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Amir Hamza

Amir Hamza a popular medieval narrative in poetic form describing the victories of the legendary warrior hero Amir Hamza. Abdul Nabi of chittagong was the first to compose Amir Hamza (1684) in Bangla based on the Persian text, Dastan-i-Amir Hamza. He was followed by Fakir Garibullah and syed hamza who jointly composed a poem on the same subject. The first part of their monumental work consisting of 70 episodes was composed by Garibullah towards the middle of the 18th century. The remaining part was completed by his disciple Syed Hamza in 1794. This version, written in Dobasi Bangla cheaply printed, became more popular than Abdul Nabi's poem, which was in manuscript.

Amir Hamza, the central character of the poem, was the uncle of Prophet muhammad (Sm). The poem describes how Amir Hamza fought and defeated different kings. The defeated kings saved their lives and regained their kingdoms by embracing Islam. Apart from narrating wars and describing acts of heroism, the poem contains a number of love stories, the most spectacular of them being the love affair of Amir Hamza and Mehernigar. Amir Hamza is struck by the extraordinary beauty of Mehernigar and, while reaching her through a tunnel, is caught and has to undergo a great deal of suffering. Finally, however, the two marry. Amir Hamza assumes the proportion of an epic with its long-winding tales of human and superhuman achievements, its mixture of historical facts and imaginary tales, and its cast of essential and superfluous characters. Many similar poems, such as jaiguner puthi, Sonabhan and Hatem Tai, were composed during the 18th and 19th centuries. These tales of Muslim heroes and warrior women were popular with Muslims as they reminded them of their glorious past and helped them to dream of a better future. [Wakil Ahmed]