Volume 5: Number 2, July 21 2002.
Editorial
Organizing Against Extremism
by Ashwini Tambe and Aparna Devare
Post 9/11
by Linta Varghese

Zionism, Hindutva and Imperialism
by Raja Harish Swamy

Father
a poem by Jyotsna Kapur
Two Poems by Sukanto Bhattacharya
translated by Rini B. Mehta
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Two Poems by Sukanto Bhattacharya

translated by Rini Bhattacharya Mehta

Sukanta Bhattacharya (1926-1947) was a poet and a political worker. He became a relief worker among the peasants who migrated to Calcutta en masse during the Bengal famine. He assisted the trade union organizers of the Jute Mills in eastern Calcutta. He composed songs and plays for Indian People's Theatre Association, and also edited Akal (Famine), an anthology of poems on the famine, on behalf of the Anti-Fascist Writers' and Artists' Association. He was the editor of the weekly children's page for Swadhinata, the communist Bengali daily which first appeared in 1945.

He died from tuberculosis a few weeks before his first book of poetry (Chhaadpatra--the Testimonial) was published. His other volumes are Ghum Nei (No sleep), Purbabhash (Forecast), Mithekada (Sweet and Sour), Abhijaan (Journey), and Hartaal (Strike).

Poetry and Being
(He Mahajiban)

No more of this poetry.
Bring on the hard, harsh prose instead.
Let the jingle of verse disappear
And the strong hammer of prose strike.
No need for the serenity of a poem;
Poetry, I give you a break today.
In the regime of hunger, the earth belongs to prose,
The full moon burns like a loaf of bread.

The Testimonial
(Chhaadpatra)

The news came
From the child who was born today.
She has got the testimonial,
And therefore she proclaims her rights to the new
unknown world
With piercing cries.

She is helpless and small, yet her fist is raised,
Glowing in an incomprehensible oath.

No one understands.
Some laugh, some reprove.

I recognize her language, though.
I see the signs of a coming age
As I read the child’s credentials
In her hazy, misty eyes.
The new child has arrived. We must make place for
her;
And move away
Into the wrecked and dead wastelands
Of this old earth.

And leave we will. Yet as long as I breathe,
I will go on clearing the debris
with all my strength
From the face of this earth.
I will make this world habitable for this child;
This is my firm pledge to the newborn.

Once my work is done,
I shall bless the child
With my own blood.

And then, I shall become history.


[Rini studies at Urbana Champaign but lives mostly in Ithaca.]

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