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naxalbari

The websites of Frontier Weekly & Milansagar have collectively published some poetry in the Bangla language, all of which were written by Naxalbari activists of the 1970s, who were to lose their lives to state violence in that decade, on this page, where they have documented the works of nine such martyr-poets. Presented hereinbelow are translations of one poem each as were penned by those nine revolutionaries. Tranlated by Atindriyo Chakraborty

  1. By Com. Saroj Dutta (encountered by police action on August 5, 1971)

 

Ratnakar

 

bloodied feathers fall on calm river

a sky chewed up through chest-smashing calls of parting

Hunter – the Nishadh –

He stands, shameless, stoic, stark in laughter,

Inebriation of non-violence in hand, red eyes,

 

Bandit Ratnakar awakes

sad questions in eyes, he stays awake, stunned by this sudden pain

two eyes of one swan – hurt to death

– strewn astray by feet

Rishi, speechless in shame, Vedic mantras make no answer

 

Golden dreams of fortitude in eyes,

the Hunter has won

From ashes of forgetting rises –

a past, aflame

Vessels of blood burn in brutal wrath,

Rishi burns in hatred of denial

 

— Today, by the rice-bereft hut, does she still stay awake?

His lover, her breasts are made of skin – does she hold a baby-skeleton to her?

 

In peals of laughter, the Dasyu poet,

– he tears those false flags of non-anger apart!

Day of darkness, fulfilled,

to end by the dimly caving shores

 

 

  1. By Com. Dronacharya Ghosh (tortured to death in police custody, 6thFebruary 1972)

 

Prehistoric

 

Broken bones scattered everywhere, untouchable skeletons

One or two half-complete animals;

No light cuts through the vines & orchids to hit the eye

flint-sparks inside occult caves make sunlight

 

Borderlines of prehistoric humanity nearby

Mother of smooth, naked youth –

One community- one woman – piercing through the atmosphere

No other eyes

 

Ghastly sharp screeches of beasts

The ancient shape of skulls strewn afar

Suddenly, stone-dagger stabs rabbit-heart

Warm blood – inchmeal writhing and wriggling

Making love with own mother –

there’s some bloodshed in that too

 

Strewn astray, all around, rocks, diamonds, and

remaining human bones,

Passion for one or two eldritch arts

Stiff, doughty roars – desire of lioness before dead lion –

Fades, slowly, to identity

 

  1. By Com. Murari Mukhopadhyaya (killed by police firing in Hazaribag Jail, 24.07.1971)

 

Hiroshima Askance

 

If a boy, sullen, with ruffled hairs,

comes to me and asks –

“i wanted to be established in life,

why did you kill me?” if he asks –

“i have never harmed you

why did you harm me?

could you, with all my bones,

slay those violent, hateful monsters that

stand against life?

then why did you not let me live?”

What will i reply?

 

I am America,

I have killed that student from Hiroshima

while he was going to school.

 

  1. By Com. Timir Baran Sinha (beaten to death in Behrampore Jail, 24thFebruary, 1971)

Walking, Sad

 

Some nights, I have cried

like wild rain

Poured fire on blind niches

Turned mad

Walked sad

In darkness

Through fields, bereft, after harvest…

 

 

  1. By Com. Amiya Chattopadhyay (beaten to death in Alipore Jail, 26thNovember, 1971)

Hunger of Land in the Face of Guns

 

Rain! Rain! It rains all day

In hot hills of the northern country

On minds, humane, deep inside forests,

Blazing fires roar out in waves

 

Frightened warnings from the rear,

like brutal, caged beasts,

Seek to pull back minds that boil in fury of blood

 

Huzur, go ahead,

attack the flames of the sun!

foil all rebel-dreams with your thousand rancid forces!

 

Soldiers who seek for you

Plucking experiences from dark hollows of time

They shall raise arms!

They shall make vicious enemies fail

They shall make them wither, one by one

Naked minds flare up

Forces billow wild in fury,

to lash out against enemy camps

Heavenly dreams flop down like landslides

Inside hilly minds

 

Land roars out in hunger in face of guns

O humans, look!

Babies born today, in houses

of the workers and the farmers

Poked by bayonets, before the glinting sparks,

They dream of a new world!

  1. By Com. Ashutosh Majumdar (Tortured to death in Jadavpur Police Station, 9thMarch, 1971)

Weaver, Weave Your Loom

 

What pledge shall I keep? On what trust?

Even today

Two minds do not meet

What hopeless oath shall I take?

Two minds do not meet

 

On what certitude must I go? Those pure outcries

Hit the ears, lucid evermore

Weavers weave looms in my mind

Knots clutter the mind up at times

It’s complicated

 

I think, with what hopeless pledge must i move?

Whether it will work, or whether it won’t? –

these two minds of the two

Troubled, all the while

Status quo brings weariness

 

Weaver, weave on your loom

Inside my mind

 

  1. By Com. Tushar Chandra (Beaten to death in Burdwan Jail, 27thMay, 1971)

 

In the Villages of India, Struggling for Freedom (Song-Lyrics)

 

In the villages of India, struggling for freedom

Countless farmers have risen

Behold, storm approaches!

