Kazi Nazrul Islam

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

Song Of The Worker - Poem by Kazi Nazrul Islam

O travellers on the road of destruction,
Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel,
Sing in unison and advance.

We created in the joy of your arms.
We shall now destroy at the pleasure of our feet.
Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel,
Sing in unison and advance.

Comrade, our strength melts the rocks
into soft snows,
It makes the desert blossom forth
into golden crops.
We fist out honey from the ocean's womb,
And yet do not get a dropp for ourselves to drink.
Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel,
Sing in unison and advance.
We are mere coolies working at the machines
In these terrible times.
We are rnere dupes and fools
To discover the diamond and to make a gift of it
To the king, to adorn his crown.

Today we are only black coolies,
Mere scum, who blacken ourselves with the disgrace
Of the whole mankind.
Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel,
Sing in unison and advance.

We dig into the bowels of the earth,
We are the miners who snatch and bring out
The jewel from the head of the snake,
Only the rich, richer still to make.

Today let the robbed snake
Rear its angry head in mighty vengeance and strike.
Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel,
Sing in unison and advance.

In the lap of luxury lie kings and ministers
Drinking in the life-blood of peasants and workers
And yet we work ourselves to death
To support these tyrants.
Come, you workers of the world,
Let us trample our these useless lords
Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel
Sing in unison and advance.

Gathering strength from us
Row after row of ships glide across the seven seas,
And yet we all our life struggle in knee-deep water
Trying to swim across our sea of worries.
Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel,
Sing in unison and advance.

Thanks to us that today
The king's soldiers and his armoured cars
Travel six months distance in six days.

Thanks to us
That the gluttonous rich fly in the sky today in
aeroplanes.
Comrade, we build palaces for others
And spend our lives on the dusty roads.
They ride on our shoulders
Roaming about merrily for diverse pleasures.
We are like cows carrying call-loads of sugar
Our job is to transport, not to taste or clamour.
Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel,
Sing in unison and advance.
We are the dirty children of our mother earth,
We work in the mines,
And make it possible for the world to sparkle.

Today the same fire from the dirty miners
Will make the world burn to cinders.
Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel,
Sing in unison and advance.

When the work is over
We are but coolies and sailors.
And yet when the boat is slink
We alone come to pull it out of the mine.
We give everything like the sacrificial cow
Only to find ourselves neglected now.

Whatever we had we gave
Let us now make a stand
And face the tyrant in a mighty band.
Let the fighting arena resound again
With the battle call

Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel,
Sing in unison and advance.
Switch off the machine-light, the Satan's eye.
Come along, O Comrade, and keep your weapon high.
The light of anarchy is in front
Come along, O you who want to bathe in the
sea of light
We shall board the ship of darkness tonight,
Comrade,
Hold fast your hammer, pick up your shovel,
Sing in unison and advance.

[Original: Sramiker Gaan; Translation: Kabir Chowdhury]


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012



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