Friday, April 28, 2006

Jashimuddin: Poet of Rural Bengal

(Written by: S M Mehdi Hassan)

In Bengali literature Jasimuddin is known as ‘PalliKabi’ (Rural poet). The main subject of his poem was the lives of the people of rural Bengal their simplicity, serenity, suffering, and various other aspects. Jasimuddin was born in the village of Tambulkhana of Faridpur District. He did his M.A in Bengali from Calcutta University and then worked on collecting Bengali folk songs. I remember that in all my Bengali text books upto class twelve all the books contained at least one poem of Jasimuddin. The teaching of Bengali literature will be incomplete without Jasimuddin. Bangladesh is an agro based country. Although industrialization is now taking place majority of the people live in village and in one way or the other related to agriculture. This is why agriculture and farmers are an important aspect of Bangladesh. Jasimuddin in his poet talked about their lives. My favorite poems of Jasimuddin are: Nimontron (invitation), Nokshikathar math (The Field of the Embroidered Quilt), Kobor (Grave) and many other poems. In Nimontron (Invitation) the poet invites one of his friends to come and enjoy natural landscape of his village. The village is a very beautiful place filled with abundant greeneries. There is a river flowing by the side of the village. The water of the river is very clean. He proposes to his friends that they would hang around in the nearby woods wearing garlands made of wild flowers. They would go to the field and poet would meet him with the shepherds and they will play with them all day. ‘Nimontron’ depicts the nature of Bengal abound with flora and fauna. Another beautiful poem is ‘Rakhal Chele’ (The Shepherd boy). Here the central character is a shepherd boy whom the poet is inviting to play with but he refuses to go and says that his work is his play. Everyday before dawn he takes his wooden plough and go to the field he ploughs the land and then sow seeds and when new plants shoot out they look very beautiful. Sometimes when he feels tired he along with his fellow farmers sits under the shed of a tree and sing Murshidi songs ( a kind of folk song). In the end the shepherd boy says, My work is my game and I like to play it.I play all day and forget to take rest.It shows the hardworking nature of the farmers who live a very simple life and work very hard to earn their livelihood and they are very happy with what they have. Such beautiful description of Bangladesh and its farmer can not be found in any other poet’s writing. However, Kobor (The Grave) and NakshiKathar Math ( The field of an embroidered Quilt). Kobor is a monologue of a farmer who is standing in front of the graves of his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and his daughter. He along with his only grandson was asking for god’s forgiveness for the people who were lying in the graves. The farmer brought his grandson near the grave of his wife and telling him Here under the pomegranate tree lies your grand motherWho’s grave for thirty years I kept fresh with my tears. Then the farmer describes his wife. A simple woman who was very content with his life and deeply loved his husband. The farmer tells his grandson to raise his hands and ask for God’s forgiveness for them. It is a very emotional poem. I like this poem because the way the farmer talks reflects his loving and caring nature as a husband and a father. Such love and devotion is a rare quality in the present day world. ‘Nakshikathar Maath’ (The Field of an Embroidered Quilt) is a long narrative poem. It is about two young persons: Rupai and Shajoo. Rupai lives in one village and Shaju in another. One day Rupai went to collect bamboo (bamboo is an important construction material in rural Bengal) and then he saw Shajoo and Shajoo saw Rupai. They fall in love with each other and eventually gets married. Then one day Rupai gets involved in a serious fight with a group of people in the conflict he killed one and on that night he came to see his wife, Shajoo. After that Shajoo waited for her husband to return but he never returns. Shajoo loved her husband deeply and not seeing him for all these years made her very sad. She gave up eating and started to grow ill. The she decides to make a quilt. On the quilt she draws her house where she used to live with her husband and the beautiful field near the house. By the time she finished the quilt she died. Before death she tells her mother to hang the quilt on a bamboo near her grave. Then after few months people of the village saw another old person lying on that grave. The whole story is very beautifully narrated. It is divided in chapters and each chapter starts with a Murhsidi song. This poem was translated into English by Mrs. Milford. Jasimuddin loved the rural Bengal and all his life he wrote for them.
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  1. I'm glad to know about him. Thanks.

  2. nice info
    you have so much knowledge i think
    goodluck with your blog!

  3. Biplob Kishore Deb2:41 AM

    Thank you for informative article.
    I also like Jasimuddin's poem. I most like Kabar(Grave). I read this poem at my college. He wrote it when he was a student of honours level.This poem was included in the secondary school text book when he was still student. This poem touch my inner heart and i also cried for sometime while i was reading.I did not fell that i am reading this for my exam rather it amde me emotional for a little while. Naksi Kathat Math is also a a very pathetic poem. He could give very simple explanation of complex things.

  4. Thank you biplob, I also hard that during the life time of Jasimuddin his poem was included in the text book. It is really a great achievement for a poet.

  5. Sajal Biswas5:05 PM

    If someone can send me the full poem titled "Rakhal Chele" by Jasimuddin. I remember one line as 'Ghum hote aaj jegeai dekhi shishir jhara ghase, sara rater swapan aamar mithel rode bhase'.
    Sajal Biswas