Bengali or Bangla language is native to Bengal, Bangladesh and parts of the Indian states like Tripura and Assam. It is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language written in the Bengali script. The Bengali language belongs to the Indic group of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. But however in course of years just like the other recent Indo-Aryan languages there has been a tremendous reduction in the complex inflectional system of Old Indo-Aryan.
Bengali language has been officially recognized by the Constitution of India. The Indo-Aryan languages was the source for the Magadhi Apabhransha from which originated the languages of Bengali,Assamese and Oriya in which the former two share the same script with small differences whereas the later has its own script.
Bengali language has its root from the Prakrit or Middle Indo-Aryan which in turn descended from Sanskrit or Old Indo-Aryan. For more than two thousand years, Sanskrit was the most dominant literary language and it also became a common language used by people who normally speak other languages particularly among the learned or scholarly and the cultured people of India. Thus when it comes to the history of the Bengali language, it can be classified under three different eras.Old Bengali (950-1350), Middle Bengali (1350-1800) and Modern Bengali (1800 to the present day).The history belonging to the old Bengali has a very few collections of about forty-eight poems known as the charva songs. The next generation belonging to the 15th century is more of religious oriented and its associated with narrative poetry class. Some of the literary works belonging to the period of 15th century are Srikrishnavijaya by Maladhar Vasu, Srikrishnakirttan by Baru Chandidas, Chaitanyamangal or Chaitanya Bhagavat (1540), the biography of Saint Chaitanya, by Brindavan Das.One of the best which is considered to be as the classic during this period is Krittivas' Ramayan.
This was followed by the 16th century literary period which had more of narrative epic poems talking more about the local Goddesses like Chandi and Manasa.But however the later period of the 16th century has more of poetry with the combination of music and this was mainly because of the slight wave of the Vaishnavism.There were more of Muslim writers including Muslims of Arrakan during the 17th century who were into secular romantic verse tales. The romantic verse tale Sati Mayana was written by Daulat Kazi who was the first Bengali Arrakanese poet. There was a close agreement and affinity in the poetry for worldly things rather than spiritual ones during the eighteenth century which towards the end saw two new forms of poetry namely the Kavi and the Panchali.
The rebirth or revival of the Bengali literature actually took place in the nineteenth century. The modern Bengali literature was actually founded by Michael Madhusudan Datta (1834-1873) and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-1898).It was Madhusudan who first started writing in unrhymed verse and then combined it with the western influences which is evident in his Meghnadvadhkavya which has similarities with Milton's Paradise Lost.
The evolution of Bengali Literature started in the later half of the 19th century.Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was one of the renowned novelist who wrote the first romantic Bengali novel in 1865.The national song Vandemataram was taken from his political novel Anandamath.The first Bengali novel of social realism is Peary Chand Mitra's Alaler Gharer Dulal (1858).The 19th century also witnessed some great dramatists like Girishchandra Ghosh ,Amritlal Bose and D L Ray, the great prose writers like Debendranath Tagore and Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar and poets like Biharilal Chakravartis, Saradamangal and Sadhar Asan who had refinement in their lyrics.
Rabindranath Tagore who was very much talented as a poet, novelist, short-story writer, dramatist, essayist and literary critic was also very much impressed by the refined way of writing.He gave an upliftment to the Bengali literature and also takes the credit of being the first Indian to receive a Nobel Prize for his poem Gitanjali.
Writing Style & Grammar
The Bengali script is a diverse of the Eastern Nagari script which was followed in most part of Bangladesh and Eastern India. It had not much influence of the alphabetic script like that of the Latin script but records says that it originated from the modified Brahmic script around 1000 CE which was more like the Assamese script, the Oriya script and Mithilakshar.Coming to the grammar part of the Bengali language the nouns are not assigned gender as well as the verbs does not change in accordance with the noun. There is also minimal changing of adjectives in the language.