M3 Features

Jibanananda Das

February 17, 2015

Today, February 17, is the 117th birth anniversary of Jibanananda Das.

Jibanananda Das emerged as the most popular poet of modern Bengali literature. His alien poetic articulation, selection of words and thematic preferences took time to reach readers’ hearts. He was also known as a surrealist poet because of his spontaneous, frenzied overflow of the subconscious in poetry.

Jibanananda was the eldest son of his parents. He was born in 1899 in Barisal, then part of the undivided Bengal. In 1915, he completed his Matriculation exams from Brajamohan School and two years later, completed Intermediate from Brajamohan College.

In 1919, he graduated with a BA (Honours) in English Literature from Presidency College, Kolkata. The same year, his first poem appeared in print, in the Baishakh issue of the journal, Brahmobadi. In Kolkata, Buddhadeb Bose, Premendra Mitra and Samar Sen were starting a brand new poetry magazine called Kobita. Jibanananda's work featured in the first issue of the magazine, a poem called ‘Mrittu’r Aagey’.

Young Jibanananda fell in love with Shobhona, daughter of his uncle Atulchandra Das. He dedicated his first anthology of poems to Shobhona without mentioning her name explicitly. The poet, however, married Labanyaprabha Das in 1930. A clash of personalities erupted and Jibanananda gave up all hope of a happy married life. The estrangement with his wife never ended.

Das' notable poetic works are Jhora Palok, Dhushor Pandulipi, Bonolota Sen, Mohaprithibi, Shaat-ti Tarar Timir, Shrestho Kobita and Ruposhi Bangla.

On October 14, 1954, while unmindfully crossing a street near Kolkata's Deshapriya Park, he was hit by a tram. Seriously injured, he was taken to Shambhunath Pundit Hospital. The injury was too fatal to redress.

Jibanananda died in hospital on October 22, 1954 after eight days of struggle with death. He left behind his wife, a son and a daughter, and an ever-growing band of readers.

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