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Bangla Literature by sayeed abu bakar


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A yearly literary magazine

Editor: Sayeed Abubakar
Bangla Literature
A yearly literary magazine

1st Issue, Ekushey February Bookfair, 2011

Editor: Sayeed Abubakar

Cover designer: Charu Pintu

Mailing address for sending poems, short stories, prose, novels, dramas, opinions and magazine order:
Sayeed Abubakar
Deptt. Of English
Sirajgonj Govt. College
Sirajgonj, Bangladesh
e-mail: sayeed_jh@yahoo.com
web site: www.sayeedabubakar.info
Phone: 01919455479
Editorial 4
Legendary Poetry:
Lalon Shah 5 Michael Modhusudon Dutt 7 Rabindranath Tagore 9 Kazi Nazrul Islam 10
Jibanananda Das 14 Jasim Uddin 17 Ahsan Habib 18 Farrukh Ahmad 19 Syed Ali Ahsan 19
Shamsur Rahman 2o Sakti Chattopadhyay 21 Abul Hasan 22

Bangla Poetry : Past and Present # Dr. Sadruddin Ahmad 23 Bangla Literature : Its Golden Age
# Dr Asgar Ali 44

The Butchers # Nazib Wadood 24

Modern Poetry:
Shankha Ghosh 45 Alokeranjan Dasgupta 46 Sunil Gangopadhyay 46 Syed Shamsul Huq 47 Al
Mahmud 48 Shahid Kadri 49 Al Mujahidy 49 Rafik Azad 50 Joy Goswami 51 Hasan Hafiz 52
Jakir Abu Jafor 52 Sayeed Abubakar 53

Book Review:
Anthology of the World Poetry: A Huge Task of A Bengali Poet # Fazlul Hoque Tuhin 54

Literary News 55

Lalon Shah (1772-1892)
I have not seen her even once--
my neighbor
who lives in the city of mirrors
near my house.

Her village is surrounded
by deep boundless waters,
and I have no boat
to cross over.
I long to see her,
but how can I reach
her village?

What can I say
about my neighbor?
She has no hands, no feet,
no shoulders, no head.
Sometimes she floats high up in the sky,
sometimes in the water.

If my neighbor only touched me,
she would send the pain of death away.
She and Lalon are in the same place,
yet five hundred thousand miles apart.

Who wants to go to the other shore?
Come aboard the Prophet's boat.
The boat is formed of shapely wood.
There's no chance of it sinking.

Sailors who don't follow Shariat
will die in a storm
when the first wave hits.
What can their Badar and Gazi do?
Where will they be then?

Those who don't know the Prophet
are infidels in this world.
Their worship is rejected.
It’s written in black and white.

The murshid himself is the Prophet.
There's no mistake about it.
He is God too.
Lalan didn't make this up.
It says so in the Quran.

His play knows no end…
no telling what shape He'll take, and when…
How will you understand the Saain's Divine Play?

Water of the Ganga is called Holy.
But it's the same water filling
The puddle on the road we call dirty!
That is how the Saain shapes Himself…
in size with the vessel He fills!

How will you understand the Saain's Divine Play?

He is the room and its occupant,
as well as the thief that steals from it!
He is His own Magistrate,
sentencing Himself to chains!

How will you understand the Saain's Divine Play?

Eternal streams flow out of the One.
You and I are nothing in it, nameless.
Lalon says, "If only I knew 'me,'
all riddles would be solved!"

How will you understand the Saain's Divine Play?

Everyone wonders, "What's Lalon faith?"
Lalon says, "I've never ' seen' the face
of Faith with these eyes of mine!"

Circumcision marks a Muslim man,
what then marks a Muslim woman?
A Brahmin I recognize by the Holy thread;
how do I recognize a Brahmin-woman?

Everyone wonders, "What's Lalon faith?"

Some wear a garland and some the tasbi,
that's what marks the Faiths apart.
But what marks them apart when
one is born or at the time of death?

Everyone wonders, "What's Lalon faith?"
The whole world talks about Faith,
everyone displaying their pride!
Lalon says, "My Faith has capsized
in this Market of Desire...."

Everyone wonders, "What's Lalon faith?"

The unknown Bird in the cage...
how does it fly in and out?
Catch it, I would, if I could...
and put my mind's chains on its feet.

There are eight rooms with nine doors,
with latice-work in between.
On top of that, there' s a central yard
and a hall of mirrors.

The unknown Bird in the cage...
how does it fly in and out?

The Bird wouldn't behave so,
had it not been for my ill-luck.
It has broken through its Cage
and flown away somewhere....

The unknown Bird in the cage...
how does it fly in and out?

O Mind, you have lived with high hopes,
but your Cage is made of raw bamboo.
One day this Cage (too) will fall and break.
Lalon says, "The door 's ajar, the Bird's flown!"

The unknown Bird in the cage...
how does it fly in and out?

Michael Modhusudon Dutt (1824-1873)
I Sigh for Albion’s Distant Shore
I sigh for Albion’s distant shore,
Its valleys green, its mountains high;
Tho’ friends, relations, I have none
In that far clime, yet, oh! I sigh
To cross the vast Atlantic wave
For glory, or a nameless grave!
My father, mother, sister, all
Do love me and I love them too,
Yet oft the tear-drops rush and fall
From my sad eyes like winter’s few.
And, oh! I sigh for Albion’s stand
As if she wre my native-land!

To A Lady
Oh! That thou wert as fair within
As thy ang’lic outward is.
Then, Of what value hast thou been
In this earth, a perfect bliss.

Lady! tho’ beautiful thou art,
Tho’ nature hath gi’en thee ev’ry grace
Yet, oh! how cruel is thy heart,
Thou art deaf to the voice of distress.

To Another Lady
Oh! deign to give a thought on me,
When these sad lines do meet thine eye.
Think then on him who oft for thee,
Sweet one! doth unregarded sigh!

To My Pillow
Companion of my lonely bed,
Oh gentle pillow! Thou’rt made
To people the bach’lor’s embrace—
To comfort his sadly loneliness!—
What tho’ these lips have ne’er tasted
Nectars of a Beauty’s cheek;
Thou dost soothe my spirits wasted,
Gentle pillow soft and meek!—
When night doth in her native hue
Paint the earth, the sky, the sea,
Ah! sweet pillow! who, hut you,
Does then kindly solace me!
My weary limbs in these do find
A friend so gentle, ever kind!
Tho’ beauty ne’er my bed doth bliss
Or ope for me the door to heaven;
Thou dost cheer my lone embrace;--
Sad comfort here to bach’lors given!
I am no lover;-- love I not;
Tho’ loved I once, be that forgot;--
My friends, they do not marry me,
They think not, care not that I die;
My cup of life tastes bitter—why?
Because there’s none to comfort me!—
Until one, beautiful and fair,
To bless my bed and banish care;
Doth to my lot sweet pillow! fall,
Be thou my mistress, wife and all;--

Rabindranath Tagore (1865-1941)
A Moment’s Indulgence
I ask for a moment's indulgence to sit by thy side. The works
that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite,
and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.

Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and
the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.

Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing
dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.

Baby’s World
I wish I could take a quiet corner in the heart of my baby's very
own world.
I know it has stars that talk to him, and a sky that stoops
down to his face to amuse him with its silly clouds and rainbows.
Those who make believe to be dumb, and look as if they never
could move, come creeping to his window with their stories and with
trays crowded with bright toys.
I wish I could travel by the road that crosses baby's mind,
and out beyond all bounds;
Where messengers run errands for no cause between the kingdoms
of kings of no history;
Where Reason makes kites of her laws and flies them, the Truth
sets Fact free from its fetters.

Brink of Eternity
In desperate hope I go and search for her
in all the corners of my room;
I find her not.

My house is small
and what once has gone from it can never be regained.

But infinite is thy mansion, my lord,
and seeking her I have to come to thy door.

I stand under the golden canopy of thine evening sky
and I lift my eager eyes to thy face.

I have come to the brink of eternity from which nothing can vanish
---no hope, no happiness, no vision of a face seen through tears.

Oh, dip my emptied life into that ocean,
plunge it into the deepest fullness.
Let me for once feel that lost sweet touch
in the allness of the universe.

Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976)
The Rebel
Proclaim, Hero,
proclaim: I raise my head high!
        Before me bows down the Himalayan peaks!

Proclaim, Hero,
proclaim: rending through the sky,
          surpassing the moon, the sun,
          the planets, the stars,
          piercing through the earth,
          the heavens, the cosmos
          and the Almighty's throne,
          have I risen?I, the eternal wonder
          of the Creator of the universe.
          The furious Shiva shines on my forehead
          like a royal medallion of victory!

Proclaim, Hero,
proclaim: My head is ever held high!

         I'm ever indomitable, arrogant and cruel,
         I'm the Dance-king of the Day of the Doom,
         I'm the cyclone, the destruction!
         I'm the great terror, I'm the curse of the world.
         I'm unstoppable,
         I smash everything into pieces!
         I'm unruly and lawless.
         I crush under my feet
         all the bonds, rules and disciplines!
         I don't obey any laws.
         I sink cargo-laden boats?I'm the torpedo,
         I'm the dreadful floating mine.
         I'm the destructive Dhurjati,
         the sudden tempest of the summer.
         I'm the Rebel, the Rebel son
         of the Creator of the universe!

Proclaim, Hero,
proclaim: My head is ever held high!

         I'm the tempest, I'm the cyclone,
         I destroy everything I find in my path.
         I'm the dance-loving rhythm,
         I dance to my own beats.
         I'm the delight of a life of freedom.
         I'm Hambeer, Chhayanat, Hindol.
         I move like a flash of lightning
         with turns and twists.
         I swing, I leap and frolic!
         I do whatever my heart desires.
         I embrace my enemy and wrestle with death.
         I'm untamed, I'm the tempest!
         I'm pestilence, dread to the earth,
         I'm the terminator of all reigns of terror,
         I'm ever full of burning restlessness.

Proclaim, Hero,
proclaim: My head is ever held high!

