পাতা:Vanga Sahitya Parichaya Part 1.djvu/১১

এই পাতাটির মুদ্রণ সংশোধন করা হয়েছে, কিন্তু বৈধকরণ করা হয়নি।
3
INTRODUCTION.

book on pp. 1809–1815. Iswara chandra was charmed with the old poems of Bengal and he made a vigorous search to recover them between 1840-50. The poems he collected were published in his magazine 'the Sambāda Prabhākara', in the January numbers of 1852 and 1853. But his labours were mainly restricted to the period of Bengali literature between the middle of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. The next collection made by Babu Mahendranāth Rāy and published by the Sanskrit Press in 1852 comprised, besides some poems of Bhārata chandra, a considerable portion of those of Mukundarāma, who was a contemporary of Akbar. The collection was complete in two parts, (Demy 176 pages,) and Babu Mahendranāth wrote thus in his preface: "I hope that this selection may. safely be placed in the hands of our boys; for there is nothing in it which may not be read aloud by a youngman in the presence of his elders." The compiler then takes considerable pains to prove that poetry is a subject worth studying. He attempts to refute the view held by learned men of his time, chiefly those who studied Logic in Bengal, that "poetry is a subject which can only amuse children. Far from having any edifying influence of its own, it only serves to dull the edge of intelligence." Bhārata chandra, Mukundarāma, Nidhu Babu, Haru Thākura and a few other Kaviwalās[১] were, it appears, the only poets of the old school, whom the educated people of the country seemed to recognise in the earlier half of the 19th century.

Our best poetry of the old school, however, belonged undoubtedly to the Vaiṣṇavas. But these were viewed with great disfavour by educated Bengalis in the early years of the English influence which engendered in our young men an austere puritanic taste and an almost morbid idea of decency. In the Tatwabodhinī Patrikā which was the organ of the educated young men of Bengal at that time, we frequently come across invectives and abuses levelled against the worship of Kriṣṇa as promulgated by the Bhāgavata.

It was therefore an epoch-making event in the history of the Vernacular literature of Bengal when Babu Jagatbandhu Bhadra, then a teacher in a Government School, with the help of Babu Umācharan Dās, who was a prodigy of English learning among Bengalis in those days, brought out an edition of the songs of Vidyāpati and Chandidas in the year 1872. Though Jagatbandhu Babu made use of the Pada-kalpataru which was already printed by some of the presses of Baṭtalā in Calcutta, he also collected a considerable number of songs written by these two poets, not hitherto published. He writes in a half-humorous style in his preface:—

  1. Professional minestrels who sang songs mainly descriptive of the incidents in the life of Kriṣṇa and sometimes composed extempore verses before large audiences. (Vide History of Bengali Language and Literature, pp. 696-712).