Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Poem of the Month (December, 2009): BANGLADESH


"Bangladesh" map
Graphic design (Toronto: Dec. 16, 2009) © Joachim Romeo D'Costa

(Please click on the above image
to read the Bengali poem in an enlarged form)

I had written the above poem, Bangladesh, in Bangla (Bengali). The Pratibeshi, the national Catholic weekly in Bangladesh, published it in its March 26, 1972 issue. After undergoing nine-month-long degradation, persecution, and extermination of its people in the hands of the West Pakistani forces, East Pakistan (Bangladesh) became independent on December 16, 1971. My poem is a reflection of that period.

The English version of the above poem is presented below.


By Jerome D'Costa

Bangladesh, in the long nine months
Were you with child,

Like a pregnant woman

You felt nauseated at times.

You couldn't eat well
You could not toil hard as before,
You carefully covered your distended belly
Lest someone discover your condition.

Your co-wife -- the West Pakistan
Often laughed at you and was sarcastic and acrimonious,
You were disgraced, insulted and persecuted.
You'd cry out in pregnancy-related pain
And wish you were dead,
But the expectation of seeing your upcoming child

You would endure all with a smile.

Your child is born today
You've forgotten
All the past suffering, disgrace and shame.
As you had carried your child for nine months
So have you so much care, affection and attachment for him!
Nurture, tend and protect
Your adorable son 'Independence.'

Today you are separated,

Your co-wife will no longer be able to disgrace you.
Go forward with your head held high,
Your child will

Place you on a pedestal

Among the nations of the world.

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