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Kissa


Kissa (Arabic for story) a branch of bangla literature (18th and 19th centuries), mixed with Arabic-Persian vocabulary and drawing themes and characters from tales of Arab and Persian origins. Kissa literature was mainly written by Muslim writers. The themes of kissas were commonly love, war, valour and religion. The kissas were narrated in both prose and poetry.

This genre began to flourish in Bengal in the late eighteenth century and resulted in a booming publication industry in the nineteenth century. Due to socio-cultural changes it began to lose its readership from the late nineteenth century and came to a virtual close in the early twentieth.

Kissa literature was the mainstay of the bat-tala publications. Among the Bat-tala kissa books which became the household possessions of Bengali Muslim families are Madhumalati, yusuf-zulekha, Shirin-Farhad, laily-majnu, gule bakawali, Tutinama, Sakhi Sona, Hatemtai, Gule Tarmuz, amir hamza, Jabgnama and Alef Laila Wa Laila. Since there was no concept of copyright at the time, every publisher tried to publish a modified version of a successful book. For example, scholars have identified eleven versions of Gule Bakawali and ten versions of Yusuf-Zulekha. The major writers of kissa literature are syed hamza, Garibullah, Roushan Ali, Naser Ali and others. mir mosharraf hossain, though a modern writer, wrote bisad-sindhu on the model of kissa literature. [Sirajul Islam]

See also dobhasi puthi.