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Bengali novelists and novels

08 January 2016

Rabbani Choudhury :
Inspired by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's writings, it was novelist Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay (1876-1938), who brought modern Bengali novel to the masses. His piercing analysis of human love, faith and frailties is unparallel. His intimate understanding of the social goings-on and the sympathetic albeit affirmative way he portrayed the unprivileged and the women in his stories testify his paramount love and affection for the deprived. His lovingly and masterfully crafted words, used by ordinary people of the street, and immaculate writing style made him one of the world's best loved novelists. His sympathy towards the common rural folks in Pallisamaj and a trademark simplified Bengali as a writing style made him one of the most popular novelists in his time. Even long after his death many Bengali and Bollywood blockbusters were based on his novels.
After him Tara Shankar Bandopadhyay, Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, Manik Bandopadhyay are the three Bandopadhyays who broke out into a new era of realistic writing style. Bibhutibhusan and Manik Bandopadhyay had long standing influence on the two of the most brilliant film directors from Bengal-Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak respectively. Other famous Bengali novelists are Jagadish Gupta, Satinath Bhaduri, Balai Chand Mukhopadhyay (Bonophool) Saradindu Bandopadhyay, Kamal Kumar Majumdar, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Sandipan Chattopadhyay, Shumotho Nath Ghosh. Gazendra Kumar Mitra, Bimal Mitra, Bimal Kar, Samaresh Basu, Mani Shankar Mukherjee Shankar etc. Seeds of Bengali Science Fiction could be observed in the writings of Jagadish Chandra Bose, which was later put into a definite genre by writers such as Jagadananda Roy, Hemlal Dutta, Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain, Premendra Mitra and Satyajit Ray. Satyajit Ray is also notable for his short stories where he revives the tradition of Thakurmar Jhuli into a mixture of fantasy, mystery, science, and fairy tales.
The genre of parallel novel-writing started from the 1960s with the Hungry - a list Movement. Malay Roy Choudhury, Subimal Basak and Basudeb Dasgupta are known to be the most experimental novelists belonging to this movement. Basudeb is known to his readers for his only novel Kheladhula. Malay is famous for his Dubjaley trilogy and Subimal for his broken narrative Chatamatha. Udayan Ghosh, Rabindra Guha, Kamal Chakraborty, Barin Ghoshal, Subimal Mishra, Arupratan Basu and Nabarun Bhattacharya are also notable.
First Bengali novel Alaler Ghorer Dulal was published in 1858 and then Anowara was published 1914. Anowara was the most significant one among the earlier novels in Bangladesh. This novel was written by Mohammad Najibar Rahman in 1914. His Premer Somadhi was published on 1919 and Goriber Meye in 1923. Sheikh Idris Ali's Premer Pothe [1926], Kazi Abdul Wadud's Nodibankshe [1919] and Kazi Imdadul Huq's famous novel Abdullah was published in 1933. Another novelist Abul Fazal exposed human psychological analyses in his novel Chouchir (1927). He continued with his own style and wrote Prodip O Potongo [1940] and Shahoshika [1946].
Humayun Kabir wrote an English novel 'Rivers and Women' which was published in 1945 and its Bengali version Nodi O Nari was published in 1952. Syed Waliullah's 'Lal Shalu [1948] was the foremost successful novel, both from art and reality points of view. Later Syed Waliullah translated in English (Tree without Roots). Mahbub-ul-Alam wrote Mofijon [1948]. Among the first novelists of Pakistan period were Abul Fazal, Akbar Hossain, Shawkat Osman, Abu Rushd, Kazi Afsaruddin Ahmed, Daulatunnessa Khatun, Syed Waliullah, Sarder Jayenuddin, Abu Ishaque and Shamsuddin Abul Kalam etc. Then came Chowdhury Shamsur Rahman, Satyen Sen, Abu Jafar Shamsuddin, Ahsan Habib, Nilima Ibrahim, Abdur Razzak, Khondkar Mohammed Elias, Rashid Karim, Shahidulla Kaisar, Anwar Pasha, Abdar Rashid, Alauddin Al-Azad, Abdul Gaffar Choudhury, Zahir Raihan, Syed Shamsul Haq, Shahid Akhand, Razia Khan, Shawkat Ali, Dilara Hashim, Indu Saha, Ahmed Sofa etc.
