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The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature

The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature: Just as the flowing river crosses many pastures and joins the sea, so does the history of Bengali literature. He did not come as a guest bird from Siberia in the winter. He had to enter today’s modern Bengali literature by using many Charyapadas and Srikrishnakirtan Kavya.

If we look through the pages of history and look at the ancient era of Bengali literature, we see that the ancient era of Bengali literature stands on a single charyapada. Following in the footsteps of Raja Rajendralal Mitra’s book ‘Sanskrit Buddhist Literature in Nepal’ in 182, Maharmopadhyay Haraprasad Shastri recovered the Charyapadas from the royal court of Nepal in 1906. 

The Bengal Literary Council published again in 1917 under the title ‘Buddhist Songs and Doha in the Thousand Year Old Purana Bengali Language’. Originally, the Charyapadas were esoteric Buddhist monastic patterns.

The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature

This is the ancient period of Bengali literature from 650 to 1200 AD. Then the Middle Ages from 1350 to 1600 AD. The period from 1201 to 1350, i.e. 150 years, is considered the dark age of Bengali literature. Some even compare this time to Europe’s ‘The Dark Age’.

The period from the conquest of Bengal by the Turkish general Ikhtiyar Uddin Bakhtiyar Khalji in the early thirteenth century to the rise of the Ilyas Shahi dynasty in the mid-fourteenth century was a dark age for Bengali literature. The reason for this is the bigotry, oppression, plunder, massacre, etc. of the rulers of that time. As a result, no one was inspired or free to write. And for this reason, the word ‘dark age’ originated at the beginning of the Middle Ages in Bengali literature.

However, some scholars disagree about the dark age of Bengali literature. According to them, literature was created through very little. So it is inappropriate to take the dark age.

First, we will highlight the views of some scholars who have acknowledged the Dark Ages. And then after making a few arguments against this dark age, we will discuss some of the literary patterns of that age.

Dr. According to Sukumar Sen,

“The Muslim campaign started a catastrophe in the affected part of the country.”

Gopal Haldar said about this,

“Anarchy paralyzed and exhausted the life and culture of Bengal because of injuries and conflicts. Probably no one was inspired to create anything.”

Dr. According to Muhammad Shahidullah,

“Until now, Bangladesh was not uninterrupted in the war. That is why the literary practice was nominal. In fact, we have not gained Bengali literature since the Muslim period. We can call this period from 1201 to 1352 as the dark or epoch of Bengali literature.”

According to Bhudev Chowdhury,

“On the soil of Bengal, greed for power, war, death at the hands of assassins, infernal ism seemed to have no limits. The possibility of oppression, plunder, economic uncertainty, and apostasy became fierce in the lives of the masses. Naturally, no creative action was possible.

The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature
The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature

The opposite argument 

1) In fact, the Muslim rulers did not disrupt the practice of medieval Bengali literature but gave patronage. Otherwise, the collection of poems titled ‘Saduktavarshamrita’ edited by Sridhar Das in 1206 AD, 2/3 years after the Muslim conquest, could not have come out. Because this collection contains 1260 poems of 465 poets. It is not possible for a poet to do such a thing without a haven. (The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature)

2) Because of the encouragement of the Muslims, Bengali literature gained its proper status. Because the ban imposed by the Brahmanist on the propagation of the Bengali language made the future of Bengali literature impossible. Considering the importance of the Muslim rulers rescued Bengali literature from misfortune. Dinesh Chandra Sen commented, (The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature),

“We believe that the conquest of Bengal by the Muslims has become the good fortune of the Bengali language.”

3) The Turkish rulers were zealous to expand the kingdom, not for lust or propaganda. Because most of the people in the state belonged to the Hindu community. Therefore, it was impossible to run the state by making most Hindus enemies. At least for the sake of the stability of the state, no Muslim ruler would dare to persecute Hindus indiscriminately. Even many Hindus held higher positions in the state administration. From this, we can say that the Muslim rulers of that time did not force religion on anyone. (The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature)

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4) The then Muslim rulers had their own language, Arabic and Persian and the cultural practice was quite high. The proof is that in 1210 a Brahmin named Bhoja gave a Sanskrit book called ‘Amritkund’ to a Muslim ruler and a royal official named Kazi Rukunuddin translated the book into Arabic and Persian. This means that both Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian literature were complementary. (The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature)

5) there were about 20 Sanskrit writers whose works were published. I mention some books along with their names and dates of composition-

A) Sadukti Karnamrita (composition), Sridhar Das, 1208 AD;
B) Hawkul Hayat (composition), Kazi Rukunuddin Samar Kandi, 1210-13 ;
C) Champakavya (book), Narayai, 1383.

This time let’s talk about some literature written in that dark age.

Sek Shubhodaya

A kind of champukavya written in Sanskrit prose verse written by Halayudha Mishra, the court poet of Sec Shuvodaya Raja Lakshman Sen. The book was written in the thirteenth century AD. In this book, the greatness of the saints has been described through various incidents. Not only that, it has a love song of Bengali songs, Charya and Bhatiali songs. Some of its lines were-

“The worst of hang young husband.
Ganga sinayibaka jaie days.
Random haila absurd and impractical to engage in
air Nov. bhangae small trees.”

The music reflects the ancient mentality and social image, which is considered to be one of the hallmarks of early medieval Bengali literature. With the help of these patterns, some have freed Bengali literature from the stigma of infertility of that dark age. (The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature)


‘Shunyapurana’ written by Ramai Pandit, was a scripture of worship. The influence of the ancient Bengali language exists in the Shunyapurana established by the combination of Buddhist nihilism and Hindu folk religion. Niranjan’s poem Reshma is considered being one poem written after the Turkish conquest, in the late thirteenth century. (The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature)

Dak and Khanar Bachan

‘Dak’ means ‘conventional sentence’, and khana means an individual. Khana was a brilliant woman who is considered to be a Bengali poet. The life span of the Bengali poet Khan was between 800 and 1200 AD. Originally, the valuable words uttered by Khana are known as Khanar Bachan. (The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature)

1) Don’t cut banana leaves,
that’s why the cloth is rice.

2) Kartik’s debt is in the water

3) Jaisthye dry asardhe dhara
    grain is not loaded.

Although the word Dak and Khanar is not a written specimen of Bengali literature, it originated in ancient times and was widely used from the beginning of the Middle Ages. In it, the daily beliefs, behaviors, and fragmentary life stories of the people have found a place. I have composed here especially the most important formulas of agriculture and daily life in rhythm. Therefore, the practical value of Dak and Khanar Bachan in social life is immense. (The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature)


In Bengali literature, we should not consider the period from 1201 to 1350 AD as the ‘Dark Ages’ but we should consider the entire period from 1201 to 1600 AD as the Middle Ages. Because, although very little literature was written in the early Middle Ages. Although the word ‘little’ is questionable here, we have to keep in mind that it is the eternal way of life of the people of this country, the weather here, epidemics, natural disasters, or accidents. In this context, we said. I can remember Enamul Haque’s comment, (The Dark Ages of Bengali Literature)

“People did not express any of their songs or ballads of their own happiness and sorrow.

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