Born On: 25 January, 1824
Born In: Sagardari, Jessore
Died On: 29 June, 1873
Career: Writer, Lecturer
Michael Madhusudan Dutt, was a man most famous for being associated with the Bengali renaissance movement. He was born on the 25th of January, 1824 in Sagardari, Jessore district, now in Bangladesh. He was the pioneer of Bengali dramas and well known for his poems as well. 'Meghnadh Badh Kabya', his most famous work, was a tragic epic that comprised of nine cantos. Influenced by the English style of living and European literature, Madhusudan was a gifted linguist who mastered several oriental and occidental languages. He is credited for his poetic innovations that were created by merging Bengali language and stories with western styles and forms. This helped mark the beginning of modern Bengali literature, as we know it! Not many people may know this, but Madhusudan is known as 'the father of the Bangla sonnet'. He also pioneered 'amitrakshar chhanda' (blank verse), which is a unique style of composing or writing poems. Madhusudan was an intellectual rebel who, through his writings and compositions, challenged the value systems encoded in traditional literature. Read on to learn more about the profile, childhood, life and timeline of this very prolific writer.
Michael Madhusudan Dutt Profile, Childhood, Life, Timeline
Michael Madhusudan Dutt was born into an aristocratic family on the 25th of January, 1824, in Jessore, Bangladesh. He was the only son of a wealthy 'Kayastha family' and his father was a law practitioner in Kolkata. Madhusudan received his early education at home under the guidance of his mother, Jahnabi Devi and he later joined the Sagardari Primary School. Madhusudan also learnt Persian in an old mosque in his neighbouring village. He was a gifted student with exceptional literary expression. Madhusudan's family moved to Kolkata when he was only 7 years old. There he attended the Hindu college of Kolkata in 1843 and studied Sanskrit and Persian along with Bengali.
Madhusudan became a self proclaimed ambassador of English mannerisms and intellect, due to his early exposure to English education and European literature. Inspired by his thoughts and to escape a marriage arranged by his father, Madhusudan left home on the 9th of February 1843 and soon became a Christian. On the day of his baptism, Madhusudan adopted his first name 'Michael'. He was forced to leave the Hindu college on becoming a Christian, since Christians were not allowed to study in the college. He then got himself a seat at the Bishop's college in 1844 and studied there till 1847. Due to lack of funds, Madhusudan left for Madras (now Chennai) in 1848 and taught at the Madras Orphan Asylum School from 1848-1852 and then at the Madras University High School from 1852-1856.
Career And Work
Apart from teaching, Madhusudan also worked as a journalist and a translator, however, he was most noted for his drama compositions and poetry writing skills. Some of his early works in the field of literature helped him earn a reputation of a talented writer. In 1849, he wrote and published his first poem 'Captive Lady and Visions of the Past' in English. Madhusudan, after a brief stint in Madras, returned to Kolkata in 1856 and realized the dearth of good literary works in Bengali. He translated Ramnnarayan Tarkaratna's play 'Ratnavali' into English in 1858. Realizing his ability to fill up the vacuum in Bengali literature, he associated himself with the Belgachhiya theatre in Kolkata where he came up with his first play 'Sarmistha' in 1859. His play was followed by two farces and a drama namely, 'The Bristles of the Neck of the Aged Sparrow', 'Is This What You Call Civilization' and 'Padmavati' respectively, all of this in the year 1860. Madhusudan, for the first time, used 'blank verses' in 'Padmavati' in 1860 and became the first ever person to use such verses. The success of these compositions inspired him to pen down his first Bengali poem 'Tilottama Sambhava' in the same year.
Madhusudan was at the peak of his career from 1861-62, when he published "Meghnad-Badh", "Krishna-Kumari", "Vrajangana" and "Virangana-Kavya". He also worked for a brief period as an editor of the Hindu Patriot, before he left for England on 9th of June 1862 to study law. From England he travelled to Versailles in France in the year 1863 where he stayed for two years. It was here in France that Madhusudan overcame his craving for the English way of living that had inspired most of his works in the early stages and realised the importance of his mother tongue. He returned to England in 1865 and in 1866 became a barrister. On the 5th of January he returned to Kolkata to practice law, but he was not well accepted as a barrister and in 1870 he was obliged to give up the practice. Thankfully, Madhusudan never gave up writing and in 1871 he penned down 'Hectarbadh' and his last composition 'Mayakanan' came in the year 1873.
Marriage And Relationships
In his lifetime, Madhusudan lived with two different ladies. When in Madras, he married Rebecca Mactavys with whom he had four children. However this marriage didn't work out well and in 1856, Madhusudan started living with another woman named Henrietta Sophia White. From his second relationship he had one son and one daughter.
Michael Madhusudan Dutt, the greatest poet of the Bengali renaissance movement, left for his heavenly abode on the 27th of June, 1873. He died at the Calcutta General Hospital.
1824 - Madhusudan Dutt was born on January 25th.
1843 - He was admitted into the Hindu College, Kolkata
1843 - He left home, became a Christian.
1844 - Started attending the Bishop's College
1848 - Left for Madras
1848 - Married Rebecca Mactavys
1848-52 - Taught at the Madras Orphan Asylum School
1849 - Wrote and published his first poem 'Captive Lady and Visions of the Past' in English
1852-56 - Taught at the Madras University High School
1856 - Returned to Kolkata from Madras
1856 - Started living with Henrietta Sophia White
1858 - Translated Ramnnarayan Tarkaratna's play 'Ratnavali' into English
1859 - Wrote his first play 'Sarmistha'
1860 - Wrote two farces 'The Bristles of the Neck of the Aged Sparrow', 'Is This What You Call Civilization' and a drama 'Padmavati'
1862 - Published 'Meghnad-Badh', 'Krishna-Kumari', 'Vrajangana' and 'Virangana-Kavya'
1862 - Left for England on 9th June to study law
1863 - Left to Versailles, France
1865 - Returned to England
1866 - Became a barrister
1873 - His last composition Mayakanan was published
1873 - Passed away on 27th June at the Calcutta General Hospital.