         I'm ever uncontrollable, irrepressible.
         My cup of elixir is always full.
         I'm the sacrificial fire,
         I'm Yamadagni, the keeper
         of the sacrificial fire.
         I'm the sacrifice, I'm the priest,
         I'm the fire itself.
         I'm creation, I'm destruction,
         I'm habitation, I'm the cremation ground.
         I'm the end, the end of night.
         I'm the son of Indrani,
         with the moon in my hand and the sun on my forehead.
         In one hand I hold the bamboo flute,
         in the other, a trumpet of war.
         I'm Shiva's blued-hued throat
         from drinking poison from the ocean of pain.
         I'm Byomkesh, the Ganges flows freely
         through my matted locks.

Proclaim, Hero,
proclaim: My head is ever held high!

         I'm the ascetic, the minstrel,
         I'm the prince, my royal garb embarasses
         even the most ostentatious.
I'm Bedouin, I'm Chenghis,
I salute none but myself!
I'm thunder,
I'm the OM sound of Ishan's horn.
I'm the mighty call of Israfil's trumpet.
I'm Pinakapani's hourglass drum, trident,
the sceptre of the Lord of Justice.
I'm the Chakra and the Great Conch,
I'm the primordial sound of the Gong!
I'm the furious Durbasa, the disciple
of Vishwamitra.
I'm the fury of fire, to burn this earth to ashes.
I'm the ecstatic laughter, terrifying the creation.
I'm the eclipse of the twelve suns
on the Day of the Doom.
Sometimes calm, sometimes wild,
I'm the youth of new blood?
I humble even the fate's pride!
I'm the violent gust of a wind storm,
the roar of the ocean.
I'm bright, effulgent.
I'm the murmur of over-flowing water,
Hindol dance of rolling waves!

I'm the unbridled hair of a maiden,
the fire in her eyes.
I'm the budding romance of a girl of sixteen?
I'm the state of bliss!
I'm the madness of the recluse,
I'm the sigh of grief of a widow,
I'm the anguish of the dejected,
I'm the suffering of the homeless,
I'm the pain of the humiliated,
I'm the afflicted heart of the lovesick.
I'm the trembling passion of the first kiss,
the fleeting glance of the secret lover.
I'm the love of a restless girl,
the jingling music of her bangles!
I'm the eternal child, the eternal adolescent,
I'm the bashfulness of a village girl's budding youth.
I'm the northern breeze, the southern breeze,
the callous eastwind.
I'm the minstrel's song,
the music of his flute and lyre.
I'm the unquenched summer thirst,
the scorching rays of the sun.
I'm the softly flowing desert spring
and the green oasis!

In ecstatic joy, in madness,
I've suddenly realized myself?
all the barriers have crumbled away!
I'm the rise, I'm the fall,
I'm the consciousness in the unconscious mind.
I'm the flag of triumph at the gate
of the universe?
the triumph of humanity!

Like a tempest
I traverse the heaven and earth
riding Uchchaishraba and the mighty Borrak.
I'm the burning volcano in the bosom of the earth,
the wildest commotion of the subterranean ocean of fire.
I ride on lightning
and panic the world with earthquakes!
I clasp the hood of the Snake-king
and the fiery wing of the angel Gabriel.
I'm the child-divine?restless and defiant.
With my teeth I tear apart
the skirt of Mother Earth!

I'm Orpheus' flute.
I calm the restless ocean
and bring lethean sleep to the fevered world
with a kiss of my melody.
I'm the flute in the hands of Shyam.
When I fly into a rage and traverse the vast sky,
the fires of Seven Hells and the hell of hells, Habia,
tremble in fear and die.
I'm the messenger of revolt
across the earth and the sky.

I'm the mighty flood.
Sometimes I bring blessings to the earth,
at other times, cause colossal damage.
I wrestle away the maidens two
from Vishnu's bosom!
I'm injustice, I'm a meteor, I'm Saturn,
I'm a blazing comet, a venomous cobra!
I'm the headless Chandi,
I'm the warlord Ranada.
Sitting amidst the fire of hell
I smile like an innocent flower!
I'm made of clay, I'm the embodiment of the Soul.
I'm imperishable, inexhaustible, immortal.
I intimidate the humans, demons and gods.
I'm ever-unconquerable.
I'm the God of gods, the supreme humanity,
traversing the heaven and earth!
         I'm mad, I'm mad!
         I have realized myself,
         all the barriers have crumbled away!!

         I'm Parashuram's merciless axe.
         I'll rid the world of all the war mongers*
         and bring peace.
         I'm the plough on Balaram's shoulders.
         I'll uproot this subjugated world
         in the joy of recreating it.
         Weary of battles, I, the Great Rebel,
         shall rest in peace only when
         the anguished cry of the oppressed
         shall no longer reverberate in the sky and the air,
         and the tyrant's bloody sword
         will no longer rattle in battlefields.
         Only then shall I, the Rebel,
         rest in peace.

         I'm the Rebel Bhrigu,
         I'll stamp my footprints on the chest of god
         sleeping away indifferently, whimsically,
         while the creation is suffering.
         I'm the Rebel Bhrigu,
         I'll stamp my footprints?
         I'll tear apart the chest of the whimsical god!

         I'm the eternal Rebel,
         I have risen beyond this world, alone,
         with my head ever held high!

Translation: Sajed Kamal

Jibanananda Das (1999-1954)

Banalata Sen
For a thousand years I have been walking upon the bosom of my earth
From Ceylon Ocean to a darkling night falling upon the sea of Malaya
So much I've travelled!
Into the dusky world of Bimbishar Asoka,
I was there!
Farther inside into that very darkness of city Bidarbha
I am a tired soul
Everywhere the oceanic foams of life throbbing
for just only a while I was blessed with some peace
At last!
From her! She, Banalata Sen of Natore.

Her hairs like an ancient dark night fallen on Bidisha,
Face truly sculpted in vigor of Srabasti;
Far inside an ocean,
when a ship wrecked sailor had lost his vision
All on a sudden as he discovered a grass green
Inside an island cinnamon
Like that only I have seen her in darkness!
Quipped she, “Where have you been for so long? “
Her eyelids like a bird's nest, had opened
She, Banalata Sen of Natore.

When a day ends in wholeness, evening descends like a dew's whisper;
Falcon wipes out the smell of sunshine from his wings;
When all colors fade away from the face of this earth,
records of life start unfolding;
From inside a fabric of stories to the twinkling of fireflies
all birds return to nests - all rivers - come to an end all trades of life;
Only darkness now prevails and sitting face to face with Banalata Sen.
Translation: Shamik Bose

Having Done With My Ledger Of Life

Finally, I’m done with the ledger of my life,
Miss Banalata Sen!

Where have you gone at this odd hour?
Kingfisher hasn’t neglected its midday sport,
Sarika still returns to the nest,
River has become frothy in exuberance,
Still no sign of you, Miss Bonolata Sen!

Haven’t seen anyone like you – nowhere?
Why did you have to leave ahead any of us?
Makes me wonder – why you turned this world
of ours, into a desert wasteland.
(why it had to be you!)
Shattering the wizards’s sorcery
You departed from this earth,
My familiar Miss Bonolata Sen.

Many a gloaming must desend over the horizon,
Many a night must we sleep next to a squalor
Many a time must we rouse by wild wind,
The night train must have reached
the station amidst oak and jombu forest,
taking away my night princes, Miss Bonolata Sen.
Translation: A.H. Jaffor Ullah

An October Morning

In one October morning,
some dewdrops fell on my face and hair.
The dewdrops are here through
sarika* bird’s courtesy.

Three drenched sarika birds
almost touching an emblica^ tree
enjoying the sun’s warmth.
Is it an indigo-laden blue field?
Or is it an azure sky?
Is it the sun? Or something sun-like?

The bird slithers away
from our world into its own.
In my life, I have seen many sarika birds,
but never have I seen anything
like those three.

Translation: A.H. Jaffor Ullah

We Both Are Here, Again

We both are here, again,
in memory of sound bird’s river of light.
Thought we both are
Egyptian mummies.
Slumbering from morn to evening.
Sporting ourselves as a morning breeze,
swaying clusters of green leaves,
or becoming a twig of emblica, sal,
or even turning into silver hued falling rain,
pretending to be all of the above—
just you and me.

We died so many times over and over again
in many cities, bazaars, waterways,
amidst blood, fire, blurred decadence,
in the darkness of inauspicious moment.
Even then, we pined for light, courage, and life.
We cherished these in our heart
and be history-bound.

Our nest, we built somewhere.
It shattered into pieces and we cried.
On froth of the ocean, we giggled.
We loved our life.
Light—more light passed away!

If men depart today,
humankind will remain here,
curdled dewdrops will become
in the parlance of history, the capital
of man and woman.
                       Translation: A.H. Jaffor Ullah

                       Jasim Uddin (1903-1976)

                       Come to Garden by Night

                     Come to the garden by night
                     My bee.
                     I shal stay up the night
                     Lighting the lamp of moon
                     And talking to the dew drops
                     My bee.
                     Come to the garden by night
                     should I fall asleep
                     Tread softly my bee,
do not break the branch
Or crush my flowers.
Or awaken the flower that is asleep
come to the garden by night.
My bee.

Translation: Hasna Jasimuddin Moudud


If you want to see Asmani
Go to Rahimuddin's small house in Rasulpur.

It is not a house, a bird's nest made with 'venna' leaves
The slightest rain pours water inside.

The slightest wind, rocks the house
Under its roof Asmanis' live all year long.

She doesn't have a full stomach
The ribs in her cage are witness to her starving days.

The bright smile has gone from her sweet face
wiped out by cruel poverty.

She wears one hundred stiches on a hundred holes in her dress
Making a mockery of her golden skin.

The bee black eyes do not have twinkle of laughter
Only tears pour down in deluge.
Her flute like voice is wasted by crying out
She never had a chance to sing to tune of music.

Near Asmani's home lies the lotus pond
Where tadpoles and moss cover the water.

Mosquitos breed poisonous seeds of malaria germs
In its water the Asmanis carry on cooking and drinking.

Her stomach swells with worms, fever accompanies daily
They have no money to call for a doctor.

