s-ing0
vi#ration0 dis+ussion2228et us turn #a+ to the /eeling that +omes a/ter reading poetry2 Do -enot /ind
that s-ing or vi#ration? ;hat +an #e the out+ome o/ reading a poem other than s-ing and vi#ration?
And i/ -e +lari/y our thining < poetry0 so+iety0 movement < i/ these three have to #e #rought to
dis+ourse0 then ho- do -e pro+eed to evaluate their interrelationships?
First0 let us +ome to poetry2 Any medium o/ art is lia#le to /a+e attempts o/ de/inition2 This attempt is
perhaps normal in any logi+al dis+ussion2 $ut -henever any su#)et is de/ined0 it is delimited2 And then
poetry till date is devoid o/ any rational or universal de/inition2 7/ -e loo at the poeti+ pra5is in -orld
history0 -e may /rame an outline0 perhaps may even say -hat poetry is not0 #ut -e +annot /ind a /i5ed
de/inition2 Still0 -henever a poet has turned auto+rat disregarding traditions he has /a+ed oppositions2
These le/t poets largely una//e+ted2 And -henever someone -rote -hat he thought -ere poems he
thought o/ himsel/ as a poet2 (e -as a#le to ignore those -ho opposed him2 Did the poet en)oy this
li+ense #e+ause as a medium poetry is /ar more personal?
7/ -e have to ans-er in a -ord < yes0 as artisti+ e5pression poetry is /ar more personal2 En the other
hand0 sin+e poetry has an inde/inite de/inition0 it has a proportionate mystery2 7 have already said that
poetry has no /i5ed de/inition2 $ut there is an understanding #et-een the poet and reader a#out poetry2
The understanding on the #asis o/ -hi+h the reader reads the te5t and arrives at the realiHation -hether
it has #een poetry or not2 3o-0 even this understanding is not -ell /i5ed2 ;hat the poet -anted to -rite
is not liely to rea+h the reader #e+ause the author is dead2 So -hat is the ground #eneath that
understanding? 7/ -e +annot dire+t our en6uiry to it0 its mystery -ill eventually rival the pla+e o/ God2
8et us temporarily relieve God /rom that +haos2 7/ -e thin a little0 it -ill #e +lear that the
understanding -e -ere taling a#out has t-o main pillars= so+iality and mystery2 The -ay mystery
/or#ids poetry to #e de/inite0 it maes poetry to #e more promising2 The reader no longer has the
lia#ility to sear+h /or and re+over -hat e5a+tly the poetDs thoughts -ere in -riting the poem2 The reader
rather +an sear+h on his o-n2 The reader perhaps /inds his o-n poetry or /eels s-ings in his mind a/ter
reading the poem<s+ript given #y the poet2 .ust the -ay a tourist /eels looing at the sunrise /rom the
Tiger (ill in Dar)eeling2 En the other hand0 so+iality is that so+ial milieu -here the poem is -ritten and
1B2=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
read2 As an e5ample0 the anterior and posterior times o/ the theoreti+al position that -ords have no
9/i5ed: meaning sa- a di//eren+e in the understanding #et-een the poet and the reader a#out the poem<
s+ript2 The so+iality a#out poem /or me is this mu+h= -hi+h is0 +umulative no-ledge2
7n this sense0 poetry has no dire+t +onne+tion -ith so+iety2 Poetry is o/ no #ene/it /or the so+iety2 7t is
#etter not to employ a medium o/ personal e5pression /or so+ial -or2 There are pro#lems too= -hat
the poet may say0 and then /or so+ial D#ene/itD there may #e demands /or his transportation2 Does that
mean that poetry is independent o/ so+iety? 3o0 7 am not trying to say that2 As a so+ial #eing0 the poet
surely has a so+ial +ons+iousness2 Politi+al and e+onomi+ +ir+umstan+es in/luen+e him0 agitate him2 $ut
does his poetry really +arry the message o/ politi+al and e+onomi+ movements?
At home and a#road -e have o/ten seen poetry as the messenger o/ movements2 7n $engal0 -e have
seen the poetry o/ politi+al message in the 1940s and 1970s2 1ery re+ently -e have seen some poems in
the +onte5t o/ the anti<evi+tion movements o/ Singur and 3andigram2 $ut these poems o/ so+ial reality
or politi+al message are #y and large /ailed versions o/ essay -riting2 Failed0 #e+ause #eing poems they
+annot have the s+ope and span o/ an essay2 $esides0 sin+e su+h poetry is more de/inite o-ing to the
need o/ +arrying a message0 the reader is only a target o/ propaganda there2 The reader has no other
parti+ipation2 (o- many o/ us read Golam Kuddus or 'angala+haran today? Does the reader0 or -ill
the reader remem#er the post<3andigram poetry o/ .oy Gos-ami? 7 /eel that he -ill not remem#er2 $ut
+ertainly Gos-amiDs previous poems -ill +ontinue to #e read in /uture2
Then0 does that mean that so+iety is or -ill #e a#sent in poetry and in the poetDs +ons+iousness? 3o0 7
do not -ant to say that2 The happening reality0 so+iety and politi+s in/luen+e 9and they must in/luen+e:
the poetDs +ons+iousness2 $ut that may not al-ays +ome dire+tly0 in the style o/ reportage2 Sitting in
Kolata0 essays +an #e -ritten on the su#)e+t matters o/ 3i+aragua0 1ietnam or A/ghanistan0 #ut not
poetry2 7n that attempt the poetDs o#servation or imagined e5perien+e may seem to #e /ragile and /ae2
$ut even so0 politi+s +annot #e +ompletely avoided2 As an individual human #eing0 the in/luen+e o/
+ontemporary politi+s does remain inside the poet2 That indire+t in/luen+e +an #e tra+ed in the poetDs
+hoi+e o/ -ords0 imagined e5perien+e0 imagined sight0 and /ormat o/ arrangement2 This may not #e
-hat -e understand as ma+ro<politi+s2 And this +annot #e disregarded2
1B3=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
$ut -hat happens -hen a poet enters a massive so+io<politi+al /erment? 7/ that is an epo+hal
phenomenon lie a revolution0 or a struggle /or li#eration? Then the naturally sensitive poet +annot
eep his poetry a-ay /rom an in/luen+e o/ that phenomenon2 Sin+e su+h so+ial and politi+al movements
/undamentally alter the stru+tures0 they leave a lasting impression on poetry2 *ven today the appli+ation
o/ the poeti+ language and the +hanges #rought into $engali poetry #y Su#hash 'uhopadhyay0 the
poet o/ so+ial reality0 +onstitute a topi+ o/ study2
$ut the +hanges in poetry0 spoen o/ as movements in poetry0 do not al-ays move horiHontally -ith
the so+ial and politi+al +ir+umstan+es2 That is0 they are not al-ays +omplementary2 The si5ties -ere the
