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Yusuf-Zulekha


Yusuf-Zulekha' a romantic story in verse written in the bangla language. shah muhammad sagir, a court-poet of Sultan Giyasuddin Azam Shah of Gaura (1389-1410), wrote the book in the 15th century at the Suntan's request. The book upholds the teachings of religion and ethics through love stories culled from the Holy Quran, where moral teachings and the greatness of the Almighty are expressed through the love story of Yusuf and Zulekha. Alongside, the religious teachings, human sentiments as well as the greatness of islam has been depicted in the work. The book ends with the supernatural story of the love between Ibn Amin, Yusuf's brother, and Bidhuprabha. The last part of the book represents the writer's contribution to the original story.

Written in payar, or a metrical measure with lines of fourteen syllables, and tripadi, another Bangla meter with three feet, the book is split into chapters narrating some trivial events. The mention of raga and tal, or tune and measures, at the beginning of each chapter indicates that the pieces were originally meant for singing. The diction and the style of the work bear the signs of urbanity.

In addition to shah muhammad sagir, medieval poets like abdul hakim, shah garibullah, Gholam Safatullah, Sadeq Ali and Fakir Mohammad wrote stories based on the Yusuf-Zulekha motif. The first two of these poets wrote in Bangla while others used a mixture of two languages reminiscent of Dobhasi literature. Ferdousi (11th century) and Jami (15th century), two great figures of persian literature, also wrote verses on the love story of Yusuf and Zulekha to uphold Sufistic mysticism. Some poets of Bengal have also followed in their tradition. [Wakil Ahmed]