Brief Life History of Bengali Poet Syed Alaol

A seventeenth-century poet who translated famous works in Bangla as well as writing his own songs and poetry. Syed Alaol has a prestigious library named after him.

An Aristocratic Background

Syed Alaol is one of the most famous Bengali poets of the Middle Ages. He was born around 1607 AD. There are disagreements over the place of his birth. Some scholars suggest that he was born in Chittagong while others say Faridpur.

Alaol’s father was a minister of Jajlish Kutub, the ruler of Fatwabad (Fatehabad). Since he was born into an aristocratic family, Alaol received a good education in his early years. He learned Bangla, Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian languages as well as the art of war and music.

Captured by Pirates

On one occasion when Aloal was quite young, he was going to Chittagong with his father by boat. On the way, they were attacked by Portuguese pirates. The pirates killed his father and captured him. He was sent to Arakan in Myanmar.

Young Alaol found work as a bodyguard in Arakan. Later he worked as a teacher of music and dance in a well-to-do family. His poetic talent soon became well known a he was able to secure a place at the royal court of Arakan where he received royal patronage.

Among his patrons was Syed Musa Roya Minister), Solaiman (Chief Minister), Mohammad Khan (Minister of Army), Majlis Anabaraj (Minister of Taxation) and Magan Thakur, the Prime minister and the adopted son of the king’s sister.

Translations and original work of Syed Alaol

Alaol was a prolific writer. His most significant contributions to Bangla literature were made through translations of famous works in different languages into Bangla. His masterpiece, Padmavati, is a translation of a Hindi poem Padmavat by Malik Mohammad Jayasi.

Most of his other translations were made from Persian and include Saifulmuluk Badiuzzamal, satimayana-Lor-Chandrani, Saptapaykar, Sikandarnama and Tohifa. But Alaol also produced his own original works. These include a number of songs, mostly vaishav, and a book on the art of music, Ragtalnama.

Alaol is mostly hailed as one of the great poets who introduced romantic themes in Bangla poetry. Another characteristic of his works was that though they were mostly translated form other languages, his creative touch and unique style made the works essentially the property of the Bangla language.

In addition to contributing to Bangla literature, Alaol also paid attention to questions of religion and morality, which were reflected in his Tohfa.

An award in his name

Alaol died around 1673 in Hat Hazari of Chittagong. A prestigious literary award in his name, Alaol Sahitya Purashkar, has been introduced to recognize important works in contemporary Bangla.

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2 comments for “Brief Life History of Bengali Poet Syed Alaol

  1. minu
    January 24, 2017 at 1:12 PM

    in which areas of culture did he work?

    • rasel
      January 25, 2017 at 5:35 PM

      Thank you Minu for your comment, I think you did not read the article completely. Whatever read translations and original work of Syed Alaol paragraph of the page you will find your answer.

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