Jibanananda: Shomoyer Nishhongo Nabik

A healer’s Insight Into an Alienated Heart
This time literary buffs will see a healer mustering his nerves in order to discover, Jibanananda Das, one of the five jewels of the post-Rabindra literary movement of Bangla. Sinha Abul Monsur a doctor from the US has published his fourth research based work ‘Jibonanonda: Shomoeyer Nishhongo Nabik’ in February in the year.

It is a common known fact that Jibanananda ‘s poetry is endowed with an alienated heart frequently seeking sanctuary in the heart of woman. And while commenting on the book it will certainly not be bold to say that its author is one of the very few of the time capable of capturing feelings that have fallen a century behind. These unknown feelings felt by Victorian poets of England were also echoed in Kierkegard’s existentialism. But that these realizations have their shortcomings has been clearly pointed out by the author.

The prosaic framework of a documentary will deceive most readers as they will inevitably be ensnared into perusing it through till the end. The author’s understanding of Jibananda stands out as fruits of first hand observations. His dwelling on the thoughts of Jibananda posits him as one of the intimate compatriots of the great mystique. With that being said, the narrator vehemently draws the line of distinction between his obsession with Jibananda and his admiration for Jibananda. He pragmatically points out the in-appropriacy of Jibanananda ‘s philosophy for everyday life.

The writer is also judicious enough in justifying the need of using modern conversational speech pattern in his subject to grasp the attention of common readers.

The dominant and turning moments of Jibanananda ‘s life are described minutely with broad analytical elaborations and illuminating sequences from Jibanananda’s life. In perfect command over his discourse the author plays with readers’ imaginative prowess. As the discourse unfolds around such sequences many a time the reader almost unconsciously starts witnessing them as if he were there, when they took place.

The documentary is carefully clustered into 12 chapters, eleven of which are further dissected into sub-topics, with the last one being the index.

The author delves into Jibanananda ‘s want of feminine love. He likens Jibanananda ‘s dream-girl ‘Bonolota Sen’ with his childhood sweetheart Shobhona, his paternal cousin. There have been many speculations about Jibanananda ‘s heroines by many others. Salient to that is Jibanananda’s consistent desire for a lady’s love in a scattered world, where nothing else seemed to satisfy him. His infatuation with the female sex according to the author presents him as a champion of the fairer mind rather than the rational ones. This is clear in his novel ‘Mannobar’ supposedly Jibanananda ‘s autobiography, presenting a hero incapable of clashing with a disdainful wife.

A common ground is established between English romantic poet John Keats and Jibananda. Keats ventured against classicists like other romanticists. Jibanananda too ventured against norms established by Rabindranath. Both were bitterly criticized for their improvisations. Both of them fell as pathetic victims in their attempts to adapt with their changing atmospheres. On the other hand the spirit of Edgar Allen Poe and T.S. Elliott are echoed in the more charming romantic musings of Jibananda.

In the chapter concerning ‘Jhora Palak’ by referring to letters mailed between Rabindranath Tagore and Jibananda Das the author depicts the most ambiguous aspect of Jibananda. Jibananda asserted that reliance on verbosity and high diction does not necessarily exhaust the life span of poetry. His poetries in ‘Jhora Palak’ have been compared with Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy.’ He reportedly reversed conventional theory of eliciting felicity by breaking conventions. Such philosophy has been hinted proper for a world where nothing can be taken for granted and everything seems pointless. Rabindranath silence as a response, also suggests his consent. But the prose-writer again prudently refrains from clarifying Rabindranath’s silent response, which could have meant otherwise. In response to Jibanananda ‘s next poetry collection ‘Dhusor Pandulipi’ though Rabindra declared it as both genuine and ingenious he again maintained a peculiarly tacit welcome. Evidently Jibanananda ‘s realisation of a changing world was never before felt so poignantly by poet of Bengali literature. ‘Dhusor Pandulipi’ as depicted by the author, does not reflect Jibanananda’s disgust or frustration at the rising capitalism but rather his confusions regarding it. The word ‘Dhusor’ meaning grey was the colour Jibananda found whenever he looked around. He was not an antagonistic because he lacked courage as the communists liked to say but because he could gaze into underlining essences of things. His poetic mind with a sense of post modernism could trace gaps between positives if not overall negatives.

Jibanananda’s alienation as a result of modernism at its height also reflected glimpses of a more enigmatic world order. Post modernism had already started peeking at the West from the Appalachians before gripping it in a post WWII sweep. This very sweep felt at its infancy in the strains of Jibanananda has certainly blossomed through the ink of the author. A connection between the futile substantiality and the ever unknown has now worked its way up the veins of post-modernist men with mixed results. Standing from a pedestal above and beyond time the author sends out a message to all modern men. This message has reverberated through the pages of Jibanananda’s personal diary and through the voice of the great bard from Stratford that “Life’s ? a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, … Signifying nothing.”

Zaheer Ahmed

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