Michael Madhusudan Dutt
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|Michael Madhusudan Dutt
মাইকেল মধুসূদন দত্ত
Michael Madhusudan Dutt
25 January 1824|
Jessore, Bengal Presidency, (Now Bangladesh)
|Died||29 June 1873
Calcutta(now Kolkata), Bengal Presidency, British India
|Literary movement||Bengal Renaissance|
Henrietta Sophia White (m. 1856–1873)
Michael Madhusudan Dutt, or Michael Madhusudan Dutta (Bengali: মাইকেল মধুসূদন দত্ত ( Maikel Modhushudôn Dôtto (help·info)); 25 January 1824 – 29 June 1873) was a popular 19th-century Bengali poet and dramatist. He was born in Sagordari (Bengali: সাগরদাঁড়ি), on the bank of Kopotaksho (Bengali: কপোতাক্ষ) River, a village in Keshabpur Upazila, Jessore District, Bengal Presidency, East Bengal (now in Bangladesh). His father was Rajnarayan Dutt, an eminent lawyer, and his mother was Jahnabi Devi. He was a pioneer of Bengali drama. His famous work Meghnad Bodh Kavya (Bengali: মেঘনাদবধ কাব্য), is a tragic epic. It consists of nine cantos and is exceptional in Bengali literature both in terms of style and content. He also wrote poems about the sorrows and afflictions of love as spoken by women.
As a young student, Dutt was influenced by the thoughts and actions of the Young Bengal-a movement by a group of illustrious former students of The Hindu College (now Presidency College) in Calcutta (now Kolkata) against the atrocities, blind beliefs and customs they held as illogical, prevalent in the Hindu society of 19th century Bengal. Dutt, a student of Hindu College himself, aspired to be an English poet and longed to travel to England to gain fame. When his father, concerned by these trends, arranged his marriage, he rebelled. One aspect of his rebellion involved conversion to Christianity.
Dutt is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets in Bengali literature and the father of the Bengali sonnet. He pioneered what came to be called amitrakshar chhanda (blank verse). Dutt died in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency on 29 June 1873. Although his first love remained poetry, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, or Madhu- as he was called affectionately,showed prodogious skill as a playwright. He was the first to write Bengali plays in the English style, segregating the play into acts and scenes. He was also the pioneer of the first satirical plays in Bengali - "Buro Salik er Ghare Row" and "Ekei Ki Bole Sovyota?" (Is this what we call Civilisation?". When Deenabandhu Mitra wrote a Bengali play portraying the plight of the workers in indigo plantatiobs at the hands of their British masters, Dutt was the person who translated the play into English. Rumour has it that he translated the entire play in a single night. There is no proof that Dutt had translated the play, however,as- on account of fear of prosecution by the British Government of India- neither the writer's nor the translator's name was printed when the play was published in English. After this episode Dutt went back to writing mainly poetry-occasionally writing short pieces of prose. He had also translated the episode of Prince Hector's death from Homer's Illiad into Bengali. Although Dutt was a literateur par excellence, he was an alchoholic from his youth and his addiction grew as he aged. It was the source and cause of many of his hardships and miseries-both financial and mental. He was supported in his times of financial crisis by his friends and Sri Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar; the latter sent him monthly allowances regularly on the condition that Dutt should concentrate all his efforts in creating great specimens of Bengali poetry. Dutt was, however, never able to master his addiction and it led to his untimely death. He had married twice. Michael Madhusudan Dutt was an important figure of the Bengali Renaissance who helped place Bengali literature on the throne it holds at present. He was hailed as the greatest poet of the Bengali language until the advent of Rabindranath Tagore. Even now, he is one of the great poets of the Bengali language.
