Saturday, August 19, 2017 | ePaper

Poem

They want to snatch away the words of my mouth

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Abdul Latif :
They want it snatch away
The words of my mouth.
They chain my hands and feet
For sheer fun
What my grandfather spoke
That too my father spoke
And now tell me, brother mine
Can any other tongue adorn these lips?
We won't have it, no we won't
We won't speak in an alien tongue
We'll lay down our dear' lives if need be
To hold high
The honour of the tongue of my forefathers.
Where else but here in Bangla can you find
Songs dear like my mothers
And heart soft like hers.
How can I forget, brother mine,
My mother's honeyed words?
Those whose songs still call
The flood to a dead river,
How can I afford to forget them
Their peerless gifts through the ages?
Mukund Dag, Pagla Kanai
Hason, Modon and Lalon-all;
Their voices are also muzzled
Can this sorrow be borne?
To uphold the honour of these gifted souls
Who is ready to give his life?
Come in groups all of you
Or else you'll have forever
Courted your own disaster.
Don't be misled by their words.
Brother, I forbid
Don't dumb, you have your tongue
Or be blind when you have eyes.
They befriend you brother
And want to make you a washer woman's mule
That is why' in meetings galore
They' whisper soft and sweet words.
Two centuries have you slumbered
Bengalees sleep not any more!
Rise, there's no more time now
Hevent's you yet understood
Without Bangla there's no way out ?

--Translated by M.M. Quayes


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