Khosmani and Asmanis live in two lands
Tell me my jadu who will you accept with greater love.

Translation: Hasna Jasimuddin Moudud

Ahsan Habib (1917-1985)
In Some Early Morning
In the early morning, how would you
Become so miraculous . . .
In some early morning.

In some early morning how would you
Smoothly warm up
Such a sweet call,
Such an intricate invitation
That miraculously twists and turns my heart towards you.
Your regular movement persists
Throughout the whole day
On the track that is right in front
Of my house—
But I give it no notice.
The sound of your horn gets buried
Under busy roar of domesticity.
I keep on doing
My housework.
You take away and bring back the whole day long.
I am unknown in my own circle, though
I do also have my own horn.
I have my own walkway—
Stations and stops—
I, too, move up and down blowing
My own horn—so, your movement
Does not make me pay that much attention, or
It bores me when I eat and take a nap,
And then I get up.
In some early morning, you are not
The train I know . . .
The dusty moon of the blue sky,
And the darkness of the whole
World, you assume—
Blowing your miraculous horn
You keep on calling me as you go away—
I wish that I could go with you.
Translation: Hassanal Abdullah

Farrukh Ahmad (1918-1974)
The Moorhen
Now that the night is still, the world asleep,
Silent the noises that engulf the day,
I hear across the fens the moor-hen’s wail
Full of an anguish words could not convey.

If you must listen, shake yourself awake,
Forget your follies, lay your cares aside,
And lend an ear to that resonant voice
Pouring out like a strong resistless tide.

It stirred emotions mysterious, profound
And made me restless, set my heart ablaze
I found relief in sighs and curses, foul
And vile, and thought of my wasted days.

Those accents tore deceit’s false makes away,
Faced me with truths I’d done my best to hide
I felt stripped bare of my defences all,
And saw how I’d dissembled, how I’d died.

The shameless poses I played at the airs
Daily assumed, the guile in smiles concealed
Each act recalled hurt like a gaping wound
Each lie remembered was a gash unhealed.

Listen! there goes the plaintive wail again,
Breaking the quiet of the rural night.
It drowns eerie choir of trembling leaves;
I wrestle with my heart-break as I might.
Translation: Syed Sazzad Hossain

Syed Ali Ahsan (1922-2002)

My East Bengal

My East Bengal appears to me the charming but sweet arbour
of a huge mangosteen leaves that spread dark cluster
on the rise of the dusk like the fathomless lake,
like dark hairs of the clustered clouds
and peace that fascinates anguish.

My East Bengal rains sweet love
that touch the heart of moistened azure sky
and entwines golden creeper around mangosteen
as if hairs are kept dishevelled looking on to the sky
with endless thoughts comfortably gladden moment
when many a cloudy feathers overwhelm the sun,
then insensitive smells of heaps of paddies, mud and water
seem to be bewildering;
here sufferings of parting sweet heart anxiously waiting
with eternal fear, hope, and disappointment towards journey of love
groom's alien palace, love tryst, three leaves
and a branch of Kodombo tree bows down to kiss the land
and there are many other trees, plants, creepers
with those blue, yellow, violet, purple or white flowers flood-
there are innumerable flowers as if dozing in their own
way in peace,
sleepily there lay black hairs like the eyes of the crow
immersing feet
as if a red lotus touches the heart of the body itself like
the azure sky:

You are my East Bengal-
the body of an accomplished gladness of sweet
mangosteen arbour.

Shamsur Rahman (1929-2006)
That Hand
The hand which looks for the moon-white dream-way
                        on the breasts of a woman
and looks for soil for cultivating crops there;
what a wonder, that same hand
writes down the order of throwing bombs!
Translation: Sayeed Abubakar

Independence, You
Independence, you're the immortal poetry
and songs composed by Rabithakur.
Independence, you're Kazi Nazrul, a noble man
of bushy curly hair, trembling in joy
with the peace of creativeness.
Independence, you the brightest meeting of 21st February
held at the shahid minar.
Independence, you the spirited procession
decorated with flags, full of slogans.
Independence, you the smile of the farmers
walking in corn-fields.
Independence, you the wanton swimming of a village lass
into the heart of a pond at a shining noon.
Independence, you the tight muscles of skilled hand
of a youngblood day-labourer burnt in the sun.
Independence, you the light of the freedom-fighters' eyes
at the dark forlorn boundary of motherland.
Independence, you the fresh speech of a young brilliant student
under the banyan tree which stimulates its listeners.
Independence, you the stormy dialogue
at tea-stalls and meadows.
Independence, you the maddened wind of kal-boishakhi
surrounding the horizon.
Independence, you the bank-lost breast
of the Meghna in srabon
Independence, you the kind earth
of my father's soft jainamaj.
Independence, you the shivering of my mother's white sari
spread at courtyard.
Independence, you the mehedi's colour
on the meek leaf of my sister's hand.
Independence, you a coloured poster as bright as stars
at the hand of a comrade.
Independence, you the wild dance
on the open black hair as well as in winds.
Independence, you the colourful coat worn by our baby boy
and the game of sunrays on the flabby cheek of our baby girl.
Independence, you a cottage in a garden, songs of cuckoos,
the glittering leaves of an aged banyan tree
and my poetry-khata where I write what I wish.
Translation: Sayeed Abubakar

Sakti Chattopadhyay (1933-1995)

Walks Behind, Remains Remote
He walks behind me, from a polite distance,
Keeping his eye on me. I try to hide in a crowd;
He pretends his mind is elsewhere, or, at best,
He looks as if he is fooled and separates himself.

Still he follows. I move quickly, silently,
Behind a crumbling wall, its moss rubs off on my face
When suddenly I find him holding on to the other side,
Standing, keeping up an appearance of studied regard.

His eyes, expressionless, he keeps fixed on me
Yet, in fact, he may be looking upwards
Seeing a bird, the clouds' movements, or the old tiles
Of a primary school. When it begins to rain,
Unconstrained, he moves under my umbrella, like a snail
Drawn into its spiral shell. Nearing, he remains remote.
Translation: Sibnarayan Ray

Abul Hasan (1947-1975)
Life and Death

Death will take me but the United Nations will not.

So, to the intellectual seminars, to the poetry societies
And the general public— I want to say this before I die:
Gentlemen, please stop,
Please be quiet like a rose.
What’s the benefit of war?
What’s the benefit of enmity?
Why do you always strive to occupy?
The news of your distraction, distortion
And casualties are all over the Papers . . .

Man went to the moon,
And I got love—
But you still did not stop the violence!
You did not recognize the dreams of the poor,
You did not hear the beggars.
Nobody ever thought to do this,
What I did for the entire night!

Half of our life is gone:
Making love and breeding children.
Yet, Gentlemen,
Please tell me,
How many times we had a chance to say,
It's okay, everything's fine.
Translation: Hassanal Abdullah
        Bangla Poetry: Its Past and Present
                Dr. Sadruddin Ahnad
                                           The Butchers
                                           Nazib Wadood

The soft golden afternoon rays of the autumn sun were reflecting over her fresh whitish cheeks.
She was looking so shining, nice and charming as if a hur had descended from the Heaven upon
the worldly compound. How could such a beautiful girl have taken birth in a poor family of such
a marginal farmer like Harezuddin? thought Akber Mollah, the chief of the village. The
bridegroom, a black, stout, healthy young chap of about lovely twenty years, had kept his
shameless unblinking looks upon her, being unmindful even of the presence of so many people
including the elders sitting around him.

Nobody could dislike the girl; it was certain, Mollah thought. And if the question of family was
raised, undoubtedly it would be, then one should know the name and fame of the Gharamis had
not been a matter of very distant past. Concern of the present was that the Gharamis had fallen on
evil days. Harezuddin’s father, Shafiuddin Gharami, had developed a deadly disease and sold
almost all his farmlands, mango gardens and ponds to get money for his treatment. After his
death, he had left only one and a half acres of farmland for his son; and Harezuddin took lease
another one acre of land as a sharecropper. He had a pair of bullocks and a plough for cultivation
of his own lands; and used to plough other’s lands too, to earn extra money. Thus, Harezuddin
Gharami was hardly managing his family.

Nosimon was sitting on an armless chair in their square courtyard fenced by jute-stalks on all
three sides. She was positioned in front of their two-roomed thatched house to face to the west to
let the golden sunshine of the dying afternoon kiss her cheeks and made the face more beautiful
and charming. The bridegroom and his relatives, and the invited senior villagers were sitting in
front of her in chairs and benches; some friends of her, along with an old grandmother-like
woman, were crowding around her to maintain courage of their girl before such a gathering of
unknown and honorable persons. Her face was glistening with reddish luster. Her body structure,
unlike to the average Bengali girls, was some taller and slender, with long black hairs on the head
spreading down to the waist. The Creator has created the fortunate girl with His own hand and
poured inexhaustible beauty and youth on to her, thought the village chief, and admitted that
despite his poverty, Harezuddin had nourished and brought up his daughter with much love and
Akber Mollah looked back over his shoulder to see the position of the sun. The mango tree spread
its branches over the roof of the thatched house as if it had held it with its huge and innumerable
hands. The sun was being seen through the gaps of the branches glittering with fading glow. It
was yet to set, but was rushing to the horizon. Taking his eyes back to the courtyard, he examined
the shadows on the ground to assess whether the time of the afternoon prayer was yet on. Then he
said, `Time of asr prayer is going to be over; I have to go, brothers, if you permit, please.’

Everybody was moved at his assertion; all they had so far been unmindful of passage of time.
Especially the bridegrooms party got very much ashamed understanding that they had really
wasted much time. The village chief noticed it, and to let them get rid of it, he said, `If you have
no more questions to ask, or nothing to see about, I think the girl should go.’

Questionnaire phase, the main part of the matrimonial interview, was finished earlier. So the head
of the bridegrooms party, a bearded old man with a white tupi on his head, said, `Yes, brother, we
have to go a long distance. We should be brief.’ He looked at the girl and asked her to show her
palms open to them; and like an experienced palmist, he bent forward and attentively examined
her palms and fingers for a while, and nodded his head positively. Then another middle-aged man
requested the old grandmother-like woman to show them her hairs. The old woman did it merrily
and confidently. Her hairs were abundant and long enough to touch her waist. The old man said,
`You may go now, my sweet little mother. Now go walking…!’

