Meghnad Badh Kavya

Meghnad Badh Kavya (Bengali: মেঘনাদবধ কাব্য; English: The Slaying of Meghnada) is a Bengali epic poem by Michael Madhusudan Dutta. Regarded as a central work in Bengali literature and Dutta's greatest literary work as well as the finest epic in Bengali literature and also as one of the greatest works of world literature. [1] Meghnad Badh Kavya is based on the demise of Meghnad (a.k.a. Indrajit), son of Ravana, the king of Lanka in the classic Sanskrit epic Ramayana.[2]

The Slaying of Meghanada
AuthorMichael Madhusudan Dutt
Original titleমেঘনাদবধ কাব্য
TranslatorClinton B. Seely
CountryBritish India
LanguageBengali
GenreEpic poem
Publication date
1861
Original text
মেঘনাদবধ কাব্য at Bengali Wikisource

The poem is divided into 9 cantos.[3] Each part exhibits different incidents. Starting from the death of Beerbahu, son of Ravana, it is continued till the sati-daha (the ancient Indian custom of burning the widows alive with the dead husband) of Prameela, Meghnad's beloved wife.

The poem starts with the lines:

সম্মুখ সমরে পড়ি, বীর-চূড়ামণি
বীরবাহু, চলি যবে গেলা যমপুরে
অকালে...

The great hero, being defeated in a face-to-face battle,
Beerbahu, leaves to the dead man's world,
long before he should have ...

Critical reviewEdit

Meghnad was the son of Ravana. who used Brahmastra to kill 670 Million Vanaras in Ramayana. He was slayed by Lakshmana , while he was worshiping Goddess Nikumvilā, in the royal temple of Lanka, because of betrayal by Vibhishana, who was an uncle of Meghnad. Meghnad asked Lakshmana not to fight with an unarmed person, rebuking him as a coward; but Lakshmana did not hear him. He could not survive himself in this battle. This is the central theme of this epic.

Here are some comments of a few pioneers of Bengali literature:

  1. "...to Homer and Milton, as well as to Valmiki, he is largely indebted, and his poem is on the whole the most valuable work in modern Bengali literature." -Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay[4]
  2. "The Epic Meghnad-Badh is really a rare treasure in Bengali literature. Through his writings, the richness of Bengali literature has been proclaimed to the wide world." -Rabindranath Tagore[4]
  3. "MeghnadBadh is a supreme poem." -Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar[4]

Quotations from the poetEdit

Dutta had mentioned this ballad many times in his letters, of which a few are listed:

  1. "Perhaps the episode of Sita's abduction (Fourth Book) should not have been admitted since it is scarcely connected with the progress of the Fable. But would you willingly part with it? Many here look upon that Book as the best among the five ..." (1860)[3]
  2. " ... I got a severe attack of fever and was laid up for six or seven days. It was a struggle whether Meghanad will finish me or I finish him. Thank Heaven. I have triumphed. He is dead, that is to say, I have finished the VI Books in about 750 lines. It cost me many a tear to kill him." (1860)[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Azad, Humayun (2007). "Bangla Literature in the Nineteenth Century". In Islam, Sirajul (ed.). History of Bangladesh 1704-1971. 3: Social and Cultural History. Dhaka: The Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. p. 239. ISBN 984 512 337 6.
  2. ^ "The Slaying of Meghanada". home.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  3. ^ a b c Read the whole ballad in Bangla
  4. ^ a b c Read more about the poet Archived 2011-12-04 at the Wayback Machine