Shah Garibullah

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Shah Garibullah (c 1670-1770) writer of dobhasi (literature in mixed languages) puthi, was born at Hafizpur in Howrah, west bengal. Five books attributed to him have so far been discovered: Yusuf Zolaikha, Sonabhan, janganama (Accounts of war), Satyapirer Katha (The stories of Satyapir) and amir hamza (Part I). But the publishers of bat-tala (the Sutanati area in Kolkata where Bangla printing presses were established in the 19th century) have printed these volumes and have attributed to other people. Yusuf Zolaikha has, for example, been attributed to Munshi Fakir Mohammad, but phrases like adhin fakir (humble Fakir) or gharib fakir (poor Fakir) in the introductions point to Fakir Garibullah as writer.

Yusuf Zolaikha, Jabganama and Amir Hamza draw heavily from arabic and persian literature while Sonabhan and Satyapirer Katha have their origins in Bangla literature. Many volumes of poems were written on these subjects. Gharibhullah was the first to create a mixed literary form of Bangla, borrowing Perso-Arabic, Urdu and Hindi elements, for the ordinary people of Kolkata, Howrah, Hughli, Bhursut and Mandaran. Poetical works written in this multi-lingual fashion are known as Dobhasi Puthi, and the practice was continued by many poets till late nineteenth century. But Garibullah's first volume is written in pure Bangla. Although he upheld the supremacy of Islam, he has declared to have respects for all other religions. [Muhammad Abdul Jalil]