`I came here walking, and will leave the place certainly by walking, as I have no wing to fly, then
why comes the question of walking in such a demanding voice?’ Nosimon thought, but kept her
lips tight enough not to speak anything or even utter a soft sound.

A girl poured some water on the courtyard, and Nosimon walked slowly on the wet ground in the
little space in front of them. They examined her footprints and smiled with satisfaction as they
found the feet well formed. They also expressed satisfaction over her good and humble gait.

`Well-done, my daughter, well-done. Now go, and take rest,’ said the village chief.

What a word of relief! What a terrible time of troublesome heartache it was! –Sitting before the
crowd to be shown, to answer to their absurd, confusing, unnecessary and even harassing
questions, and giving bodily examinations before them! It is shameful, Nosimon thought, and
moved slowly to leave the place. The old woman whispered to her, and she then turned back and
raising her slender right hand to about her forehead, greeted the crowd with salam. While doing
it, she had a sudden and unexpected chance of casting a glance to the bridegroom, a black but
healthy young lad, still looking at her with his spellbound eyes. Not bad! Especially for a poor
girl like her! Nosimon said to her, and her whole body shuddered with a warm thrill; her mind
suddenly became full of euphoria; and she could not keep her standing there. She almost ran to
leave the place to hide her unusualness; while she was briskly walking, she could have not even
imagined if she was stepping on the ground, or flying in the air.

Harezuddin had collected all necessary details of the bridegroom and his family earlier before.
Parila was not a very distant village. He himself had gone there and secretly learnt everything.
Roistullah had been a medium sized farmer; the villagers knew him as a rich man with his twelve
acres of land. And Mohibullah, the eldest of his two sons and three daughters, was well-known
for his modesty and endeavors, and religiosity. The boy passed class nine, and then devoted
himself to farming in his father’s lands, not to waste time in study that would not perhaps confirm
an employment for him. Harezuddin was very much pleased with all those, and was at the same
time anxious with the question of the choice of the other side. The matchmaker had assured him
that they had been seeking for a beautiful girl– only a fair-looking bride, and a good family, and
nothing more. They would not demand dowry, the matchmaker had categorically said, as he was
expecting more clear and specific information. He had full confidence in him that they could not
have but chosen Nosimon, for her fair complexion, attractive body figure, lovely face, long hairs
and big enchanting eyes. She could also read and write, though not much. His daughter was
intelligent enough and very much social, and skill in cooking and sewing. But Roistullah was
something miserly and greedy by nature, somebody told him. He might expect something from
him that would at least be honorable for his social status, if he really would not openly demand
dowry, Harezuddin had thought, and despite that, he had screwed up his mind in hope. He had
earlier explained everything to the village chief and informed him of his heart’s wish. Now he
whispered to him, and said, `Well, now, you, elder brother, please try to manage the marriage. Put
a little pressure, if necessary.’

Mollah had a business outside; he wanted to go, but kept sitting to serve his duty as the chief of
the village. Moreover, Harezuddin’s father was very much close to him, like a relative. They had
always been cooperative to each other, in all events, bad or good. He was telling those stories to
the bridegroom party to highlight the social status of the Gharamis just sometimes ago. So he
should not go away at the last moment of the event, he thought, and again looked behind at the
setting sun. The sunrays were rapidly growing shadowy and dodging with dark green leaves of
the mango tree. He stopped chewing betel-leaf and threw spittle with a habituated skill, and
turned to the head of the bridegroom’s party. `Well, dear honorable brothers, the sun is running
quickly, and I have to leave for another business; we can now speak briefly on what we have
already seen about the bride, off course if you have no objection, can’t we?’ he said.

The old man looked at the face of Roistullah, and said hesitatingly, `Well, then… yes, I should
say…, hi, brother, couldn’t we take some time to think and discuss the matter within us?’ Soon he
gathered his own dignity and tactic, and said, `It would be better if we say it later, some days after
returning home, isn’t it, sir?’

Mollah knew– his hairs had grown white settling all these business every now and then– that the
bridegroom party would try to take a little bit time for making final decision. His experience said,
once it would go beyond the courtyard, it would begin to be complex– one would say this,
another would say that, to make the bridegroom and his guardians perplexed. So he turned to
Roistullah and said, `Why later? You yourself and the other important relatives and villagers are
present here. If the bride is chosen, we can start forwarding, I think. Good thing should not be
delayed, our honorable elders say.’ Roistullah looked at the old village chief for help. Mollah
noticed it and assuming his attempt had acted positively, he threw a direct look at the old man and
said, `Why, the chieftain, you rather say, if the bride is not disliked, what is deterring us from
moving forward?’

The bridegroom was trying to convince his people with his piteous gaze, but all they were
exchanging indeterminable looks among them. Mollah could guess that none of the members of
the bridegroom party could have rejected his proposal, as all they had been charmed with
Nosimon’s beauty and figure. He advanced a little bit, saying, `Problem is that, frankly speaking,
there are two more proposals in our hand, and both are good enough to be accepted; and more to
say, one of them is pressing hard.’ Then he discussed how difficult a marriage had become
presently, especially for a girl. `We couldn’t have made much delay,’ he said. This grave
indication made Mohibbullah so anxious that he instantly had whispered to one of his friends.
Then whispers continued, and finally the old man said, `Let us go outside and have a discussion
among ourselves.’

Akber Mollah smiled with pride and with some others had the asr prayer performed.

The sun was about to set. A dimming light coming from the west was wrapping the world. They
soon came back and took their seats again in the courtyard. A bright smile was shining in the face
of the bridegroom. The old man said, `We have liked the girl. You may now advance as you
wish.’ He pushed the ball to the court of Harezuddin.

`Al-Hamdulillah!’ said the village chief in utterly joy and asked Harezuddin to serve tea. The
lunch was over just before the interview; now came some light foods including fruits, sweetmeats
and obviously tea. All they took it happily and began to fix the date and all other related matters.

Burgaining for mohrana took some time. It was finally fixed at Taka 50,000; Taka 40,000 would
be paid as gold ornament, and the rest would remain outstanding. Demand of the bridegroom side
was not too much, as they did not like dowry. Their village recently had connection of electricity,
and television had become a very necessary commodity. So a color TV! OK. One of the
bridegroom party indicated that Mohibullah had a longing for a motorbike. `Is it possible? For a
man like Harezuddin? And if you don’t mind please, what he would do with a motorbike?’ None
could answer. Therefore, Akber Mollah directly rejected it, and put a new proposal before them,
`We can hardly give a bicycle.’ `And a rickshaw,’ said another man. `Yes,’ said Mollah, `It is a
good proposal; it could be put out on hire to earn a regular income.’ The Sugar Mills authorities
last year extended its brick-built road up to Parila. Now rickshaw had become a very popular
vehicle. After a brief discussion, they consented for a new bicycle and a rickshaw. In addition to
these, as per tradition, Harezuddin would give cotton-quilt, mattress, pillow, mosquito net and
metal crockery. `And the bride’s father would give their daughter whatever they like, we
wouldn’t like to say anything about it,’ lastly said Roistullah.

Then the date was finalized.

Everybody said, `Al-Hamdulillah.’

On the next Friday noon, after the jum’a prayer, Harezuddin formally informed the jamaat of his
daughter’s marriage. `I pray you, the jamaat, would be present in the matrimonial ceremony to
offer do’a for the couple.’ Then Mollah intervened and said, `You all know ins and outs of
Harezuddin. He has no ability to feed the jamaat. He rather needs help from us. So take it
sympathetically.’ The imam added, `It is now our task, not only Harezuddin’s, to accomplish the
ceremony smoothly so that the guests doesn’t feel dishonored.’

Harezuddin heaved a sigh of relief.
Everything was so far going smooth. Harezuddin and his wife Saira Banu had become very happy
and satisfied with their fate having an unexpectedly good bridegroom for their beloved daughter.
To speak the truth, the amount of demands was also less compared to the family status of the
bridegroom. But calculation of total costs of the ceremony soon broke their heart. At least Taka
40,000 was needed for TV, bicycle, rickshaw and other things for the bridegroom. There would
be other costs of feeding and other formalities. The bride should have been given some cloths and
ornaments. All those would cost at least another Taka 25,000. Besides, there would be frequent
visits of the relatives, especially from the bridegroom’s side for about two months. At the
beginning, as per the tradition, those relatives should have been honored with gifts.

`How will you collect such a huge amount of money?’ said Saira Banu; her voice was almost
chocked up with anxiety.

Worries had made the already dark face of Harezuddin more blackish, as if someone smeared his
face with soot and smut. `I will manage…, don’t worry!’ he said, but his voice rang with absolute

`But how?’

`I shall sell the mango tree,’ said he, in a mood of solving all the problems.

His grandfather had planted the tree in his young age. Very good variety of Fazli mango. Bigger
in size, but very tasty, juicy and sweet. It used to grow fruits every year, in plenty amount, and
protected the weaker thatched house from Kalboishakhi. The larger tree, with its huge branches
and leaves, afforded them also with abundant shade in the hot and long summer days. The wife
got dumbfounded. None of them could speak until a gust of cold air stroke their face. Saira Banu
said, `How much will it bring?’

`Such a large tree…! It shouldn’t be less than ten thousands, I think.’

`Ten thousands! … the rest?’

`What can I do other than selling or mortgaging some lands?’

`What will we eat if the lands are sold? You rather sell the bullocks.’
He startled with sudden shock and looked at his wife. But in the darkened light of the moonlit
night, he could neither see his wife’s face nor utter a word. Saira Banu continued, `Bullocks could
be bought after harvest of crop, but how could you get the lands returned back?’

