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Great is that Man

(Dhanya Sei Purush” from Shamsur Rahman’s work Abiram Jalbhrami, 1986. The Bengali poem is written about the man who contextually refers to Sheikh Mujubur Rahman, Father of our Nation)

Great is that man – who emerges from the deep water of a river –

At the moment the sun is rising.

Great is that man who from the blue hill top

Walks down the green carpet of the dale–

Teeming with butterflies.


Great is that man– who emerges from an autumnal  beel

Flying myriad-coloured birds.

Great is that man–who, after a famine, rushes out

from a harrowed land

Dreaming of crops.


Blessed are we, sure!

We see that you still come from a distant horizon

And we anxiously wait for you

Like the thirsty deer in hot summer noon

Looking for water.


Piercing your bosom blood-red jaba has bloomed like Pride

And we stare at those flowers.

Our eyes want not to wink

Our traumatic guilt-ridden heads droop down.


Look, one by one, all are treading the wrong path–

A sheer downfall!

Like disco dancers they have stated dancing at Manisha’s Minar

Keeping their conscience into oblivion.


Trustworthiness is now making hidden-holes

For the good and well-wishers.

Facts are falling apart like potters’ broken earthen pots.


The flatterers’ lips are so fluent,

Profusely producing words, days and nights.

Look, some fruit tree is loaded with makal fruits.

Love and affection are drying up

Like sun-burnt grasses

Look, today, there is no difference between crows and cuckoos.

Under countless tricks and excuses

The tricksters are embellishing the autocrat’s head with crown.


Look, none of the head is able to rise

Even a little higher than your knee

By no means none could exceed that height.

Losing you we were like evening shadows–

Slowly melting into darkness.

Our days got shrouded with grief.


Losing you, in days of crisis,

We were mourning sitting in our dunghills.

Our tears made the sky grief-stricken

But you have transformed that grief into life’s hymn

Because we know that you are more living than the living.


Great is that man, on whose name shimmers the sun

For ever, Sraban’s rain, like music, pours down on this name 

Winds never allow dusts gather on this name.

Great is that man on whose name the moonbeam-cranes 

Spread their wings.

Great is that man on whose name flutters our Freedom

       like the flag.

Great is that man on whose name

Echoes  ecstasy of our Freedom Fighters.


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