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Kashiram Das – Author Of Bengali Version Of Mahabharata

Kashiram Das is the author of the popular Bengali Version of Mahabharata, which was composed during the early 17th century CE. The translation of Mahabharata by Kasiram Das became one of the most famous literary works of Bengal, second in popularity only to the Ramayana of Krittivas.

Kashiram Das belonged to southwest Bengal but his family came from the northern Radha area, west of the Hooghly. He was the son of Kamalakanta Dasa, who originally belonged to Indrani Pargana of Burdwan District, West Bengal, but moved to Odisha after the birth of Kashiram Das. His younger brother’s work Jagannatha Mangala mentions Kasidasi Mahabharata.

The whole poem, Bengali Version of Mahabharata, is a compilation by more than one poet, Kashiram Das having written only the first four parvas (sections). He wrote the Adi, Sabha and Vana Parva. It is said that itinerant singers and scribes compiled the remaining sections. The writers of later sections have not been identified, except for Nandaramdasa (his nephew), Krishnananda Basu and Nityananda Ghosha. His nephew, Nandarama, wrote the next two-three sections and finally, some section were taken from a short Mahabharata poem written by Nithyananda Ghosa. Interestingly, these other poets, too, wrote their Bhanita (colophos) as Kashiram Das.

In general, the theme follows the original of Vyasa, except for some minor changes in episodes like Subhadra Harana by Arjuna and the Rajasuya Yajna.

The style is simple, and the later additions have followed the model set by Kashiram Das. This book became famous as Kasidasa Mahabharata ad is read and revered, to this date, as Bengal’s Mahabharata.