The Emergence and Development of Bengali Art

Music, painting, drama and dance all play a part in the culture of Bangladesh, as do the traditional practices of Jatra and Alpona. Discussion about development of Bengali art are mention below:

Development of Bengali Art


Music has a rich and diverse tradition. Various forms of Bangla music that developed over time included the following:

  • Kirtan: Songs in praise of God, gods and goddess and their attributes.
  • Kavigan: These poetic songs date back to around the 18th or 19th century, and the singers of these songs were called kaviyals. The kaviyals, who knew religious texts and rural life very well, had to compose questions and answers as they performed. They depended on ready wit and skills in producing verse to defeat their vivals in these poetic contests. The noise and tempo of drums, kansi, bells or mandira rose up or went down in tune with the debate.
  • Jatra song: The jatra song originated in Bangladesh in the 16th and 18th centuries nd are an important part of our folk culture. Some of the most well known ballads of Bengal are the Maimansingha Gitika nad Purbabanga Gttika. The history of all aspects of life in Bengal is found in these ballands. Some of the popular Bangla ballads. Some of the popular Bangla ballads include Mahuya, Maluya, Kanka o Lila, Kajalrekha, Chandravati, Kamala, Deoyan Bhabna, Dasyu Kenaramer Pala, Rupavati-Deoyan Madina and Alal-Dulaler Pala. These ballads were not just popular oral performances, they have also inspired both plays and movies.
  • Classical Music: Songs based on classical ragas became popular in Bengal towards the end of the 18th century. Ustad Alauddin Khan and Ustad Ayet Ali Khan are two names in classical instrumental music who are internationally known.
  • Early modern songs: The urbanization that started in the early years of the 19th century saw the beginning of modern Bangla songs. Rabindranath Tagore, Dwijendralal, Rajanikanta, Atulpgrsad and Nazrul Islam are still held in considerable regard as they combined attractive tunes with meaningful lyrics. Although other poets tried to copy this ideal, the songs of these five poets, who draw from both classical and folk traditions, are unique. Nazrul Islam was the contributions was to the development of the Bangla ghazal.
  • Modern songs: Modern songs drew many talented singers, varied themes, tones and style. Some of the most famous names you may hear are Hemanto Mukherjee, Kishore Kumar, Satinath, Manna De, Lata Manjeshkar, Abdul Jobbar, Sabina Yasmin, Runa Laila, Abida Sultana, Abdul Hadi, Fakir Alamgit, Sadi Mohammed, Sahnaj Rohomotullah, Andrew Kishore and Mahamudduzzaman Babu. One variant of modern songs are the pop and band songs which are also becoming popular.
  • Bangladesh has a good number of musical instruments originally of her own. Orginally country nusical instruments include banshi (bamboo flute), dhole (wooden drums), ektara (a single stringed instrument), dotata (a four stringed instrument), mandira(a piar of metal balls used as rhythm instrument), khanjani, sharinda, etc. Nawadays, western instruments such as guitar, drums, saxophone, synthesizer etc. are beingused alongside country instruments.
Development of Bengali Art

Development of Bengali Art


There is a rice tradition of paingin Bangladesh which was pioneered by Zainul Adedin (see section A), Kamrul Hassan, Anwarul Haque, shafiuddin Ahmed and S.M. Sultan. Other famous artists of Bangladesh you may have heaed of include Adbur razzak, Qayyum Chowdhurey, Murtaza Basser, Aminul Islam, Dabdas Chakraborty, Kazi abdi Baset, Syed Jahangir and Mohammad Kirbria, amongst many others.


Drama in Bangladesh has an only tradition and is very popular. In Dhaka more than a dozen theatre groups have been regularly staging locally written plays, as well as those adopted from famous writers, mainly of European origin. Popular theatre groups are Dhaka Theatre, Nagarik Nattya Sampraday and Theatre.

In Dhaka, the Bailey Road area is known as Natak Para, where drama shows are regularly held. The Public Library Auditorium and Museum Auditorium are famous for holding cultural shows. The Dhaka University area is a pivotal part of cultural activates.


Bangladeshi dance is based largely on the classical form of dance as seen elsewhere in the sub-continent. There are also influences from folk, tribal and Middle Eastern dance.

Among the tribal dances, particularly popular are Monipuri and santal, Rural girls are in the habit of dancing that does not require any grammar or regulations. Bangla songs like jari and shariare presented with dance by both male and female performed.


Jatra (folk drama) is another form of traditional culture. It draws from mythological episodes of love and tragedy. Legendary plays of heroism are also popular, particularly in the rural areas.

Even just a few decades ago, jatra was the most popular entertainment in the countryside. Gradually, western forms of plays are replacing the traditional cultural forms like jatra.


Traditional art and paintings include the alpona as one of the major art forms, which is a fantastic collection of designs and motifs put together in geometrical shapes. These motifs reflect the flora and fauna of Bangladesh.

Alpona, which was once restricted to rituals held in the villages only, has now become a part of modern art and craft. No Bengali Hindu or muslim wedding is seen without the drawing of lappona. On every Ekushe February, many streets and walls in the country are marked with alpona.


Other forms of art and drawing, collectively called the chitro, include:

  • Ongo-Chitro-body painting
  • Chal Chitro-makign of clay sculptures
  • Deh-al Chitro-painting of designs on walls
  • Ghot Chitro-pot painting
  • Ghuri Chitro-kite painting
  • Krtra pot Chitro-scroll paint about games
  • Piri Chitro-wood paining
  • Pot Chitro-fabric painting
  • Shara Chitro-paintign of pot and pan lids
  • Kurundi Chitro-soft-reed painting
  • Kushti Chitro-drawing of genealogical tables of horoscopes
  • Mukush Chitro-mask painting.

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