Harezuddin tried to keep him quiet and normal and said in a low arguing voice, `What a real fool
you are saying! Cultivation is not so much profitable now. The bullocks and the plough bring
sufficient income. And think attentively… how would you cultivate your lands if you haven’t

`Can’t we? Why?’ …the wife strung her arguments together to convince her perturbed husband.
`Once the marriage completed, we would have no burden in near future. Our two sons would
soon be brought up to help you. We have to suffer a lot, no doubt, for one or two years, but
everything would be alright then, Insha-Allah, you see.’

Harezuddin did not answer. It was not such that he did not know it. He stared to the darkness
beneath the sloping thatched roof of the verandah, but saw nothing.

`Won’t you speak?’

He heaved a deep sigh that broke the silence of the night. Jackals suddenly barked in the nearby
crop fields to announce mid-night and stir up the village dogs to quarrel with them.

`What are you thinking?’

`I can’t sell my bullocks.’ His voice was soft, something trembling, but firm and confident.

`Why?’ said Saira Banu, being wondered and disenchanted. She knew what a headstrong man her
husband had been.

Harezuddin felt some annoyed and agitated, `Why! Don’t you really know?’ Then he paused a
while to swallow his bursting emotion and said, `Those bullocks bear on their body the touch of
my beloved eldest son. I feel him touching their bodies. Have you forgotten it?’

Saira Banu could not reply. She kept looking at the face of the man, though was seeing nothing.
Harezuddin continued in a heavy sobbing tone, `I sense my son’s smell when I go near the
bullocks …I feel my son haven’t died … he is still alive!’
He stood up, silently got down from the verandah and went across the courtyard to the cowshed.
The two bullocks and the only pregnant cow were standing and ruminating there. He approached
close to the bullocks and began to hug together. The animals also responded to their master’s love
swaying their heads.

Harezuddin’s father had left him with a grown up cow during his tragic death. After few years,
she had given birth to a black male calf. Then Shahjahan was a mere school-going boy of about
twelve years. He loved the young calf with all his heart, like a good friend and gave him the name
Kala for his black color. To meet his demand, and seeing it profitable, Harezuddin soon bought
another calf of the same age. He was called as Lala for his reddish color. Kala and Lala, and, off
course, the adolescent boy became good friends. Shahjahan had begun to spend his leisure in the
house, after coming from school, with the two beloved creatures. He had used to take them to the
fields for grazing, bathe them in the pond. He had taken it as a daily routine to chop paddy straw,
and sometimes other fodders and green grasses, and mix them with oil cakes, grain-husks, salt
and water in a manger. The two calves used to eat them up to their throat and rapidly grew
healthy and strong; and had been very fond of him. With days passing, Lala and Kala grew young
and ultimately became ox. Shahjahan too became young, got admitted into the nearby college but
why and how he could change himself had been unknown to the family and the villagers. He
began to spend most of his daytime outside, in the town and distant suburbs and villages.

On an afternoon, when, just after returning home, Shahjahan was to take the oxen to the field for
grazing, Harezuddin said to him, `What’s the matter, my son? What are you doing now-a-days…
spending even nights outside?’ His voice was so cloudy and the face so gloomy; the son tried to
make the situation easy and tidy by offering a fresh laugh and said, `Oh, no, my dear father,
nothing worrying! I attend my classes regularly, and everything is going quite well … but you
know, we shouldn’t think only of ourselves, should we? We have a country, and a huge mass of
people, much poor, neglected, deprived and oppressed… shouldn’t we work for them… being a
member of the same class?’ he tried to pour much affection and sincerity in his voice.

Harezuddin could not answer, as he did not understand what his son was trying to mean. The boy
had rapidly grown young, strong and knowledgeable, and had seemingly been gradually growing
unknown to him, he thought, and said, `I am an uneducated, ignorant man… I know nothing. I
would only say, don’t do anything wrong and harmful.’
`Oh, no! Don’t worry, I won’t do that. You should be confident that your son wouldn’t do
anything that could hang your head in shame.’

His oratory convinced the father to believe that his beloved son had learned a lot and that filled
his heart with joyous pride. `Once my son would become a great man, as his school teachers had
earlier predicted,’ he said silently to himself.

Shahjahan was a meritorious and persevering student; and well known for his benevolent
character. But he could not recently manage much time for the villagers; he remained very busy
with other functions of his own. But even in such tight engagements, he could not forget his
friends Kala and Lala. Whenever he came home, whether in day or night, he used to go to the
cowshed and caress them.

That was a day of the last week of Agrahayan. The middle-aged couple had become tired with
taking the harvested paddy to the granary on the verandah. The sunset and the evening began to
wrap the world with growing darkness. They hoarded the rest of the paddy at the centre of the
compound and covered them by bundles of straws and mats made of date-leaves to protect them
from dews.

After performing the magrib prayer, they sat on the verandah. Saira Banu said, `We could have
managed the rest too, if Shahjahan were to assist us.’ The boy had gone away in the very dawn
and was yet to return home. `This night you have to sleep on the verandah along with Shahjahan.’
Harezuddin understood the hint and said, `What terrible days are coming! As if, there is no law
and order in the country! Are the thieves, robbers and terrors are ruling the nation? What a reign
of terror really it is!’

The night began to wrap up the nature with cold mist. Saira Banu drove her ducks and chickens to
the cell. The oxen and the cow finished their eating and were standing beside the mangers.
Harezuddin took them to the shed and wrap up with jute-Hessian. Then he fumigated the shed
with smoke of dhup to drive away mosquitoes and gadflies. The cattle kept standing and
ruminating, awaiting return of their friend, who, coming back home, would fondle them before
washing his face, hands and legs, and taking his foods. Then they would lie on the ground
covered with fine ashes.

Saira Banu was very tired of working all day long. She was dozing sitting beside her sleeping
husband on the verandah. Nosimon was sleeping inside the northern room along with her two
younger brothers. The mother was waiting with rice and curry for her son. All others had finished
their meal earlier. The jackals barked to announce midnight. The village dogs began to cry. A
night bird flew away across their compound leaving a ghostly sound. Saira Banu was about to
droop in sleepiness; she could not keep awaking and sitting, and felt some angry with her son.
`Why the boy makes so late! Almost everyday? What the hell he does!’ She thought she should
go to bed, as she would have to rise very early in the next dawn. Soon she realized that it had
already crossed midnight and Shahjahan was yet to return home. `Oh, no! It is quite unusual. He
never makes so late!’ A house-lizard cried– tik-tik-tik! She trembled with a shiver and began to
slap her husband to awake him.

Harezuddin got up with a tremble cry– `Thieves… thieves… bring my stick… catch him…!’
Nosimon and her two younger brothers came out with sticks in their hands. Saira Banu, being
stunned at that, soon said, `No, no, it’s not thieves, listen! Come to your sense!’

Harezuddin regained his self and got very ashamed. `Then why were you slapping me? What’s
the wrong?’

`Your beloved son has not returned yet.’

He knew she used to use those words `your beloved son’ for teasing him; he did not mind it
because he really loved his son.

`Make your son married; otherwise he wouldn’t be homeward. Aren’t you seeing he is becoming
extrovert day by day?’

`Oh-ho! What foolish talks you are talking! Have you broken my sleep for telling these stupid
words? He will definitely call you after returning home. Now go to your bed and sleep.’

Sometimes, very rarely, it happened like that… Shahjahan would return home in the night and
awaken them from sleep. But it was unusual, and rare, she thought. Harezuddin again lied down
and soon fell asleep. Nosimon helped her mother to take the utensils with rice and curry to their
room. Finally, they too went to bed.

Her sleep was disrupted by a disturbing dream, probably something furious, Saira Banu could not
remember, but sense it. She was trembling like the flame of the lamp that was flickering on the
shelf of the window a little away from her. The utensils, rice and curries were lying unused as had
been kept there. Soon she could recall everything. Then Shahjahan had not returned yet? She
asked it probably to herself, or might be to none, so aimlessly it was uttered. She speedily got out
of the room with the lamp in her right hand and saw that her husband had been in deep snoring
sleep. She began to slap him on the shoulder.

`Strange! He hadn’t come back yet? Really? How it could be!’

The oxen stood up and lowed. Some dogs were out to bark in the near distance. The seven stars
were about to set. The sky was becoming silvery in the east drawing the dawn nearer. Lala and
Kala were kept standing with frequent lowing. But Shahjahan, unlike to his daily routine, had not
returned that day.

After three days of his missing, a Chowkider of the local Union Council conveyed a message for
him from the Rakkhi Bahini camp at Katakhali Bazar. They asked him to pay a visit there without
any delay.

Harezuddin had failed at first sight to identify his son, his own beloved son, whom he really loved
very much, lying on the Katakhali High School playground where he had learned his secondary
education and played and sang and danced with his friends. His face was covered with blood that
dried up to be black; his skin was peeled up from his chest; his hands and legs were broken and
crumbled; and his whole body was marked by numerous bruises. Harezuddin had forgotten even
to weep, to lament for his dead son, in fear, and grief, and anguish. They wanted to bury him
without ceremonial formalities. But the Imam had dared to demand that a dead muslim should
have been paid just honor by offering namaj-e-janaja and du’a for him. Their prayer had at last
been granted on some conditions. Shahjahan had been laid down behind the house near the
mango tree. Rakkhi Bahini members were patrolling there not to allow anybody to cry. The
villagers kept their lips tight and even breathed cautiously. Only the two oxen, Lala and Kala,
denied the reign of terror and kept lowing to mourn for their dead friend. They did not even eat
for some days.

`What a love in the mind of such poor animals! And what inhumane men are!’ said Harezuddin
weeping secretly. `Why they killed my son without any trial? O Allah, the Almighty Judge, You
Yourself make the justice!’

When they, despite being parents, could have not been able to protest the cruel unjust killing of
their own son, could have not cried loudly to mourn for their piece of heart, then the two oxen did
it; they had protested in their own language, though very much incomprehensible their utterances
were. –`Can my heart bear selling these oxen? They are like my sons, aren’t they? Tell!’

