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Title: Influence of Persian literature on Shah Muhammad Sagir's Yusuf Zulaikha and Alaol's Padmavati
Author: Billah, Abu Musa Mohammad Arif
ISNI:       0000 0004 2708 6043
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis addresses the question of how Shah Muhammad Sagir's Yusuf Zulaikha and Alaol's Padmavatl were influenced by Persian literary tradition. Beginning with a study of historical and cultural relations between Bengal and Persia, the thesis focuses on the process of development of the stories along with their background and source materials. Through a reading of selected literary works, manuscripts and rare books, it uses comparative and intertextual methods to examine how many existing theories and observations, especially regarding the influence, dating, sources and patrons of the poets, are contradictory and in some instances unfounded. With regard to Sagir's poem, the thesis investigates how the story of Joseph in the Bible and of Yusuf in the Quran was transformed into a romantic love story Yusuf va Zulaikha by Persian poets, and how Sagir transformed it into Bengali with a local flavour. It also addresses how Perso-Arabic literary and Sufi tradition, especially the Yusuf va Zulaikha of Firdausi, the tradition of commentaries on the Quran (Ta/sIr) and tales of the prophets (Qi~a~), influenced Sagir's poetic thoughts. Regarding Alaol's Padmavatl, after looking at the process of development of the story by analysing ancient and medieval local and foreign elements such as drama, fables, Sufi love poems and mythology, it assesses how Alaol transformed Malik Muhammad Jayasi's Hindi poem Padmavatl into Bengali. It examines how Perso-Arabic literary and Sufi themes, especially fana, annihilation, and baqa, subsistence, in Attar's Man!iqu'!- fair, influenced Jayasi in writing the Hindi poem Padmavatl and Alaol in transforming it into Bengali. The thesis also addresses the Persian lexical influence on Sagir's YusufZulaikha and Alaol's Padmavatl. The thesis concludes that Sagir developed Yusuf Zulaikha by taking elements and materials from Perso-Arabic multiple sources, especially Firdausi's poem of the same title and Ghazzali's commentary on the Quran (XII). With regard to Alaol's translation, his curtailment of the episodes in Jayasi's poem and additions from Persian and local historical and cultural traditions, as well as his Sufi interpretation, glorify his Padmavatl as an independent creation rather than a mere translation of Jayasi.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available