Autobiography Poem by Sayeed Abubakar



I was nourished in a family where education was adored as a holy thing. My mother taught me how to show honour to a book, even to a detached page of a book, what kind of book it was, was not the matter. All kinds of books were holy books to us because no mean type of book or unbecoming book had ever any chance to reach our home in that beautiful calm sweet-breathing village. According to Francis Bacon, people are of three types: those who are very simple admire the books; the cunning, condemn them; the wise, use them. We were not wise at all; but we were the true admirers of books. Many a day I saw my mother offering alms to the beggars, especially rice, if ever any book had happened to fall down from our hands. Not only that, instantly we picked up the book from the ground and kissed its cover-page again and again. Still now I do it when the same thing happens to any book I hold. Modern men may consider it superstition; but this superstition helped me become a lover of books.

All the words written in a book I found near my hand during my childhood days were like tasty foods which I devoured with a great appetite. Whatever the fuel is, if it gets the chance to meet a fire, it starts burning because the nature of fire is to spare none. Fire is cruel; but through this cruelty, light is born to charm the eyes of the onlookers and to give warmth. My father collected books for me, carried them at home and my mother made me learn how to deal with them with fear and honor.

Throughout my whole life, I considered myself nothing but a poet. I was born as a poet. Truly, a poet can never be made, he is born. And a poet is like a fire. But I was then the hidden fire within the wood. One day I was suddenly kindled while reading an essay on the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. I was then only 11. A fire need not have any age. It is ferocious at any age; it looks for an opportunity to be kindled, and if once kindled, it starts burning everything it gets nearby. Going through the essay, when I came to know that Rabindranath had started writing poems at his 8, I got frustrated, envious and furious for being so late to start; three years had already passed leaving me far behind. I became shocked as if I had been in a race to compete with Rabindranath. However, getting furious, I started running and that race of mine is still going on. This way I was kindled and thus I have been burning incessantly since that day of my 11th year.


Every incident of life in the past seems to be dramatic and miraculous now. How I dared to compete with a gigantic poet like Rabindranath at that very stage of my primary school-life is still a wonder to me. I have mused over it many a time to find out the reasons. I have found that two reasons might cause against such an ambition: first, discovering Rabindranath's first composition of poem at the age of eight; second, an intolerable communal comment of a senior Hindu student of my high school against my religion. It had accidently happened one day in my school while we, almost all the boys of all classes, were playing or gossiping in the playground during our leisure period. In those days in our high school in that remote area far from the touch of modern civilization, the girl-students were not allowed to play or gossip with us; they passed their time by playing or gossiping in their own large common room. However, a handful students of several classes including me were discussing on various topics that day.

We, the boys, who were talking together standing at a certain place, were thought to be the most brilliant students of differernt classes of our school. Most of them were either the first boy or the second boy; first or second means those who stood first or second in the class. I was the youngest one among them, just promoted from class six to seven. Gopal was the tallest and the senior boy. Two years ago, he came in Bangladesh from Bangaon of West Bengal and started living permanently at his maternal uncle's house here. He got admitted in class nine and stood first in all examinations defeating the former first boy. Gopal was the most aged boy in the school and many students made fun addressing him as Gopalchacha ('uncle Gopal') . I was given the award of the best student of the school for scoring the highest marks in the annual examination. That might cause jealousy in his mind. I was not aware of it. I often felt shy in front of him because of his seniority and agedness.

That very day, without any obvious reason as far as I recollect, Gopal suddenly started talking ill of the Muslims. He felt proud of his own religion. He said, 'The Hindus are greater than the Muslims.' Though small, I protested his words, 'Not always, Gopalda.' 'Gopalda' means 'brother Gopal'. He got irritated and said at a stretch with satirical tone, 'Every time every where. In the field of science, we have Jagadish Chandra Bose, who is yours? We have the great mathematician Jadav Chakravarti, have you any? We have Rabindranath Thakur, have you any? ' He divided us as the Hindu and the Muslim and specified me as a Muslim boy only. I got shocked, irritated and humiliated. It is a proven truth that communalism breeds nothing but communalism itself; hurriedly it spreads and contaminates all who come with its touch. I tried to defend myself saying, 'Why not, we have Nazrul and...'

He did not let me complete my speech. He interrupted me and asked with a horrible pride, 'Our Rabindranath has got the Nobel Prize; what has your Nazrul got? ' I got stunned, speechless and utterly dumb. I had nothing to say but to put up with the intolerable pain of humiliation standing in front of an aged communal Hindu boy. I felt like crying because I got defeated in the battle-field. My mind revolted; my anger burst within me like an atom bomb and I rushed from there like a wounded lion. I silently accused the Nobel committee of not awarding our great rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.