Some reputable novels are: Kashboner Konya by Shamsuddin Abul Kalam, Surjyo Dighol Bari by Abu Ishaque, Adigonto by Sardar Jayenunddin, Jononi by Shawkat Osman, Zharh by Syed Sahadat Hossain, Kornofuly by Alauddin Al-Azad, Sareng Bou and Songshoptok by Shahidulla Kaisar, Modhumoti by Rabeya Khatun, Hajar Bochhor Dhore by Zahir Raihan, Bobakahini by Jasimuddin, Pannamoti by Sardar Jayenuddin, Jibon Pother Jatri by Abul Fazal Pother Porosh [1957] by Daulatunnessa Khatun, Bhorer Bihongi [1958] by Satyen Sen, Surjer Niche [1958] by Atahar Ahmad, Pathasranta [1959] by Nilima Ibrahim, Shesh Bikeler Meye [1960] by Zahir Raihan, Konyakumari [1960] by Abdur Razzak, Uttam Purush [1961] by Rashid Karim, Ek Poth Dui Bak [1962] by Nilima Ibrahim, Akashey Jodi Nil Hoi [1962] and Oi To Prem [1963] by Syed Sahadat Hossain, Prosonno Pashan [1963] by Rashid Karim, Pingol Aakash [1963] by Shawkat Ali, Akasher Rong [1964] by Zobeda Khanam, Panna Holo Sobuz [1964] by Shahid Akhand, Nirjon Megh [1965] by Humayun Kadir, Ghor Mon Janala [1965] by Dilara Hashim, Oronyo Nilima [1965] by Ahsan Habib, Ontohshila [1967] by Kazi Md. Idris, Digonter Swopno [1967] by Razia Majid, Mon Ek Shet Kopoti [1967], Shaheb Bazar [1967] and Ononto Onbesha [1967] by Rabeya Khatun, Biponno Mon [1968] by Mir Abul Hossain, Sourav [1968] by Anis Chowdhury, Onishchito Ragini [1969] by Abu Rushd, Borof Gola Nodi [1969] by Zahir Raihan, Shalimarbagh Rajarbagh [1969] by Rabeya Khatun, Nongor by Abu Rushd and Mon Na Moti by Anis Siddiqi, Jibon Kshuda by Abul Monsoor Ahmad, Ranga Probhat by Abul Fazal, Kshuda O Asha by Alauddin Al-Azad, Neer Sondhani and Nishuti Rater Kotha by Anwar Pasha, Aarek Falgoon by Jahir Raihan, Dui Mohol [Alamnogorer Upokotha] by Shamsuddin Abul Kalam, Surjyo Tumi Sathi by Ahmad Sofa etc.
Shawkat Osman wrote wonderful symbolic political novels Kritodasher Hasi and Raja Upakhyan. Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury's Chandradwiper Upakhyan and Nam Na Jana Bhore portrayed the uprising farmer society and its conflicts.
Abu Jafar Shamsuddin's Bhaowal Gorer Upokhhyan about the Faraizi Movement, Sardar Jayenuddin's Nil Rong Rokto about the Indigo revolt, Satyen Sen's Kumarajiva about the spread of Buddhism, and Oporajeyo about the Sepoy Revolt etc. Razia Khan's Bottolar Uponyas and Anukolpo, Alauddin Al-Azad's Teish Nomhor Toilochitro, Shiter Shesh rat Boshonter Prothom din and Syed Shamsul Haq's Ek Mohilar Chhobi, Anupomo Din, Simana Chhariye etc.
'Rashid Karim, Alauddin Al-Azad, Shawkat Ali, Razia Khan and Dilara Hashim, Mahmudul Haque, Ahmad Sofa, Syed Shamsul Haq are among other notable names. Syed Shamsul Haq wrote a good number of novels along with a huge number of books of other genres. He is always very experimental in both techriique and form. Khelaram Khele Ja placed him in great controversy for his open delineation of human sexual behaviour. He also wrote novels like Duratto, Mohashunye Poran Master, Ek Juboker Chhayapoth etc. Another powerful writer Shawkat Ali wrote Prodoshe Prakritojon, which is a real representation of the twelfth century Bengal during King Lakshman Sen. His trilogy Dakshinayaner Din, Kulaye Kalsrot and Purbaratri Purbadin deserve much compliment. Mahmudul Haque wrote Anur Pathshala in 1967. He wrote Nirapod Tondra, Khelaghar [1988], Kalo Borof [written in 1977, published in 1991, and Matir Jahaj [written in 1977, published in 1996]. Ahmad Sofa wrote novels with different tone. In Onkar [1975] he portrayed the suppressed Bengal mind of the pre-liberation period in a very artistic and symbolic way. In Gaavi Brityanto, he illustrated the contemporary picture in a meticulous allegory. His novel Ordhek Nari Ordhek Ishwari has been widely accepted as a romantic masterpiece. His Pushpa Brikkha Ebong Bihongo Puran is a narration of true human affinity to nature.
