Friday, February 27, 2015

For Avijit Roy, Shaheed

a bit of free mind got martyred yesterday
are there any stats of how many butterflies are born per day?
are there any estimates of how many nuclear warheads will end religion for good?
i've heard somewhere that martyrs don't really die
that's bullshit
everyone dies
but when beautiful people get killed by ugly people
it feels like shit.

Anyways, Abhijit Roy (hope that's how you used to spell your name), salute.
All the beautiful blogs in the world seemed to have turned a shade bluer tonight.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Comrade Saroj Dutta, Your Ghost

Sitting by the statues that were always there
As fields turn into houses 
and green crops turn into green money
the crops were red with your blood
the money is green with my greed

flowers that never bloom
decorate stairwells of the king's highway
rivers of gold and death spill over
the sun wilts down
the moon wastes away
they carry big men on big black cars
and guards with guns guard the gate of justice

there's a show by the pillars tonight
but men with guns have taken my keys
they'd taken yours too, but you had the guts
to ask it back
so they shot you instead.

i was in a carnival
the music was strong
the wheels were wild
they were to try the killer 
they were to hang the killer
they called out the killer's name
but it was my name
so i hid behind a mask
so they shot my brother instead.

these days, the streets are busy
we have too many bombs to feed
hearts heave booms before heavy iron bars
these days, the nights are haunted
we have said all words
we have heard all sounds
we have dreamed all dreams
now we repeat it all
through tragedies and farces

once there was a lizard that stayed behind a wall-clock
it came out at odd hours
i had named it Newton
but then it fell on a tub of muriatic acid
it's ghost lives by the clock-hands
and eats the flesh of time  

the ghost of this dead reptile
glides by red clouds of midnight
it's always a cold midnight
they chopped you to pieces on a cold midnight
they left you by the pillars of false history
before false judges to determine
with their false teeth chattering in make-believe wisdom
the mist has grown thick ever since
so thick that no foglight can pierce through,
no sniper can aim at

the keys are still with them
but they better be wary 
their guns can't kill dead people
their bombs can't rip ghosts of dead dreams
and when ghosts ride out to reclaim all that's lost
-- it's always a beautiful dream to live and die by.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

সব সরে সরে যায়

সব সরে সরে যায় চেতনার বসতির ভিটামাটি, বালুচর
ভোর হবে, 
শাম হবে, 
ছাইডানা শঙ্খ 
বাজিকর একদিন 
সকলেই আলাদীন
আমাদের বাতিঘর
ধর ধর কর কর
আমোদের হাঁড়িব্যোম
সব নড়ে নড়ে যায় বাড়িঘর বাতিঘর ভুতপ্রেত মার্মেড কিসকিস কার্পেট

Friday, February 13, 2015

'Achchhey Din'

Ever heard of Ralf Fox?
Heard of Caudwell and Cornford?
Do you know of Federico Garcia Lorca?
These martyrs had reddened Spain
The green olive forests are red
Mothers lost children, lose children,
Yet I say, good days approach
Come, let’s go touch their blood
And write, with that blood,
a song for the good days.

(the original Bangla was by Somen Chanda (1920-41), fighter, poet, martyr, the one of the first and only flagbearers of the Progressive Writers' Association's work on the cultural front in Bengal, the earliest Bangla voice against Fascism, hacked to pieces by forces of sectarian and partisan violence)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Ballad of Ahalya-Ma

folks were hungry in the land of food
the farmers fought for they had to fight
or else the rice would go for good
in the fogged autumn of forty eight

the food had gone to feed a war
the food was snatched by the sharks of land
the food was burnt in petro-tar
and so the farmers formed their band

the women loved their rice a lot
they fought for it for they had to fight
they led the fights the folks had fought
holding broomsticked flags of might

the men marched out in angry files
with bamboo rods in clitter-clatter
to free the land for a thousand miles
a lot of evil they had to splatter. 

the evil had arms of deadly hate
of men with guns meant for their uses
the guns were owned by the mighty state
and so were the bombs and so were the fuses.

