Quazi Nazrul Islam
Non-literal Translation: Abed Chaudhury
I am a poet of today, not a prophet of tomorrow,
Poet or non-poet, call me whatever you want, I’ll put up with anything you say.
Some say “you belong to future,
but where do you have poems like those from Rabindranath?”
People blame me , but I keep singing the music of the morning.
My poet friends are disappointed, they read my work and sigh,
Saying: he used to be good, but not anymore and all due to his politics.
They don’t read my books saying they are not good
Some say: his wife has swallowed him totally
others say: “he has been ruined by becoming fat playing cards in the jail”,
and still others say : “You were better in jail; may you go there again!”
My guru (Rabindranath) says : you have started to shave your beard with a sword.
Every saturday my lover writes, "you are of no use."
I say: darling, let me then reveal all the secrets?
and the letters stop suddenly .
When I left everything and married hindus said, "we wont talk to you again"!
Am I a muslim or a kafir? Where is my holy “tiki” or my beard, or even my
The honey-loving Mollahs wave their hands and pronounce:
”He utters the names of the hindu deities; we must denounce him!”
I give a fatwa: “Kafir may be this Kazi;,
but he is still willing to be a shaheed (martyr), too !
But then those mullahs have read only one chapter of the Quran.
But hindus also hate my use of the Farsi words often saying: “This guy is nothing but a closet Mullah”
No one is happy with me; not even the disciples of non-violence,
They blame me for playing the rhyme of violence and making the head of the revolutionaries even hotter.
But the revolutionaries say: “he is too non-violent,
always singing songs of spinning wheels!”.
Brahmins say I am an atheist, some think I am a Confucian;
Freedom lovers think I am with the English; and English-supporters think
I am against them.
Men think I am a feminist; women think I hate them;
Some say “He has not ever been to England so what could he possibly know?”
My fans see me as Rabindranath of the new era,
If not a poet of lasting time , then at least a poet of the current fashion!
Actually I don't know what I write; Do I even understand what I write?
Because I cannot raise my hand, I write with my head down.
Dear friend, though you couldn’t like me,
at least know that my name shines in the government's list.
Whatever I write they say “Priceless!” , and take it without paying a penny.
And have you heard the name of the poet behind whom roams the spies of the king?
Friend, you have seen me in the temple of my mind
I rebuke that mind, but cannot tame it.
Every time I chain it, it sets itself free,
I beat it, and beat it trying to destroy it
I wish my mind would in the end listen to me, but it doesn’t even listen to
Gandhi or Rabindranath.
I say to him , “O lunatic, you are not doing too badly
You are almost half a leader; and if you lose this chance
you may never become a full leader
so get the fish that is in the net before it slips away”.
Who understands why my mind moves around all the time singing and reciting!
Whoever knows me anyway? My days are passed chewing betel leaves; they taste so good!
……I hope may be one day there won't be any more of epidemic of malaria in this country,
Especially, since “shoraj” (independence) is coming .
……..We want the moon, but these poor ones only want a meal, as tears trickle from their eyes and their mother screams: “Hush, you little ones ! independence is coming – so be quiet!”
But those hungry kids don’t know about “Shoraj” ; they only want some rice and some salt.
Hours pass and they don’t have anything to eat; their little bellies burn in hunger.
I cry like a mad man “O God, are you even there? Why don’t you then paint in black the faces of those who suck the blood of these kids?”
We all know, to bring independence, we have said so many lofty things;
and how we have ignored the hunger in the bellies of the kids!
How so much money came from so many places but real independence still remained a dream.
……My friend, I cant say anything more, I have a pain in my chest
I have gone mad; so I say whatever I like,
Since my spilled blood wouldn’t do anything so I now try writing with my blood
Big ideas don’t come to me at times of such grief;
Those of you who live in happiness; may you write timeless poetry.
I don't care any more, if I live or not,
Rabindranath shines on our head, and there are so many golden boys.
I pray that those who have deprived three hundred and thirty million people;
May their doom come, through my words written in blood.