Early life and education
His childhood education started in a village named Shekpura, at an old mosque, where he went to learn Persian. He was an exceptionally talented student. Since his childhood, Dutt was recognised by his teachers and professors as being a precocious child with a gift of literary expression. He was very imaginative. Early exposure to English education and European literature at home and in Kolkata inspired him to emulate the English in taste, manners and intellect. An early influence was his teacher, Capt. D.L.Richardson at Hindu College. Richardson was a poet and inspired in Dutt a love of English poetry, particularly Byron. During this time, he composed many English poems. Among them, 'King Purus' is a remarkable one. It was the first patriotic poem composed by any Indian poem for the freedom of India. Some parts of this fabulous poem are follows: [মাইকেল মধুসূদন দত্তের ইংরেজি কবিতা] [মহারাজ পুরু] [অনুবাদ : সায়ীদ আবুবকর] ১. [গাহিছে নিশীথবাত্যা উচ্চৈঃস্বরে আজি,] [স্বাধীনতা মরে গেছে, তাই উঠে বাজি] [শোকগীতি; ছাড়িছে হুঙ্কার মেঘদল] [দূর নভে, শাসাইয়া কম্পিত ভূতল;] [ঝরিছে মুষলধারে আকাশের বারি] [মর্ত্য;ে নাচিছে পাথার, ঊর্মি সারি সারি] [ছুটিতেছে কোথায়, কে জানে! কাঁপে রাত,] [বে যার পড়িতেছে খসি বজ্রপাত;] [বিজলির ঔজ্জ্বল্য দিতেছে ধাঁধাইয়া] [মানবচু, যেন বা সুন্দরী সুপ্রিয়া] [তাকাইয়া আছে একদৃষ্টে সব ভুলি] [এলাইয়া কেশ ও অবগুণ্ঠন খুলি।] [উত্তাল বাতাসে কার ভাসিছে ক্রন্দন,] [কর্ণে আসি বাজে যেই, কাঁদি উঠে মন;] [হায়, মা, ভারত! সব পুত্র তব,] [ঘুমাইতেছিল মহাসুখে, নব নব] [শত্র“ যবে বারংবার দিতেছিল হানা] [তব ঘরে, মুছি দিতে তোমার ঠিকানা,] [তোমার সন্তানগণ নিমগ্ন নিদ্রায়,] [তখন শত্র“রা আসিল ব্যাঘ্রের পায়] [চুপিচুপি তব দ্বারে, খাইতে সবারে।] [যেন বা সুপ্তির এক মহা অন্ধকারে] [একসাথে আকস্মিক ভূমিকম্প-ঝড়] [পড়িল ঝাঁপায়ে তব সন্তানের ’পর।] ২. [আসিল প্রভাত; আলোক মশাল জ্বালি] [সুখনেত্রে দিননাথ, সম্রাট অংশুমালী] [চাহিল পৃথিবীপানে, দেখিল কি-শোভা] [ধরিয়াছে ধরাতলে তার পুষ্পপ্রভা;] [কিন্তু হের, গৌরবের ঝাণ্ডা ভারতের,] [হেরি যাহা শির নুয়ে পড়িত বিশ্বের,] [আজি তাহা নিভু নিভু উড়িতেছে ঝড়ে] [ীণ গর্ব নিয়া ব,ে আত্মরা তরে। ] [উঠিল গর্জন ভয়াবহ; বীরগণ] [ছুটি গেলা মহা রোষে, করি মৃত্যুপণ] [ধেয়ে আসা শত্র“পানেÑ হয় স্বাধীনতা,] [না হয় সমাধি হবে সর্বশেষ কথা!] [হায়, মৃত্যু, তব রু বেদী যায় তলি] [রক্তবানে, বীরগণ হচ্ছে যেথা বলি!] [মর্ত্য, তব ব হের মৃত্যুর শোভাতে] [দিচ্ছে ভরি ল বীর শুভ্র এ প্রভাতে!] [কিন্তু কার সাধ্য, রুখে মেসিডোনিয়ার ] [যোদ্ধাগণে! হেমন্তের শুকনো পাতার] [অদৃষ্ট লইয়া পড়িতেছে ধরাতলে] [খসি ব্রহ্মের পুত্রেরা, হায়, দলে দলে!] [উদ্ধত পর্বতচূড়া,Ñ সেও ভাঙি পড়ে] [বজ্রের আঘাতে আকস্মিক! তবু লড়ে] [প্রাণপণ ভারতসন্তান যত আজি] [বাঁচাইতে স্বাধীনতা; প্রাণ দিতে রাজি;] [শোণিতের শয্যা ’পরে, রাজি, পড়ি রহে;] [তবু এই স্বাধীনতা হারাবার নহে।] ৬. [আহা, আজ কোথা সেই পুরু, মহাবীর,] [দেশের নিমিত্ত যাঁরা ঝরাতো রুধির?] [দেশপ্রেমে ভরা ব, ঈগলহৃদয়,] [করিত না গ্রাহ্য যারা যুদ্ধ, মৃত্যুভয়?] [স্বাধীনতা তরে যারা লড়িত নির্ভীক] [প্রাণপণে; কোথা তারা? স্বাধীনতা-পিক,] [গাহ তুমি গান কোন্ বনে? এক কালে] [গাহিতে সঙ্গীত তুমি বসি কুঞ্জডালে] [ভারতের; ছিলা তুমি দেবি তার, যবে] [খ্যাতি আর গৌরবের মহা উৎসবে] [থাকিত সে ঢাকা; উদিত সে জ্যোতির্ময়,] [যেমতি সুউচ্চ গিরিশ্রেষ্ঠ হিমালয়] [তার, চুমি’ যায় নীল নভ মহোল্লাসে।] [আহা কী সূর্যের দেশ! চোখে জল আসে] [হেরি তাহা আজি। হায়, হেরি লাগে ভ্রম,] [রশ্মি তার পড়ি জলাধারে, স্বপ্নসম] [করে জ্বলজ্বল; জ্বলিতে জ্বলিতে শেষে] [গলিয়া পড়ে সে আলো গোধূলির দেশে।] [সে-গৌরবরাশি গিয়াছে ভাসিয়া, হায়,] [দূর অন্ধকারে। যে-মুকুট কি-শোভায় ] [শোভিত ললাটে তব, আজি তাহা স্মৃতি!] [ডুবিয়াছে তব জ্যোতি, আনিয়াছে ইতি] [তব প্রাণে; দস্যুদল তব শব ’পরে] [পিশাচের মতো আজ নৃত্য শুধু করে।] [লুটে নেছে তব ধন, রতœরাজি যত।] [আজ তুমি নিঃস্ব সেই অটবীর মতো,] [নাহি যার ফুলফল, পত্র ও পল্লব;] [দাঁড়ায়ে কংকাল যেন, ঘৃণ্য এক শব।] [মড়া মহাতরুসম তুমি অতঃপর] [পড়েছ ধপাস করি ধরণীর ’পর;] [কোনো দিন আর তুমি মেলিবে না চোখ] [বিরাজিবে কালবে কেবলি নরক।] কোলকাতা ১৮৪৩ - See more at: http://www.dailynayadiganta.com/details.php?nayadiganta=MTAzNDY4&s=MjI=#sthash.y6o9l1OD.dpuf
