Jibanananda Das and his Banalata Sen

Through darkness I saw her. Said she, “Where have you been so long?”

And raised her bird’s nest-like eyes — Banalata Sen from Natore.

(Banalata Sen by Jibanananda Das)

One of the greatest examples of metaphor in Bangla literature considered by many specialists is given above. Here, the poet compares his lover’s eye with bird’s nest that means he gets shelter in the eyes of his beloved which a bird gets from its nest. So readers can feel the deepest love of the poet to his beloved through these two lines.

The creator of this mind blowing metaphor is Jibanananda Das, a very powerful and prolific poet of Bangla/Bengali literature, who added a great dimension to theBangla/Bengali poems through his many unique poems that give the testimony of his poetic talent. He was born in Barisal, a divisional town of present day Bangladesh on 17th February 1899. He got his Secondary school certificate from Barisal Brajamohan School in 1915 and higher secondary certificate from Brajamohan (BM) College. After that, he completed his BA with Honors in English in 1919 from Brajamohan college and MA in1921 from Calcutta Presidency College.

From the early stage of his career, he took the teaching profession. At first he was the teacher of Calcutta City College (1922-1928). After that he joined at Bagerhat Prafulla Chandra College and then in 1929-30 he taught Ramjash college in Delhi. He was a teacher in Barisal BM College for a long time from 1935 to 1947 and during this period (especially from 1934 to 1939) he wrote most of his masterpieces. After the partition of the Indian sub-continent in 1947, he went to Calcutta and there he taught in Hawrah Girls’ College as a lecturer. He got struck by a tram that resulted in his untimely death in 1954.

From his early age, he used to write poems that were published in many magazines. He was influenced by Rabindranath Tagore, Nazrul Islam, and also some other poets. In his writing nature and love came into focus and he had a profound power of explaining the most critical and complex topics in a very simple way. The World War II from 1939 to 1945 put a great impact on his mind and poems. His collection of about forty poems composed in a volume in 1948 called “Satti Tarar Timir” (Darkness of Seven Stars) during the second world war and in these poems we can see reflections of the devastation of war a poet’s mind. His famous volumes of poems are Jhora Palok (Fallen Feathers, 1927), Dhushor Pandulipi (Grey Manuscript, 1936), Bonolota Sen (1942), Mohaprithibi (Great Universe, 1944), Shaat-ti Tarar Timir (1948), Ruposhi Bangla (Beautiful Bengal,written in 1934 and published posthumously in 1957), Bela Obela Kalbela (Times, Bad Times, End Times, 1961), Aloprithibi (The World of Light, 1984). He also wrote some short stories and novels but these were published after his death. The sad reality is that when he was alive, he did not get any fame that he so much deserved. His short stories were in a volume called Joibanananda Daser Galpo (stories of Jibanananda Das, published in 1972). His novels were published in some volumes like Malyaban (Adorned with a Garland 1972), Sutirtha (The Good Pilgrimage, 1977), Jalpaihati, Jibanpranali, Basmatir Upakhyan etc. Jibanananda Samagra (The complete works of Jibanananda) was published in1985-96 in 12 volumes.

In the poem Banalata Sen, one of his most famous poems, writer shows his heavenly love to Banalata Sen from Natore (a district of Bangladesh) in numerous ways. Banalata Sen is the central character of this poem. The poet says that he has traveled a lot in his life from the Malayan sea to Ceylon Sea, grey world of Ashokaand Bimbisara to the city of Vidarbha. But having traveled this long way, he could just get some moments to live in peace to Banlata Sen. Writer compares his situation to a sailor who lost his way to his destination having broken his rudder. In that situation the sailor sees a green-grass cinnamon island with his joyful eyes as the writer sees Banalata Sen through darkness. Then he compares her eyes with the bird’s nest and here lies the writer’s poetic talent that is considered as a unique job in the Bangla/Bengali literature. Writer says in the last stanza that after the end ofall day, the darkness of evening comes; every color of this world is gone, birds come to their home and rivers are finished and everything of this world comes to an end but Banalata Sen is still there to sit with his loving partner even in the darkness.

‘Banalata Sen’ is perhaps among the top ten most popular poems in Bangla/Bengali literature. To me, it is the best love poem that Bangla/Bengali literature has got. Jibanananda Das can be compared with the Romantic poets of English literature for his beautiful description of nature of Bengal. Unfortunately, he did not receive his due recognition in his lifetime. Even now, he is a neglected figure to some extent. His place is among the very best in Bengali literature beside Tagore, Nazrul and Modhusudan.

Source- http://write-translate.blogspot.com/2006/04/jibanananda-das-and-his-banalata-sen.html

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47 comments

  1. Jibonananda is a great writer,his thinking is powerfull,Banalata sen his lover and her eyes is as a nest.Everybody feel Banalata eyes what a beautyfull.I feel proude Jibonanda his poem very nice.