de+ade o/ movements in $engali poetry2 The (ungry<Shruti<3eem movements during the si5ties
eventually sho-ed ne- dire+tions to $engali language itsel/2 Eut o/ them i/ -e only loo at the (ungry
movement0 it -ill #e seen that this movement o/ poetry0 later -idely dis+ussed0 /ell /lat on its /a+e in
the very si5ties2 (ungry0 in most areas0 -as /ar more a li/estyle movement than )ust a literary
movement2 The personal a+6uaintan+e and /riendship -ith the $eat poets o/ Ameri+a in/luen+ed the
(ungry poets in many instan+es2 $ut this literary and li/estyle movement -as a mismat+h in
+omparison -ith the then so+iety0 politi+s and +ulture in $engal 9and 7ndia:2 Eur so+iety -as still not
ready to a++ept this /lo- o/ individual li#erty2 As a result (ungry poetry -as lost in the storm o/ some
additional so+ial 6uestions2 *ven so0 it -as not /orgotten2 7ts in/luen+e -e +an /eel in literature later in
the 19&0s and 1990s2
The harvest o/ the la#ours o/ the 19&0s poets -as seen in the 1990s < the movement o/ 3e- Poetry2
1ery +learly there -ere tals o/ surpassing the poetDs +ons+iousness in /avour o/ the
super+ons+iousness2 There -ere tals o/ trans+ending the happening reality to the radiation o/ an<other0
latent reality2 Super+ons+iousness -as given signi/i+an+e as opposed to +ons+iousness2 Through this
de+laration o/ the non<su#stantiality o/ reality poetry -as +ompletely disso+iated /rom any dire+t
+onne+tion -ith so+iety and politi+s2 So0 here is a +ontemporary a++ount o/ seeing0 #eyond seeing2
@+ranslated 1% +a"al ,asgu(ta fro" Bengali:
1B4=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
#eban+an #as did his Masters in .ilm Studies from 1adav'ur 2niversity in H99V; He is associated ,ith
little magaLine movement, and is a 'oet in Bengali language; He edits the Bengali 'oetry magaLine
Boihori Bhashyo; His first boo of 'oetry "hena In/rame E%no,n 2nframeA ,as 'ublished in the
%olata Boo .air H99J, and his second boo of 'oetry $illi#adol ECat$RainA ,as 'ublished in H9IN
%olata Boo .air;
Boats in $'u%a-'andan
S/aru( B'atta-'ar%%a
,iverine people o/ $engal have a +lose relationship -ith -ater+ra/ts2 Their a+6uaintan+e -ith the #oat
has #een re/le+ted in novels0 stories0 poems and myths2 8ie many other authors0 Saradindu
$andyopadhyay also -rote a#out #oats in his various -ritings2 Ene su+h narrative is >"huya+handan@
O a short story depi+ting the early $engal li/e o/ 14%! Saa#da 913&! AD:2 This story -as a#out the
people o/ 3a-ad-ip lo+ated in 3adia Distri+t2 Author introdu+es his main +hara+ter "handandas as a
mer+hant o/ Agrad-ip0 situated 30 m upstream o/ 3a-ad-ip on the same #an o/ ,iver $hagirathi2
"handandas a/ter a so)ourn o/ one year and nine months on his return voyage /rom Sinhal 9Srilana:0
"o+hin 9Ko+hi0 Kerala:0 Sumatra0 .a#ad-ip 9.ava: halted in 3a#ad-ip2 (is /leet had t-o #ig seagoing
sailing #oats 9samudri baro noua: e6uipped -ith sail2 Ene o/ the #oats named as 'adhuar 9re/erred
as 'adhuar dinga: -as used as the resting pla+e /or the mer+hant himsel/2 'adhuar is a popular
name o/ #oat re/erred in 'ongol Ka##os 9'angal Kavyas:2 From the soil o/ $engal #et-een /i/teenth
and eighteenth +enturies0 a num#er o/ 'ongol Ka##os -ere #orn2 Among all the 'ongol Ka##os the
stories o/ 'onoshamongol and "hondimongol narrate the maritime trade a+tivities o/ "handsadagar as
-ell as Dhanapati and his son Srimanta0 -ith di//erent names o/ mer+hant ships2 These poems
+omposed in di//erent regional versions vary /rom one another in respe+t to the name o/ #oats2
'odhuar0 1i)usi)u0 Guyarehi0 $hadarpatuya0 Shanha+hur0 A)ayselpat0 Iday)atra0 Tiyathuti0 Dhaval0
Kedar0 Pashira)0 $himasha0 Sanghatoli0 Alelaa)ela are some o/ the names2 The term Dinga is an
Austri+ term 9a group o/ language used #y Santal0 'unda0 $humi) and others in "hhotonagpur plateau:
-hi+h re/ers to a type o/ all purpose #oat0 used e5tensively #y /ishermen and +ommon people /or
+onveyan+e0 all over $engal2 The author has used t-o terms< 3oua and Dinga /or the same 'adhuar
#oat2 $ut 3oua is the generi+ name and Dinga is a typologi+al variety2 'adhuar has t-o
+ompartments= one +rammed -ith treasure and other -as used as the rest room o/ "handandas2
$esides the a#ove mentioned #oat author Saradindu $andyopadhyay has mentioned various #oat
names in the story< heya noua0 )ele dingi0 #hanr0 #a)ra0 +hhip0 and isti2 Khyea noua is also a
generi+ name2 A #oat -hi+h a+ts as /erry +an #e termed as heya2 Kheya nouo has its /i5ed destination
to di//erent -har/2 7t +arries mainly passengers2 .ele dingi on the other hand is a typologi+al #oat
variety2 .ele dingi is longer and narro-er than the dingi0 used /or /ishing2 $hanr on the other hand is a
+argo #oat2 Author mentioned its +arrying +apa+ity as thousand mounds2 Similar ind o/ #hanr is still
1B6=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
plying on the ,iver Ganges near Khidirpur do+0 Kolata2 The author has re/erred to $a)ra0 a popular
#oat variety0 -hi+h in the story is under +onstru+tion in the #oat yard o/ 3a#ad-ip2 $a)ra has #een
re/erred to in various novels2 7tZs a #oat -ith +a#in2 The Flemish artist Franiois $althaHar Solvyns
917!0<1&%4:0 -ho lived in "al+utta /rom 1791 to 1&03 has dra-n the image o/ a #a)ra having a
permanent shed -ith +a#ins2 The #oat used 1% oars and -as steered #y a #alan+ed rudder2 Sometimes
the stem o/ the #oat -as adorned -ith the /igurehead o/ pea+o+0 or du+0 or maar 9an a6uati+ animal
/rom mythology0 a+tually the no- e5tin+t Gangeti+ dolphin: et+2 Generally a//luent /amilies had the
privilege o/ o-ning #a)ra -hi+h they used /or their pleasure trip2 "hhip is another #oat type mentioned
#y the author2 (e has also mentioned that this type o/ #oat is +hara+teriHed #y its slee appearan+e2
"hhip is a long and narro- #oat used /or /ast movement2 Generally these #oats are used -ith paddles
9boitha:2 7t has #een re/erred0 as the spe+ial type o/ #oats that -ere used at the time o/ #oat ra+e as -ell
as /or the purpose o/ da+oity2 Kisti is a Persian -ord0 -hi+h means #oat2 Kisti #oat has its +onnotation
-ith the /oreign involvement2 7n $engal isti re/ers to di//erent #oats -ith di//erent te+hnologies2 ;e