Saira Banu knew all those things. She did also know that he had loved the oxen very much. She
knew all farmers loved their cows. What Harezuddin used to do in this regard sometimes seemed
excess, but he had made it very usual, regular and natural matter. She did not mind it. However, it
was completely unknown to her that Harezuddin had loved them like his son, that he quenched
his thirst of parental love for Shahjahan through Lala and Kala. Now, coming to know the news
of her husband’s mind, she hugged the oxen and burst into a sudden heart-rending cry.

Harezuddin slapped on her back to solace his son’s mother, and said, `Don’t cry… What would
be achieved by crying? Rather offer du’a for him… May Allah get satisfied to confer our beloved
son with residence in Behest.’ He too began to weep.

Harezuddin mortgaged two bighas from his farmlands and sold the mango tree instead of the
bullocks. He had also to sell the food grains he kept stored for use in future. Still he fell short of
about Taka 10,000. Mollah managed the bridegroom’s father to keep it dues, as Harezuddin made
a commitment to pay the arrears very soon.

After the marriage was over, Harezuddin found him penniless. He had to have the loan of Taka
2000 from a usurer at a very higher rate of interest for managing costs of cultivating his lands. He
engaged himself in cultivation with his heart and soul. He would have to repay the loan and pay
the dues of dowry by selling crops. He began to sell his labor in other’s lands, when it was
possible, to earn extra money; and tried his best to achieve the highest possible rate of production.
If the crops would not grow well he would fall in awkward position, he began to think, and that
anxiety robbed of his sleep, even after his hard labor all day long.

Despite all those prevailing problems, Harezuddin and Saira Banu had been satisfied seeing their
daughter happy. Nosimon used to come to her parents’ house every now and then, often with her
husband. She looked more beautiful; shining glamour of her face was expressing her happiness.

But one day, after about two months of her marriage, she was not seemingly glittering much like
in the past. Saira Banu thought she might be sick or pregnant. She drew her daughter close to her
and said in a mixed voice of anxiety and happiness, `Why, my dear child, are you feeling sick,
or…?’ She looked at her belly. Nosimon felt offended, and instantly said, in an irked and rude
voice, `Why aren’t you paying the dues of your son-in-law?’
A thrill of delight like a light whitish cloud in the autumn sky was about to startle Saira Banu
with an expectation of hearing a good news from her beloved daughter, but her words confounded
her. She very hardly digested the words.

Nosimon could not be able to pull her eyelids; some hot drops of tears rolled down her cheeks.
She said in a choked voice, keeping her look on her feet, `What can I do… when I have to hear

The mother turned her eyes around her; the whole house, with its rooms and fenced courtyards,
began to look deserted. She could not understand how it could be possible that she could have not
felt the emptiness of the house even in absence of their beloved daughter and the large mango
tree. Now her heart began to cry in dreary emptiness.

`I thought…’

`No thought…!’ interrupted Nosimon, in a seemingly weeping voice, and said, `Manage the
money without any delay. I don’t want to hear… from where and how...!’ After a pause she
furthered, `Don’t spoil the happy life of your dear daughter, please!’ She broken down in tears
and ran away.

The Gharami couple could not sleep that night. How could they collect such a good amount of
money? Within such a shorter period? These were their concerns. Saira Banu denounced to hear
any excuse, and said, `I only want to see the money… from where and how, I don’t want to hear.
Don’t spoil our beloved daughter’s life, please!’ She began weeping.

The next dawn, just after finishing the fazr prayer, Harezuddin rushed to Akber Mollah and
requested him to take the rest of his lands mortgaged. –`Mollahji, please, save my daughter’s

Mollah was eating gur-muri sitting on a chowki on the verandah of his outer-home. He pushed the
bowel of gur-muri to Harezuddin but he took nothing, as he was not in a mood of entertaining.
The village chief said, in a normal voice, as if he did not notice his indifference, `Are you
certainly going to sell the land?’

`What can I do?’
`I am now in short of money. Why aren’t you selling the bullocks? Would it be right to sell the
lands? How?’

The bullocks were larger like buffalos, and stronger, and still looked younger. They would
certainly sell at not less than Taka 15,000. He could have a handsome amount of money in his
hand even after paying all claims of dowry. Better he should buy two calves by that rest of money
to compensate the loss of the bullocks.

The suggestion seemed good, and profitable, but Harezuddin’s mind did not consent to it. He did
not respond to the advice.

Akber Mollah knew his cause of dissent. He said in a sincere and fatherly sympathetic tone,
`Human beings are like the earth, can you understand? He has to endure everything… all the
agonies, shocks and sufferings. He can do everything whatever difficult and pain striking it may
be. And you should not forget that this is the strength and ability of the human beings that keep
the world run.’ He took a pause and said, `Think of your son, didn’t you overcome that great loss
and sorrow? Do you think that your love for the bullocks is far more valuable than your beloved
daughter’s happiness, do you?

Saira Banu supported the arguments. `Will the bullocks live forever? Just some years after they
will grow older and become weak. Then you cannot but sell them, isn’t it?’

Harezuddin found no words for protest or disagreement. Nosimon’s weeping voice began to echo
in his ears, – `The mother-in-law often makes cutting remarks. Your son-in-law is also now-a-
days giving reminders. This has become a permanent cause of harassment for me.’

He wept hugging the bullocks. Really, they are becoming older and weaker, he guessed. They
will be worthless within a few years. Akber Mollah and Saira Banu gave him right and justified
suggestions, he admitted. He made his mind hard and said to himself harshly, `If the marriage
breaks, will you be able to rebuild it?’ His inner man said, `Possibly no.’ `Then why are you
going to take such a risk just for two ordinary animals?’ he asked. No one answered. Harezudin
burst into tears. The two animals perhaps realized the dilemmas of their master, as they also
began to shed tears.

Lalmon, a famous butcher, appeared just one day after. Harezuddin said straightforward that he
would never sell the bullocks to a butcher. He wanted to have been condoled at least seeing his
beloved bullocks living well in a farmer’s family. He would even be able to visit them when his
mind would be impatient for seeing them. He was seeking a buyer keeping those two thoughts in
his mind. However, the fact was that he had found no such buyer immediately. Two or three
buyers came but they were not ready to pay much. The said, `It’s not a matter of size and weight.
We want work. They are really older enough to take retirement within a very few years, aren’t

Harezuddin, an honest man, could not deny that reality that recently came to being in his mind

Insisting Lalmon said, `What kind of man you are, really, brother Harez? You need money. You
should sell them to a man who would give you the highest price, isn’t it? Why are you hell-bent
on not to selling to someone else?’ He proposed Taka 16,000. Even that ever-highest price could
not convince him.

He raised the price by another Taka 500 but failed to bend him. The neighbors tried to convince
him arguing that Lalmon had not offered unjust price. If he really wanted to sell the bullocks, he
should accept his offer. His dogged perseverance would make no profit in the end, they warned;
and requested the butcher to further raise the price a little. To honor them, Lalmon added another
amount of Taka 500. But Harezuddin was not a man of selling his love for money. `I won’t sell
my beloved bullocks to any butcher,’ he categorically said.

They became annoyed with him. Specifically Lalmon got very shocked and felt insulted. Out of
an uncontrolled rage, he hiked the price by another amount of Taka 500. Even it failed to bend his
rigid neck.

Nosimon was expecting to go to the in-law’s house taking the dowry-money with her. She tried
but could not laugh at the time of her departure seeing her dream not realized. Harezuddin
himself had also consultations with her wife that they would send their daughter with the dowry-
money, but he failed. Every body was angry with him, he could understand. He said to the son-in-
law, `Don’t worry, I would manage the money within a very few days. Please make your father

Mohibullah said, `Oh, no! We are not pressing you. Give it when you can do. The problem is
actually lying with my father. What can I do?’ Harezuddin wanted to believe him but could not
forget the gloomy darkness that soon covered his face.
Nosimon said, `Please don’t make much late, father. Pay the money immediately if you really
wish to pay it.’

Harezuddin was struck with wonder and shock at her words. He could not think how such a very
short period could change their beloved daughter. `Have I refused to pay the money? Do they not
trust me?’ He asked himself but could not found answer. A cold soothing air was blowing, but
Harezuddin began to sweat.

He went to the crop field after sending them off silently, with looking downwards, and returned
after performing the magrib prayer in the mosque. He lied down on the bamboo-platform in the
outer courtyard of his house. After a while, Saira Banu found him almost asleep. She became
angry. `How can you sleep, ah? You would recover your senses only when the family of the
daughter would break, I see! Do you want that?’

Harezuddin kept his lips tight. Saira Banu continued, `What’s the problem with selling out the
bullocks to the butcher? When the matter is selling, the buyer should not be the concern. The
question is of money, having the highest price. We should not find what the buyer would do with
them. Why are you feeling headache with such an abnormal thought?’

The husband’s silence alerted the wife. She kept her hand on his forehead, got ashamed and
shocked seeing him sweating. She wiped out sweats with the loose end of her sari, and said, `I do
feel your mind, my dear, but I lose myself when I think of our beloved daughter’s future. What
will we do if she falls in trouble for the money? Don’t you see what are happening around us?’
Great affections and love choked her voice.

Harezuddin did not answer. He took and held her hands tightly. Saira Banu responded too. They
felt and sensed each other. The night became darker under the black sky twinkling with crores of
stars. She began to comb his hair with her fingers and said, `You are a reasonable man, and an
affectionate father. Well, wait for another few days and see if any farmer comes. If not…’ Instead
of completing the sentence, she pressed her warm palm on his forehead. Harezuddin tried but
could not see his wife’s face in the darkness. He closed his eyes.

A buyer came on the following day. Haru Kabiraj of the neighboring Dewanpara proposed Taka
18,000. `It will cause a little loss to me, but I am willing to bear it as your bullocks are good in
works,’ he said.
Harezuddin did not object. Kabiraj pushed Taka 3,000 to his hand as earnest money and said, `I
will take the bullocks this afternoon paying the rest of the money.’

Harezuddin moved his head to the right side, like an innocent child, to give his consent. Suddenly
Kala cried out with a low, and Lala followed him. Harezuddin could not but burst into tears like
being scared in fear of doing something wrong. He held the buyer’s hands tightly and said, `Not
today, brother, I myself took them to your house tomorrow morning.’

