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Das, Govindachandra


Das, Govindachandra (1855-1918) satirist, translator was born on 16 January, 1855 at Jaydevpur in dhaka district. He lost his father, Ramnath Das, in childhood and consequently could not receive higher education. He had little English education but was adept in Sanskrit and Bangla. He studied initially at the Jaydevpur Minor School established by the Bhawal Raj and then up to class nine at the Dhaka Normal School. He joined Brahmangram Vabga Vidyalay as headmaster. Subsequently he served as private secretary to the Raja of Bhawal (1877), treasurer of the zamindar of Susang Durgapur (1880), sheristadar (record-keeper) of the zamindar of muktagachha (1880-82), pandit of Mymensingh Entrance School, principal of Mymensingh Literary Association (1882-84) and supervisor of the weekly Charubarta published by the zamindar of sherpur (1884-94). While at Kolkata (1887-88) he published Bibha, a monthly literary journal.

Govindachandra had a rebellious and independent spirit, which got him into trouble a number of times. During his service in the estate of Bhawal, he was dismissed for protesting against the oppressions of the Rajas and Dewan Kaliprosanna Ghosh's (1843-1910) illegal conduct. After his association with Deviprasanna Roy Chowdhury, editor of the Nabyabharat, he wrote the famous satirical poem Mager Mulluk (The Land of Fools, 1893).

Govindachandra wrote lyrics when poets such as michael madhusudan dutt, hemchandra banerjee and rangalal banerjee were writing epics. The major theme of Govindachandra's poems is sensuous love between men and women. The natural beauty of East Bengal is also depicted in his poetry as well as the extreme poverty from which he suffered. His patriotic poems inspired Bengalis during their struggle for freedom. Apart from the satire Mager Mulluk, he also wrote Prasun (1870), Prem O Phul (1888), Kumkum (1892), Kasturi (1895), Chandan (1896), Phulrenu (sonnet, 1896), Vaijayanti (1905), Shok O Santvana (1909), Shokochchhvas (1910), etc. He also did poetic translations of Allen Hume's poems and the bhagavadgita.

Govindachandra married twice. After the death of his first wife, Saradasundari, whom he had immortalised in his verses, he married Premasundari in 1893. Govindachandra died on 1 October 1918. [Nurul Amin]