Banalata Sen was a recurrent theme in Jibanananda's creation with its richtapestry of imagery. Was there a Banalata Sen? There is no documentation thatthere was indeed someone by that name in his real life. Expressions suggestingthe end of time, and the use of words like "darkness remains" suggest end oflife themes, that were common in Jibanananda's works related to Banalata Sen,but nothing beyond this is hinted at in these works.Banalata Sen has found her stands with the best of the lady characters of the world. She has been ordained with the characters of the solitary reaper, Lucy, Maria, Phenomenal women and others. Immortal poets like Herman Goering and William Butler Yeats stands as the primal inspiration to the idea of this woman. She stands as a hope, a ray of light among the abyss of darkness, a speck of treasure of happiness in the pool of emptiness. She is the humanity personified; Banalata is the direction of love that resides in the romanticism of the ages.
This poem, like all the other poems of Jibananda is in free verse. The great thing that is to be noticed in this poem is the use of the words. The words are just like the caves of the caves of Altamira. They are like the engravings of Michelangelo. They are like the painting of Leonardo da Vinci. Jibanananda has painted the emptiness with the greatness of the words. The use of the simile and the metaphor, the oxymoron and the antithesis collaborate to conjure something that is evergreen and eternal. The structure is simple and the flow is prolific. There are three stanzas in the poem. Each stanza is of six lines each. This is a lyrical ballad which has a special kind of Bengali metrical free verse pattern called the Aksherbritta or Poyar.
The poet here is a lone traveler who is travelling through the time for thousand years. In fact the meaning can be connoted as he is a traveler travelling through the fins of time.He says that he has travelled to various cities. The cities he names are Sinhala or Srilanka of the modern times, Malay Sagar or the sea of the Malaya which means the mountains. The Indian Ocean of the modern days. The ocean on whose embankments there reside the greatest of the empires of the world. He has travelled through the dark ages of Bimbisara and Asoka. He names these mythological places to depict that he is travelling the time through the empires and the variety of kingdoms. He had seen the whitish pale sea of life. Yet he did not find the peace. He got peace at Natore where he met Banalata Sen.
The poet mentions the name of Natore because Natore was the seat of culture and heritage of ancient Bengal. After travelling the warring territories of the world he got the peacefulness in the laps of his motherland where a woman coaxes his tormented soul and gives him the long desired rest.The poet is describing the beauty of the girl here. He is a traveler thus had seen a lot of places all around the world. He demonstrates like a mesmerized person, the beauty of this girl. He says the hair of this girl was like the dark crevices of the night. Her face had the beauty of the engravings found at the Shravasti. The engravings at the Shravasti are famous all through the world! The poet establishes a direct relation between the two.
He refers to the shipwrecked sailor who finds resort among the cinnamon islands of Indonesia. He says that he is like that sailor who is far annulated from his place and is finding for a resort. The girl Bonolota gives him that resort and peace. Her eyes are compared to the nest of a bird. The bird’s nest-eyed girl gives the peace and the poet searches for the required serenity of love in her.He returns to his homeland after the whole day of traversing the area. The darkness comes in as silently as the dew drops fall. As the birds return to thrift nests, the day’s breath is eradicated from the wings of the eagle, and the rivers end all the water taking of the workfolk day. The evening makes the preparations for another journey. The poet takes rest in the sea of darkness. He is not lonely now for he has Banalata to coax him always.
Often Jibanananda's Banalata Sen has been compared with To Helen by Edgar Allan Poe. In a certain sense, Banalata Sen is akin to "To Helen". However, while Helen's beauty is the central theme in Poe's work, for Jibanananda, Banalata Sen is merely a framework to hold his anxiety for apparently endless human existence on earth since primordial time. She has occurred with various names like Shaymoli, Sobita, Suronjana, etc. However, one can see that while Poe has ended by appreciating the beauty of a woman, Jibanananda has gone far deeper and on the landscape of a woman's beauty has painted the expanse of human existence both in terms of time and topography, drawing attention to the ephemeral existence of human beings. Unlike the poetry of many others, Jibanananda's poetry is the result of filtered interaction between emotions and intellect. In the endless tumultuous continuum of ‘time’ Banalata Sen is a dot of quietude and tranquillity. Banalata Sen is a feminine emblem that Jibanananda created in his virtual world and faced on many occasions with wonder and questions as embodied in different poems. In sum, although popularly regarded a romantic lyric, the poet’s.
The time is full of less love and more hatred. Among this emptiness the poem Banalata Sen teaches us to love. Banalata is the weed of the forest that is less tended. The poet resorts to love and tranquility in that trivia. This poem thus speaks against all the ill functions round the world and speaks openly for love. The Banalata is just the opposite parallel to La Belle Dame Sans Merci of Keats who eludes the poet from his work. That is the concept of the west. Banalata is of the orient and thus is equally tender and equally loving.
‘Banalata Sen’ is perhaps among the top ten most popular poems in Bengali literature. To me, it is the best love poem that Bengali literature has got. Jibanananda Das can be compared with the Romantic poets of English literature for his beautiful description of nature of Bengal. Unfortunately, he did not receive his due recognition in his lifetime. Even now, he is a neglected figure to some extent. His place is among the very best in Bengali literature beside Tagore, Nazrul and Madhusudan.