Krittivas Ojha

Krittivas Ojha (c 1381-1461) medieval translator and poet, first to translate the Sanskrit ramayana, variously considered as being born in the village of Phulia near Premtali in the district of rajshahi or in the district of Nadia. His father, Banamali Ojha, and paternal grandfather, Murari Ojha, were both well-versed in the scriptures.

After completing his early education, Krttivas travelled to north Bengal at the age 12 to study under the religious scholars of varendra. He then proceeded to the court of the king of gauda, hoping to become a royal pundit. There he recited various verses to the king. According to some scholars, the king of Gauda was raja ganesha (1415-18), according to others, he was sultan Jalaluddin Mahmud Shah (1418-31). All agree, however, that the king of Gaud was very pleased to hear the verses and honoured the poet with different kinds of gifts. He then requested the poet to compose the Ramayana. Accordingly, Krttivas wrote the first Bangla Ramayana based on the Sanskrit ramayana of Valmiki, in payar metre, a metrical system in which each line consists of fourteen letters or syllables.

Krttivas's Ramayana was first printed in five volumes from the serampore mission press in 1802-3. Subsequently, under the editorship of jaygopal tarkalankar, a second edition was published in two volumes in 1830-34. Of all the editions of the Ramayana published so far, the first Serampore edition is considered to be the best.

Many other writers composed the Ramayana in Bangla, but failed to reach Krttivas's fame and popularity. The religious, social and cultural traditions of the Hindu community are specially based on the story of ramachandra. Bengali Hindus are therefore indebted to Krttivas for making this knowledge available to them through his Bangla translation of the Ramayana. [Wakil Ahmed]