Gazi Miyar Bastani

Gazi Miyar Bastani a novel by Mir Mosharraf Hossain, was partly published in 1899. The conclusion was inserted in the author';s autobiography, Amar Jiban, published subsequently. However, as the autobiography was only partially published, the conclusion was also not published in its entirety. The name of the author is not given. Instead, a pseudonym, Udasin Pathik-a name that Hossain used in other books-appears on the title page as copyright holder. Some critics believe that Gazi Miyar Bastani is an autobiographical novel as mir mosharraf hossain was also employed by a woman zamindar.

The loosely structured novel narrates the story of two widowed zamindars: Mani Bibi and Sona Bibi. There is another woman character named Payjarannesa. The names of places and characters in the novel are symbolic. Thus, the setting of Arajakpur-literally a place of chaos and misrule-stresses the misrule and corruption of nineteenth-century Bengal. In course of the story, Sona Bibi and Mani Bibi have a quarrel, instigated partly by a male zamindar, while Payjaranesa is visited at night by high officials.

The novel provides a critical portrait of Muslim Bengal in the nineteenth century, with the writer opposing the increasing freedom of women and criticising, in strong language, the type of life led by some Muslim women such as Payjarannesa. [Mohammad Abdul Awwal]