Now my headache became only to become a big poet in the world. So I started writing poems which way Rabindranath had started. Rabindranath had written when he was only 4:

Jal pore
Pata nore.
(Rain falls;
Leaves tremble.)

I wrote:

Oi je mosha
Janlai bosa.
(That is a mosquito
Sitting in the window.)

Competition continued. I used to write 60-70 poems everyday in order to outnumber Rabindranath's. Rabindranath wrote:

Amsatta dudhe feli,
Tahate kadoli doli,
Sandesh makhia nia tate;

Hapus hupus shabdo,
Charidik nistabdo,
Pipra kadia jai pate.

(I mixed Amsatta with milk,
Then banana with that
And sweetmeat too with it.

There rose hapus hupus sound of eating.
Then there remained only silence all around.
An ant rushed to weep
Seeing the empty bowl.)

But I could not write any poem like that. I tried again and again but failed. I failed because I had no knowledge of prosody. I was only aware of rhyme but I knew nothing about rhythm. But that deficit could not intervene me from writing more and more poems day and night.

Actually, I was totally unaware that my poems were not becoming poems at all; only I could feel that those were not like Rabindranath's. I sent my poems by post to the local newspapers namely the Daily Sphulingo and the Daily Ranar, two popular newespapers in Jashore district. They published my poems with a great care. Collecting those newspapers, I showed them to my school teachers who inspired me to write more and more. My high school teachers namely Sudhanno Kumar Mollik, Din Mohammad, Mosharraf Hossain and Motlebur Rahman were very interested in my writing. Later, another teacher named Gazi Afsar Uddin joined our school and inspired me a lot too to write poems.

The Ittefaq, the most popular national daily of that time, was the official newspaper in our school. In this newspaper two literary pages were published two days in a week: pure literature on Thursday and juvenile as well as children literature on Friday. Two pages were edited by two famous poets: Thursday's 'Sahitya Samoiki' by Al Mujahidy and Friday's 'Kachi-Kachar Asor' by Rokonuzzaman Khan. My honorable teacher Sudhanno Kumar Mollik made me read those pages punctually. He also made me read the major works of Rabindranath, Nazrul, Bankimchandra and Sharotchandra by providing their books from the school-library. I acquired a minimum idea about our classic Bengali literature by reading those books. Besides, the literature published in the Ittefaq helped me have some idea about our modern literature including modern poetry, short story, essay and chhara (limerick) .

By this time, I became well-known as a poet not only in my school but also in my locality. I started believing that like Nazrul, Modhusudan, Rabindranath and Jasimuddim, I was also a poet. Did Rabindranath alone provoke me to be a poet? Perhaps, that is not the whole truth. Another poet inspired me to be a poet too, not only a simple poet but also an epic-poet like him. He is Michael Modhusudan Dutt. We were born on the same soil. Same ambition, madness and patriotic zeal we bore within us. I did not know rhythm but I started writing sonnets with a miraculous power. A poem consisting of 14 lines having 14 letters in each line is called a sonnet in Bengali. I built that Taj Mahal within few moments one after one; how? I did not know. And that made the general people surprised more and more about me. Now when I recollect those days, those incidents, those sonnets and poems that I have lost for ever, I feel ashamed of my idiocy. Perfectly Shakespeare said:

The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

The lunatic, the lover and the poet are madmen, no doubt. But what has been created on earth without madness?


The village where I was born and where I grew up was wonderfully beautiful. It was like a picture drawn by a skilled artist. My every moment was full of delight there. My life was flooded with the celestial light. I was then like a Krishnachura tree whose whole body and soul were full of flowers and fragrance. Nature and me became inseparable from each other. My eyes were charmed with the beauty of my small village, neighboring villages, their green fields, lily-bogs, lotus-ponds, deep dark lakes and the large blue sky. Among those beauties, my mind often started dancing with joy and my pen produced poems after poems day and night. I myself was the devoted reader of those poems and read again and again with a great wonder. It seemed to me that I had already been a great poet though that foolish boy did not know that Mecca is very far and that beyond the blue sky, there lie many other skies.

Was that madness of writing poems childishly a mere wastage of time? I do not think so. No struggle for any genuine goal goes futile ever. Those poems, though immature, unfruitful and meaningless, paved the path of my future success. Playing the day-night game with rhyme and words made me ready for the battle in future. Another thing which came out from this madness was that the horizons of my imagination, like magic-doors, were getting opened one after one.

