(Last Updated on : 20/08/2013)
Kashiram Das was a renowned poet whose contribution ushered an important dimension to the medieval Bengali literature. The Hindu
epic of Mahabharata
was rendered in the Bengali language
by Kashiram Das, which was termed as 'Kashidasi Mahabharat'. However, some historians are of the view that this poet had composed only the first four of the eighteen 'parvas' or books of Mahabharata, rather than the entire edition. Kashiram Das is also credited with modifying the Ramayana
which was originally scripted by Krittibas Ojha
. He has edited a few elements and added new elements to this epic legend. His title 'Das' is actually not a surname, but it implies 'servant' as per Vaishnava
custom and his name is written as 'Kashiramdas'.
Early Life of Kashiram Das
Born to a family of Vaishnava Kayasth
district, West Bengal
, Kashiram Das was the second son of Kamalakanta Das. The place of his birth is Singi village which is near Katwa in Bardhaman. The two brothers of Kashiram Das were reputed poets who created poems according to the 'Vaishnava Padavali
' tradition. Kashiram's poems utilized the 'payar chhanda' or the 'payar metre'.
Works of Kashiram Das
Kashiram Das was a learned Vaishnava and Sanskrit
scholar who was patronized by a family of Zamindars in the district of Midnapore. The poet conducted a small school known as 'pathshaala' at this place. Besides Kashidasi Mahabharat, Kashiram Das has created numerous other works which include 'Satyanarayaner Punthi' (book of Satyanarayan), 'Nalopakhyan' (story of Nala
), 'Swapna-Parba' (dream reverie) and others which are missing today.
Kashiram Das was motivated to start writing the Bengali version of the epic tale of Mahabharata following a recitation of the Sanskrit text of this epic in the house of his patron. Historical records state that his tutor Abhiram Mukhuti who resided Haraharpur had guided Kashiram Das in his endeavour of re-telling the Mahabharata in the Bengali language. The poet had composed 'Adi', 'Sabha', 'Vana' and 'Virata' parvas during the 16th century. Many of his other works are said to have been completed by his nephew, relatives and his son-in-law. Kashiram Das had termed his text as 'Bharata Panchali
'. Bharata means 'Bharata dynasty' and 'panchali' is the song tradition of Bengal. The tale of Mohini
, who was the female avatar of Lord Vishnu
according to Hindu mythology
, has been described by Kashiram Das in a book.
Kashiram Das has made significant contribution to Bengali literature by translating the Mahabharata in the Bengali language.