Jibanananda Das

17 Feb 1899
22 Oct 1954
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Jibanananda Das (17 February 1899 – 22 October 1954) was a Bengali poet, writer, novelist and essayist. Dimly recognised during his lifetime, today Das is acknowledged as “the premier poet of the post-Tagore era in India” and Bangladesh. One of his translators, Clinton B. Seely, is among those who consider Jibananda Das as “Bengal’s greatest modern poet” and its “best loved poet” too. Author and literary critic Amit Chaudhuri concurs, describing Das’s writing with admiration: “The poems are now part of the Bengali consciousness, on both sides of the border dividing India from what was Pakistan and is now Bangladesh; it’s safe to claim that Das is the pre-eminent and best loved Bengali poet after Tagore.” For the poets in the latter half of the twentieth century Das “has practically come to take place of Tagore”. Das’s oeuvre is eclectic and resists classification under any single heading or school.

Das wrote ceaselessly, but as he was an introvert and the “most alone of poets”, he felt “compelled to suppress some of his most important writings or to locate them in a secret life”. During his lifetime, only seven volumes of his poems were published. After his death, it was discovered that apart from poems Das wrote several novels and a large number of short stories. His unpublished works are still being published.

Das died on 22 October 1954; eight days after he was hit by a tramcar. The witnesses said that though the tramcar whistled, he did not stop and got struck. Some deem the accident as an attempt at suicide

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