However, I was writing without any interval and sending them by post office to the local newspapers and magazines and sometimes to the national dailies like the Dainik Bangla or the Ittefaq. One day I got a parcel from Muktagachha of Mymensing district containing two copies of a colorful magazine named 'Moutusi', in which my poem had been published. The poem was published so gorgeously in green color letters that my two eyes got dazzled. How many times day after day I read that poem on the sly and got immense pleasure by showing it to my teachers and class-friends! I had preserved it many years though, in the long run, I lost it for ever. Even I forgot not only any line of that poem but also its title. I had got the address of that magazine from a newspaper and instantly sent a poem to be published there.

Another address I collected from a newspaper and sent poem there too by post office. It was the address of a children magazine named Troimasik Kakoli published from Agartala, Tripura. After one month, I got a post-card written by Chuni Das, the editor of Troimasik Kakoli. His handwriting was like a painting. His letter was full of my praise and it was sent to me just to inform that my poem was going to be published in the next issue. Timely I received the magazine, in which my poem was published with a great care. I was thrilled with this thought that my poem had ben published not only in Bangladesh but also in India. But how far is Dhaka, our capital city, the center of Bengali language and Bengali literature? Why don't they publish my poems? I often asked myself and consoled myself too, saying that great men were always neglected everywhere at their own birth-place.


Did I only want to be a poet from my childhood? Many a thing I wanted to become. A child falls in love with all the things he finds new and lucrative and fights to have them in his possession. The same case started happening with me too. My father was a great dreamer; the dreams of various professions were emerged from his head and I hankered after them madly for a while and then I stopped. Only the dream, after which my race never came to an end, was to be a poet, a banyan-like poet in the world. However, at first I wanted to be an army officer, a very powerful man, having a royal stick at hand, I would move and all would salute me, I would only nod my head. That is why, I needed to get myself admitted into a cadet college first. While in class seven, I took leave for one month from my school. I was lodged in a cadet coaching center in Jhenidah named Motalib Cadet Coaching.

It was the first time I left home for education purpose. Though my stay at Motalib sir's coaching was as short as the lives of Daffodil flowers, it occupied a small room into my sweet memory. Within two days I was proved to be the most brilliant among all the students staying there. A test was taken on three subjects: Mathematics, English and General Knowledge; I stood first in that examination. So all got suddenly interested in me. We were kept busy with our study round the clock except our eating and sleeping hours. Before evening, we were given only 40 minutes for outing. But we did not go anywhere alone; a teacher who was our guide accompanied us wherever we went.

We stayed in a building beside the Dhaka-Jhenidah high way attached to nature, a little far from the Jhenidah town. It was the time of winter then. Beside our residence, there was spread a very long vast green field replete with various types of crops and trees. Specially, tobacco, vegetables, wheat and banana-trees were seen to be cultivated here and there. When the golden moment of going outside arrived, we leaped like the fawns to get lost into the heart of fathomless heavenly beauty. My friends of that coaching center and our teachers had no idea about my poetic frenzy. I kept it hidden from them. Even I did not write any poem there, not only for lack of time but also for shyness. But I could not control myself while walking or running with my friends in the open fields full of green wonders. A boy named Sathi whose father was DC of Magura became very intimate with me. As a student he was somewhat dull but nice a heart he possessed to befriend others easily. Looking at my excitement on the lap of nature, he often asked me which things made me so delighted. I did not know the answer. Only I remained silent pretending that I had not heard his question.

Truly, it is the beauty of Nature which made me a poet first. The beauty of my birth-place Jashore is the most attractive one in my eyes. My eyes became ever blind with her beauty which way a lover's eyes become blind with his beloved's. Jhenidah is the second district in my life that attracted me with color, scent and taste. Still those handful days of my adolescence in Jhenidah make me nostalgic which I can't forget ever. My stay in Jhenidah came to an end within one month. After participating in the written examination, I left Jhenidah bag and baggage and went back to my high school. But my mind was in Jhenidah and I was eagerly waiting for the admission result.

My admission result got published on time and I was called for viva voce examination. All became happy for my success in the written examination and my dream to be a cadet as well as a future army officer made me fly like a kite in the sky of ambition. My father fetched me to Jhenidah Cadet College again. My performance in viva voce examination was not bad but I became disqualified in the medical test; what was my fault was unknown to me. So I was ousted from the list of final result, all my sweet dreams broke down like a sand-barrage and I returned home with a broken heart like a defeated soldier in the battle-filed. But I did not know what a wonder was awaiting me in my old school which I wanted to forsake for ever.


