Monday, January 18, 2021 | ePaper

Poem

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Twenty-first February
Abdul Mannan Syed

Do you recall that juvenile boy?
One day waking up at dawn
He rushed to the street-corner bare-footed,
Assembling at a place with his teenage friends;
Then they raised their voice in a chorus:
'We want state-language Bangla'!
Their feet were drenched with dew-drops.
Together they gathered from here and there-
Posters and barmers-written and drawn with untrained hands;
Then they moved around the neighbourhood in a morning procession.

When he arrived before his residence after going round in circles
the house number-33 looked quite different and unfamiliar-
The sisters were standing at the door
The girls were not yet playing any role-
Seeing them, he shouted alongside-others with a shy smile
'We want state-language Bangla'!
Then as the sunshine got hotter
He came back home-
After wandering for some more time with his teenage friends;
His face was red, his hair wet with perspiration, and the feet grey with dust.

Those people who had joined him in the morning procession
Have now disappeared in different directions
Some may have risen to the upper echelon of society,
Others may have melted with the crowds,
And, some may be sleeping endlessly underneath the soil     
And that young boy?
Is he still alive? -Seems as if he has perished with the mist of time.

Dhaka town then had a green hue!
The sky was so low that
It could, as if, be torn down with extended hands.
Familiar faces could be seen whenever one went to the streets.
Dramas were staged in the neighbourhood-and folk dances-
There were gardens galore-Krishnachura and Palash flowers-
and the green notes of music;

Ramna-leaves-green, light-green, dark-green, blue,
As if colours were flying from a pot-
In the midst of all these one day
Clenched fists were raised in the streets:
'We want state-language Bangla!
We demand. state-language Bangla'!

O the new generation!
Don't  forget those youngsters-     
Who with their tender voices, one day,
Walked the streets of towns -allover Bangladesh
Amid the smell of countless Krishnachura and Palash flowers.
Made another type of blood-red flower bloom :
We want state-language Bangla.

Translation : Helal Uddin Ahmed

The Shaheed Minar
 Asad Chowdhury

The Shaheed Minar is unfinished, I agree
 For it fell prey to
the hands of iconoclasts
and witnessed time and again
 its own destruction.
Yet it is the first image
of our glory and success
the dream of the youth.
In excessive drought
We call it sweet rain,
What happens when we shiver
all over with cold?
Like mother's sari sewn into
an old quilt emitting the smell of her person
The Shaheed Minar gives us warmth.

In despair I feel on the shoulder
The benign touch of hands
of my bosom friend.
In festivities till today
We the grey hairs and the black ones
dance together
in an ecstasy of delight.
In abroad too
memory reduces us to tears
 Indeed, we are there
so close to each other.
Translation : Saera Habib

The Mother Tongue
Sohrab Pasha

Spring breeze vibrates the through the dust-grey forest of the world today
Here the Spring blossoms as flowers of Ekusbey.
Shahid Minar fills up with bunches of red flowers of tender love
The amazed grey bird of Charys is flying to the edge of distant horizon

The wild rain has swept away the long-hyphens of pains to the water of Rupsa
The dreams of Rafiq, Salam and Abul Barkat fill
This sacred sky of Ekushey;
They knew, language of tears or flame of grief doesn't last long
Mother tongue holds its eternal glow to the tree of dream
The sun of gnosis bursts through the blind clouds
    
The dawn-light of civilization emerges from the magic-seeds of desire
In the depth of the soul bloom up Geetanjali', agile 'Ognibeena'
They knew, the flow of words finds the land of awakening of sleek sunlight
The busy hour of roses blooms in the blind wings of time
Language means sun-drenched anchol of ma's sari in gentle breeze
Imagings of new leave

Endless-blossoming in the eyelids
First story of growing up of dawns of golden light
Language means the eyes of the farmer learning maths of rain
Coloured shades on the grassy land, the glow of the fireflies at night
Midnight's tender moonlight, white rain of Bokul
Language means uprooting the rusty-nail
Midnight's tender moonlight, white rain of Bokul

Language means uprooting the rusty-nail of sensation in dusty darkness
Soaked-noon by wild wind of red Polash
It is the lurninous utterances of the heart
Language means never going back
'Joy Bangla'-the sweetest slogan
From the dreamful embryonic mother-tongue in heart's deep Bangladesh
Translation : Abdullah Al Mamun

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