Storm of revolt approaches!

Dashing through the vicissitudes

Hurling all that’s tattered asunder

Severe hurricane charges in

Farmers wage war in great anger

Shattering all shackles, hoisting the blood-red flag

Storm approaches…

  1. By Com. Kalachand Dalal (Encountered by Police on 12thMay 1972)

 

Broken Clouds and Broken Moon (song-lyrics)

 

Broken clouds and broken moon

Playing hide and seek

I row my boat down river wild

Hoisting sails of freedom

Playing hide and seek –

The moon has leaned, the morning star

Points at hints of light

Robins sing, cuckoos croon in tune

The carnival of music is on –

Playing hide and seek –

May yellow leaves fall today

May all that’s new flood today

May foul breezes go away

May the dusts go with them

 

  1. By Com. Sudipto Bandyopadhyay (Disappeared while underground and after being afflicted with encephalitis. Last  traced in 1970.)

 

Song of Walking the Road

 

Springtime approaches, 1970

When wintry mists of melancholia

Were, like those in throes of tuberculosis

Seeking for light, seeking to breathe clean air

Ceaseless dark smoke from chimneys

Had lit incense sticks made of blood and sweat

 

Springtime, 1970

Cuckoo-voices of lovers sing

Love me, beloved

Love me,

And love the music of our thoughts

 

The music is harsh

The song is ruthless

The right to love

Across all the countries of the world

Beloved, such is your love

 

Do you remember Shona Boudi?

You, who had defied Ahalya,

Beloved, do you remember that day

when peals of spring thunder rang through the northern clouds

and the daughter of Terai sang out loud?

It is not your evening lamp

It is torches, ablaze

You did not hear it right

It is not happy sounds of faithful festivity

It is the rifle roaring out from the hands of Nirmala

 

 

I am that lover of yours

Who walks along the long roads

To bathe in the sun

Won’t you be my sun-bathed lover?

 

The green fields & forests,

Of the Santhal Parganas, of Andhra

And, far far away, a sound

Moves with the echoes of livid explosion

Moves with the spring of 1970

Moves with your love, with my love

 

Stay, beloved,

My love is not that tiny nest

It is but a dream – i seek splendid rhythms of life

I walk the roads

I shall find them, I will.

Lovers of spring paint with blood today

Around the villages, around human settlements

Far away and further

And yet so near

It forms a circle

The circle gets smaller

And when the dark night of the bats is over

It becomes that tiny nest

Beloved, if I am no more on that day

And, if spring arrives,

Set the voice of my rifle to tune

Remember, i used to love

The song of walking the roads

 

8 Comments

  1. Farooque Chowdhury says:

    Excellent initiative, Atindriyo Chakraborty. It’s a nice tribute to the martyrs, who made supreme sacrifice for the exploited, who made supreme sacrifice for a humane society, who made supreme sacrifice for a modern, progressive world free from all backward, medieval, anti-people, reactionary, shackling ideas and practices.The martyrs never stood for supremacist ideas; they never stood for hatred-filled ideas; they never defended and preached one form of sectarianism while condemning another form of secterianism; they never forgot class line — the exploiter and the exploited. Today, this position — exploited of all color and creed unite — is urgent. It’s regularly forgotten, and space is regularly given to hatred-mongers, supremacists, racists, so-called rights activists in the name of opposing only one form of communalism, which is creating divisiveness among the toilers, among the exploited. And, this practice — giving of space to rectionary ideas, which regularly is expressed through meaningless sounds and rhetoric — is happening hundred years after the toilers achieved unique victory in Russia trampling exploiter-friendlt-philosophy and backward politics.

    • Thank you Farooque. Those are really overwhelming thoughts that reflect the burning passion for justice, dignity & equality of all human life…. Keep the fire burning!

      • Farooque Chowdhury says:

        Yes, keep the fire burning.

        I don’t have that knowledge, which enables a person to understand poem. I’m in the same level with English language. However, I liked the translated poems. You’ve put a good labor. Shall you consider sending these poems, with a short introduction, and a note on the circumsstances of the murders, to some magazine on poetry or literature?

        • i’d love to do my bit in spreading all the flints and sparks… please tell me where and how.

          in eternal solidarity,

          • Farooque Chowdhury says:

            You’ll find a number of these magazines/on-line magazines from Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, and in countries in Europe, and Canada, the US.

  2. This is very powerful poetry, full of imagery and anger. The struggle goes on and seems to be getting better with estimates that the Maoists now control almost 40 per cent of the landmass of India.

    • Farooque Chowdhury says:

      More important than landmass is politicalmass. Keep an eye on that mass.

    • yes. it is crucial to not give up on hope. skepticism is unavoidable in today’s life, but cynicism is a sin. as long as zamindars will get everything and farmers will get Rs. 150/- per day as wage-labourers in the fields owned by the zamindars, the resistance, naturally, will be on.