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Ramnarayan Tarkaratna


Ramnarayan Tarkaratna (1822-1886) playwright, was born on 26 December 1822 at village Harinabhi in 24- Pargana district, west bengal. After his primary education in the village chatuspathi or Sanskrit school, he studied grammar, poetics, law and logic for 10 years (1843-53) at sanskrit college in Kolkata. After serving for two years as the chief pundit of Hindu Metropolitan College, he joined Sanskrit College where he taught for 27 years. After retirement in 1882, he opened a chatuspathi in his village and taught there until his death. His elder brother, Prankrishna Vidyasagar, was also a teacher at Sanskrit College.

Ramnarayan was known essentially for his original plays in Bangla. He was nicknamed 'Natuke Ramnarayan' (Ramnarayan, the playwright) for writing the first well-structured plays. Kulin Kulsarbasva (1854) was his first and best play, which highlighted the ill effects of polygamy in Hindu society. His other works include Ratnavali (1858), Naba Natak (1866), Venisanghar (1856), Malatimadhab (1867), Rukmini Haran (1871), Kangsabadh (1875). Pativratopakhyan (1853) is a collection of his essays. He also wrote some farces such as Yeman Karma Teman Phal (1863), Ubhay Sabgkat (1869) and Chaksudan (1869?) etc. Most of his plays and farces were staged many times at the Rangamancha in Belgachhia, the personal stages of the Calcutta aristocrats and the playhouse of the Tagores at Jorasanko. He received the Kavyopadhyaya title from the Bengal Philharmonic Akademi. He died at his village home on 19 January1886. [Wakil Ahmed]