Bengali Epic Poet Michale Madhusudan Dutta

Bengali Epic Poet Michale Madhusudan Dutta is the king of Blank Verse or Amritakshar Chhanda who wrote several Poems and Meghnad Vadh Kavya was the most famous till date.

Michale Madhusudan Dutta was born in a Kayastha family on 25th January in 1824. His native village was Sagardari in Jessore district now in Bangladesh. His father was Rajnarayan Dutta an advocate in Kolkata and mother was Jahnavi Devi. First he joined Sagardari Primary School and when he was seven years old joined Khidirpore School in Kolkata. He then got admission to famous Hindu College in 1843. Main subjects he studied were Bengali, Persian and Sanskrit.


He was an exceptionally meritorious student in the college and wrote several Poems and essays. He won gold medal for an essay written on women's education and also recited self composed Poem in the college. He got from the college many scholarships. His Poems are begun to publish in Bengal Spectator, Jnananvesan, and Calcutta Library Gazette. The inspiration of writing Poem came to him from Famous Poet Lord Byron. He was so inspired by Romantic Poet Lord Byron and he was in so love with the English language his early works were entirely on English Language. He wrote plays like Ratnavali, Sarmistha, Poem Captive Lady and translation of Neel Darpan which brought Michael Madhusudan Dutta in limelight.

In 1843 Michale's father arranged a marriage for him and to escape the marriage Michael ran away from his family and converted himself to Christianity and got the name Michael. This conversion brought several problems in Michael's life. He was sacked fro Hindu College as no Christians were allowed to study at Hindu College and his father also separated him from his family and stopped sending money. Then he joined Bishop College and studied there till 1847. There he also learned Latin and Greek language.

Now in 1848 Michael headed for Madras as a teacher at Madras Male Orphan Asylum School. There he taught for 5 years and then he joined as a teacher at Madras University High School in 1852 untills 1856. There he also worked as an editor of The Madras Spectator from 1848 to 1856. Besides this he also edited the Eastern Guardian newspaper.

In Madras he married to Rebecca Mactavys. They had four children. During this time his mother died and followed by his father. After the death of his parents he abandoned his first family and Rebecca and returned back to Kolkata in 1856.

Michael stayed there in Kolkata with a French woman Henritta. But there is no proof till date that Michael married he but lived together. The reason of not marriage with Henritta may be because Michael did not get official divorce from Rebecca. In Kolkata he started to work as a clerk and interpreter at the Police Court. In 1858 he wrote famous Play Sharmistha an epic based on Mahabharata thus Michael became the first playwright in Bengali. This time he was also associated with theatre in Belgachiya of Paikpara's Rajas.

The first blank verse in Bengali literature came through Michael in his famous work Padmavati based on Greek myth. This brought immense fame to Michael Madhusudan Dutta. Success of using Blank Verse inspired to write more on this and then he wrote Tilottama Sambhava based on epic story of Sunda and Upasunda. Then in 1861 Michale wrote the all time favorite in Bengali literature and the greatest classic "Meghnad Badh Kavya" later followed by "Virangana". These works were purely on Blank Verse and became the trademark of his writing and silenced his critics.

The Meghnad Badh kavya was written purely on Blank Verse and inspired by Milton's Lost Paradise. There he projected Ravana as Hero and transferred him from Villain to the Hero. This tragic epic is one of the unique Bengali Poetry which was written in nine Cantos. The Virangana which was based on Ovid's epistles and rated as one of the best work of Madhusudan Dutta where Blank Verses were used in it's finest style and with perfection.

In 1863 Michael headed for overseas and went to Versailles France. There he lived his life in sheer poverty and the friends who once inspired him to go abroad for recognition started to avoid him. He was in heavy debt there and sought help from great scholar Vidyasagar and Vidyasagar helped him too with lot of money. With no chance of seeing to clear doubts he then went to England in 1865 where he became Barrister.

He then returned to Kolkata and here also he started to work as a law practitioner. This practice of Michael did not work and he joined as a translator at the High Court, salary was given to him Rs. 1000/-.
Michael was so addicted to free spending of money he continued to run on debts. Despite all this Michael kept writing and the last work composed by him was Mayakanan in 1873.

Both Henritta and Michael were addicted to alcohol and became ill. Michael died on 29th June 1873 at Kolkata General Hospital just after three days of the death of Henritta his partner. Michael was admitted to hospital in very serious condition and succumbed to death.

Famous Works of Michael:

Meghnad Vadh Kavya
Rizia Sultana
The Captive lady
Visions of The Past

Meghnad Vadh Kavya

Rabindranath Tagore later declared:

"It was a momentous day for Bengali literature to proclaim the message of the universal muse and not exclusively its own parochial note. The genius of Bengal secured a place in the wide world over passing the length and breadth of Bengal. And Bengali poetry reached the highest status.

This is the short life history of Bengali Amitrakshar Chhanda Musician.

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