I am not Bangladesh…

Samrat Sengupta
I am not Bangladesh
Though my forefathers left the country some years back,
It was 1947 and like many
My grandfather took his unroofed journey
From Bikrampur.
Names like Khula, Faridpur, Barishal formed
The unread milestones of my growing up.
We have always looked up to an Hilsa
From the other side of the river
To help our appetite.
Criticizing lack of taste of  'this side' we live,
I certainly cannot still be Bangladesh
Where brothers were butchered in 1971
For using a language which I wanted to leave,
I love my English
Just the way I love my continental and homegrown Chinese.
I love my dingy lanes of Kolkata
While hearing stories of traffic jam in Dhaka,
And it is the nature of a global city.
I always wanted to revisit my desh,
To have the taste of fishes and easily available
Foreign goods that pile its market now.
I have also heard of Bangladeshi garment workers -
Their toil and poor pay
But I don't usually interact with such poor people in my own land India.
Geographically I love my globe just as I love my India,
I feel for the poor across borders
I feel for the unemployed, poorly paid, the raped
And the mutilated across history -
They make me a good liberal to speak for humanity.
But even then I cannot become Bangladesh,
Padma and Ganga cannot still be the streams of tears
Flowing from my eyes as the poet says...
I feel for Azaad Kashmir, I feel for massacres in
Orlando and Paris, I feel for Bastar and Chattisgarh,
I feel for what American soldiers did
In Abu Ghraib.
I may also feel for the brutalities in Syria
And turn my face away from the graphic violence
To watch a film instead on massacre of Jews in Germany.
Yes I feel for Vietnam, I feel for Iraq, I feel for Gaza being

Bombed out from the map of the world.
Yet tears choke when a storm deflects to my erstwhile desh,
A slight smirk appears absurdly on my lips
To remember what I have narrowly escaped,
What we have been escaping narrowly
For all these years.
I cannot weep for a country which connects me through language!
I cannot weep for a nation which fought for my tongue!
Last leaf of winter has fallen -
Bludgeoned bodies pile in the exception of my history -
The ghost of my grandfather escaping barefoot
Like thousands in that country who wait in transits
To be transported to Saudi or Singapore
Or at best to the dreamland of America.
The forgotten flesh I shredded with my independence
Comes to haunt my midnight.
I cannot be Bangladesh.
As closer relatives die unmourned we cannot
Perform their last rites - we live in melancholic endlessness.
The nightmares that flicker in sleep
Cannot cover my face in social media.
I can be one with the rest of the world
I can speak for my country and its people
As they form a part of my third world experience -
Very close to where I live millions live without a world
Being striked out from the domestic book of calculations
Where I love to erase
Last week’s expenditure into silent unremembrance.

No comments :

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।