Mukunda Das – the Bengali Minstrel

Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Miscellaneous Translations | 0 comments

Mukunda Das (c. 1878-1934): the son of Gurudayal and Syamasundari, Yagneshwar Das was his real name. He is known as the composer of dramatic operas and patriotic songs, a panegyrist and a minstrel. His original home was in the village of Banari in the sub-district of Bikrampur under the Dhaka district of Bangladesh. His childhood was spent with his parents in Barisal. He studied at the Braja Mohan School of Barisal which was established by Ashwini Kumar Dutta but Mukunda Das did not pass the entrance (school-leaving) examination.

charan kabi mukunda dasAbout c. 1902-03, Yagneshwar was initiated into the Vaishnava cult by Ramananda Abadhut Haribolananda and came to be known as Mukunda Das. During the Swadeshi movement (1905), he became a disciple of the Tantric ascetic Sona Thakur at the Kalibari in Barisal. Mukunda Das was a devoted disciple of Ashwini Kumar Dutta, the educationist, philanthropist and reformer. Mukunda Das invited the wrath of the British rulers because he used to travel from village to village singing patriotic songs and staging a dramatic opera named Matri Puja (worship of mother), thus kindling nationalistic and patriotic fervour among the villagers. He was sent to the Delhi prison for three years and had to pay a fine of three hundred rupees.

Mukunda Das died in Calcutta on Friday, 18 May 1934. Path, Sathi, Palli Seva, Samaj, Bramhacharini, Karmakshetra are notable among his writings.

[Translated from the Bharat Kosh published by Bangiya Sahitya Parishad]

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