no- a#out Khoroisti0 -hi+h is a stra- +arrier0 +hara+teriHed #y its lo- depth2 7t is mainly a sailing
#oat moving under a ind o/ lug sail2 The #uilding te+hnology is not similar to the other varieties o/
$engal #oats2 7t is essentially #uilt -ith >/rame /irst@ te+hnology -here seleton o/ the #oat is ere+ted
/irst and then plans are added2 Planing pattern is also /lash laid -ithout any ra##et 9hal/ groove:2
7nstead o/ staple 9'atam0 a dou#le ended nail:0 nails are used to hold the plans2 The author tells us that
isti +an tae huge /reight2
Saradindu has not only mentioned some #oat varieties #ut has also pointed out the #oat #uilding
pro+ess0 their te+hnology and also a#out the #oat maers2 (e stated that hamlets o/ #oat maers are
+lustered /urther in the north o/ the $rahmin +olony on the #an o/ the river2 7t is natural that #oat
maers -ould stay on the river #ans /or easy handling o/ #oats -hi+h are generally transported
through the river2 7n our present times e5+ept /or $alagarh in (ugli Distri+t -e do not have any +lusters
o/ #oat maers2 Generally /e- /amilies are engaged in #oat maing and they do not have any +aste
restri+tion2 $ut many o/ them are /rom the lo-er strata o/ (indu +aste system2 Author mentioned that
the nou<ar sutradhars are the #oat maers2 (ere nou$ar means those -ho spe+ialiHed in #oat maing2
(2 (2 ,isley in his Tribes and Castes in Bengal 91&91: mentioned that sutradhars are a spe+ialiHed
group -ho are also #oat maers2 A++ording to him sutradhars are the >+arpenter +aste o/ $engal0 named
thread<holder0 /rom the Sansrit sutra0 the thread0 -ith -hi+h the +ourse o/ the sa- is mared2@ Dr2
1B7=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
;ise des+ri#es them as a very lo- +aste o/ $engal0 and largely employed in #oat #uilding2 As /or the
-ood used in #oat #uilding the author has stated a#out /e- varieties lie sal 9Shorea robusta:0 piyal
9Buchanania latifolia:0 segun 9Tactona grandis: and )arul 9!agerstroemia s'eciosa:2 $esides these
-ood varieties0 more e+onomi+ -oods are also used in present days0 in+luding #a#la 9/casia arabica:0
ar)un 9Terminalia ar+una:0 )ilapi 9Ingo duscis:0 hirish 9Somania saman:0 sirish 9/lbennia lebbec:0
su#a#ul 9!eneaena leuce'hala:2 8ali0 nahar0 +hap0 pasur0 garan and loha ath are also good 6uality
-oods0 -hi+h are used /or #oat #uilding2 $a#la is the most popular -ood #e+ause o/ its easy
availa#ility0 lo- pri+e and hardness2 Author -rote a#out various #oats -hi+h -ere under +onstru+tion
in the #oat yard at di//erent stages o/ +onstru+tion2 Fe- o/ them -ere planed /ully and in some o/
them only the seleton -as ere+ted2 (ere the author tried to mention that the +onstru+tion o/ the #oat
-as /ollo-ed #y the te+hni6ue o/ /rame</irst te+hnology2 ;e do not have any earlier re/eren+e o/ that
ind o/ te+hnology in $engal -here seleton o/ the #oat -as shaped #e/ore plans -ere nailed2 Eur
#oats are essentially shell #uilt -here hull o/ the #oats is shaped /irst and then the /rames o/ the #oats
are inserted to provide strength to the hull2 As /ar as the development o/ te+hnology is +on+erned the
/rame /irst te+hnology +ame in mu+h later period0 most pro#a#ly /rom outside o/ 7ndia and isti is one
o/ that #oat types -hi+h is #uilt /ollo-ing the same te+hnology2 So the story remains histori+ally
interesting a#out the e5isten+e o/ isti type o/ #oat and /rame</irst te+hnology in 3a-ad-ip0 -here
Pathans -ere the rulers o/ the then $engal2
Saradindu $andyopadhyay in this story -anted to depi+t the e5tremely /lourishing maritime trade o/
$engal during the medieval period2 (e /o+used on 3a-ad-ip during the era o/ Sri"haitanya2 There are
#ut a very /e- -riter -ho have dis+ussed a#out #oats so intensively in their -ors as Saradindu did2
Qet -hatever des+ription he gave a#out #oats might not al-ays #e that authenti+ /rom the te+hnologi+al
perspe+tive2 (is e5planations o/ #oats mostly remained as an overvie- o/ popular understanding0
devoid o/ s+ienti/i+ /lavor2 3onetheless it is really appre+ia#le the -ay he has dis+ussed a#out #oats in
his -ors time and again0 not )ust in >"huya+handan@2 That -ay Saradindu has stru+ a histori+al
+hord very +lose to the pulse o/ the riverine people o/ $engal2 The lovers at the +entre o/ this story 9the
story is named a/ter them: #elong to the +aste o/ Shonar Bene -hi+h again maes the story pregnant
-ith suggestions o/ $engalDs past glory o/ maritime trade= the gradual loss o/ -hi+h -as attri#uta#le to
the perse+ution su//ered #y the s,ornoboni +aste as they -ere oppressed and marginalised in the ne-
hierar+hy proposed #y the Sen ings2 "haitanyaDs role and the role played #y the #oats in the res+ue o/
1BB=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
the lovers "huya and "handan maes this story one o/ the #est histori+al roman+es ever -ritten0 as it is
resonant -ith $engalDs history0 geography and +ulture2
S,aru' Bhattacharya is a s'ecialist on Bengali boats and the ancient naval technology of Bengal; He
has ,ored for the /nthro'ological Survey of India and is currently based in %olata; His eG'ertise in
ancient marine and naval technology is highly valued by different state governments of India;
8ungr% o!e"ent after C& Pears

Na-'i)eta Band%o(ad'%a%
>(ungryalism -as the /irst and the last i+ono+lasti+ venture in $angla literature -hi+h in retrospe+t
no- appears to #e a so+io<politi+al aestheti+ triumph o/ artisti+ /reedom in -hi+h lives -ere put at
stae222 and the (ungryalist de/iant ventures -ere attempts to -rest the po-er o/ de/inition0 distin+tion
and evaluation /rom those -ho +laimed themselves to #e authorities o/ literary dis+ourses2@
<<< As stated #y 'alay ,oy+ho-dhury0 the /ounder mem#er o/ the movement0
-hi+h had pro#a#ly no
regimentation o/ order nor it had any +onstitution2 $ut it pu#lished its o-n politi+al mani/esto2
+8* 64LI+I$5L 5NI3*S+4
12 To depoliti+iHe the soul o/ ea+h solitary individual2
%2 To let every individual realiHe that e5isten+e is pre<politi+al 2
32 To let it #e noted histori+ally that politi+s invites the man o/ the third 6uality2
