Statue of Gopal Bhar at Krishnanagar, Nadia
|Born||Gopal Chandra Pramanik|
Ghurni, present-day Krishnanagar, Nadia, West Bengal, India
|Occupation||Courtier and jester in the court of Raja Krishnachandra|
Gopal Bhar or Gopal Bhand (Bengali: গোপাল ভাঁড়) was a court jester in medieval Bengal. He was in the court of Raja Krishnachandra (1710-1783), the-then king of Nadia in the 18th century. Gopal used to give joy to others by laughter and ridicule.The king considered Gopal as a Navaratna of his court. His statue can still be seen in the palace of Krishnachandra and in Ghurni, Krishnagar town. Gopal was very intelligent and very keen of his idea.
Gopal belonging from a so-called low caste family, was quite intelligent from childhood which resulted the upper caste Brahmins to feel jealous and they turned revengeful upon Gopal and his family. His father died in Gopal's childhood and his mother was forced to Sati-daha, his elder brother became a slave and he was abducted by a robber gang, where a lady raised him and at an adult age Gopal entered in Krishnanagar Raj.
Stories about his exploits are narrated in West Bengal and Bangladesh to this day in numerous short stories. The stories are popular, short, beautiful, humorous and have a specific social message. His stories are comparable with those of Birbal, Tenali Raman and Nasreddin.
In early nineteenth century, Gopal Bhar's name was first mentioned in Bengali literature. It is often said that Gopal Bhar is a legendary personality. But a reference has found that there was a bodyguard of the king of Nadia, Raja Krishnachandra named Shankar Taranga who was given special status by the king for his courage and knowledge and probably gave rise to the legend of Gopal Bhar. There are many contradictory views regarding Gopal Bhar, whether he existed or not. Acharya Sukumar Sen (linguist) opined that the character Gopal is purely fictitious.
In popular culture
- Gopal Bhar, a Bengali comedy film directed by Amal Sur was released in 1980. In that film, Santosh Dutta portrayed the character of Gopal Bhar in the court of Raja Krishnachandra Roy.
- An animated cartoon series with the same title was released in the 2000s which were regularly aired on Sony Aath.
- Gopal Bhar, a Bengali television series was made where Raktim Samanta played the role of Gopal Bhar as a young child. The series aired on Star Jalsha from 2017-2018.
- Siegel, Lee (1987). Laughing Matters: Comic Tradition in India. University of Chicago Press, United States. ISBN 0-226-75691-2. pp. 314-318.
- "Legendary jester Gopal Bhar to be poll mascot in Nadia". Indiatoday.in. March 14, 2016. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
- "Baba never got his due: Santosh Dutta". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- "Raktim Samanta gets nostalgic as 'Gopal Bhar' comes to an end". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 May 2019.