Volume 2 Issue 67 | October 10, 2009 |


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Behind the Scene

From Pabna

Poet Bande Ali proud for Pabna

Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu

Poet Bonde Ali is a noted 19th century poet and lyriciste. He is well known to the readership of Bangla literature for his austere but elegant writings. Poet Bonde Ali was also popular with children of Bangla for his contributions towards youth literature. Poet Bonde Ali, was born in January 17th, 1906, in the village of 'Narayanpur' beside the river 'Ichamoti' in Pabna town.

He passed his matriculation exams in 1923 from 'Radhanagar Majumder School' and achieved the diploma of painting from 'Indian Art Academy' in Calcutta in 1930. His fame in Bengal literature owed chiefly to his narrations of the casual life in rural settings, along with his writings for children. His verses glorify the simple rural life, free from complexities and bustle of urban life. Not only was he a poet, he was also a famous painter and scriptwriter. He was a prolific figure in 19th century Bangla cultural scene.

Of Bonde Ali's writing, Sufia Kamal said in her writing, “Simple presentation of our casual life in his writings encouraged me. I love his simple language and presentation, writings which abounds with the innocence of youth”.

'Char-Jamai', the first book of Bonde Ali was published in 1927 from 'Calcutta 'Ashutosh Library'. Up till his death, he wrote 84 books including books of poetry, prose, drama and lyrics.

His Famous poem 'Maynamotir Char' was published in 1931 from 'D.M Library' in Calcutta. It is one of the most memorable pieces of Bangle literature. In 'Maynamotir Char' Bande Ali had presented, inevitably, a typical rural life in 19 century where the simplicity and innocence are the key elements of rural life.

"Borshar Jol Shoria Giya Jagiya Uthiche Chor
Gang-Shalikera Gorto Khuriya Badhiteche Shore Ghor.
Gohin Nodir Dui Par Diya Akhi Jay Joto Dure
Akasher Megh Otithi Jeno Tahra Angina Jure.
Machranga Pakhi Ak Mone Cheye Conchite Ache Boshi
Jhariteche Dana Bonno Hongsho-Palok Jeteche Khosi.
Tot Hote Dure Hatu Jole Nami Ak Paye Kori Bhor
Motsher Dhane Bok Duto Chari Sajiyache Rishibor.
Pakhan Meliya Kochi Rode Shuya Udashi Titir Pakhi
Bare Bare duti Dana Jhaptiya Dhulibali Loy Makhi."

The noble laureate Rabindranath Tagor was effusive in his praise of 'Maynamatir Char'. “There are fine portraits to be found in 'Maynamatir Char', where you have painted to perfection the casual life of Padma Shoal people. I am glad to have read your book. You have written a book with a lot of emotion and painted fine portraits by your pen” Rabindranath Tagor writes in a letter to Bande Ali in 1932. “There is no other writing that I have read that posses such insights into the rural life on the banks of Padma.” Rabindranath wrote in his letter.

Of his famous books, 'Anurag' (1933), 'Padma Nadir Char' (1933), 'Shapna Shadh' (1936), 'Madhumatir Char' (1946), 'Jagrata Jouban' (1949), 'Moner Mour' (1956), 'Aranna Godhuli' (1958), 'Premer Bahnni Shikha', 'Tasher Ghar' (1954) are notable. 'Chor Jamai', 'Megh Kumari', 'Jongolert Khabar', 'Jangaler Raja', 'Shishider Bishadh Shindhu', 'Boka Jamai' are among his renowned books for the children.

Poet Bande Ali was a schoolteacher in Calcutta until 1947. He also edited 'Bikash' and 'Bhorer Alo', two well-known periodicals at that time in Calcutta. After 1947, he returned to Bangladesh and engaged himself in drawing and writing books. Later, in 1964, he was appointed scriptwriter at the Rajshahi Radio Center where he worked till his death. The poet had spent the last years of his life in Rajshahi. He died on June, 27 1979 in his 'Kazi-hat-para' residence under Rajshahi town. His body was buried by his family in front of his residence in 'Radhanager' village under Pabna town, the place of his birth.

The 30th death anniversary of the poet was commemorated by the authorities of Debottor Kabi Bonde Ali Primary School of Atghoria upazila under the district on June 27th this year. School authorities organized a discussion and milad mahfil at the school premise to mark the occasion.

During a recent visit of the poet's ancestral residence of Naranpur village, the poet's estate was found in appalling conditions. Family sources of the poet said that a school is operating beside the graveyard of the poet At least 40 children are studying in this 'Pathshala'. Poet's family members are directing this school, sources said.

Eminent social personalities of the region expressed their concern at the growing lack of awareness of the poet and his works among the younger generation. “Poet Bonde Ali is well known to the Bangla literature. His nature based writings and his literary works for the children is obviously incomparable. But unfortunately, no steps have been taken to preserve the poet's memory in the district.” Agriculturist Jafar Sadek, a college teacher and researcher, told this correspondent.

“We should preserve the memory of the poet for the next generation. Poet's personal belonging, his literary works and all of the memories should be preserved so that the young generation can learn about the poet.” Gopal Shannal, a noted cultural activist, and the president of Pabna Drama Circle, told the Daily Star.