Alaol

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Alaol-Ali Abbas Husaini[1] (Bengali: আলাওল; 1607-1680 CE) was a poet in Bengal during medieval age.[2] He is thought to be born around 1607 in Faridpur in the present-day Bangladesh. His most well known work is Poddobhoti, which depicts the story of Poddobhoti, the Sinhala princess and the queen of Chittor. He is considered to be one of the most prolific medieval Bengali poets.[2] Since most of his poems were combination of emotion with intellect, he is called the Pondit Kobi or 'Wise Poet' of medieval Bengali literature.[2]

There is an important literary prize named after him in Bangladesh, the Alaol Puroshkar.

Early life[edit]

Alaol was born in Fatehabad, located currently in Foridpur of Bangladesh, to a minister in the court of Majlis Qutb, the ruler of Fatehabad.[3][4] Alaol was kidnapped by Portuguese pirates while travelling on boat with his father and subsequently was taken to Arakan.[3] Alaol worked as a bodyguard for a while, but slowly his reputation as a poet spread. His talent was first recognised by Solaiman, a minister of king Shrichondro Sudhormo (Sanda Thudhamma) of the Mrauk-U dynasty of Arakan.

Works[edit]

In 1659, he completed Shoti Moyona o Lor-Chondrani, the first part of which was completed earlier by another Bengali court poet of Arakan, Daulat Qazi.[3] He translated Tohfa at the request of Shrichondro Sudhormo or Sanda Thudhamma. Later, prince Magan Thakur, the foster-son of the sister of king Shrichondro Sudhormo and co-regent and the prime minister of Arakan, secured him a place in the court of Arakan.

His major work, Poddobhoti, based on Malik Muhammad Jayasi's Padmavat was written under the patronage of Magan Thakur. He also began writing the Saifulmuluk Badiuzzamal, an adaptation of a Persian work of same name during this period. After the death of Magan Thakur, he received patronage from Saiyad Muhammad Musa, the army chief of king Poddobhoti. He translated the Haftapaykar from Persian as Shaptopoykor in Bengali on his request. In the eulogy of Shoptopoykor, Alaol mentioned the arrival Mughal prince Shah Shuja in Arakan.[3] In 1659, Shah Shuja took refuge in Arakan court. In 1660, after the killing of Shah Shuja, Alaol was also thrown out of the Arakan court because of his closeness with him. According to his autobiographical passages in 'Shikondernom', he was initially imprisoned. At this juncture, Sayed Masud Shah, a minister or Qazi of the Arakan king gave him shelter. Masud Shah also gave Alaol Khilafat under Qadiriyya Tariqa. Alaol completed his Saifulmuluk Badiuzzamal on his request. He spent his last days in the court of Majlis Navaraj, another minister of Arakan, where he wrote his last work 'Shikondernom' (according to Ahmed Sharif) or Dara-Shekondar (according to Sukumar Sen), a translation of Eskander-nama by the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi.[4]

His works, apart from Ragtalnama, are adaptations of works in other languages which include:

  • Padmavati
  • Shatimoyon-Lor-Chondroni (completion of Doulat Kazi's work)
  • Saifulmuluk Badiuzzamal
  • Shikondernom (1671-72)
  • Tohfa (1660)
  • Shoptopoykar
  • Ragtalnama

His poems demonstrates his prolific Sufi idea based on mysticism and his own Sufi interpretations.[5]

Legacy[edit]

A principal mail student Dormitory of the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh has been named after him as Alaol Hall.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: A-Devo - Google Books. Books.google.com.bd. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  2. ^ a b c Wakil Ahmed. "Alaol in Banglapedia". Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Retrieved: 2014-01-13
  3. ^ a b c d Thibaut D' Hubert. "Alaol". Kaladan Press Network. Retrieved: 2014-01-13
  4. ^ a b Sen, Sukumar (1993). Islami Bangla Sahitya (in Bengali), Kolkata: Ananda Publishers, ISBN 81-7215-301-5, pp.34-6
  5. ^ Abu Musa Arif Billah (July 2008). "20th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, Manchester 2008". European Association of South Asian Studies. Retrieved: 2014-01-21
  6. ^ "Official Website". University of Chittagong.  Retrieved: 2014-01-21

External links[edit]