42 To mae it +lear that the +on+eption o/ elite and that o/ the politi+ian di//er a#solutely a/ter the death
o/ Gandhi2
42 To de+lare the #elie/ that all intelle+tual /aeries 9si+: +alled politi+al theory are essentially /atal and
sedu+tive lies +reeping out o/ a#omina#le irresponsi#ility2
!2 To demar+ate the a+tual position o/ a politi+ian in a modern so+iety0 some-here #et-een the
dead#ody o/ a harlot and a doneyDs tail2
72 To never respe+t a politi+ian0 to -hatever spe+ies or organism he may #elong2
&2 To never es+ape /rom politi+s0 and at the same time0 nor let politi+s es+ape /rom the terror o/ our
aestheti+ #eing 2
92 To remodel the #asis upon -hi+h -e /ound politi+al +reeds2
E#viously0 this movement -as never in any manner handled -ith pro+edural method or #y any
adopted resolution or a++ording to any held +onventions or +on/eren+es0 e5+ept their provoing
mani/esto pu#li+ation and displaying the same in marvelous -ays2
+8* 4BJ*$+S 43 8MNH<P5LIS
12 To never imitate the reality o/ Aristotle0 #ut to tae the un<enameled -horing reality #y surprise
19&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
under the genitals o/ art2
%2 To let spee+hlessness #urst into spee+h -ithout #reaing the silen+e2
32 To let loose a +reative /urore0 in order to undo the done /or -orld0 and start a/resh /rom +haos2
42 To e5ploit the matri5 o/ senses0 e5+ept that o/ a -riter 2
42 To dis+lose the #elie/ that -orld and e5isten+e are )usti/ied only as an aestheti+ phenomenon2
!2 To a++ept all dou#ts and despairs rather than to #e +ontent to live -ith the sense made #y others2
72 To leash out against the values o/ the #i<legged +areer<maing animals22
&2 To a#)ure all meretri+ious #landishments /or the sae o/ a#solute sin+erity2
92 To stop -riting and painting #eyond the point o/ sel/<realiHation2
;e may note here that the vi#rant /ield o/ $engali +ulture shi/ted /rom rural $engal to Kolata0
/or+ed #y "orn-allisDs permanent settlement a+t2 8iterary standard /urther traveled to 'a+aulayDs
generations0 a-ay /rom (indu $engali 6uarters2 The $rahmans<$aidyas<Kayasthas started setting
standard /or the indigenous literature and +ulture0 supervised #y the +olonial masters /or the +olonial
esta#lishments0 #y *uropean yardsti+s2 (ere 'alay ,oy+ho-dhuri +on+ludes
that the marginaliHed
so+iety0 only i/ is a#le to +on6uer the ruling #en+h o/ literary and +ultural po-er0 +an esta#lish methods
o/ native assessment in a post<+olonial era2 This movement has already taen pla+e in A/ri+a0 8atin
Ameri+a and ;est 7ndies2 Though su#altern stal-arts o/ 1&
+entury $engal 9as sho-n in the (ungry
s+heme: -ere earlier dis+arded as relatively mismat+hed a++ording to their distan+e /rom Anglo<Sa5on
or Soviet aestheti+s0 they -ere returning in post<modern dis+ourses and su#altern dis+ourses2
The *uropean +olonial thiners realiHed that to retain permanent +olonial in/luen+e0 it is #etter to rule
over the nativesD mind even at the possi#le eventuality o/ the endgame o/ dire+t +olonial po-er0 than to
rule #y any e5ternal /or+e or aggression2 There/ore0 /ol poets0 7ndian poeti+s -ere dis+arded2
$harat+handraDs Bidyasundar -as de+lared dirty a++ording to the dominant 1i+torian sensi#ility0 the
+hara+ter o/ Pan+hali /rom Mahabharata -as de+lared vulgar and o#s+ene0 Betal Panchabingsati -as
de+lared eroti+2 Thus /ol +ultures o/ $engal and 7ndia -ere /or+e/ully and strategi+ally murdered in a
planned -ay2 'a+aulay0 "orn-allis and .ames 8ong -ere instrumental in this -ay2 That is -hy distri+t
gaHetteers -ere pa+ed -ith /oltales o/ da+oits or #andits #ut rural poets -ere ignored2 7n this -ay
.oga Koi#orto0 Keshto 'u+hi0 Gon)la Guin remained o#s+ure to elite $engalDs +ultural den2
191=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
Pre<modern -riters -ere not adora#le or a++epted #y our modernists0 -ho -ere in the +are o/ *urope
imported elitism2 En the other hand modernism under the purvie- o/ +apital maret also -anted to
mae a maret o/ literature #y a +aptive poetry2 $engali su#altern Ko#ials -ere la#orers0 they had no
me+haniHed marets o/ verse selling2 The a#ove<mentioned +ultural pedigree -as pu#lished in (ungry
#ulletin 93E<19: o/ 19!3 as a pre+olonial protest against +ontemporary literal values2 7t angered0
terroriHed devastated and threatened to desta#iliHe the imperial +olla#orators o/ -estern aestheti+s0 the
+onservative nationalists0 the *u+lidean philosophers0 Des+artesian /ans0 politi+al minno-s0 ha+s at
the #e+ and +all o/ editors0 patriar+hal $rahmans0 aggressive administrators0 +ontemporary poetsD
leaders0 vulgar 'ar5ists0 ra+ist orientalists and the thin<tans o/ rulers2
;hy had they /loated the theory? ,oy+ho-dhuri o#served
that this /lo-+hart pedigree o/ the $engal
poets originates /rom the 1&
+entury su#alterns Gon)ala Guin0 3ityananda $oiragi0 and others0 those
-ho -ere /amous as Ko#iyal2 $ut this s+heme -as denied and dis+arded #y higher +lass9+aste: poets o/
+ontemporary so+iety2 The ne- generations o/ +ontemporary poeti+ +lass 9literary a+tivists: are #rought
up #y +olonial idealism0 #y 'a+aulay0 "orn-allis and those pra+ti+es -hi+h dis+onne+t indigenous
192=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
values -hi+h then are repla+ed -ith "hau+er0 ,im#aud0 (eine0 Pushin2 Su+h "olonial ma+hinery de<
re+ogniHes indigenous myth0 repla+ing it -ith Gre+ian myth2 ,oy+ho-dhuri /urther opined=
>Assessment o/ literature /ollo-s the values o/ ruler2 S+ale o/ assessment is purportedly /i5ed #y
+ultural agents o/ the ruler /or holding po-er strategi+ally2@
Seldom e5ternal /or+es or inner +on/li+ts shae a stagnant and non<innovative so+iety2 ;hen so+ial
re/ormation o/ $engal -as on the verge o/ death0 religious uprising0 pungent nationalism0 insurgen+y
and riots repla+ed radi+alism0 li#eralism and so+ial re/ormations o/ the earlier period2 $engalDs
religious<politi+al po-ers under +olonial in/luen+e split up the territory o/ $engal2 All these events in
due +ourse had #een re/le+ted in $engali literature2 Several e5periments -ere -orshopped in
Sabu+'atra0 %allol0 Siha0 %obita Porichoy0 Purbasa during the period o/ se+ond -orld -ar and
