Gitikas or Ballads
Gitikas or ballads are oral form of narrative poetry that narrate a single event or a dramatic story through dialogues. Gitikas have a great influence in our literature. There are two types of Gitikas in Bengali literasture-ojne is Purba bangla gitika or Maimansingha Gitika and the other is Nath Gitika
Maimansingha Gitika is one of the most famous and rich treasures of Bangladesh. This is a collection of folk ballads from Mymensingh region and around Bangladesh. Most of the ballads were taken from the various true stories that happened in parts of Mymensingh and were composed by the illiterate rural poets. Chandra Kumar De and Dinesh Chandra Sen collected most of those ballads and edited them. This collection was published from Calcutta University along with another publication named Purbabangla Gitika. The basic themes of most of these folk ballads are love and romance with social conflicts arising out of several aspects of love. In these ballads we can also find a clear picture of the 17th century society of purba/ west-Mymensingh. At that period there was a Matri-tantrik/ stree prodhan shomaj bebostha (Women regulated social system)). That’s why at every ballad we see women as the center character. The love and climax of rural lives were pretty skillfully depicted in these ballads by the country-poets. Some popular ballads from Maimansingha gitika are: Mahua, Malua, Chandravati, Komola, Dewan Bhabna, Dasyu Kenaram, Rupavati, Kanka O Leela, Kajalrekha, Dewan Madina, Isha Khan Dewan, Firoz Khan Dewan, Monohar Khan Dewan, Soorat Jamal O Adhua Sundari, Jiralni, Bhelua Sundari. MadanKumar O Madhumala, Gopini Kirtan, Vidyasundar Ramayan.
Mohua is one of 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 center 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 chosen 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 that time Joychandra realized his mistakes and wanted to win Chandrabatis heart again. When Joychandra came to chandrabati she was praying in her temple closing the door. Joychandra begged her to come back to him. As she was in deep prayer she didn’t opened 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 that separation of beloved ones. So, she also killed herself. Chandrabatis love and longing inspires Bengali women in their values of life.
Nath Gitikas are another kind of oral poems of Bangladesh which focus on prince Gopi Chandra and Nath Guru. These poems are divided into two groups. One gtroup focus on the miracle of Nath Guru whearas others on religious conversion of Prince Gopi Chandra (Manik Chandra Rajar Gan, Govinda Chandrer Git, Maynamatir Gan, Gopi Chandrer Sannyas, Gopi Chander Panchali etc.)