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Agamani-vijaya


Agamani-vijaya a kind of popular Bangla song based on the stories of shiva-Parvati (Uma) and associated with durga puja, held in autumn. The songs tell of Parvati, the daughter of the rich king of the Himalayas, who was married to Shiva, a poor man. After Parvati went to her husband's house, her mother, Menaka, worried about her daughter's plight in her poor husband's house. One autumn night, both mother and daughter dreamt of each other. Menaka asked her husband to bring Parvati home. At the urging of her parents, Parvati returned to her parental home for three days. The songs composed about her return to her parental home are known as Agamani songs, while the songs composed about her return to her husband's home are known as Vijaya songs. The two kinds of songs together are known as Agamani-vijaya songs. The first and best-known composer of these songs was ramprasad sen (c 1720-1781). Others who became famous for these songs were Kamalakanta Bhattacharya (c 1772-1821), Rambasu (1786-1828) and dasharathi roy (1806-1857).

The inspiration for Agamani-vijaya songs came from Vaishnava lyrics. Both kinds of songs have a basic note of ecstasy but Agamani-vijaya songs also have pathos. Vaishnava lyrics have a predominance of personal feeling, but Agamani-vijaya songs have a universal appeal. Rudra Chandi of mangalkavya appears in these songs as both daughter and mother. The songs combine the feelings of affection and sorrow as they portray the realities of Bengali Hindu life. They also reflect the close relationships between daughters and mothers that persist after marriage, as well as the conflicts that arise between men and their parents-in-law.

The Agamani-vijaya songs reflect the domestic theme of Shaktapadavali, but this trend of Bangla songs did not last long, for Chandi's image, as the mother of the whole world could not be contained in the narrow image of a daughter. When Bengali Hindu daughters were married early in life, mothers like Menaka used to worry about their daughters' welfare. They longed to bring their daughters home and the daughters, like Parvati, used to wait for the whole year to visit their parents. This opportunity came usually at Durga Puja. The mothers used to be happy to see their daughters but were again sad, like Menaka, when they left. Though this genre did not last very long because of social changes, Bengali Hindus even today treat their daughters and sons-in-law as if they are Parvati and Shiva. [Dulal Bhowmik]