Bangla Literature

History of Bangla
Bangla, being a member of the Indo-Aryan languages, is derived from Sanskrit, and hence appears to be similar to Hindi. It is written left-to-right, top-to-bottom of page (same as English). Vocabulary is akin to Sanskrit, and whilst it is quite difficult at first, there are to some extent similarities with Latin aswell.

Bangla vocabulary shows many influences. In
Bangladesh there is obviously a strong Perso-Arabic influence due to Islam. This is seen in the greetings of "Salaam aleykum" (Peace be unto you) and the reply "Wa aleykum as-salaam" (Unto you also peace) as well as "Khoda hafez" (God Bless you), the choice of names (Mohammed, Tanvir, Khaleda, Fatema), the names of family members "abba" (father) and "amma" (mother). Interestingly, the subsequent trade routes between the Arab world and the home of the Moguls led to words such as "dokan" (shop), "tarikh"(date), "kolom"(pen) and "bonduk" (gun) entering Bangla. The etymology of Bangladesh's second city, Chottogram, is of linguistic interest. Known as "Shatt' al-Ganga" (Arabic for "mouth of the Ganges") by the Arab traders who patronized the route prior to the discovery of India by the Europeans, the British anglicized the name to Chittagong. [+++]

Kazi Nazrul Islam's
Dhormer Pothe Shohid Jahara..'
[Listen to the audio/video]
Singer: Saifullah Mansoor
Lyrics by Kazi Nazrul Islam

Kazi Nazrul Islam is a household name in Bengal. A towering figure in Bengali literature and the national poet of Bangladesh, yet he is virtually unknown in the West. Why? There are two reasons for this: partly because, as William Radice (Sampling the Poetry of Nazrul Islam, 1997) has pointed out, he was a Muslim; and partly due to the fact that he identified himself with the rural poor rather than the elite of the pre-partitioned India. Although Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, Nazrul is unknown in the West, notwithstanding the fact that the latter was arguably more popular with the masses in Bengal than the former. It is high time the record was set straight. Who was Kazi Nazrul Islam?..[+++]

Humayun Ahmed's
Chondrokotha (2003)
[Watch the full Movie]
Directed/Written by Humayun Ahmed
Starring: Ferdous, Shaon, Ahmed Rubel

Humayun Ahmed had a meteoric rise in Bangla literature. His first novel, Nondito Noroke was written while he was still a student of the University of Dhaka, gained immediate popularity and critical acclaim. Equally successful was his second novel, Shankhanil Karagar (tr: "The Conch-blue Prison"), later made into a successful film by Nasiruddin Yusuf. Humayun Ahmed went on to become one of the most prolific writers in Bengali literature, having published around one hundred and fifty novels to date.

Along with his more traditional novels and short stories, Ahmed is often credited with creating or maturing many literary genres in Bangladesh. The rise of Bengali science fiction can largely be attributed to Humayun Ahmed..[+++]

Rabindranath Tagore's
The Postmaster', [bw.1961]
Film by Satyjit Ray [Watch the full Film]
Based on three short stories ['Teen Kanya'] by Rabindranath Tagore: Postmaster, Monihara, and Samapti.
The Postmaster', [bw.1961] was made into a movie by Satyjit Ray, and it became part of 'Teen Kanya'

Rabindranath Tagore [The Nobel Prize in Literature 1913], though known mostly for his poetry, Tagore also wrote novels, essays, short stories, travelogues, dramas, and thousands of songs. Of Tagore's prose, his short stories are perhaps most highly regarded; indeed, he is credited with originating the Bengali-language version of the genre. His works are frequently noted for their rhythmic, optimistic, and lyrical nature. Such stories mostly borrow from deceptively simple subject matter..[+++]


  1. Bengal has produced some of the greatest writers and thinkers but unfortunatlely we've failed to create a great nation.

  2. It is totally undeniable fact that Bangladesh has got some talents. Truly there are many bangla literatures which can blow our minds.
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  3. It's one of the world's ignored atrocities - buried in the not too distant past of Bangladesh.

    Now, some people there are beginning to confront painful memories that have haunted them for years - the systematic killing of what they say was millions of their own.

    They're calling for a war crimes tribunal. Tony Birtley has this report from the Bangadeshi capital Dhaka

  4. Nice article. We take great pride in our language and literature.