partition2 %rittibas emerged -ith some uni6ue /reshers2 $ut these -ere in+idents0 and did not assume
the dimensions o/2 'ovements2 For a movement0 -e had to -ait until the si5ties -hen $engal
-itnessed splitting o/ +ommunists party0 emergen+e o/ 3a5als and unsta#le +ondition o/ the youthsD
mental domains at per -ith the youthsD grievan+es /loated in +ontemporary *urope against state0
so+iety0 religion0 +ustoms0 e+onomy and +ultural periphery2 These movements0 romanti+ or
revolutionary0 -ere against esta#lishment ta#oos0 arti/i+iality and +urrent so+ial /orms2 "iviliHation and
spontaneity are antagonisti+2 So+iety needs #oth2 Inder these +ir+umstan+es the (ungryalists appeared0
suddenly e5pressing their grievan+e0 /ailure0 revenge0 sentiment against the +ompromising nature o/
$engalDs +urrent so+ial li/e2 Shi#narayan ,oy
argued that >during preparatory days their -ritings -ere
a mi5ture o/ /undamental goodness #ut had less +on/iden+e0 patien+e0 +ulture and e5er+ise2@ ,oy -as
/rustrated a#out the /i+le +hara+ter o/ the +omrades o/ this movement2 (ungry soldiers neeling do-n
#e/ore moral poli+ing is pardona#le0 #ut #a+sta##ing leaders -ere not2 (o- +ould su+h a movement
live long? 7t -as a#orted2 ;as the signature o/ the movement -iped out? 'ay#e0 #ut remnants o/ its
protest still e5ist lie +emetery ro+s2 They tried and )uggled -ith D+ontentD and D/ormD /or the su#alterns0
opined $imal 'uhopadhyay2
Tagore<+entri+ #ourgeois idealisti+ intelle+tuals are yet to a++ept the
di+tion and synta5 o/ the marginaliHed su#altern0 #ut nonetheless these sho+ -aves +ame /rom the
lo-er end2
Samir ,oy "haudhary in an intervie- in/orms= >D(ungryD -as a movement -hi+h realiHed the
situation o/ paradigm shi/t /rom +lassi/ied to de+lassi/i+ation2 7n post<independen+e 7ndia so many
movements too pla+es in +ultural arena -hi+h -ere under the in/luen+e o/ +olonial /rame0 #ut
193=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
hungryalists emerged as the ne- and indigenous +rop o/ the harvest art and +ulture2@ 'ovements o/ the
!0s in+luding the (ungry +arried the seed o/ postmodernism2 (ungry movement -as -ithout any high
+ommand or polit#uro head6uarters or +ontrolling o//i+e2 7t -as an all<out movement2 This movement
had attention to every sphere o/ literature0 politi+s0 art0 religion an +ulture2 A postmodernism -ithout
+olonial in/luen+e -as #udding in (ungry dis+ourse2 "hange -as their motto2 Postmodernism -as their
lands+ape2 This postmodernism0 a++ording to the dis+ourse o/ 7ha# (assan0 a philosopher /rom *gypt
-as to lin +reativity in harvesting a +osmopolitan primordial 6uantum /ield2 Premodern literature and
philosophy -ere destined #y God0 the d-eller in the inner spirit o/ human heart0 -hereas modern
-ritings are destined #y the individualist authors2 "reators o/ -riting in the postmodern era s-ear #y a
6uantum universe0 an irresisti#le a#stra+t -hi+h is an omnipresent energy +ontrolling the universe2
(ungry is a myth0 #ut not o/ Samir ,oy+ho-dhuri0 Su#imal $asa or De#i ,oy or anyone else2 7t is
the myth o/ a ne-+omer -ho de+lares himsel/ as (ungry2 Those -ho protest against esta#lishment #ear
the lega+y o/ the (ungry protestant mindset2 7t is ever alive due to its openness2 7n spite o/ perse+uting
prose+ution and harassment0 the movement has +ontinued to produ+e and pu#lish poetry and prose2
A+id0 destru+tive0 mor#id0 hallu+inatory0 nihilisti+0 outrageous0 o#s+ene0 mad0 shrill < -ith so many
+ontroversies and +ontradi+tions in this movement0 there -as also a green +hemistry -hi+h
+hara+teriHed the +leansing visions that the (ungrealists insisted upon 7ndian literature2 Pro/essor
$ut only in the (ungry Generation0 e5+luded /rom the a+ademi+s and the literary aristo+ra+y0
+an the /ullness o/ urgen+y and despair #e seen0 /or they are the other group that has realiHed
that there is very possi#ly no hope /or 7ndia0 that -hat lies ahead is +haos and +ollapse2 They are
not revolutionaries0 only mourners2 ,evolution is pointless -hen #etrayal has #een so deep2 All
that remains is to protest0 s+ream0 love everything to /oolishness < espe+ially 7ndia < then nod
-isely and +allously at death2
7t -as a $engali avant garde so+io<literary movement2 7n response to post partition o/ $engal and
speedy emergen+e o/ so+io<politi+al phenomena lie partition o/ $engal0 the movement -as /loated2
;aves o/ re/ugees did still strie0 politi+al ne5us o/ di//erent spheres -as deep rooted0 and the !0s
"al+utta -as the #a+ground -hen (ungry movement started the )ourney /rom Patna0 residen+e o/
'alay ,oy+ho-dhuri -ho +oined the term (I3G,Q literature movement in 19!12 They e5perimented
in verse0 prose0 mani/esto0 art and politi+s and a++essories o/ +ulture and +ampaigned pu#li+ly and in
194=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
+ore asso+iation to #uild up identity2
(ungry movement had 6uali/ied in versatility test and holds a spa+e a/ter /ive de+ades o/ emergen+e0
as it -as /loated #y 6uali/ied a+tors through a trial o/ resistan+e against the state2 ;hile "al+uttaDs
+ulture and literature -ere under the +are o/ +olonial in/luen+e0 (ungryalists /elt that the lega+y o/ that
pra+ti+e #reeds modern a+ademi+ -astes and -ill perishe due to in#reeding2 "al+utta -as the +enter o/
avant garde intelle+tual systems and yet -as overloaded -ith dirt0 +ruelty0 +orruption0 poverty0 elitism
along -ith +ultural silen+e /ollo-ed #y /amine 91943:0 -orld -ar 91939<44:0 partition 91947:2 A ne-
/orm o/ so+iety emerged as the a/tersho+ o/ unemployment0 slum d-elling0 /rustrated masses2 They
tried to protest against romanti+ trends o/ e5isting literary systems0 against Tagore and his /ollo-ers0
SansritiHation o/ literature0 and the violation and silen+ing o/ +ulture #y esta#lished /or+es2 Samir
,oy+ho-dhuri -rote that this movement generally emerged against the oppression o/ systems= so+ial0
e+onomi+al0 +ultural0 ethi+al0 aestheti+0 religious0 pedagogi+al0 institutional systems2 The aims0
o#)e+tives0 mottoes0 missions o/ this movement e5pose the mal/un+tioning o/ the systems0 -hereas the
aim o/ the post<+olonial arrangement is to +ele#rate +olonial modernism and to retain its +olonial /rame2
