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Chandalini’s Poem | চণ্ডালিনীর কবিতা

1 October 2016

Translated from the Bangla to the English by Sayantan Das

I leave behind these marshes and jungles,
The people of the jungle,
Leave behind the river
The forest trail
Far away to my own people
Who shed blood and sweat
I go
To the malnourished children
Of our fallen, battered forefathers,
To my brothers and sisters
I shall leave behind this land
Of four rivers and five settlements
Stretched out beside the blacksmith’s furnace
I have been privy
To the argument of the hammer and the iron
I have become the plough
And travelled far, riding on the farmer’s shoulder
Tilled the vast expanse
So that the field teems with crops
Just to fight the pangs of hunger
Still I have to witness Amlasol1
I have to feed my family ant-eggs
That look like white grains of rice
That is enough to sustain the children
They take up their bows and arrows
And even without caring for
The true meaning of revolution
Bare their chests in front of the barrel of the gun

  1. Amlasol is a very poor village in West Bengal, and was in recent news reports for a number of starvation deaths.
 


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