Dutt's early works — poetry and drama — were mostly in English. They include translations, plays including Sermistha and Ratnavali; and poems, including Captive Ladie, which was written about the mother of his close friend Sri Bhudev Mukhopadhyay, indicate a high level of intellectual sophistication.
In his own words
|“||Where man in all his truest glory lives,
And nature's face is exquisitely sweet;
Madhusudan embraced Christianity at the Old Mission Church in spite of the objections of his parents and relatives on 9 February 1843. He had to leave Hindu College so continued his education at Bishop's College. He later moved to Madras due to severe family tensions and economic hardship. He describes the day as:
|“||Long sunk in superstition's night,
By Sin and Satan driven,
On the eve of his departure to England:
|“||Forget me not, O Mother,
Should I fail to return
(Translated from the original Bengali by the poet.)
Always, o river, you peep in my mind.
Always I think you in this loneliness.
Always I soothe my ears with the murmur
Of your waters in illusion, the way
Men hear songs of illusion in a dream.
Many a river I have seen on earth;
But which can quench my thirst the way you do?
You’re the flow of milk in my homeland’s breasts.
Will I meet you ever? As long as you
Go to kinglike ocean to pay the tax
Of water, I beg to you, sing my name
Into the ears of people of Bengal,
Sing his name, o dear, who in this far land
Sings your name in all his songs for Bengal.
(Translated from Bengali by Sayeed Abubakar) 
Dutt was particularly inspired by both the life and work of the English Romantic poet Lord Byron. Dutt was a spirited bohemian and Romantic. Dutt's heroic epic was Meghnadh Badh Kabya, although his journey to publication and recognition was far from smooth. However, with its publication, he distinguished himself as a serious composer of an entirely new genre of heroic poetry, that was Homeric and Dantesque in technique and style, and yet so fundamentally native in theme. To cite the poet himself: "I awoke one morning and found myself famous." Nevertheless, it took a few years for this epic to win recognition all over the country.
Work with the sonnet
He dedicated his first sonnet to his friend Rajnarayan Basu, which he accompanied with a letter: "What say you to this, my good friend? In my humble opinion, if cultivated by men of genius, our sonnet in time would rival the Italian."
When Dutt later stayed in Versailles, the sixth centenary of the Italian poet Dante Alighieri was being celebrated all over Europe. He composed a poem in honour of the poet, translated it into French and Italian, and sent it to the king of Italy. Victor Emmanuel II, then monarch, liked the poem and wrote to Dutt, saying, "It will be a ring which will connect the Orient with the Occident."
Work in blank verse
Sharmistha (spelt as Sermista in English) was Dutt's first attempt at blank verse in Bengali literature. Kaliprasanna Singha organised a felicitation ceremony to Madhusudan to mark the introduction of blank verse in Bengali poetry.
Praising Dutt's blank verse, Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, observed: "As long as the Bengali race and Bengali literature would exist, the sweet lyre of Madhusudan would never cease playing."[this quote needs a citation] He added: "Ordinarily, reading of poetry causes a soporific effect, but the intoxicating vigour of Madhusudan's poems makes even a sick man sit up on his bed."[this quote needs a citation]
In his The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, Nirad C. Chaudhuri has remarked that during his childhood days in Kishoreganj, a common standard for testing guests' erudition in the Bengali language during family gatherings was to require them to recite the poetry of Dutt, without an accent.
