• Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
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Two poems by Nirendranath Chakraborty

  • Published at 08:12 pm January 12th, 2019
Photo: Bigstock


(Translated by Arunava Sinha)

The Royal Question

Believe it or not,

The emperor is terrified

He no longer leaves his room.

Days turn into months

The year has almost passed

In the kingdom there's a sense of doom.

The crisis is deepening

Do something, courtiers,

Can the empire run without the emperor?

Those who surround the monarch

Are falling silent, one by one

Cry as we might, they refuse to stir.

No one knows what's wrong with him,

The shops have downed their shutters,

No one's going to work these days.

Only the devotees have gathered

To beat loudly on their drums

And sing their paeans of praise.

Days of Waiting

Who puts the writing on the wall every day?

Honestly, I don't know.

But that

The times are changing everywhere

Is something I can see clearly.


It rings sharply in my ear—

The roar of an infuriated ocean far away.

When I open

The window I see them swaying madly in the void—

The branches of all the trees.

It seems that the suffering mother in the fairy-tale

Will hold in her arms this very day amidst the storm

All her turbulent, tempestuous children running to her.

We have been looking for them constantly.

That is what I wait for. And I simply cannot 

Return from this

Battlefield to the habitat of peace.

I want to see, at the final hour of the calamity

Closing in on us, who wins and who loses.

Arunava Sinha is a pre-eminent translator of Bangla literature who single-handedly has translated quite a substantial chunk of Bangla literature, from classics to contemporary writing, from poetry to fiction and nonfiction. His translated books include Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay’s The Chieftain’s Daughter (Durgeshnandini), Sunil Gangopadhyay’s You are Neera and Rizia Rahman's Blood Letters.