Whenever I had failed to achieve anything in my life, it was poetry to whom I returned for solace and security. It started happening in my life since my very childhood. Having failed to get admitted into cadet college, whether I cried or not I cannot recollect now; but I got extremely shocked. My parents felt very sad too, and they consoled me saying not to get worried. I did not go to school for one week. I confined myself to my small room and got obsessed with writing poems after poems. I wrote new poems full of passion and recited alone sitting in my room to soothe my ears. When I got tired with writing, I left my room for Nature and walked slowly hours after hours in our green fields. I have always seen that the soft, innocent, lovely touch of Nature has cured my mind like a medicine in all my mental crises and sufferings. I heard the name of William Wordsworth after many years but miraculously I was a Wordsworth in my childhood. The life and fate of a born-poet, an original poet, in any corner of this beautiful earth is always the same.

Like all other village-girls and boys, I used to go to school on foot. Our children living in town cannot imagine now how much we the village-students in those days struggled to get education from our schools. My school Garvanga High School was about two miles far from our house. So I used to walk nearly four miles every day, two miles to go and two miles to return. Besides, the village-roads were very rough and muddy. The road, through which I had to go to school, was very zig-zag and it ran through the green fields. During the rainy season, the fields got utterly covered with green paddy and long jute plants, our school going narrow path became dark and while going through that path on foot, it seemed that we were going through a jungle. Going alone through this path was one kind of adventure. How many days how much I felt frightened while crossing a particular place of this path beside a dark pond named Kanadighi! It was a large deep pond surrounded by thick bushes. The color of its water was deep black. Panic seized me while walking alone I looked at its ghostly water. Who dug this pond into the heart of desolate fields and how many days ago it was dug was unknown to me. I never saw any body bathing, swimming or catching fish in this pond. Still it remains as a mysterious pond into the annals of my childhood.

During the rainy season, we took our shoes at hand and reaching near school, washed our mud-covered feet in the pond and then put on the shoes. When we entered our school, nobody could realize that we had come through mud. Staying one week at home, I started walking for my school again. When I entered my classroom, my class friends welcomed me. I always sat on the first bench because I was the first boy in the class and all the first boys of all classes (I never saw any girl to be first there at that time) were accustomed to sit traditionally at the very beginning of the first bench.

There were two rows of benches into our classroom: one row was fixed for the girls and other one for the boys. Looking at the first bench of the girls' side, I got stunned. A very beautiful girl wearing very rich costume was smiling like the full moon of the sky. The color of my face became red in shy. I stared again on the sly at her and she at me. We exchanged our eye-sights and she sent the signal of her heart's desire to me through a destructive beautiful smile. My heart came out into my mouth and my breathing became thick. I was struggling hard to control myself and to hide my excitement from my classmates and teacher. Our teacher was reading out a text loudly and I turned back my eyes at the page he was reading but my mind was roaming outside. O God, what a moment and what a surprise for me! Time stood still like a stopped watch. Her eyes, her smile and her beautiful face got stuck to my heart. Was it the reward of my pain I had suffered during these days? I thought and thought but did not get any answer.


In those days in our school, after the class-period, the girl-students left the classroom along with the class-teacher for their common room. All the girls of our school used to pass their time together in a big size common room after the break of each class. We had no building. Ours was only a tin-shade high school. Its walls were of bricks but the roof was coverd with corrugated tin. The girls' common room had no wall. It was somewhat open. Its pillars were of bamboo; only the roof was of tin. The school had no boundary wall. But it was surrounded by so many big tall trees that they seemed to be a wall. Very little of the whole school, even of the girls' common room was visible from outside.

When our class-teacher left the classroom, the girl-students deserted us along with him. My heart got broken. It did not happen ever like this one. My classmates noticed the color of sadness upon my face. Some naughty boys of the class observed the exchange of eyesight between me and her. I myself did not know what the meaning of her eyes' contact with mine was. Only I understood that my mind had gone beyond my control. Like a mighty bull, it was ready to flee breaking the pole. Some of classmates came to me to console for my unfortunate failure in cadet college admission. They started asking questions about my stay in Jhenidah. I reluctantly answered their questions in brief because my mind was not with me then, it was roaming outside to find out its happiness that got lost few moments ago.

When the next teacher entered the classroom along with the girl-students, I got back my lost existence. She sat at the very beginning of the first bench. While sitting, she stared at me with her beautiful eyes. Our two pair of eyes got mixed with one another. She winked at me and offered me a soft rosy smile that cooled my heart. It seemed to me that suddenly the earth had become the Paradise.