Dutt went to England to study law to escape his poverty, but English weather and racism made it unbearable. By the time he shifted to Versailles during the 1860s, Dutt was desperately poor. Funds were not arriving from India according to his plans. He was only able to complete his law course and return home due to the munificent generosity of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. For this, Dutt was to regard Vidyasagar as Dayar Sagar (meaning the ocean of kindness) for as long as he lived. But he never got established in legal practice in Calcutta and died impoverished.
He wrote to his friend Gour Bysack from France:
|“||If there be any one among us anxious to leave a name behind him, and not pass away into oblivion like a brute, let him devote himself to his mother-tongue. That is his legitimate sphere his proper element.||”|
Marriage and family
Dutt had refused to enter into an arranged marriage which his father had decided for him. He had no respect for that tradition and wanted to break free from the confines of caste-based endogamous marriage. His knowledge of the European tradition convinced him of the superiority of marriages made by mutual consent (or love marriages). While in Madras he married Rebecca McTavish, of English descent. They had four children together. He wrote to Gour in December 1855:
|“||Yes, dearest Gour, I have a fine English Wife and four children.||”|
Dutt returned from Madras to Calcutta in February 1856, after his father's death, abandoning his wife and children in Madras. He had two children by Henrietta Sophia White, who was also ethnic English. This relationship lasted until the end of his life, Henrietta pre-deceasing him by three days. They had a son Napoleon and daughter Sharmistha.
The tennis player Leander Paes is a direct descendant of his.
A 33 second sample recitation of poetry Samadhi
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
Legacy and honours
Dutt was largely ignored for 15 years after his death. The belated tribute was a tomb erected at his gravesite.
His epitaph, a verse of his own, reads:
|“||Stop a while, traveller!
Should Mother Bengal claim thee for her son.
|“||Meghnad Badh is a supreme poem.||”|
In the words of Sri Aurobindo:
|“||All the stormiest passions of man's soul he [Madhusudan] expressed in gigantic language.||”|
- Tilottama, 1860
- Meghnad Bodh Kavya (Ballad of Meghnadh's demise), 1861
- Choturdoshpodi kobitaboli
- Ekei Ki Bole Sovyota (Is this is called a civilisation)
- Buro Shaliker Ghare Rown
- Rizia, the sultana of Inde.
- The Captive Lady
- Visions of the Past
- Rosalo Sornolatika
- Sonnets and other poems
- Ghulam, Murshid. Lured by Hope. Trans. Majumdar, Gopa. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0195653629 – Gopa Majumdar's translation of Ashar Chalane Bhuli
- Roy, Pinaki. “Extravagant Genius: Michael Madhusudan Dutt and his Oeuvre”. Indian Poetry in English: Critical Essays. Ed. Mitra, Z. New Delhi: Prentice Hall, 2012 (ISBN 978-81-203-4571-3). Pp. 15–30.
- Modhusudoner Engreji Kabita by Sayeed Abubakar, Bhumika Prakashani, Bangla Bazar, Dhaka-1100, (2009) ISBN 9847028901053
- Michael Madhusudan Dutta : Profile of an Epic Poet Compiled by Aparna Chatterjee
- Buckland C E; Charles E. Buckland (1 January 1999). Dictionary of Indian Biography. Cosmo Publication. pp. 128–. ISBN 978-81-7020-897-6. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Michael Madhusudan Dutta", Calcuttaweb
- "M. Madhusuda Dutt", Poets Seers
- "Michael Madhusudan Datta", Sanskrit.org
- Dipesh Chakrabarty (15 February 2001). Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (New Edition). Princeton University Press. pp. 33–. ISBN 978-0-691-13001-9. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- Dutt, Michael Madhusudan - Banglapedia
- Sri Aurobindo Ashram (February 1961). Mother India. p. 55. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- Ramanial Kanaiyaial Yajnik (1933). The Indian Theatre: Its Origins and Its Later Developments Under European Influence, with Special Reference to Western India. Ardent Media. pp. 219–. GGKEY:WYN7QH8HYJB. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- Arabinda Poddāra (1970). Renaissance in Bengal: quests and confrontations, 1800-1860. Indian Institute of Advanced Study. p. 216. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- Ghulam Murshid; Gopa Majumdar (30 October 2003). Lured by hope: a biography of Michael Madhusudan Dutt. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-565362-5. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- "Madhusudan Dutta's Samadhi Lipi".
- "A Review": Ghulam Murshid, Lured by Hope: A Biography of Michael Madhusudan Dutt, translated from Bengali by Gopa Majumdar, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2003. ISBN 0-19-565362-9. Pp 238 + xvi, at Parabaas
- "A poet of epic proportions". THe Daily Star. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "Meghnad, the Protagonist, the Heart of a Rebel Poet and My CHHOTO KAKA". indiatimes.com. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Michael Madhusudan Dutt". http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
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