Hossain, Mir Mosharraf

Mir Mosharraf Hossain

Hossain, Mir Mosharraf (1847-1912) novelist, playwright and essayist, was born at Lahiripara in the district of kushtia on 13 November 1847, son of Mir Moazzem Hossain, a zamindar. Mosharraf Hossain learned Arabic and Persian with a teacher at home and then Bangla at a pathshala. He began his formal education at Kushtia School and then studied up to Class V at Krishnanagar Collegiate School. He was admitted to Kalighat School in Kolkata but could not complete his studies. Mosharraf Hossain began his career looking after his father's landed property. Later he served the Faridpur Nawab Estate and, in 1885, the Delduar Estate. He lived in Kolkata from 1903 to 1909.

While still a student, Mosharraf Hossain worked as a mofussil reporter for the sangbad prabhakar (1831) and grambarta prakashika (1863). His literary career also started here. kangal harinath, editor of Grambarta Prakaxika, was his literary guru. Mosharraf Hossain later worked as editor of the Azizannehar (1874) and Hitakari (1890). He was also associated with the vangiya sahitya prishad.

Mosharraf Hossain was a pioneer among nineteenth-century Bengali Muslim writers. His first novel, Ratnavati, was published in 1869. Apart from novels, Mosharraf Hossain wrote poetry, plays, textbooks and an autobiography. Among his works are Gauri-Setu (1873), Basantakumari Natak (1873), Zamindar Durpun (1873), Er Upay Ki (1875), bisad sindhu (1885-1891), Sabgit Lahari (1887) Go-Jiban (1889), Behula Gitabhinay (1889), Udasin Pathiker Maner Katha (1890), Tahmina (1897), Tala Abhinay (1897), Niyati Ki Abanati (1889), gazi miyar bastani (1899), Maulood Sharif (1903), Mussalmander Babgala Shiksa (2 parts, 1903, 1908), Bibi Khodejar Bibaha (1905), Hazrat Omarer Dharmajiban Labh (1905), Madinar Gaurab (1906), Bajimat (1908), Amar Jibani (1908-1910), Amar Jibanir Jibani Bibi Kulsum (1910) etc.

Bisad Sindhu, which narrates the tragic tale of the battle of Karbala, is considered to be his masterpiece. Zamindar Durpun was written against the background of the peasant riots in sirajganj during 1872-73. In much of his writing, Mosharraf Hossain satirised the follies and vices of contemporary society. In Gazi Miyar Bastani, for example, he criticised the chaos and corruption of nineteenth-century Bengal in general and the increasing freedom of women in particular, which he believed led to loose living.

Mosharraf Hossain was outspoken and free from communal prejudices. He did not hesitate to take up positions that would make him unpopular among his own community. He believed that the indiscriminate slaughtering of cows would endanger agriculture and accordingly, wrote the essay 'Gokul Nirmul Ashabka', against this practice. He died in 1912 and was buried at Padamdi. [Bimal Guha]