Chautisha a medieval poetic genre in which each letter of the Bangla alphabet was used to compose a line of a poem. Since all 34 letters were used in this genre, these poems were known as chautixa (from chautrish, thirty-four). At times more than one line was composed using the same letter.
Chautisha was also written in ancient sanskrit literature, mainly to compose eulogies for the deities, as, for example, in Vrihaddharmapurana. Similar chautisha are also found in mangalkavya. In this style the first word of every line begins with a letter arranged in alphabetical order. mukundaram uses a 67-couplet chautisha for Sripati Saodagar in Kavikankan Chandi. Sripati Saodagar's panegyric to the goddess Kali begins with the letter 'K' and ends with 'Þ', the compound letter of the Bangla alphabet. bharatchandra's chautisha in Annadamangal, in which Sundar eulogises Kali at the burning ghat and escapes death, consists of 50 couplets, beginning with 'A' and ending with 'Þ'.
Several medieval Muslim poets also composed chautisha, but drew their themes from arabic and persian sources. sheikh faizullah's Zainaber Chautisa (15th century) is an elegy on the tragedy of Karbala, containing the lament of Bibi Zainab on the death of Imam Hussain. In bahram khan's Lailir Chautisa (16th century), Laily laments for her beloved Majnu. Syed Sultan composed Jnanachautisha (16th century) on the themes of sufism and yoga. There are 34 quatrains in the poem, totalling 136 lines. The 16th-century poet Muhammad Fasih, who wrote dobhasi puthis, composed a verse prayer in 30 quatrains using the letters of the Arabic alphabet, making a total of 120 lines. [Wakil Ahmed]