Pro/essor (o-ard '+"ord
re+orded the attitude o/ (ungry movement in these terms=
*very attitude has itDs poetry0 and a small0 neat nation may0 in one age0 present a singularly
uni/ied attitude and itDs poetry to the -orld as did *ngland in the last 1! +enturies2 $ut su+h a
tidy +larity is impossi#le /or 7ndia2 3o +ountry in the -orld o//ers greater e5tremes or variety in
the total e5perien+es -hi+h shape poets2 *very so+ial ordering /rom the more primitive to the
most sophisti+ated may #e /oundA every ma)or religion and most o/ the minor ones are
pra+ti+edA the -orld vie-s and value stru+tures o/ 7ndia are nearly endless and e5pressed in 7%3
languages0 the only area in the -orld that o//ers even remotely an e6uivalent +omple5ity and
+on/usion is the -hole o/ A/ri+a2 T-o things give the +ountry -hat unity it has2 The /irst is /alse
generaliHation < that there is an 7ndian temperament dis+erni#le #oth in the 3orth and the South0
+omposed o/ egoism0 agility o/ mind0 6ui+ness to violen+e0 a pen+hant /or vaporous theories
and an honest material avari+eA the se+ond is a terri#le truth < that no-here else is there su+h an
omnipresent doom0 o/ the impla+a#le approa+h o/ a#solute disaster and +ollapse2
(ungry movement gathered its /uel /rom other past movements /rom 19%0s on-ards lie Kallol 9anti
Tagoreian stan+eG8e/t aestheti+s: or those -ho o//ered a spa+e o/ rea-aening2 Sometimes people
+ompared (ungry -ith $eat generation2 $oth -ere non<+onventional0 non<harmoni+0 anti<
19C=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
esta#lishment0 spontaneous and e5perimental2 (ungry poets -ere +onne+ted -ith Allen Gins#erg0
Garry Snider0 Peter Erlovosy2 (ungry -as in/luen+ed #y -estern poets2 (ungyalists de/ied any
mentorDs +ontri#ution or +omparison #ut the similarity -as there2 (ungryalists -anted a re<e5planation
o/ the spa+e o/ literature in imagination2 ,e<e5planation means sear+hing /or une5plored areas in
literature= in +ontent0 /orm0 language0 style2 'alay ,oy+ho-dhuri0 the /ounder mem#er o/ the
movement re/erred to the Spenglerian dis+ourse o/ (istory ineti+s 9the de+line o/ -est: that history
taes its o-n +ourse not only in >non<unilinear time@ #ut also through multiple -ays or +ir+ular -ays2
Any enri+hed +ultural system has a li/e +y+le o/ #irth0 youth and de+line2 Ene +ulture may not dominate
the other in a linear pro+ess2 Span o/ domination depends on spe+i/i+ /a+tors2 During a period o/ de+ay0
+ulture revitaliHation or resurre+tion is ignited #y leaders o/ a movement at an indigenous geo<
+ultural<politi+al level2 Su+h inspiration in (ungry phenomenon is o#served #y 'arina ,eHa2
3urruddin .ahangir
o/ $angladesh -rote that (ungry movement is a /ollo-er o/ *uropean art
movements= "u#ism0 Dadaism0 surrealism0 postmodernism provided the thoughts -hi+h provoed
'alay ,oy+ho-dhuri to #lo- the ;estern #reeHe in 7ndia2 3urruddin mentioned Allen Gins#erg as an
idol and i+on o/ that time -ho as a +reative genius depi+ted his o-n God in lieu o/ the +onventional
God2 (ungryalists -anted to remove any veil #et-een poems and poets0 poetry and time0 poet and
audien+e and -anted to /ertiliHe intelle+t -ith +ons+iousness2 3uruddin /urther held that (ungry
movement -as a dire+t imitation o/ $eat generation2 3irmalendu Goon
0 a reno-ned poet o/
$angladesh mentions the impa+t and in/luen+e o/ Allen Gins#erg and other -estern poets on $engali
verse2 9The $eat generation -as a group o/ Ameri+an post<;orld ;ar77 poets -ho +ame to prominen+e
in the 1940s0 as -ell as the +ultural phenomena that they #oth do+umented and inspired2 "entral
elements o/ T$eatT +ulture in+luded re)e+tion o/ re+eived standards0 innovations in style0
e5perimentation -ith drugs0 alternative se5ualities0 an interest in eastern religions0 a re)e+tion o/
materialism and e5pli+it portrayals o/ the human +ondition O ;iipedia:
8et us on+e more return to Pro/essor '+"ordDs +ommentary on hungry poetry=
This ind o/ poetry is dangerous and revolutionary0 +leanses #y violen+e and destru+tion0
unsettles and +on/ounds the reader2 This is the poetry o/ the disa//e+ted0 the alienated0 the
outraged0 the dying2 7t is a poetry -hi+h alarms and disgusts the #ourgeois0 /or it des+ri#es their
o-n si+ened state more +learly than they -ish to hear0 and e5poses the hypo+risy o/ their
de+en+y2 Ene rea+tion o/ good +itiHen has #een to a++use the poets o/ hysteria and o#s+enity2
196=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
The long and pain/ul perse+ution o/ 'alay ,oy+ho-dhuri0 ending in his +onvi+tion on %&

De+em#er 19!4 on +harges o/ o#s+enity0 indi+ates the virulen+e and depth o/ the /ear -hi+h
these poets have un+overed2 The energy o/ the poet is hysteri+alA 222
(o- do +ontemporary masses per+eive that short lived generation? Their imagery -as sho+ing2 The
per+eption hammered on the status 6uo o/ +ontemporary readership is that (ungry poetry means
e5pli+it narration o/ se50 vulgarity and /ilth2 That is -hy very /e- protests +ame -hile the (ungry poet
-as dragged on the street hand+u//ed #y poli+e2 Prodip "ho-huri -as rusti+ated0 Itpal $asu and
Samir ,oy+ho-dhuri /a+ed suspension /rom )o#0 De#i ,oy -as trans/erred0 Su#imal $asa /a+ed
physi+al atta+ed #y /ormer /riends2 'ost a+ademi+s and intelle+tual -ere against the (ungryalists2
Pro/essor '+"ord +omments on the desperate attempts o/ the (ungry poets
in these terms=
These poets say -hat poets and prophets have said /or a hundred years < that our +iviliHation is
desperately si+0 that our +ons+iousness is polluted0 our values murderous2 They are outraged at
the +ruel and deli#erate -astes o/ #eauty and intelligen+e that -orld +ulture presents0 and
si+ened #y perversions o/ li/e our so+ieties demand2 Their poems re+ord the ugly0 num#ing
truth that most delight in these horrors0 lust a/ter their o-n destru+tion0 and /ear li/e insanely2
The poets are nihilisti+2 They are pessimist2 And most -ill die #e/ore their time2 $ut ea+h o/
them has a vision o/ -hat man ought to #e0 and should #e0 and their poetry stems /rom the sad