`Oh, well, that wouldn’t be bad! Come tomorrow with the bullocks and take the money. That
would be good too!’ Kabiraj said.

Harezuddin did not go to work that day. He went to Katakhali Bazar and bought oil-cakes, grains
and husks. He chopped straws into small pieces and mixed them with oil-cakes, grains, husks,
water and salts. After long days, Lala and Kala had such a tasty and rich food. They sank their
noses and ate it greedily with making hissing sounds. Harezuddin caressed on their body and
poured affections– `Eat, eat my sons, eat it well, have it up to your satisfaction!’ He could not
manage his tears.

He took the bullocks to the pond at noon and cleansed their body with straw. `Hi, brother Harez,
are you going to make Lala-Kala marry?’ said a villager. He did not mind it. Saira Banu wept
inside her feeling her husband’s sorrow, but said nothing as if she was not seeing all his

That morning of Agrahayan, the month preceding the winter, was some cold. Drops of dews were
shinning on the bean leaves on the roof of the kitchen like silver pieces. Saira Banu lifted the lid
of the poultry-coop. Harezuddin was feeding the bullocks.

The sun was rapidly rising above the long trees of the village. He was still then busy with nursing
of Lala-Kala.

`The breakfast is ready. It has already been too late!’ Saira Banu said.

`Oh, yes, I am coming.’ He did not look at her, and became busy with rubbing mustard oil in head
and horns of the bullocks.

`Don’t make further late,’ she said reluctantly.
`Well, I am coming.’ He showed a delighted mood that lasted not more than a while.

At last, Harezuddin took his breakfast. Saira Banu pressed him for hurrying but he could not
somehow complete his duties. The sun rose almost above the head. Saira Banu dismantled the
knots of ropes of the bullocks and pushed those to her husband’s hands. He stared at her with a
blank look. Her heart shriveled with throbbing pain seeing his pale face. She could not hold tears.
Harezuddin was looking at her helplessly; now seeing her crying, his face and eyes, his whole
body, began to swell and tremble, as he tried to hold his agony. But soon the held-back belching
cry exploded out through his obstructed larynx– `I love them… I love them too much! They were
like my sons… They were symbols of my martyred son. I loved them like my son…! Oh Allah!’

All they knew that they had love for Lala and Kala, but none of them knew that they had so much
loved the animals. They began to lament as if their children had died. Yes, that was like that to
them. They had not allowed them to cry aloud to mourn and protest the killing of Shahjahan, their
beloved young son; now, all the ices of sorrows and grievances remaining frozen in their chests
for last seven years, began to melt and swell up in form of warm tears.

Haru Kabiraj had been out just half an hour before. `You have made too late. He has asked you to
keep the bullocks here and go to the Bazar for the money,’ his wife said. Kabiraj had a grocery
shop in Katakhali Bazar. Harezuddin knew it. But the behavior seemed bad to him. However, that
was his fault, he thought, and returned home. Mohibullah was sitting on the verandah. Saira Banu
had sent a message to him. They wanted to hand over the money immediately to the son-in-law
instead of keeping it in house. After the johr prayer, they had their lunch and set out for Bazar.

Haru’s son said, `Go to the cattle-market. He would have been there waiting for you.’

`The man seems not fair, I think,’ said Harezuddin. Mohibullah did not commend. He followed
the father-in-law like an obedient boy.

The cattle-market was a mere name; it was actually a meat-market. The canal of Rajshahi Sugar
Mills passed along side the market. The butchers slaughtered cattle on the bank of the canal and
pushed the wastes into it. Those wastes spread bad smell. Nosimon was very fond of beef;
Harezuddin remembered and decided to buy some beef for her just after having the money. He
would also buy some sweetmeats.
Haru Kabiraj was chewing betel leaf sitting in Lalmon’s meat-shop. He smiled and welcomed
him– `Come on brother, come here. Who is this boy? Is it your son-in-law? Well, very well.
Come on my son, sit down here.’

Harezuddin nodded his head. Kabiraj said to Mohibullah, `Listen, son, you should invest the
money in a profitable job. Your father-in-law is giving you this money out of very troubles. Don’t
waste it.’ His words were full of guardian-like affections, with no tone of sarcasm. Despite that,
the man seemed very cunning to him. Harezuddin sensed the son-in-law’s discomfort and took
the comment as an unnecessary over bearing manner. `We are on a hurry. Please pay the money
and let us leave for our own job,’ he said.

`Yes, money,’ Haru became hasty; `We have kept it ready for you. Brother Lalmon, come here
for a while, give me the money, please.’

Harezuddin followed his look and saw Lalmon, the butcher, along with his companion, peeling
up skin of a just-slaughtered cow. It looked like Kala. He got startled. `Kabiraj, isn’t my Kala?’

He sprang to the slaughter spot like a mad man not wasting time for Kabiraj’s reply. `Lalmon?
It’s my Kala. Isn’t it?’

Lalmon showed his teeth of blackish red color like seeds of watermelon. `Yes, it was yours, no
doubt, once upon a time. Now I own it.’

Kabiraj and Mohibullah rushed to them. `What happened?’

Harezuddin became dumbfounded. Tottering tears soon overflowed his two eyes. Kabiraj said
with great astonishment, `You are crying, brother Harez?’ He began to explain his position, but
Harezuddin listened to nothing. He was looking at the dead body of Kala, as if his eldest son
Shahjahan had been lying dead in front of him: the whole body reddened with dried, blackish
blood; skin of the body peeled up every here and there; arms and legs broken and crumbled; and
the face pale and bruised. At first, he could have not identified his son. The commander said,
`Can’t you recognize? It’s your son! Shahjahan. Take him straightly to the graveyard, and don’t
try to create any scene. Understand?’ He sat down beside his son, touched his forehead, and tried
to tell him, `Have you bathed in blood, my son? Wasn’t there water in this country of rivers and
ponds?’ However, he could not utter the words. He fell down unconscious.
`What happened? Brother Harez? Come on, take the money,’ said Kabiraj and Lalmon almost at
the same time in the same hasty tone.

Mohibullah sat beside his father-in-law, held him in his arms, and anxiously said, `Are you
feeling too bad, father? Come on, let’s go.’

Harezuddin slowly raised his head, and looked around, as if he was in an unknown place and
finding someone known. Some shadowy faces began to reflect before his tottering eyes, and were
rapidly changing their appearance like snap shots. He tried to recognize them. Sometimes they
were looking like the commander, sometimes like Lalmon, sometimes like Haru Kabiraj, and
sometimes like Mohibullah. He tried hard to detect each one of them. He simply failed. At last, he
attempted to differentiate the butcher from among them. But all the faces were looking alike in
his tearing eyes. #

Glossary:      1. hur – virgin of the Heaven. 2. asr – the afternoon prayer. 3. tupi – one kind of cap wearing by religious men,

especially during prayer. 4. salam – a greeting with prayer for peace (As Salamu Alaikum– Peace be upon you). 5. Al-Hamdulillah –
means Allah deserves all the praise. It is said after having performed a good work or heard good news. 6. mohrana – a sum of money
or wealth that is given to the bride during marriage as part of the legal contract of marriage. 7. jum’a – the noon congregation for
prayer on Friday. 8. jamaat – congregation for prayer. 9. do’a – prayer for welfare. 10. imam – the appointed or designated leader of
the daily prayers of a mosque-based society. 11. Fazli – a good variety of mango. 12. Kalboishahkhi – a summer thunderstorm in
Baishakh, the first month of the Bangla year. 13. Insha-Allah – means `If Allah wants.’ It is said to hope perform a work in future. 14.
Agrahayan – the eighth month of the Bangla year. It is the last month of the autumn season. 15. magrib – the evening prayer. 16. dhup
– an aromatic smoke used for driving away insects like mosquitoes. 17. Chowkider – civil police of the Union Council, the lowest tier
of the local government. 18. Rakkhi Bahini – a paramilitary force formed in 1972 by the then government of Bangladesh. It tortured
and killed thousands of people, especially opposition party activists without any trial. 19. muslim – Follower of Islam. 20. namaj-e-
janaja – prayer for a dead man before burial. 21. Behest – Heaven. 22. Fazr – the prayer just before sunrise. 23. gur-muri – gur is a
kind of sweet made from sugarcane juice and muri is a kind of cereal of rice parched on hot sand. 24. chowki – four legged bedstead
made of wood. 25. sari – one kind of long cloth worn by women. 26. johr – noon prayer.

About the author: Nazib Wadood, born in 1961 at Rajshahi in Bangladesh, is a medical graduate. But he started his
career as a full time journalist and served so far many regional and national newspapers and news agencies like United
News of Bangladesh (UNB), The Telegraph, The Daily Star, The New Age, etc. He is the founder editor of the
Rajshahi-based regional daily Dainik Natun Provat. He is now advisory editor of that daily. Nazib was elected
president of Rajshahi City Press Club and Rajshahi Union of Journalists several times. He is now serving in Rajshahi
University in the post of Deputy Chief Medical Officer. He is an eminent fiction-writer and translator. He has nine
books so far in his credit. He was awarded many prizes including Bangladesh Parishahd Ekushe Literary Prize in
1981, National Youth Day Literary Prize in 1987 and 1988 and Shobdashilon Literary Prize for Fiction in 2008. He
edits a monthly literary magazine Nirjhor and two literary little magazines Porilekh and Nandan. He has nine
publications of short stories, novels, rhymes and translations.
        Bangla Literature: Its Golden Age
                  Dr. Ashgar Ali

Shankha Ghosh
The Storm of Desire
In this hovering soundless solitude,
In the abundant lonesome winds of this dark evening,
You turn up
your white pale face
cold as a cloud, lightless like the moon
towards the enormous sky.

From a far-away land I tremble
with the unbearable agony of desire---
Bunched around your white stone of a face
thin wisps of hair tremble
in the dark wind
     like so many fingers extended
           in pain, in prayer.

