INDEPENDENCE, HOW THIS WORD BECAME OURS
By Nirmalendu Goon
A poem will be written.
The rebel-audience of millions have been waiting
in the park-shore of the ocean of people,
with eager excitement–since the morning:
‘When shall the poet arrive?’
This Children’s Park was not there;
this floral park was not there;
nor was there such a bleary afternoon.
Then, how was this drowsy afternoon?
Then, how was that special afternoon?
How was the heartland of Dhaka, now hidden
among the trees, flowers and benches?
I know, dirty black hands are about to rub
those memories out,
and thus we see in this wasteland:
Poets stand against poets
Meadow against meadow
Afternoon against afternoon
March against March…
O the unborn babies,
O the poets of tomorrow,
one day you will see and know everything,
sitting on this coloured cradle of the park.
Keeping you all in mind, I am leaving the story
of that splendid afternoon, the best of ours,
when this garden looked different with no park,
no flower…but only an endless meadow,
covered with green grass
Like an endless undivided sky, in that afternoon
the greenery of our freedom-loving hearts
merged with that green of the meadow.
Wearing red headbands,
Iron-built workers rushed to this meadow:
Peasants came with their ploughs and yokes;
Snatching arms from the police
came the fiery youths;
with death in the hands and dream in the eyes
rushed the middle-class, lower middle-class,
sombre clerks, women, old people, prostitutes, vagabonds
and little leaf-gatherers like you too in clusters.
A poem is going to be read out in today’s meeting.
What an eagerness all around!
‘When will the poet arrive? When shall he?’
Leaving behind years of struggle and rebellions,
walking like Tagore in strong steady steps,
at last the poet arrived to deck the People’s stage.
In the twinkling of an eye, roaring water jumped up
on the boat, hearts of the masses got stirred,
the ocean of people roared in tidal waves,
windows were opened one by one.
Who dares to resist his thunder-voice?
Rocking the sunny stage of people
the poet enthralled them with his immortal poem:
‘Struggle this time is the struggle for our freedom.
Struggle this time is the struggle for independence.’
Since then, the word ‘Independence’ has been ours.