no-ledge o/ -hat he is2 7 value their -or most #e+ause it is an honest response to the reality
o/ li/e in 7ndia 2And 7ndia endures no- -hat -ill +ome to us all #e/ore long2 Pound said that
poets -ere antennae o/ the ra+e0 and they are < #ut they are also gotten on "assandra0 and -ill
not #e #elieved until too late -hen the va+uous mouthings that pass as earthly -isdom are
no-n #y all to #e empty0 dread/ul lies and the hideous /uture -e have let to #e prepared /or us
arrives2 -e -ill not #e saved 2This is the o#s+enity their poetry must +ele#rate2
(ungry poetry made possi#le the deepest inds o/ personal possession0 and it -as never a mass poetry
meant /or general readers0 /or -hom it remained ever elusive2
(ere is one o/ the most #rilliant and most +ontroversial representations o/ 'alay ,oy+ho-dhury=
7 do not no- -hether 7 am going to die
s6uandering -as roaring -ithin heartDs e5haustive impatien+e
7Dll disrupt and destroy
197=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
7Dll split all into pie+es /or the sae o/ art
There is not any other -ay out e5+ept sui+ide Su#ha
8et me enter into the immemorial in+ontinen+e o/ your 8a#ia ma)ora
7nto the a#surdity o/ -oe less e//ort
7n the golden +hlorophyll o/ o/ the drunen heart
;hy -as not 7 lost in my motherDs urethra
;hy -as not 7 driven a-ay in my /atherDs urine a/ter his sel/<+oitus
;hy -as not 7 mi5ed in the ovum</lu5 or in the phlegm
-ith her eyes shut supine #eneath me
7 /elt terri#ly distressed -hen 7 sa- +om/ort seiHe Su#ha
;oman +ould #e trea+herous even a/ter un/olding a helpless appearan+e
Today it seems there is nothing so trea+herous as -oman and art
3o- my /ero+ious heart is running an impossi#le death
1ertigoes o/ -ater are +oming up to my ne+ /rom the pier+ed earth
7 -ill die
oh -hat are these happiness -ithin me
7 am /ailing to /et+h out my hand my palm
From the dried sperm on my spreading -ings
300000 +hildren gliding to-ard the distri+t o/ Su#haDs #osom
'illions o/ needles are no- running /rom my #lood into poetry
3o- the smuggling o/ my o#stinate leg is trying to plunge
7nto the death iller se5<-ig entangled in the hypnoti+ ingdom o/ -ords
Fitting violent mirrors on ea+h -all o/ the room 7 am o#serving
A/ter letting loose a /e- naed 'alay0his unesta#lished s+ram#ling@
part o/ Star *le+tri+ .esus
7t o//ers the epitome o/ all the +ontradi+tions o/ +heap +ulture and medio+re intelle+tuals2 An
appre+iation o/ (ungry0 Angry and $eat generations should o#serve them as the three +ontemporary
movements respe+tively in 7ndia0 $ritain and Inited States2 A#out a generation F2 S+ott FitHgerald
>$y a generation 7 mean that rea+tion against the /athers -hi+h seems to o++ur a#out three
times in a +entury2 7t is distinguished #y a set o/ ideas0 inherited in moderated /orm /rom the madmen
19B=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
and outla-s o/ the generation #e/ore A i/ it is a real generation it has itDs o-n leader and spoesman0 and
it dra-s into itDs or#it those #orn )ust #e/ore it0 and )ust a/ter0 -hose idea are less +lear+ut and de/iant@2
The same implies a#out the $eat generation and movement2 Pre+ursors o/ $eat generation -ere the
8ost generation0 (ipsterism0 #ohemianism0 radi+alism0 dadaism0and surrealism2 $eats -ere a produ+t
o/ the se+ond -orld -ar and o/ the +old -ar2 They too re)e+ted the so+ial0 politi+al0 religious0 and
artisti+ values o/ their time as outmoded and -holly inade6uateA and they too sought ne-0 via#le
methods to repla+e them2
$eat literature is +hara+teriHed #y the in+lusion o/ the treatment o/ the themes o/ +riminality0
agen+ies and in/luen+es0 interplay o/ po-ers -ithin -hat is at on+e a destru+tive and +reative
phenomenon0 -here the dominion o/ the dar /or+es over the masses is +hallenged2 Gregory
analyHed in introdu+tory narration in #ay Brea Boys= >The $eat aestheti+ pro+eeds /rom
ra- emotion0 naed +on/ession0 and personal vision em#odied in organi+0 intrinsi+ and improvisatory
/orms2 7t attempts to +lear the #lo+age o/ the +ons+ious mind and to +onta+t and to +ommuni+ate the
latent po-ers and potentialities o/ the sel/2@ The $eat in/luen+es in+luded +ounter+ultures= starting /rom
re)e+tion o/ +ommer+ial values0 undervaluing +areer and status0 drug indu+tion0 in+lination on oriental
religions0 pa+i/ist and anar+hist politi+al orientation0 e+ologi+al +on+ern and primitive +ommunity0
anti<rational0 anti<te+hnology tri#alism0 and they -rote out o/ personal per+eption0 imagination on
everyday themes and o#)e+ts2 7n $ritain it -as the time o/ emergen+e o/ the group o/ Angry young men
9.ohn Es#orne0.ohn $rien: -ho produ+ed the anti<hero +on+ept in literature e5posing +on/li+t -ith
"hur+h and esta#lishment and very mu+h unlie o/ tender romanti+ hero o/ enlightenment +on+ept2 En
the other hand post<;;77 times -itnessed a pani+ o/ +ommunism2 8e/t opinions -ere dis+arded0
demoraliHed and dismantled in Ameri+a2 $ut the -riters de/ied +ultural restri+tions and e5ploded
intelle+tually and the out+ome o/ antitheses -as mi5ture o/ history0 politi+s0 aestheti+s0 and +ulture
named as $eatni +ulture 9/ounded #y Allen Gins#erg0 "harlie Parer0 ; S $urroughs0 .a+ Keroua+:2
8ost generation /ailed to in/luen+e the +ivil li/e o/ Ameri+a #eing e5iles -hereas $eat had impa+t on
Ameri+an +ulture produ+ing even se6uen+es o/ (ipisterism0 Pun2 They even imprinted le/t -ing
opinion in Ameri+an masses2 ,epeat edition o/ First mani/esto o/ (ungryalists 919!1: runs as=
Poetry0 around us0 these days0 has #een +rypti+0 short hand0 +autiously glamorous0 /lattered #y
o-n sensitivity lie a pu#li+ s+hool prodigy2 Saturated -ith sel/<+ons+iousness0 poems have
#egan to appear /rom the tom# o/ logi+ or the #ier o/ unse5ed rhetori+2 Poetry is not the +aging
199=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
o/ #el+hes -ithin /rom2 7t should +onvey the #rutal sound o/ the #reaing values and staring
9si+: tremors o/ the re#ellious soul o/ the artist himsel/0 -ith -ords stripped o/ their usual
meaning and used +ontrapuntally2 7t must invent a ne- language -hi+h -ould in+orporate
everything at on+e0 spea to all the senses in one2 Poetry should #e a#le to /ollo- musi+ in the
