Monday marks the 46th death anniversary of eminent Bangladeshi poet Jasimuddin, widely revered as the “Polli Kobi” (the Sylvan poet).
The legendary poet, lyricist and writer, best known for his pastoral-themed contemporary ballad and poetries, passed away on this day in 1976 at the age of 73 in Dhaka.
Born to Ansaruddin Mollah and Amina Khatun on January 1, 1903, in his maternal uncle’s home at Tambulkhana in Faridpur, Jasimuddin completed his matriculated from Faridpur Zilla School in 1921 and IA from Rajendra College in 1924.
He then earned his BA and MA in Bangla from the University of Calcutta in 1929 and 1931 respectively and joined Dhaka University as a lecturer in 1938.
Before joining academia, he worked with eminent Bengali writer, educationist and researcher of Bengali folklore Dinesh Chandra Sen from 1931 to 1937 as a collector of traditional literature.
After leaving DU in 1944, Jasimuddin worked at the Department of Information and Broadcasting, until his retirement in 1962 as the deputy director.
Polli Kobi Jasimuddin’s journey into the realm of poetry began at a very early age. He wrote the poem ‘Kobor’ (The Grave), which became widely popular for its simple yet majestic rural storytelling style, while he was studying at Calcutta University. The poem was later included in the Bengali textbook of entrance level while he was still a student at Calcutta University.
As an ardent admirer of Bengali rural literature and folklore, Jasimuddin is considered the key figure for the revivals of pastoral literature in Bengal during the 20th century. He is one of the Purbo-Bongo Gitika's compilers (Ballads of East Bengal) and compiled a collection of over 10,000 folk songs, some of which were included in his song collections Jari Gaan and Murshida Gaan.
Two of his legendary works, ‘Nakshi Kanthar Math’ (Field of the Embroidered Quilt) and ‘Sojan Badiar Ghat’ (Gypsy Wharf) are considered two masterpieces in Bengali literature and has been globally translated. Being a versatile writer, Jasimuddin is also respectfully remembered for his numerous other creative works including poems, ballads, songs, dramas, novels, stories, memoirs, travelogues and more.
As an esteemed lyricist, Jasimuddin penned many popular Bengali songs including “Amar sonar moyna pakhi,” “Prano shokhi re,” “Amay eto raate,” “Nishithe jaiyo fulobone,” “Amar haar kala korlam re,” “Amay bhaisaili re,” and others.
Also widely revered for his support of socialism and the Bengali language movement, Jasimuddin is considered one of the pioneers of the progressive and non-communal cultural movement during the 1950s and 1960s in then-East Pakistan.
For his remarkable literary works, Jasimuddin was awarded the President's Award for Pride of Performance in 1958, DLitt. by Rabindra Bharati University, India in 1969, Ekushey Padak in 1976 and Independence Day Award (posthumously) in 1978.
In January 2018, Bangla Academy announced Jasimuddin Literary Award, a biennial award to be given for lifetime contribution to Bangla literature.
The Polli Kobi was buried at his ancestral home Gobindapur, Faridpur after his death in 1976.