Kazi Nazrul Islam
Day-Labourer - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam
Your luxury cars are plying through the streets
And your big ships are cruising Over the Oceans.
The fast steam engines are running on railways,
The country is filled with plants and machinery:
Can you tell me whose contributions are all these?
With whose blood are your buildings
Painted red? Dismantle them and you'll find
On each piece of brick vividly written the names.
You may not know; but each and
Every grain of dust is aware of it,
The meaning of those roads, vessels, trains,
And of those decorative palaces.
The good days are coming soon:
Day after day your debts are being inflated
You must pay back those heavy debts.
Those who with hard labour broke the rugged hills
With hammer, shovel and pick-axe,
Their bones today are strewn 'on either side
Of those very roads. Those who, in order to render
You service, became day-labourers.
Those who covered their cherished body with dust
Only to carry you and your belongings,
They are indeed the real human beings,
they are the saints.
I sing their 'inner voice' through my songs.
Marching over their painful suffering breasts
The New Revolution will raise its new head.
You are reclining at ease
On the top of the third floor,
While we are rotting at the bottom;
Still you love to be
Addressed as 'My Lord'?
Absurd! That cannot be! !
The helm of this world must remain under
Those, whose mind and soul are soaked with
Sweet love for the motherland;
Those who journeyed with others through
The tiresome roads and covered their
Feet with dust; I shall pick up
That very dust from their feet and put it
on my head as a holy sacred offering.
Smeared with the blood of the pain stricken
Suffering humanity of the world
the new sun of the new Dawn is rising
above the horizon.
Break open today those ugly rusty doors
Of your narrow congested heart;
Take off those artificial garments of yours
Which look unnatural like coloured leather.
Look at the concentrated condensed air
Appearing deep blue in the sky,
Let them enter free in a frolicsome way
direct into your inner hearts -
Unlock all those obstructing clutches!
Let the entire blue Heaven fall down in our midst,
Let the moon, the sun and the stars shower on us.
Let all people of all times
and all climes come together
And stand up at the same confluence to listen to
The anthem of great unity under one flag-
If you torment here a single soul
The pain resounds in a crescendo
In the aggrieved hearts of all others.
Insult to a single person here means
Humiliating the whole of humanity
An insult to all of us.
Today is the day of upheaval
Against the heart-rending agony and pain
Of the great Human-beings of the world.
[Translation: Amir Hossain Chowdhury]
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