Kazi Nazrul Islam
Ever Unafraid - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam
I have received your help, O my Lord,
and so ! am unafraid.
Fear never comes near one
who has God for his friend.
No barriers stand on his path.
If the meets any obstacle in his forward march
a mighty torrent of strength
rushes into his breast from above,
and a brilliant sword sparkles in his hand,
ready to wipe out all obstacles standing
in his way.
All those who do not believe,
please listen to the story of my birth.
A furious storm raged when I was born;
the roof of our home was blown away
by a gusty wind,
and the doors were razed to the ground.
The bugle of Israfil made its deafening sound
again and again.
At the moment of my birth
the magic words 'Allahu Akbar'
greeted my ears.
At those words my cries ceased.
Those sacred words reverberate in my veins
to this day,
they still thrill me, every moment of my life,
whether I am asleep or awake.
The tempest raging during my birth
drove me later out of my home,
and has since been leading me on
to a million unknown destinations.
Hundreds of hills, forests, seas and deserts
have I traversed.
Always I have heard the clarion call
of the Azan,
the call that had greeted my ears
when I first saw the light of day.
Poverty, pain, sorrow and sufferings galore
have I met in my many sojourns,
Yet I have always felt God's blessings,
showered on me in measureless profusion.
I have struggled against multitudinous odds,
but I have never felt dismayed or frightened.
I know my role which is that of a born soldier.
Nothing could ever intimidate me
and turn me back from my forward march.
All my life I have been hearing
in my waking hours as well as in my dreams
a voice calling me and leading me on.
I never looked back and stopped in my forward march.
Responding to that inexorable call,
drawn by a fathom!ess love,
I always went forward.
I always seemed to hear a loving voice
murmur into my ears;
'Not here, not here,
go further on,
move forward, my dear.'
All the rebels of this world were my friends,
they always threw their doors open to take me
in an eternal fugitive.
But a strange sadness welled up in me.
I missed some one badly. Was it God?
Was that the fulfillment I always longed for?
Or was that me, my very own self?
A war raged between him and me;
the good and the evil sometimes dragged me
into an abysmal darkness.
Sometimes, again, they ringed me
in a halo brilliant light.
Like a comet thrown out of its orbit
I rush on at a terrific speed,
and as I go along leave my track
strewn with the bouquets of a million mistakes.
How many sins did I commit in the past!
But all those memories have been wiped out now
from my mind.
What is the good of worrying
over what is dead and gone?
Never did the past stop me
in my forward march.
My chariot has always moved ahead
brushing aside all obstacles and barriers.
No tilth or impurity can pollute the waters of a river
whose current, thirsty for union with the sea,
is alive and flowing.
My son died,
and I found myself prostrated with grief.
The first shock of losing one's child
was too much for me.
But strangely enough the radiance of the moon
brought for me at that very hour
an overpowering fragrance of the hasnuhena,
and I ceased to grieve for my dead son.
My mind became filled with that fragrance.
And this surprised my friends.
They exclaimed in wonder,
'Is he a father, or a clod of stone ?'
Well, he who goes away from me
is lost to me forever.
Only he who rushes along with me,
keeping pace with my tempestuous speed,
remains my friend and companion.
My soul pines forever and bewails,
'It is getting late,
the time is almost come
to meet my Fate
face to face.'
Drawn by the current of great love
I rush forward,
and, then, all on a sudden I feel
a mighty backward pull from behind.
Is that Satan?
Is that the monster of ignorance?
I do not know.
From where I know not
a horde of troubles, mischiefs and anguish
pours forth and engulfs me.
Fear of death does not unnerve me.
I am a born soldier, I know.
No barriers can stop my onward march.
No obstacles can make me surrender
and accept defeat.
My lord is the most coveted
and the most powerful.
Which ignoble devil from what murky
Hell dare stand before my path
and hinder my forward march?
Suddenly I seem to see a great bow of light
appearing in the wide blue sky before me;
I feel like an arrow attached to that bow.
The devil seems to pull the string tight,
bent on hurling me into some dark
But the mighty strength of God moves in
and a wild storm that had visited me
at the hour of my birth comes again
to keep me company.
Shouting the magic words 'Allahu Akbar.
I pull at the taut strings of the bow
with all my strength.
I kick at the devil's head and let go my arrow
which seems to touch the edges of my Lord's throne.
And what a miracle it is!
Where has the devil gone?
There is only my Lord
and unspeakable bliss!
None can describe the nature of that
Only, he who has tasted it knows what it is.
I am the soldier of God,
I know no barriers,
I know no decay.
With God's flaming sword in hand
I rush through all obstacles
and go my way.
The storm is my constant companion,
I am the tempestuous rebel wind,
the holy war of truth and fiery revolution
are the eternal burdens of my song.
I always obliterate with savage anger
age-old superstitions and prejudices.
With a mad fury I burn all dead debris.
Nothing can stop my onward march.
No stars or planets or sky,
no fetters or prison-houses can contain
or hold me back.
The Eternal, the All-complete, the All-Embracing oversoul
calls me all the time.
And so I am unconquerable,
I am deathless,
I am ever unafraid.
[Original: Chiro nirbhoy; Translation: Kabir Chowdhury]
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