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Five Poems by Shahid Qadri > Translated by Razia Sultana

প্রকাশঃ May 29, 2017

Five Poems by Shahid Qadri > Translated by Razia Sultana
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[The inauguration of Teerandaz English is starting with the translation of Bangladeshi poet Shahid Qadri’s poetry. Teerandaz sincerely wants to introduce Bengali literature to the people of other countries of the world so that they can have an idea about our literature. We hope, this approach will serve the purpose of making a bridge between the literature-readers of the world. The literature, including poetry of the countries other than Bangladesh, being translated into English, will be published in this section. At the same time, the writings of the Bangladeshi writers writing in English direct, will also be posted here. We are expecting cooperation from readers as well as from the writers. – Editors]

Five Poems 

by Shahid Qadri

 

Translated from Bangla

by Razia Sultana

 

The Ultimate

Before the dance of a dancer

Reaches its dernier

Ten million clangs of utterance

Tell me that I am not alone anymore

In this most beautiful city.

 

The Revolution

In Monzur Elahi’s garden

In a shadowy evening,

We, a few were sitting.

We talked about many things

Some talked about Bongobondhu,

In the same context, dead Alende’s name came up

The incident of Chile’s military coup – some mentioned.

Needless to say, the facts of Iran-Iraq also were uttered

And after Castro – uncertain future of Cuba

Global power domination of the corrupted corporate

And the imperiled people of Bangladesh

Starving till death – we talked about all these

While we had cashew nuts and coffee.

Gradually, like a black cat, night approached in silent steps.

Around the chairs and tables, the fireflies kept scintillating

As if they would remain, forever, like this

We got up and went to the dinner table.

Monzur Elahi said again: barrel of a gun is the source of power.

Class-equilibrium is impossible without bloodshed

Nobody would compromise class-interest easily

 

I looked through the window and witnessed

The fireflies had taken over

Monzur Elahi’s entire garden

Without a fight, without a bloodshed.

 

Harmony

The wild boar will find its favorite mud

Kingfisher will find its fish of quest

Dark nights will turn white in rain

Peacock will put on a show of dance in deep woods

Lovers will meet with their mates, no doubt

But will find no peace, no peace, no peace…

The lone traveller will return home

In the depth of cooking pot white rice will keep popping like stars

Forgotten words of old songs will be back in your voice

Lovers will meet with their mates, no doubt

But will find no peace, no peace, no peace…

Parades will stop at the barracks

Hungry tiger will find its Nilgai

The air passing through the villages will bring

Sweet sounds of feminine songs

You two will find haven in the same room

Lovers will meet with their mates, no doubt

But will find no peace, no peace, no peace…

 

Nothing More

 

Eyes, mouth, nose

And fingers

Few or some mistakes

That’s all, nothing more

 

No more sunshine

On the high minaret of the mosque!

Rather my hair

Cheeks and

Few of my furies nothing less

Nothing more

 

That’s all I can offer

Nothing more

Nothing less

A number of hymns

A pair of eyes-

Savage and stubborn

Yet full of dreams

Nothing else.

 

Panicky of a worm-eaten heart

Full of twist and curves

A sigh-concealed!

My fear, panic

And hesitation – that’s all I can give.

 

The Naked

In the triangular edge of the porch

From the gaps of the grill in the window

Through the loopholes of the wall

Though a vein of melancholy

Standing in monk-solitude

Filled with the wonder of a dispassionate jester

From the tunnel of death

Willingly or unwillingly

I see a bathing woman

Naked.

Translator Razia Sultana writes poetry in Bangla and in English. She translates Bangla poetry into English and vice versa. Razia already published two volumes of poetry – Valobeshe Valo Nei (2015) and Harpooney Gethechi Chand (2016). She lives in the United States of America and a math-teacher by profession.

 

The Poet  Shahid Qadri 

Introduced by Hisham M Nazer

Shahid Qadri was a strong poet of Bangladesh, who urbanized poetry and fleshed it with urban phrases and city jargons. In fact in the poetry-stream after 1947, he introduced modernism in Bangla poetry with his poems that sketch stories about everyday life. He wrote what he experienced and he experienced what he wrote. Writing, for this great poet, was a medium through which he translated the town and people’s life in it. Thus, his poetry is beautiful because they are honest; his poetry is beautiful because they talk about patriotism- a reality, an urgent attitude, Bangladeshis cannot deny for their 1952-1971 history; his poetry is beautiful because they cross borders and boundaries with their universal appeal, they speak of an undivided humanity and they speak of nature and city life, with a kind of natural spontaneity that is almost inimitable.

In his life time Qadri published four collections of poetry. For his contribution to Bangla poetry, he was awarded the Bangla Academy Award in 1973. In 2011 he received the highest civilian award ‘Ekushe Padak’ in the category of Language and Literature.

Shahid Qadri was born in Park Circus, Calcutta, in 1942. India back then was still under British colonial rule. He spent his childhood in Calcutta and later, at the age of ten, he settled in Dhaka around 1952, the then capital of East Pakistan (now the capital of Bangladesh). He remained there for at least three decades until the nomad inside took the better hold of him. He moved again. This time a bit farther than the distance between Calcutta and Dhaka. From 1978 he started living in abroad. He lived in Berlin, London, Boston and then until his death, in New York.

Qadri started showing his poetic talent from an early age. When he was only eleven he published his first poem ‘Parikrama’ (‘Circumambulation’) in the literary magazine Spandan, edited by Mohiuddin Ahmed. He did not stop there but kept writing and as a result his second poem ‘Jolkonnar Jonno’ (‘For the Mermaid’) got published in the same literary magazine Spandan. And thus it all began- the becoming of a great poet. But he was not always regular at writing poems. And that is why in 1967 at the age of twenty five he published his first poetry collection Uttaradhikar (Inheritance). Then in 1974 he published two more poetry collections- Tomake Ovibadon Priyotama (Congratulations Beloved), and Kothao Kono Krondon Nei (There’s no Tears Anywhere). The last collection of his poetry was Amar Chumbongulo Pownchey Daw (Convey my Kisses), which was published during his stay in abroad, in 2009.

The four poetry collections that he published showcased one hundred and twenty two poems. He composed four more poems later which were published in Kali O Kalam (three of them) and in the Eid special of Pratham Alo (one poem). The total number of his poems is one hundred and twenty six.

Although his poems live on, the poet’s life came to an end in 2016. Shahid Qadri died in August 28 at New York North Shore University Hospital while under treatment. Defying the title of his `74 poetry collection Kothao Kono Krondon Nei, he died at age 74.

Hisham M Nazer is a poet and critic. He writes poetry in English and teaches English at the Barendra University, Bangladesh.  He is Editor in-charge of Teerandaz English. 

 

Illustration and cover design: Nirjhar Naishobdo

 

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Comment(1)

  1. Wow! wonderful! The short introduction of Shahid Qadri is informative and wonderful also. Best wishes!

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