Antonio, Dom

Antonio, Dom Christian missionary and the first writer of Bangla prose. He was born c 1643 in a landed family of Bhushana in the Jessore-Faridpur areas. In 1663, he was kidnapped by Portuguese pirates and taken to Arakan to be sold as a slave. Rescued by a Portuguese priest, Manoel de Rozario, he embraced christianity and took the name Dom Antonio de Rozario.

In 1666 Dom Antonio returned to Bhushana and started preaching Christianity. He converted his wife and relations as well as his subjects to Christianity. He founded St Nicholas Tolentino Church and Mission in Kosh Bhanga village. The Church and Mission were transferred to Nagori village in the Bhawal district, probably after his death.

Dom Antonio's book, Brahman-Roman-Catholic Sambad, consisting of 120 pages, is the first extant example of Bangla prose and of what is known as sadhu Bangla, or formal Bangla prose. The book was published by the University of Calcutta in 1937. [Sushanta Sarker]