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Das, Jibanananda (1899-1954) a major Bangla poet and educationist, was born on 17 February 1899 in barisal, son of Satyananda Das, a schoolteacher and founder editor of the Brahmabadi. His mother, Kusumkumari Das, wrote poetry. Matriculating in 1915 from Barisal Brajamohan School, Jibanananda completed his IA in 1917 from B M College, and BA with Honours in English in 1919 and MA in 1921 from Presidency College. He also studied law for some time.

Jibanananda started his career as a teacher in Calcutta City College (1922-28). He then briefly taught at the newly founded Bagerhat Prafulla Chandra College. He also taught at Ramjash College in Delhi (1929-30). In 1935 he joined BM College in Barisal and continued to teach there till shortly before partition in 1947 when he left for Kolkata.

Jibanananda Das

Jibanananda started writing poems at an early age. While he was still a student, his poem, 'Barsa Abahan', (Invocation to the Rains) was published in the Brahmabadi (Baishakh 1326/April 1919. Many of his poems were published in various magazines. His volumes of poetry include Jhara Palak (Fallen Feathers, 1927), Dhusar Pandulipi (Gray Manuscript, 1936), Banalata Sen (1942), Mahaprthibi (Great Universe, 1944), Satti Tarar Timir (1948), Rupasi Bangla (Beautiful Bengal, written in 1934, published in 1957), Bela Abela Kalbela (1961).

Jibanananda belonged to the group of poets who tried to shake off rabindranath tagore's poetic influence. Inspired by western modernism and the intellectual outlook of the Bengali middle class, this group wrote about the realities of the urban present and of the lonely self even while they drew upon the rural traditions of Bengal. Although Jibanananda's early poems reveal some influences of nazrul islam, satyendranath dutta and mohitlal majumder, he shook off these influences to become a towering figure in Bangla poetry. Jibanananda shared Rabindranath's deep feeling for nature, eloquently describing the beauty of rural Bengal in Rupasi Bangla and earning the appellation of Rupasi Banglar Kavi (Poet of Beautiful Bengal). Unlike Rabindranath, however, he also portrayed distressed humanity as well as the depression, frustration, and loneliness of modern urban life in his poems. Introspection is also an important characteristic of his poetic genius. His poems merge a concern for the present and a sense of history. Many of his poems sound like prose, and greatly influenced subsequent poets.

Jibanananda's poems of rural Bengal played an important role in the political and cultural perspective of Bangladesh. His poems inspired a pride in Bengali nationhood, especially in the 1960s and during the war of liberation in 1971. Though principally a poet, Jibanananda also wrote essays, short stories, and novels. As a novelist and short story writer, however, Jibananda's unique talent was realised after his death with the discovery of many of his manuscripts. These novels, which were published posthumously, include Malyaban (Adorned with a Garland 1972), Sutirtha (The Good Pilgrimage, 1977), Jalpaihati, Jibanpranali, Basmatir Upakhyan etc. He wrote about two hundred stories. A collection of his short stories is Jibanananda Dasher Galpa (Stories of Jibanananda Das, 1972). He also wrote essays on poetry, some of them included in Kavitar Katha (On poems, 1955). His complete works have been published in 12 volumes, as Jibanananda Samagra (The Complete Works of Jibanananda, 1985-96), from Kolkata. Jibananda's stories and novels analyse the complexities of conjugal life and of sexual relationships as well as the contemporary social and political infrastructure.

Banalata Sen received an award (1953) at the Nikhil Banga Rabindra Sahitya Sammelan (All Bengal Rabindra Literature Convention). Jibanananda Dasher Shrestha Kavita won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1954. Jibanananda died in a tram accident in Kolkata on 22 October 1954. [Begum Akter Kamal]

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