in lands and waters far away
people fought and kingdoms fell
through the night and through the day
humans burnt in man-made hell

in lands and waters closer home
the food was gone and the lands bled death
off to cities many did roam
to pass their beastly endgame breath

some stayed back and fought for it
to save the rice and save the soil
with fists clenched and jaws firm grit
they stood for the glory of their toil

through a jungle a river ran
tigers roamed the woods in swarms
and right where the forest began
came those boats with men of arms

cold breeze blew from far away
mist had gripped the land so tight
in November, on the sixth day
the whole of Kakdwip rose to fight

evil forces armed with hate
marched in fury to gut all guts
and when they reached the village-gate
conch-shells rang out from the huts.

from hut to hut the news leapt
the women blew the shells so hard
the rice was theirs, it must be kept
out they came and marched forward

Ahalya with a baby inside
broom in hand she led the march
Batashi, Comrade, by her side
to fight the brutes that lay in lurch

little Ashwin, he gripped a rod
and sprang out of the angry wave
he saw their guns in daylight broad
didn’t cower, had rice to save

evil Paresh, blessed by the leaders,
had shown the forces their lusty way
like all who seek to climb tall ladders
the sun was shining, he made hay. 

Ahalya hit him with her broom
as little Ashwin wielded his stick
and thus arrived the hour of doom
bullets shot out of the mist so thick

the state was hurt, it sought revenge
the sharks of land, they paid it well
farmers killed from point blank range
martyrs have their tales to tell. 

shot, Ashwin, he writhed in pain
Sarojini, sister, she heard him shriek
she ran for water, she ran in vain
shot in an arm, her world got bleak

bullets flew like metal rain
Brother and Sister, they squirmed in thirst
they had no guns to guard the grain
yet they fought because they must

Ahalya, she heard them scream
she ran to them like comrades do
she sought to run to the flowing stream
but then she got a bullet too

love thus fell to the force of hate
for the rice she breathed a prayer
a monster arrived with bayonet 
to gut her womb and the child in there.  

Batashi, Surya – they saw this sight
out they sprang to save the dream
they have no guns but they must fight
as their friends writhe and scream

the guns blazed out yet again
and angry bits of metal flew
couldn’t stand long, the bullet-rain 
Batashi fell, and Surya too

shot through her belly, Batashi died
few were hurt, dead were many
in pain and thirst Ashwin cried
as did his sister and Suryamani. 

three of them got dragged to a boat
five more corpses heaped in there
to the upstream town it set afloat
rivers don’t speak but they do stare

Sarojini, gripped by mighty thirst,
cried before they’d gone too far
men with guns, creatures cursed
they shoved a bayonet inside her

Surya, she was thirsty too
she saw her die, she heard her yell
she drank own blood, her lips were blue
and thus she lived to tell the tale

The boat sailed by, the sun went down
the fields of paddy lay in blood
history, she’s a sullen clown
gliding by through drought and flood

She juggles around with odds and evens
as farmers live and farmers die
bloody Kakdwip – the island of ravens
echoed thus with their battle-cry

So, remember remember the sixth of November
of blood-drenched nineteen forty eight
and in heart’s hidden, hounded chamber
Ahalya, her friends – they rise to fight. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bodh Hawey Tungabhadra-r Tiir-ey (Seems Like By the Shores of Tungabhadra)

By the river Tungabhadra the sun is going down
By the river Tungabhadra our anchors do not frown
By the river Tungabhadra our hearts are slightly sad
By the river Tungabhadra crimson grips us mad

By the river Tungabhadra there are clouds in her hair
By the river Tungabhadra my shadow’s a soothsayer
Grasses see their own shadows on pitchers made of bronze
By the river Tungabhadra crimson grips our bones

By the river Tungabhadra ghosts of children dead
By the river Tungabhadra real maps that bled
By the river Tungabhadra guts gut in hellholes
They are very angry and may anger blaze all souls

By the river Tungabhadra shades of greenlove soft
At times when we bust out they do hold us high aloft
By the river Tungabhadra five thousand stars are singing
The roots will all have wings out there, the bells of time are ringing.