po-er it possesses o/ evoing a state o/ mind0 and to present images not as -rappers #ut as
ravish grams2
Angry or $eat had never pu#lished any mani/esto2 Sour+e o/ (ungry movement -as #ipolar0 a++ording
to Aro#indo ProdhanA
as +apital a++umulation gre- during ne- implementation o/ 4 year planning0 on
the other hand history -itnessed a )eopardiHed in/rastru+tural -ealth o/ $engal0 si+ industries0
re/ugees2 The a//iliates o/ (ungry movement -ere in+luded mostly out o/ ur#an so+iety2 This
movement had to +hallenge +olonial dis+ourse0 modern poetry and tyranny o/ logi+0 or any
+onventional parasiti+ literary +anon2 All the +ontrolling +enters o/ +ultural mani/estations have #een
atta+ed and #om#ed #y this movement2 The marginaliHed are not on the side line0 they are very mu+h
on the #attle ground2 7t is dou#t/ul -hether these ur#an0 upper +aste poets o/ (ungry movement leave
any lega+y /or Dalit -riting0 #ut these poets #elieved that they +hallenged the domination o/ elitism0
+lass and +reed2 The +entre o/ gravity o/ this movement moved to-ards 7ndian *uro+entrism2 ;ithin a
post<+olonial mess it has lost itDs grip2 *mergen+e o/ marginaliHed po-er in literature is no-
parado5i+ally very +lose to #eing a dominant position2 (o-ever0 the (ungry movement -ill +ontinue
to #e taled a#out -henever any#ody -ill dis+uss histori+al +onditions o/ the literature produ+ed in
$engal in the t-entieth +entury2

5NI3*S+4 43 +8* 8MNH<P H*N*<5+I4N
12 The mer+iless e5posure o/ the sel/ in its entirety2
%2 To present in all naedness all aspe+ts o/ the sel/ and things #e/ore it2
32 To +at+h a glimpse o/ the e5ploded sel/ at a parti+ular moment2
42 To +hallenge every value -ith a vie- to a++epting or re)e+ting the same2
42 To +onsider everything at the start to #e nothing #ut [thingZ -ith a vie- to testing -hether it is
2&&=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
living or li/eless2
!2 3ot to tae reality as it is #ut to e5amine it in all its aspe+ts2
72 To see to /ind out a mode o/ +ommuni+ation0 #y a#olishing the a++epted modes o/ prose and poetry
-hi+h -ould instantly (ungry Generation esta#lish +ommuni+ation #et-een the poet and his reader2
&2 To use the same -ords in poetry as are used in ordinary +onversation2
92 To reveal the sound o/ the -ord0 used in ordinary +onversation0 more sharply in the poem2
102 To #rea loose the traditional asso+iation o/ -ords and to +oin un+onventional and hereto /ore
una++epted +om#ination o/ -ords2
112 To re)e+t traditional /orms o/ poetry0 and allo- poetry to tae its original /orms2
1%2 To admit -ithout 6uali/i+ation that poetry is the ultimate religion o/ man2
132 To transmit dynami+ally the message o/ the restless e5isten+e and the sense o/ disgust in a raHor
sharp language2
142 Personal ultimatum

3I<S+ BMLL*+IN 43 8MNH<P5LIS+S -1961
*,I+4< -,*BI <4P L*5,*<-S85E+I $85++465,8P5P
$<*5+4<-5L5P <4P$84>,8M<I
Poetry is no more a +iviliHing man oeuvre0 a replanting o/ the #am#ooHled gardensAit is a holo+aust0a
violet and somnam#ulist )aHHing o/ the hymning /ive0 a so-ing o/ the tempestuous hunger2 Poetry is an
a+tivity o/ nar+issisti+ spirit2 3aturally0-e have dis+arded the #lanet y #lan s+hool o/ modern
poetry0the darling o/ the press -here poetry does not resurre+t itsel/ in an orgasmi+ /lo-0 #ut -ords
+ome out #u##ling in an arti/i+ial muddle2 7n the posed<rhyme o/ those #orn<old hal/<literates you must
/ailed to /ind that s+ream o/ desperation o/ a thing -anting to #e man0the man -anting to #e spirit2
Poetry o/ the younger generation too has died in the dressing room0 as most o/ the younger prose
rhyme<-riters0a/raid o/ the satanism the vomitous horror0 the sel/ ele+ted +ru+i/i5ion o/ the artist that
maes a man a poet0/led a-ay to hide in the hairs2
Poetry /rom A+hinta to Ananda0 and /rom Aloeran)an to 7ndraneel0 has #een +rypti+0 short<hand0
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2&1=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
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327nsiders outsiders
42*li<high<#ro- +ommonerDs +ulture
42Satis/ied Insatis/ied
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72Sho-y ,a-<#one
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92So+ialite so+ia#le
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112 *+stasy Agony
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2&2=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
132(atred as +amou/lage ,eal hatred
142Art /ilm All /ilms
14 Art 8i/e
1!2Sugam sangeet Any song
172Dream 3ightmare
1&2Tutored language Gut 8anguage
192,edeemed Inredeemed
%02Framed "onsistory
%12"on/ormist Dissident
%%7ndi/errent stru+ ethi+ally
%32'ainstream -atershed
%4"uriosity An5iousness
%42*ndo+rine Adrenalin
%!2"on+lusions inevita#le 3o end to un/olding
%7"eromony "ele#ration
%&2Throne A# di+tion
%92*ntertainer Thought provoer
302Sel/<pro)e+ting Sel/<e//a+ing
312(o- am 7 (o- are you
3%2 Symmetri+al Tattered and de <+anoniHed
332A++ountants o/ prosody *5travagan+e
342,evising poems "ontinuation revision o/ li/e
342FantasyDs game 7maginationDs hight
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2&3=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
(indu0non+ommittal protestant "hristian <$uddha <7slam<.e-s
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+hara#ridhhi0"handragrahan 0vol<1003o <19
&2Pro/ (o-ard '+"ord 0Poetry o/ +haos and deathTri#al Press0;ashington
2&4=.ournal o/ $engali Studies0 1ol2 30 3o2 1
102'arina ,eHa0Spa+e and pageA-ith (ungryalist poet00"handragrahan 0vol<1003o <19
1123urudin .aha#gir0Aasun aamra 'alay ,oy+ho-dhurir >.aham@gulo +hinhito
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132Pro/ (o-ard '+"ord 0Poetry o/ +haos and deathTri#al Press0;ashington
142'alay ,oy+ho-dhury0Star ele+tri+al .essus20http=GGaura#2+omGenglishG#engaliGpoetryGmalay
142Gregory Stephenson0The Day $rea $oys0*ssays on the literature o/ the $eat Genaration0Southern
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192(G mani/esto hungryalistgeneration2#logspot2in
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