Gazi Kalu-Champavati

Gazi Kalu-Champavati a sample pir sahitya or pir literature, written in the style of panchali, narrating the adventures of Gazi Pir in the tiger-infested forests of south Bengal and the story of his marriage to Champavati.

The first reference to Gazi Pir as a rival of Daksin Ray, the god of tigers, appears in Krishnaram Das' poetic narrative, raymangal (1684), which describes their rivalry and subsequent friendship. At one time both used to be worshipped.

Sheikh Khoda Baksh composed Gazi Kalu-Champavati, based on the story of Raymabgal, in 1798-99. The poem narrates Gazi Kalu's feats in his journey across the country in the guise of a fakir, his battle with a certain Hindu king, the king's defeat and his conversion to islam. After Gazi Kalu mitigates the sufferings of the king's subjects, he marches on Brahmannagar. In the ensuing battle, the king of Brahmannagar is defeated and accepts Islam. Gazi Kalu marries the king's daughter, Champavati, and returns home. The poem also contains other related stories. In addition to human beings, the characters include gods, demons, supernatural spirits, fairies, ghosts, evil spirits, and animals. The action takes place on earth as well as in heaven and hell. Gazi Kalu is depicted as victorious because he has been blessed not only by Khwaja Khizir and the goddess Ganga, but also by Allah. The poem cites the popular belief that offerings to Gazi Pir would ensure safety from tigers.

Gazi Kalu-Champavati greatly influenced later poets such as Syed Halu Mir, Abdur Rahim, and Abdul Gafur who composed similar poems of spiritual powers possessed by pirs and fakirs. Sheikh Khoda Baksh's poem, Champavati Kainyar Palagan or Gazi Saheber Git, was popular in the country during the 19th century when it revived Muslim sentiments of pride in the past glory of Islam. [Wakil Ahmed]