Independence, how this word became ours | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 23, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:00 AM, March 23, 2019

Poetry

Independence, how this word became ours

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.

 

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