Anwar Pasha wrote Rifle Roti Awrat during the Liberation War 1971. Shaukat Osman's Jahannam Hoite Biday, Nekre Oronyo, Dui Soinik, Rashid Haider's Khachay [1975]. Ondho Kothamala [1987], Asomobrikkho [1987], Shawkat Ali's Jatraa, Selina Hossain's Hangor Nodi Granade [1976], Mahmudul Huq's Jiban Aamar Bon, Syed Shamsul Haq's Nil Dongshon, Nishiddho Luban. Harun Habib's Priyo Joddha Priyotoma, Humayun Ahmed's Jhochhona O Jononir Golpo etc are examples of novels which directly portray about freedom fight. Besides this, novels like Amar Joto GIani by Rashid Karim, Ferari Surjyo by Rabeya Khatun, Obelay Oshomoy by Amjad Hossain also portray the different facts of Liberation War. Rashid Karim's Prem Ekti Lal Golap, Ekaler Rupkotha or Sadharon Laker Kahini are presentation of the post-war picture of Bangladesh. New faces appeared in the literary world after the liberation. Among them are Selina Hossain, Humayun Ahmed, Hasnat Abdul Hye, Rizia Rahman, Jubaida Gulshan Ara Hena, and Bashir al-Helal etc.
Selina Hossain started with Jolochchhvas [1972] and till now she has authored more than twenty-one novels. Her Hangor Nodi Granade [1976] is a successful writing about the Muktijuddho [Liberation War]. She has written novels like Taanaporen [1994] on coastal life and natural  disaster, Gayatree Sondhya 3 volumes; published in, 1994, 1995, 1996], Kalketu O Fullora [1992], Chandbene [19841 and Kathkoylar Chobi [2001] are also notable.
Humayun Ahmed is perhaps the most popular novelist in Bengali literature after Sharat Chandra Chatyopadyay. He appeared with his novel Nondito Noroke and then Shonkhoneel Karagar.Later he gradually turned to less serious things. Almost all of his novels are best sellers. Some of his titles are 1971, Daruchinir Deep, Brihonnola, Joyjoyonti, Kobi etc. Humayun Ahmed's Tomader Jonyo Bhalobasa is the first Science Fiction novel in Bangladesh.
A serious poet, essayist and literary researcher Abdul Mannan Syed published his first novel Pariprekshiter Dasdasi in 1974. Later on he wrote Kolkata, Poramatir Kaaj, O Te Ojogor; He Songsar He Lata, Khudha, Prem, Aagun, Shyamoli Tomar Mukh etc. Hasnat Abdul Hye arrived with his Suprobhat Bhalobasa. By now he has written at least twenty novels. Along with his other novels he has introduced a different form of novels called biographical. Sultan, Ekjon Aaroj Ali and Novera are example of this form. Rizia Rahman's Uttar Purush came in 1977. She wrote some fifteen novels in the eighties. Her villainous Bong Theke BangIa is an epic composition about the past culture and heritage of Bengali nation. Her other major novels are Rokter Okhkhor, Alikhito Upakhyan, Ekal Chirokal, Prem Aamar Prem, Ekti Phuler jonyo, Harun Fereni etc. Bashir al-Helal's novel is Kala Ilish [1979]. His other novels include Ghritokumari, Shesh Panpatro,  Nurjahander Modhumas etc. .
In the eighties, Abubakar Siddique's Jolrakshmas and Kharadaha appeared with much novelty. His important novel is Ekatturer Hridoybhashma. Makbula Manjoor's Kaler Mondira, Rahat Khan's Omol Dhobol Chakri [1982], Ek Priyodorshini [1983], Chhayadompoti [1984], Hay Shunyota [1984], Songhorsho [ 1984], Shahar [1984], Hay Ononter Pakhi [1989], Modhyomather Khelowar [2002], Chayapath [2005] etc. Akhtaruzzaman Elias's Chilekothar Sepai and Khoabnarna [1996]. Haripada Datta wrote Ojogor [Vol. I, 1989, Vol. II, 1991], Ishane Ognidaho and Ondhokup  Jonmothsob. In 2000  he wrote an epic volume titled Jonmo Jonmantor. Imdadul Haq Milan's Jabojjibon (1982], Nodi Upakhyan [1985], Bhurniputro [1985], Poradhinota [1985], Rajakartontro [1989], Moinul Ahsan Saber's Adomer Jonye Opekhkha, Pathor Somoy, Kobej Lethel. Shahidul Zahir wrote his first novel Jibon O Rajnoitic Bastobota [1988] and Shei Rate Purnima Chhilo [1995]. Syed Shamsul Haq's masterpiece Bristi O Bidrohigon was pub- lished in 1998. Poet Al Mahmud's debut novel Dahuki [1992]. Kobi O Kolahol, Upamohadesh, Kabiler Bon. Purush Sundar, Nishiddha Nari etc. Bipradas Barua's major novels are Somudrochar O Bidrohira, Muktijoddhara etc.
Humayun Azad commenced his novelist carrier with Chhappanno Hajar Borgornile in 1994, which was a courageous slap on martial law and dictatorship. His later novels include Sob Kichhu Bhenge Pore, Subhabrata, Tar Somporkita Susarnachar; Rajnitibidgon, Pak Sar Zornin Sad bad etc. Mohammad Nurul Huda, a poet, but he tried Janmajati and Moinpahar. n

    (Source: History of Bengali Literature)

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