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Kazi Nazrul Islam

(24 May 1899 - 29 August 1976 / Bardhaman / India)

A Hymn to the (Jail) Super


In your jail you care for us to the hilt,
blessed you are, blessed you are!
This song of mine is in your honor,
blessed you are, blessed you are! !

You have stationed guards at our doors,
in the dark rooms, chained us with such
affection as if we were your sons-in-law,
blessed you are,blessed you are! !

Grubs of salt and unrefined rice
bring water to my mouth,
some hotchpotch of throw-away veggies too,
blessed you are, blessed you are! !

Catch, Uncle, catch some slaps & blows-
certain to straight away send you to Goya, .
along with your entire clap,
take it: you skinned white-leprous body,
blessed you are, blessed you are! !

[Original: Super (jeler) Bondona; Translation: Sajed Kamal]

Submitted: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Edited: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

'During my prison days in Hooghly, we'd be subjected to all kinds of torture-tests. When we saw the Superintendent,' 'Torture' personified, We'd greet him with this song,' Nazrul Islam. This poem, in fact, is a parody of a well-known Bengali Tagore song, addressing the motherland, 'Tomari gehe palichhosnehe, tumi dhanya dhanya he' ('In your home you rear us with affectionate care, blessed you are, blessed you are') . Retaining the original rhyme-scheme, Nazrul parodied it thus, 'Tomari jele palichho thele, tumi dhanya dhanya he. '

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