Bengali Literature
Bengali Poetry
Bengali Prose

Folk and Puranic Verses

Bengali literature has its roots in poetry. Bengali poetry has its roots in its people. Long before the print medium was invented, folk tales had been told from one generation to the next by singing verses created by ordinary people. Stories were constructed in the course of their lives from materials collected from their own experiences and from famous stories or themes composed by past generations of "Kobials" (or folk poets) and bauls (or street singers). For more details refer to the Folklore section.

Kobials (folk poets) would often recite their compositions in front of appeciative audiences not only in their immediate neighbourhood, but often in far-away villages. The depth of logic, humour, wit, wisdom, emotive outpour and romanticism in their poetic pieces (created extemporaneously often in response to and as an anti-thesis of the points and arguments made by the rival poets sharing the same audience and performing stage) was informative and amazingingly entertaining. Such was their melodious rendition that they would leave an indelible mark on the audience. The villagers would continue to recite these verses for a long time to come. The verses, which often included references to familiar characters from the great Indian epics Mahabharat and Ramayan would serve as beacons for thousands. The instructive power of some of these creations would later provide many with simple how-to guides to fulfillment in life and salvation after death.