Kazi Nazrul Islam

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

Rise Up, O Farmer! - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam

O farmer, where is tile smile of your face?
Where is' your shepherd's bamboo flute'!
Where is your jute?
Who plunders it from your stock on riverside?
Who robs you of huge golden paddy grown in your fields?
The empty corn-bin in your courtyard resembles a husband-less daughter
lamenting in her father's home.
Your rural fields present winter-crops as though painted, -
why does your son ask for salt and green chilies while eating?
It seems that the government has taxed on your curry too.
Have your sugar-canes been sweetened by the juice of your tears?
Who have drunk milk exploiting your cow?
Alas, your milk pot docs not hold even the starch of boiled rice.

Your younger child with high fever is healed up,
since he is sleeping in tile graveyard.
And he seems to drag her elder sister towards the grave, too.
The girl is calling him deliriously.
Mother replaces milk will oyster,
father weeps on his way to field burying his son;
around him tile fields are full of paddy and the sky is full of delight.
It seems that today's horizon is red by sucking' a farmer's blood.
Fields overflow with paddy, markets with goods,
the wharps with jute-loaded boats.

Who eats away tile crops of your field,-
who are those swarm of locusts?
Why are you so destitute in this realm of merrymaking?
Why does the son of your home go to the grave?
Your cattle grazes in the vast pastures, but you get no milk,
O farmer, your hopes of living have gone away long before,
how do you stand lamentations beside a tomb?
Can't you wake up the burning of thunder in your arid bones?
How long shall you see with eyes wide open the theft by burglars?
Don't you possess a bamboo-stick even?
You may have no blood in your body, yet we want all your bones.
The plunderer robbing you of your boiled rice day
and night has ascended to affluency sucking your blood.

Your bone shall cause the bones of those plunderers decay,
and your rib-bones will turn into war swords.
Allah, the Benevolent, gives water to your fields,
energy to your wind to bloom flowers,
sun and moon rise up to grow your crops, -
would those gifts of Allah again be plundered by that demon?
Though the sky is all clear, there is no hope.
Though Khuda's mercy comes in torrents,
you don't reach it. So raise up your hands straight,
that would give you instant strength.
Your crops shall fill your granary, and God shall bless you.

[Original: Otth re chashi; Translation: Mohammad Nurul Huda]

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Poem Edited: Wednesday, June 6, 2012

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