Folk Literature is created by preliterate communities and passed down orally from one generation to another generation. Although composed by individuals, folk literature, by the nature of its composition and preservation, becomes a collective product and assumes the traditions, emotions, thoughts and values of the community. Because folk literature is oral, it tends to rely on patterns of language and style. Nevertheless, it is replete with artistic beauty, wit and joy.
Because folk literature is oral, it tends to depend on some patterns of language and style. Bengali Folk Literature includes different types of poetry, drama, folktales, ballads and proverbs. The folklore of Bangladesh is heavily influenced by different races which were present years ago, Covering all branches of formalised folklore, such as tales, songs, ballads, proverbs, riddles, charms, superstitions, myths, etc. And each folk myth of Folk tales represents the different stories of that time.
There is 21 Geetika which is based on different folk myths of our country. Geetika a form of oral narrative poetry, which is like a western ballad, tells a single event or a dramatic story, through dialogue. However, Geetika tends to be longer than western ballads, Typed characters tend to predominate in Geetika where characters are generally not named, but referred to as prince, princess, fairy princess, demon, sorceress, merchant, gardener, ascetic, pir and fakir etc. They are all inhabitants of some kingdom on earth, but without any geographical specificity.
There are two types of Geetika: First one is Porbabanga-gatika, which is mainly from Mymensingh and include ‘Mahuya,’ ‘Malyuya,’ ‘Chandravat’, ‘Dewana Madina’, ‘Kanka O Lila’, ‘Kamala’, ‘Dewan Bvhavna’ etc. Second type of Geetika is Nath Geetika, which focuses on stories of the conversion of Prince Gopt Chandra and on the miracles of the Nath guru (Goraksavijay, Minchetan). Geetikas date back to the medieval period and is based on the norms, customs, conflicts, crises and religious and caste discriminations of feudal society. Apart from Nath Geetika, they are secular poems, inspired by human life on earth and not by thoughts of the after life.
|Mymensingh Geetika by Dinesh Chandra Sen|
Mymensingh Geetika is a collection of folk ballads from the region of Mymensingh and around of Bangladesh. Chandra Kumar Dey and Dinesh Chandra Sen were the collectors and editors of these folk ballads. The collection was published from Calcutta University, along with another similar publication named Purbabanga-Geetika.
Mohua is one of the famous ballads written by Dwija Kanai in seventeen century. The hero and heroine of this ballad are Mahua and Nader Chand. This is an eternal love story. Mahua, a Brahmin girl, is the main character of the story. The story starts with 6 month old Mahua getting stolen by Humra Bede (Leader of a gypsy group), who brought her up in the gypsy community. Mahua’s stunning beauty was the main reason for him to steal her. Their only job was to show performances. One day they reached Nader Chand’s village where the destiny made him meet Mahua and fall in love at first sight. As soon as Humra came to know about their love affair he left that place immediately with Mahua. She tried to flee away from him to go back to Nader Chand. But the destiny took her to death slowly. On the way she was ill- treated by a merchant and a saint who would convince her that they could help her to get to her lover. She fought with every situation and got to her lover. But at the end they got trapped by Humra and the story ends with Mahua’s tragic death. She had to kill herself to save her chastity and above all her love. In this story the country-poet has beautifully depicted a strong woman who represents Bangladeshi women’s beauty (both inner and outer), strength and love.
Chandrabati’s tragic life touched many Bengali’s heart. She was the first Bengali women poet of sixteenth century in a Hindu Brahman family. Chandrabati was very beautiful and fell in love with another Brahman boy Joaychandra. Soon they got married but their marital life didn’t last long as Joychandra left her for another women. Chandrabati was broken hearted and decided to choose a celibate life. Her father told her to engage herself in praying and made a temple next to his own temple for her. Chandrabati engaged herself in reciting and writing odes and in praying. By this time Joychandra realized his mistakes and wanted to win Chandrabatis heart again. When Joychandra came to chandrabati she was praying in her temple. Joychandra begged her to come back to him. As she was in deep prayer she didn’t open the door. Joaychandra wrote a love letter on the wall of the temple with red malati flowers (One kind of flower seen in Bangladesh) and committed suicide drowning on the river next to the temple. When Chandrabati finished her prayer and opened the door it was too late. Chandrabati couldn’t bear the separation of beloved ones. So, she also killed herself. Chandrabatis love and longing inspires Bengali women in their values of life.
Nath Geetika is another kind of oral poem of Bangladesh which focus on prince Gopi Chandra and Nath Guru. These poems are divided into two groups. One group focuses on the miracle of Nath Guru where as others on religious conversion of Prince Gopi Chandra (Manik Chandra Rajar Gan, Govinda Chandrer Git, Maynamatir Gan, Gopi Chandrer Sannyas, Gopi Chander Panchali etc.
The Folk Literature refers not to written, but to oral traditions. It may be in prose or verse, often mythological or historical, it can be narrative epic, occupational verse, ritual verse, praise poems to rulers and other prominent people. Whatever it may contain, it highlights the exemplary wisdom of illiterate people.
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