Kazi Nazrul Islam

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

Pain Of The Poor - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam

These children-suffering
from a lack of mother's care,
in rags, their bodies covered with dirt,
faces dried up from starving all day, scornful,
their bodies feverish, skin chapped all over.
They can't even get a meager meal
from laboring all day.
Ignoring them-O Rich, O Ruler,
how can you stand the taste of monda, mithai, khaja?
Starving, when they see you-eating,
they beg silently with their pathetic eyes.
Shame on you!-How do you still go on gorging?
All that rice you store in your bins-
just a portion of it could save them.
You have such a wide variety of clothing;
these children do not have even as much
as the rag you polish your shoes with.
You've trunk loads of clothing,
while these children freeze to death all night long
with their mothers lying in corridors and lanes.

You feel so happy from hugs and kisses
from your children,
their mothers weep holding them in their bosoms.
Your children have no dearth of toys,
their toys are what's been thrown out-
an embarrassment for their mothers.
Their unkempt hair, turning brownish and matted,
their skin blackened from roaming about in the sun,
for no reason they get beaten and scolded by people.
Your children cry 'bloody murder' for minor incidents,
whereas they have at most a sombre face
even when their hearts break from sadness.
The mothers of these unfortunate children-
standing aloof-who understands how much pain there is
in their tearful eyes?
If there's a slight touch of fever
in your children, ten doctors come rushing to check them.
But for these children-even when they have a high temperature,
there's none to offer them even a sip of water;
reduced to skeletons, they die in their mothers' arms.
They don't eat pomegranates or grapes when they are sick;
they think they have the world
by getting just a piece of sugar candy.
Your children go to sleep in rocking cradles,
these children sleep under the tamarind tree;
even the most stone-hearted aught to be moved to see this.

Nobody understands their misery,
everybody despises them
and thinks, 'Why do they litter the streets?'
So take heed, a burning stomach needs to complain;
I don't wish that even on my enemies. .
Even in such misery,
God will supposedly grant them welfare-that's
the only consolation for the poor.

[Original: Goriber baytha; Translation: Sajed Kamal]

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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