  2. Wow..he is a great wrirer..in the poet list, he is a exceptional poet as his mother is also a natural poet …thanks sir giving it

  3. he is my favourite poet…although he could not get the proper respect from others at his presency but after his death his poetry became amilestone and a idole to other poetry…

  4. I have just ended my reading.Through this article, I have got some knowledge about Jibanananda Das and about his life.Though I knew something about this poet but it was not enough..So, I added some more about him to my mind.I also got some unknown word and it helped me to know the word meaning of those words…Thanks.

  5. At the moment I am finishing my reading. By reading this article, I know about the poet Jibanananda Das.He was intellectual person but at his presency,we didn’t gave respect him.In my child hood, we read the poem of Jibonanada das .but now a day we don’t see the poem in the national book.

  6. finally now I complete the history of jibananandodas history of banalata sen. he is a great writter there no doubt. he is one of my fabourite writter in history of bangla. I understand some word or lin e in this post. jibananando not to be take any prizes in his life time.but after his death

  7. Jibanananda Das is also a light twinkle in our Bangla literature and his writing is really splendid. .
    Some writer’s name make worthy our literature and he is one of them…

  8. After reading the topic I am tried to find out the answer of a question. Some great people did not get their fame when they were alive, on another side some great people get their fame when they were alive. Actully what is the difference between this two category?

  9. In fact,he is one of the outstanding writer in Bangla literature. His metaphore of bird’s nest-like eyes is praiseworthy.He has great contribution to Bangla literature. But the sorrowful matter is that he didn’t get proper respect in his lifetime. I want to know more about this great poet.

  10. Jibananada Das is one of the major poet and an outstanding personality in the history of Bengali literature.indeed he is one of my favourite poets.he is called one of the’ panchpandab ‘ of bengali literature.the description I’ve read above is really amazing.here one of his famous poem “Banalata Sen” has been described.he compares her eyes with that of the eyes of birds. its a metaphor which gives us a vivid imagery.
    above all I got much pleasure by reading the criticism of jibananda.

  11. We khew Jibonando Dash as a poet of Beautiful Bangladesh by reading his poem ” Banalota Shen” and that was all about him. But now i know a lot of him. Really he was a talent for our literature. He has given our literature a new dimension. Thank you sir for this beautiful post.

  12. We khew Jibonando Dash as a poet of Beautiful Bangladesh by reading his poem ” Banalota Shen” and that was all about him. But now i know a lot of him. Really he was a talent for our literature. He has given our literature a new dimension with his creation. Thank you sir for this beautiful post.

  13. raised her bird nests-like eyes….
    banalota sen

    I pass a enjoyable moment by read this section.
    and learn more new word.

  14. Thanks a lot sir,for this valuable post.Jibananonda is my favourite poet.Besides this Banalota Sen is my favourite poem.Really,it’s a beautiful creation.I can’t explain my feeling properly about my favourite poet.

  15. I love his poem.But i have read a few of his poem .i also read Banalata sen. it was an amazing poem but i can not remember this poem.

  16. Well written article on Jibanananda Das. I have acquired knowledge from here. Two things made me sad. 1. His accidental death and 2. Not getting recognition during his life time.
    Word meanings:
    Metaphor রূপক
    Prolific উর্বর
    Devastation বিধ্বংস
    Posthumously মৃত্যুর পরে
    Garland পুষ্পমালা
    Pilgrimage তীর্থযাত্রা
    Rudder নৌকার কর্ণ
    Stanza পদ্যরচনার স্তবক

  17. it’s very easy to read.I started my job through zero category. I read full story. jabanananda is one of my favourite poet.I like him for his romanticism.

  18. At the moment when I am reading the sentence”raised her bird’s nest-like eyes,” I feel the deep of love.

  19. At the moment when I am reading the sentence”raised her bird’s nest-like eyes,” I feel the deep of love.

  20. At the moment when I am reading the sentence”raised her bird’s nest-like eyes,” I feel the deep of love.

  21. well written, but I can’t to read it’s properly, some words i can’t understand, the words are very difficult to pronounce and understand, i need to more read, 🙁 🙁

  22. He is surly a great writer in our Banglai literature. I have read so many poet of him. There he wrote about the nature and the usual life of peoples.

  23. I only read his poem but I didn’t know about Jibanananda Das was very powerful poet of Bangladesh.Lot of information of him I just known from your post.Thank you .

  24. I also read his poem banolota sen.It took me atleast two month to understand what it stands for.But I never ubderstand the poem perfectly..He was really a genious.His speech from that poem used in present day as love message..He had too much imagination power.Instead of hard explanation he did many easy explanation to many hard topic..

  25. Its true Jibanananda Das is very powerful writer in Bengali Literature. But the sad thing is he didn’t got the fame and respect in his life time. After death he is recognize every where.

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  27. To read the history I understand that, how many topics I didn’t about Jibananada Das. I like his poem but didn’t know himself. I also feel better to know himself. I was read the Jibananada samogro.its really appreciated me.his emaginetion power to expressd his poetry mentally.

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