With the excitement of waiting for a poem to be composed
hundreds of millions of frenzied anxious restless rebellious listeners seated
on the garden- shore of a human-sea since morning: “When will the poet come?”
This garden wasn’t graced with trees in bloom, that day,
this slumberous faded afternoon wasn’t that day.
Then how was the afternoon of that day?
Then how was that ground, heart of Dhaka
now the site of Children’s Park, of benches, trees, and floral garden?
I know, to wipe out all the memories of that day
dark hands are on the move. And so today I gaze in this poet-less averse terrain-
poet against poet,
field against field,
afternoon against afternoon,
garden against garden,
March against March…..
Oh child of the future, oh poet of the coming days,
now swinging in the multicolored rocking-cradle there in Children’s Park,
one day you’ll come to know it all; and with that in mind,
I’m writing the tale of that great afternoon.
That day this ground had a different look.
No park, no floral garden, nothing of these were there,
like a piece of seamless sky, the grass covered the vast ground
inundating the horizon, verdant, rich green on green.
The green of our independence-loving hearts merged
with the green of that expansive field.
Fastening red bandanas on forehead and wrist
iron workers from the factories rushed to come to this filed,
with ploughs and yokes on shoulders, loincloth-wearing farmers came in clusters,
snatching arms from the Police came the vibrant youths.
There came the middle class with death clenched in fists, dreams in their eyes,
so too lower middle class, humble clerks, women, aged prostitutes, vagabonds
and young kids just like you, the urchins, the leaf-pickers, teamed together.
A poem would be declaimed, and for that, so very anxious was
the waiting crowd: “When will the poet come?” “When will the poet come?”
At the culmination of hundreds of years of endless struggle,
in steady stride like Rabindranath,
at last the poet came and stood upon the platform of people.
Then in a flash in splendid shimmer water gushed in the boat,
ripples frolicked in the heart, high tide surged upon the human sea-
all weirs washed open. Who’s to resist his thunder-voiced massage?
Jolting the platform of mass-sun, the poet delivered his immortal poem:
“The Struggle this time is the Struggle for our Liberation,
the Struggle this time is the Struggle for Independence.”
Since then the word independence is ours.
Translated by Tito Chowdhury
Tito Chowdhury is a Pharmacist by profession. Translation, however, is his passion.