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Syed Alaol
Born 1607
Fatehabad, Faridpur, Bengal
Died 1673 (aged 65–66)
Occupation Poet

Syed Alaol[1] (Bengali: আলাওল; 1607-1673 CE) was a poet in Bengal during the medieval age.[2] He is thought to have been born around 1607 in Fatehabad(Faridpur District). His father was from jobra, Chittagong, what is now 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 combine emotion with intellect, he is called the Pondit Kobi or 'Wise Poet' of medieval Bengali literature.[2]

An important Bangladeshi literary prize, the Alaol Puroshkar, is named after him.

Early life[edit]

Alaol was born in Fatehabad(Faridpur District) and his father was from jobra, Chittagong Bangladesh,[3] to a minister in the court of Majlis Qutb, the ruler of Fatehabad.[4][5] Alaol was kidnapped by Portuguese pirates while travelling on boat with his father and subsequently was taken to Arakan.[4] 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.


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.[4] 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 the same name during this period. There is a famous poem Prince Saiful Malook and Badri Jamala of mystic poet of Punjabi literature Mian Muhammad Bakhsh. 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 at his request. In the eulogy of Shoptopoykor, Alaol mentioned the arrival of Mughal prince Shah Shuja in Arakan.[4] In 1659, Shah Shuja took refuge in the court at Arakan. 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 autobiographical passages in his 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 at 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.[5]

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 draw upon his deep engagement with Sufism.[6]


Alaol Hall, a principal male student dormitory at the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh, is named after him.[7]


  1. ^ Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: A-Devo - Google Books. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  2. ^ a b c Wakil Ahmed. "Alaol". Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. Retrieved: 2014-01-13
  3. ^ Rizvi, S.N.H. (1965). "East Pakistan District Gazetteers" (PDF). GOVERNMENT OF EAST PAKISTAN SERVICES AND GENERAL ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT (1): 349. Retrieved 7 November 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d Thibaut D' Hubert. "Alaol". Kaladan Press Network. Retrieved: 2014-01-13
  5. ^ a b Sen, Sukumar (1993). Islami Bangla Sahitya (in Bengali), Kolkata: Ananda Publishers, ISBN 81-7215-301-5, pp.34-6
  6. ^ Abu Musa Arif Billah (July 2008). "20th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, Manchester 2008" (PDF). European Association of South Asian Studies. Retrieved: 2014-01-21
  7. ^ "Official Website". University of Chittagong.  Retrieved: 2014-01-21