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Published on Oct 18, 2009
Jasim Uddin is proud of belonging to the folk tradition of Bengali literature. He was pleased by a recent comment of one critic who, praising his autobiography, said: 'Reading Jasim Uddin's Jiban Katha (autobiography) is like eating country cakes from mother's own hand.' I
In his autobiography ]asim Uddin tells much more about village life as he knew it. He swam in the ponds and canals, fished in thc rainy season, watched the sugar cane being made into treacle, and ate his fair share of this tasty sweet. The boy Jasim built a banana-palm raft and sailed it one early morning to help hirnself to a neighbour's ripe dates. Like his hero Sojan, he knew ,where the weaver bird made its nest and admired the intricate construction. He knew when and wherc the best mangoes and plums were ripe. When the travelling theatre, the Jatra, came to town he and his cousin, Nehaj Uddin, would sneak off and stay up all night listening lo the play. Throughout the year they enjoyed both the Hindu and the Moslem holidays .
n a foreword to the translation of Nakshi Kathar Math, Mr Verrier Elwin writes, 'I do not know whether The Field of the Embroidered Quilt can be classed as folk-poetry, but it is obviously poetry about the folk. After nearly ten years of village life I find every detail of the picture, every turn of the story, waking a response in my mind.' What Mr Elwin says of The Field can also be said of Gipsy Wharf. The two poems were written within four years of each other, while Jasim Uddin was still at Calcutta University, doing research under the famous Bengali scholar, Dr Dinesh Chandra Sen. Gipsy Wharf benefited from Dr Sen's comments as well,as those of the famous writer and painter Abanindra Nath Tagore.