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Kashiram Das


Kashiram Das medieval poet of the Bangla mahabharata, was born in the village of Singi in Burdwan district, west bengal, son of Ramakanta Das. Kashiram established and taught at a pathshala (primary school) in Midnapore. The Mahabharata was written under the direction of his teacher, Abhiram Mukhuti of Haraharpur.

Kashiram's voluminous Mahabharata, commonly referred to as Kashiram's Mahabharata, is still in circulation. However, Kashiram himself completed only four books: Adi, Shabha, Vana and Virata. The remaining fourteen books were completed by his son, nephew and other relations. Part of the epic was published from the serampore mission press in the early 19th century. In 1936, the complete text, edited by jaygopal tarkalankar, was finally printed from the same press. The epic has been subsequently edited by others.

The main source of Kashiram's Mahabharata is the sanskrit Mahabharata of Vedavyas. However, Kashiram's version is far from a strict translation of the Sanskrit epic. Like the ramayana of Krttivas, the Mahabharata of Kashiram is held in great esteem by Bengalis, and is read in every Bengali Hindu home.

Apart from the Mahabharata, Kashiram is also believed to have written a number of other books, among them are Bharatpanchali, Satyanarayaner Punthi, Svapnaparva, Jalaparva and Nalopakhyan. His elder brother, Krishnadash and his younger brother, Gadadhar, were also poets and wrote Shrikrsnavilas and Jagannathmabgal respectively. The death anniversary of Kashiram Das is still observed every year in the village of Singi. [Wakil Ahmed]