Kazi Nazrul Islam

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

A Prisoner In Fort Blair - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam

Is not the Urania of Bharata back?
What's the length of her Transportation?
From the void of the sacred altar
cometh a tearful answer
- 'One hundred and fifty years! '
Across seven oceans and thirteen
rivers lie ruthless Andamans!
Where a lovely lily looks pale at the
rude touch of a silver stick,
Where a lotus with a hundred petals
is cut into a hundred pieces by
the stroke of a tyrant,
Where there are people paid to tear
off the strings of the lyre:
Does from there come the message of
liberation throuth the medium of
wireless Setar?
Is the imprisoned Lyre set tree, after all?
Is the prison house reduced to
powder? Does in the silvery
Quagmire of the Palace of the
Jakshas bloom the fair, lovely
Lily? Does out of the Debris
of the guns and gun-powder magazine
rise the ivory tower of the
divine Muse? Does a bloody
spectacle give place to
peace, serene and bright?
If not, why then this solemn, pathetic
service, why this sacred sound
of the Sankha?
There were across seven oceans
and thirteen rivers lie the tar-off
Andamans the Muss is eternally
Yoked to the dismal squeezing
machine, and the imprisoned
Truth husks paddy!
Dost thou know the origin of the oil for
service that thou hast brought from
the life-squeezing machine? The
sacrificial ghee is nothing but the
fat of the young heroes who
perpetually guard the Muse!
Alas, light-hearted worshipper, in
vain dost thou blow the Sankha of the goddess!
Across the void left by the sacred
deity there arise mere wails!
Worshipper, to whom dost thou
tender the offerings! Is the
Muse free in Bharata? Where
the Law punishes the just,
where, by telling the truth, one suffers
imprisonment, where the oppressed,
cannot speak about the oppression'
where the Muse like the Captive Sita
puts up with the fortune inflicted by
the Judges of the type of Ravana's
Cherhies, where the free, fair,
blooming lotus of the Muse is given
the name and local habitation of a rebel,
Worshipper! Dost thou come there
with thy offerings to the Muse?
The Lion is put in a cage, the
Tiger is fired at lest they should
harm men, but who knew that
time would come when the muse
would receive a bullet wound,
and the Muse's lotus would be
put within the prison walls!
Does the wireless mantra
of Eternal God strike today the
lyre of the Muse, and the Justice
of the New Order puts his
feet upon the lotus?
Then, be it so! Pour forth
offerings; blow, blow the
Panchajanya conch! The
agonizing wheel of the Andamans
is upset now by the whirlwind
of the New Order!

[Translation: Abdul Hakim]

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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