When I recollect those days of my high school life, I cannot believe that it was my life that I passed there, which was full of heavenly passion, adventure and horror. When I look back at my past, it seems to be the pages of a novel or the scenes of a movie, unbelievable and unforgetable. I had started writing poems after reading Rabindranath's poem written at his eight. But my true poetic spirit emerged after falling in love with that beautiful girl of my class. Did I fall in love first or she? Still it is a question to me. Did we actually comprehend the meaning of love? I think so, because we were too young to realize the value of this heavenly thing.

Her name was Josna Rani Rahut. She was a Hindu girl. I belonged to a Muslim family. How did we dare to do such a dangerous thing? Still I do not know the answer. Man is born not as a Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Buddhist, only as a man; he still remains a man until he gets influenced by his religion, society and culture. God has created man equally; man himself has destroyed this equality and drawn a partition among men; thus he suffers on earth for his own foolery.

There were two pions in our high school then: one was a Muslim named Nurol Ali, another one was a Hindu named Gabindo. We the students called them Nurolbhai (brother Nurol) and Gabindoda (brother Gabinda) . They both were middle-aged men, had little education, could only read the Bengali language with much hardship, econically were very poor but rich in heart.

We, the male-students, had very little chance to talk to the
female-students in our school. It was the tradition then. As I was the first boy of my class and the highest marks gainer in the annual examination among all the students of my school, all my teachers, students and pions loved me very much. Oneday I was taking rest at my room just after coming back from school. It was late afternoon. One of my little cousins came to me to inform that a stranger wanted to talk to me. He was awaiting me outside our house on the street. I rushed there and got stunned seeing our school-pion Gasbindada who had come riding his old rusty bi-cycle. He laughed asking me, 'Getting surprised? ' Not replying his question, I just requested him to come into our house. He said, 'Another day. Today I have come to give you this envelope.' I took it from his hand. It was closed. I did not know what was into it. 'Who has sent it? ' I asked. He said, 'Keep it secret. Josna Rasni Rahut has sent it. Don't open it publicly.' Saying it, he left. I lost my speech. My whole body was shivering like the earth falling in an earthquake but my mind was flying like a kite in the sky. What was it into the envelope? I wondered and could not wait any longer to discover it. I went back to my room and closed the door.


It was a wonder land for me. I had already read some of the masterpieces of Sharatchandra. His 'Shrikant' left a long effect upon my heart which I could not forget for long time, specially the character of Rajlakhmi touched my heart profoundly. In those days I was so addicted to reading Sharat's novels that I could neither eat nor sleep until I completed the novel I started reading. I had completed reading his 'Pather Dabi' and 'Charitrahin' on one sitting. Still I can remember the day when I had completed reading his novel 'Pather Dabi'. I had no chair and table to study; I used to read books sitting or lying on my bed. That day I was so obessed with reading that I got hungry but did not get the time to eat. I had not taken the breakfast; it became noon but I was not able to complete reading the novel. My mother might call me to go bathing and come to have lunch at kitchen; that's why, I left home taking the novel at my hand for a desolate place; I went to my favourite place 'Bhadlar Bil'; it was a small beautiful bog that remained ever green with crops round the year; I sat on its bank, started reading again and when I completed, I felt relieved and returned home. I borrowed all these books from our school-library; my favourite teacher Sudhanno Kumar Mollick gave me to read.

Sharat's novels were very dear to me, no doubt. But when I started reading Josna's long letter, it seemed to me sweeter than any novel. I completed reading the letter at a stretch, then started reading again; again started and completed, gave a pause and again started reading. It was like eating lollipop, again and again putting into the mouth, sucking with the tongue and enjoying its taste. How many times I had read the letter that day, I cannot recollect now. Still I feel the touch of that letter on my chest and into my heart. I kissed it many times and set upon my chest with a great pleasure. It seemed that I was given Aladin's magic lamp that started giving me peace, peace and peace.

What was written in that letter is not in my memory now. But one thing that I can recollect is that she expressed her sorrow by raising complaints against some of our male and female classmates who felt jealous of her and did not want to make her meet with me. She expressed her weakness to me indirectly. Actually we were then very young. We were too young to declare our love for each other. She did not use the word 'love' anywhere. Only in one place she wrote that she could not forget me for a moment. It was enough to kindle the fire of my feelings and imagination for her. I took the pen and page and started writing the epic of love.


My own biography
Sayeed Abubakar

Sayeed Abubakar

Jessore / Bangladesh
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