The corner of the sky grows heavy
with clustering clouds,---
Flashes of longing tear through
with repeated ferocity,
Tidal waves of love seeking to burst forth
in tremendous ecstasy, agitate
the unbounded distances within the darkness,
the sombre complexion of a reflective unmoving land.
You turn up your face
cold as a cloud, lightless like the moon,
your breasts are like undulations of a land
that has wept itself to weary stillness
you stretch out your anxious wasted arms--- long-expectant,
prayer-tired, towards that furious enormous sky-----

Around them cluster darkness,
wisps of hair,
a thousand musical notes,
in the boundless lonesome winds.

Slowly creation reaches readiness:
    As if in one terrible blessedly-sweet moment,
the clouds of its desire break forth
in bolts of unbearable thunder piercing the middle
of your outspread breast, eager, upturned,
towards the total bliss of union---
Then,banishing all rubbish
from this wet dishevelled tumbledown world
    a beautiful cool caressing

Alokeranjan Dasgupta
Now Peace is Also War
I can't really make out if we're at war or at peace.

I imagine the deceased assembled at some solemn occasion,
merely sharing hand-picked novelties of grace and experience
with the sundown; yet as I sidle up really close to a sunbeam
I notice they are auctioning off the dusk.

It would be hard to say if it was autumn or winter, in a black
hole in the sky I suddenly see the tussle of the seasons,
so soft and yet so inconsequential - not as when the seasons
are engaged in an allegorical interplay and finally
one overcomes the other in accordance with the will of a biased
producer in an amphitheatre. No, they only want to reduce
perishable mankind into stillness. That is why they allow
some indeterminacy to remain in the cosmos - and that too has beauty.

However, if I'm unable to contain the limits of life
clearly within one definition, then it's a catastrophe!
at such a thought I split heaven and earth
on either side of me and watch as the cloud
approaches cautiously, wanting to stroke the haycock;
the hay too wants to say something, but since each word
would be an assault, it draws itself tighter together ?
can peace be maintained under such conditions?

Either the war never really ended, or else peace is over.

Sunil Gangopadhya
A Truth Bound Sentiment
This hand has touched Neera's face,
could I use this hand to commit a sin,
ever again?
In the late evening glow
swathing the hanging balcony,
a 'daring' light had fallen on her face,
and like a telegram,
had instantly revealed Neera's grace!
A hint of a smile had merged
on her brows and eyes,
or was it the shine of mica-fines?
At such times,
I so long to call that lady, just a 'babe'.
I raise my right hand
and with my muscles flexed,
I whisper to myself --
'Be worthy of her,
Be worthy and rise'
I touch Neera's chin --
This hand has touched Neera's face,
could I use this hand to commit a sin,
ever again?

These lips have told Neera,
'I love you', once,
could a deceit play on these lips
ever again?
Coming down the steps
I remember, all of a sudden,
that the most important words
were yet to be said!
A breeze from the alien shores
would one day, soon,
carry this lady away
as nimble and graceful as a swan!
And the stairs would all give way
to the surge of a sudden quake!
I stop,
and look deep into Neera's eyes ...
I realize,
love is such an ardent pledge,
a deep emotional bondage,
and a sentiment bound in truth.
My eyes begin to burn ...
standing on the steps,
these lips had told Neera,
'I love you', once,
could a deceit play on these lips,
ever again?

Syed Shamsul Huq
Press Briefing
Is it not true that causing so many deaths
Finally gave you so little satisfaction?

—Three thunder-burned trees are standing
On the way of the market.
All the paths of the village now start from them.

Is it not true that your rivers
Still carry new-killed bodies?

—In a clear midday, the flocks of hilsa fish in Padma are seen,
As also a cheerful wind, and
Thousands of boats, you can’t
Even see the river for them—
Silver harvest will come before dusk.
Is it not true that another force Empowers you from behind?

—I was awakened the other night by the calls
Of a jackal, as I once in my boyhood.
The wind whistled in the neighboring bush. It was
Lights-out-dark in my room.
Nobody else, but my heart
Called for my mother
Raising both hands, in blackout-fear.
Though she was
The weakest and oldest one in the whole neighborhood,
I thought that
I was still her full moon.
Translation: Hassanal Abdullah

Al Mahmud
The Foam of Wind
Nothing lasts, behold.
Behold how the leaves, the flowers, the old villagers,
the pose of rivers' dancing, the brazen pitchers and the fire of hookah
and the flock of grown up girls gradually diminish
like the monsoon of Hilsa fish !
The yellow leaves, sounding in the wind,
fall down on the droughty desolate land.
The foreign ducks too, on whose bodies
there are millions of bubble, fly away
into the shallow blue cup of the sky.

Why doesn't anything last long?
The corrugated iron sheet, the hay or the muddy walls
and the undecaying banyan tree of village
get uprooted by the terrible typhoon of Chittagong.
The plaster splits and in the long run the mosque of our village
like our Faith, collapses down with a heavy crash.

The nests of sparrows, the love, the twigs and tendrils,
and the covers of books, fall off twisted.
By the water's bite of the Meghna,
the crops' green scream of the horizon starts trembling.
The houses float, float the pitchers and the cowsheds.
Like the affection of my elder sister, the old embroidered pillow gets also sunk.
After the decay of dwelling-houses, nothing exists more.
Only the birds, fond of water, flying in the sky
wipe off the foam of wind from their beaks.
Translation: Sayeed Abubakar

Shahid Kadri
Improper Meeting
Wild pigs will find their favorite mud.
Kingfishers will get the desired fish.
Nights--deep dark--will be white in heavy rain.
Peacocks will dance in a dense forest.

Lovers will eventually make love with partners,
Yet they will never be happy, never, never, never ...

Wanderers will return home alone.
In an empty pot,
Rice will shine like stars,
And the old, forgotten song will return to your tongue.

Lovers will eventually make love with partners,
Yet they will never be happy, never, never, never ...

They will stop marching in army barracks.
Hungry tigers will snatch a blue deer,
The village breeze will bring
The gentle tune of women's song--
And you will find a room to stay together.

Lovers will eventually make love with partners,
Yet they will never be happy, never, never, never ...
Translation: Hassanal Abdullah

Al Mujahidy
Breaking the Chain
Hiroshima, you have darkened my prison so much.
Please wait a while. And cry again and again
Showing your intense feelings.
Frequently, I will come back to your ground breaking the chain
Like a crowned-bird at the opening of dawn,
With the inheritance of the forest.
Shaking off the ashes from my body
I will come back with a new particle of soil.
Hiroshima, that feather-burning day
That black, dark-making, atomic fiery day--
I will never forget the day of burning
Babies, women, flowers, birds, and trees to ashes.
Hiroshima, please wait a while--
I will be back to your
Slowly burning fiery ground.
I also will burn my
Body, earth-tradition.
I will rush towards maternity house.
The mother of dawn will give me
Innumerable babies of light
On a new birth of August.
No more atomic fiery
Days, Hiroshima.
Translation:Rezanur Rahman Reza

Rafik Azad
Keeping eyes on beauty
In unending water of spring we begin the quest
In stones and pebbles.
Someone among us, worthy of the name of man,
Keeps searching in the earth--
Maybe in earthenware or in the depth of water.

Expanding roots we keep our quest.
From a far, wide expanse of a seashore,
A barefoot man has come for water.
Keeping eyes on beauty
We look for truth. A female human frame
Bares the kernel of a tasty palmyra fruit.

One may have the chance
To see the prettiest girl
At close quarters--to wake up suddenly
From her deep sleep.
As they gaze on beauty, the mortals forget
That there is any real difference between noon and midnight.

And then someone easily crosses the mountain.
Cowboys dig the mound of earth.
Loving someone, a frogman dives into the well
Water gathered from
Someone's weeping.
Someone else would stab
A hundred-year-old tree in a well-organized garden
Only to cause wounds and agony.

Only to obtain a little fragment of truth,
Some people hold on to a ploughshare.
Instead of truth they only get beauty, Sita.
Yet there is no long-lasting
Discord between truth and beauty.
Translation: Khondker Jahangir

Joy Goswami
Things Recalled at Night
All that rainfall
Laid out in the rainfall, all those dead bodies
Beating at the dead bodies, all that wind
Trembling with the wind but not billowing out, all those
                                     encompassing shrouds
Thrusting their muzzles in, tugging at the cloth, all those night-time dogs
Shouting, driving the dogs away, all those attendants
Half-naked, squatting attendants
Laid down beside the attendants, all those wooden staves
Those clay pipes not burning, in the rain
Those not-burning pyres
Spaced apart, all those not-burning pyres

Behind the pyres, the ragged river-bank
And on all those ragged edges, risen from the water,
All their mothers sit
Their heads covered with uncolored cloth
Risen up from the water after long years, climbed down from the rain,
All their mothers sit like small white bundles
So that at burning time
They can be close to their sons--
At burning time when the dead will remember
                            a wife left behind
An only daughter who ran away with her lover
Unresolved property and a friend’s treachery
The dead man will remember the first day at school and
Unseen for so long,
              unresisted, the cause of his own death
When he tries, flustered, to sit up on the pyre
                            one last time
And the attendant’s stave strikes hard,
                             breaking him, laying him out--
Then she can touch that fire-burnt skull
With her age-old kitchen-weary pot-scrubbing shriveled hand
And, spreading the end of her sari over those molten eyes,
                                             the widow can say
Don’t fret, baba, my son, here I am, here, I’m your mother,
                                   here, right at your side!

Translation: Prasenjit Gupta

Hasan Hafiz

Jakir Abu Jafor
Sayeed Abubakar
War is Life
They who are against hunger
They who are against death
They who take arms against the invaders
Along with them I can go in war this very day.
The boars which entering into the fields of civilization destroy all the crops of life
The jackals which digging the graves devour all the corpses of our kith and kin
The vultures which clutching the map of our heart sing the rotten withered song of democracy
They who are against them
They who draw irritated hands against their aggressive hands
I can go away along with them leaving my home for ever.
My heart cries now saying war war.
Saying war war, my heart bursts now like an atom bomb.
Life is nothing but war, and warlessness means mere death.
That river is the most beautiful one whose course is serpentine
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Sayeed Abubakar is one of the most important poets of modern Bangla poetry. It is well
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