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শনিবার, ২৩ অক্টোবর ২০২১, ০৭:২৮ অপরাহ্ন

Birthday of Mahakabi Kaikobad

Epic Muslim Poet Kaikobad
Epic Muslim Poet Kaikobad

Today is the birthday of Kaikobad, Mahakabi Kaikobad or Munshi Kaikobad (1857, 25 March) is a notable poet of Bengali language who is also called Mahakabi. His real name is Kazem Al Qurayshi. He was the first Muslim poet of modern Bengali literature. He is also the first sonnet composer among Bengali Muslim poets.

Kaikobad was born in Agla Purbapara village under Nawabganj police station in Dhaka district. He was the son of Shahamatullah Al Qureshi, a lawyer in the Dhaka District Judge’s Court. Studied at St. Gregory School. After the untimely death of his father, he was admitted to Dhaka Madrasa (now Kabi Nazrul Government College) where he studied till the entrance examination. In addition he did not take the exam, but instead returned to his local village with a job as a postmaster, where he worked until he retired. In 1932 he presided over the main session of the Bengal Muslim Literary Conference held in Calcutta.

Among the books written by him are Birha Bilap, Mahasasshan, Amiya Dhara, Shasshanbhasma etc. Kaikobad’s literary genius flourished from a very young age. His first poem Birha Bilap (1870) was published at the age of only thirteen. His other books of poetry are: Kusum Kanan (1873), Ashrumala (1895), Mahasasshan (1904), Shiva-Mandir (1922), Amiya dhara (1923), Shashan-Bhasma (1924) and Muharram Sharif (1932). Long after the poet’s death, Premer Phul (1970), Premer Bani (1970), Prem-Parijat (1970), Mandakini-Dhara (1971) and Gauch Pak’s Premer Kunj (1979) were published. Recently, the Bangla Academy has published Kaikobad Rachnabali (4 vols., 1994-97).

Kaikobad wrote epics in the style of two other great Bengali poets, Hemchandra Bandyopadhyay and Nabinchandra Sen. But Nabin Chandra was his main role model. Kaikobad’s mahasashan is epic. In this poem based on the battle of the third waterway, it has been named as ‘Mahasasshan’ as the horror of destruction is more evident than victory or defeat. This is his best composition and it is through this that he gained fame as an epic. His lyric poetry expresses love, nature, homeland and spirituality.

The main purpose of Kaikobad’s poetry was to make the backward Muslim community aware of its past heritage and to inspire them to restore it. He was endowed with a non-communal consciousness, which was reflected in his various writings. He has written poems on religious issues of both Hindu and Muslim communities.

For his outstanding contribution to Bengali poetry, the All India Literary Association conferred on him the titles of ‘Kavya Bhushan’, ‘Vidya Bhushan’ and ‘Sahityaratna’ (1925). He died on 21 July 1951 in Dhaka.

Source: Poet Kaikobad’s Biography

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