Here of the Sun – Jibanananda Das

Mashiur Rahaman
Art & Literature, Poetry, Translation
Here of the Sun – Jibanananda Das

Here of the Sun

[ Original Bengali poetry by Jibanananda Das. Translation endeavor by Mashiur Rahaman. ]

Here of the sun, brightness diminished.
Humans are roaming around the earth for long since.
‘In the course of extinction of the humans, darkness
Wants to become like the Light;’
They insist that they still think like this.
One day while roaming around the sphere of creation, wonders of illumination
Has been seen; Madalin has seen this—and some others;
Ambapali, Sujata and Sanghamitra has seen another effulgence
Behind the earthly sun;
Perhaps that light was the quality of another enormous world
Which does not exist now,
Or it was the fallacy of the emotion and vision of the people of that world.

In this twentieth century meaning of light and darkness
Has taken another form for humans.
Where there is no use of sun, stars or lamps
There is darkness;
Where thoughts lost order- words became inconsequent-
Where passion of heart in the course of centuries long endeavor
Became patient and static by the contemplation of humans
And became like an embankment on a revolutionary river- But some other day
When roaring stream loosened the embankment
Then (they say) there is no light.
Or light neutralized itself there-
There is darkness.

Every sagacious person thinks puritan nowadays,
Wants the betterment of society,
Shows the direction.
The minds of the wisdom seem like the unbreakable dams
On TennesseeDamodar, or Koshi.
But the meaning of fire, water, wind and flood is
Making new bridges where there are olds; is it known by the memorized bridge?
Sometimes the head of devoted Basukee shakes and
Finds pleasure in exhaustion, and in the quake of destruction;
Imprisoned women of the world break out of laughter. …
In the perfection of knowledge, unfurled like the rail line,
There is pleasure but not creativity. There are lots of offerings but not love.
Many welfare cities evolved;
There in day the sun;
In night the tube gas;
Open ports of the blue oceans
By the shores the sky is entrapped, obscene
With the collective energy of the humans and machine.
Did the sun lose its primary brightness
From the morning of ancient India, China and Kaldia of Egypt?

At the end of the day when the white wings flick
Of the wondrous news bearer pigeon, I understand
That she goes straight to the heart of the sun and rip it into pieces;
Fragments of light flow through the nature;
Through some people’s heart; Then
As usual, light goes out by colliding with the thoughts of
Budget, income-tax and so on.

Festivity goes through the heart and the mind someday;
Mahendra navigates across the blue ocean-
All India fills with the joy and enthusiasm of rock inscription;
Doesn’t the day of such endeavor has been ended in these days?
Now we are drawing plans and deceptions; with some honesty in imagination
And composition of words;
Occasionally using some fragments of heart;
(Black and white are continuously mixing as the colors with the darkness)
That heart appears on the plot of modern human civilization
Like Sochi.
Or goes beyond Indrani, like Aholla.
Thousands of eyes or vaginae on the body of Indra in Calcutta after such a long break?

They and those are Indra now;
This is a time when it’s possible to pretend like Indra
VAT, income tax, increment- by ambiguous cheating with fewer.


Nevertheless humans are in continuum of the course of extinction;
From the cinder of words, language and wisdom sparkle-
Searching the strength for joining the continuous funeral of wisdom and
Still seeking some love?
One World War has just been ended and
Another is coming.
If a plot recedes we put our face to the rough wall
And again search for that brightness
Which we have lost in China, Kuruksetra and Bethlehem-
We presume that as a childish heaven and
We cannot manage to find the brightness of the sun

Here of days- of life there is no explicit light;
Friendly darkness of meditation does not come yet.
Here and there in the shadow like the moonlight in the morning and evening
Wounded cities are standing like the symbols
Inside dead world. But
Death is ultimate, serene, afflicted sacredness;
Humans and cities of our world
Is not sincerely dead like that.

They thought they will find life by
Bribing their black money more than market standard
They think they are in search of the well-spring of life;
Going far and far more from themselves; ragged; they opposed-
Pretending as they- or their country- or their nation
Is greater than everything; – knowledgably sinned, with ambiguous emotion.

If all human endeavors, stories, successes and failures
Burn to the ashes by Hydrogen then let it be-
Such unexampled non-love is all around
Resonating inside our veins.

No one is successful anywhere;
In our century every small and big successes of humans is
Personal of fewer;
It is not possible to distribute among billions of people in logical equality.
Here worms are surfing inside the content of the system
By the mourning sin of the agent of judgment, Humans.

Nature is something defied, But it contains
Purity according to the necessity of the Humans.
There is more in nature; As if by fulfilling or not fulfilling
All the prayers of the Humans, Nature is silenced dew on the top of a grass
A drop of silenced dew- On the bank of the ruins of all the charges.

When evening light be vanished from the wings and feathers of the birds
Stars of the night shakes the glaze of the heart
Like liberating breeze; As if in the mind of a sleeping person
Language, endeavor, thought, dream and courage
Came to the home.

All around us like these share-holders of unremitting cause
These skies, stars, home and water;
Existing like the useless order of the continuum of  the days and nights
In the darkness and light of the century.
No one tells her, but she comes in the dense light of the morning;
No one wants her, but the midday surge of the history is shivered by her grating lamentation;

Though rivers get lucid water from nature, but filled with
Insane blood of the humans afterwards; Time asks the river incredulously
‘River! Are you coming down from the fountain? From the heart of the Humans?’


Information about Jibanananda Das:

By Ongshumali Literature Desk:
Jibanananda Das was a great poet, writer, novelist and essayist. He took on the modernist project, reinvigorated the poetic diction. He emancipated Bengali poetIy from the influence of Rabindranath Tagore and expanded the reach of Bengali poetry. His poems are regarded as the part of the Bengali consciousness in India and Bangladesh.

Das wrote ceaselessly but as he was an introvert and the ‘most alone of (Bengali) poets,’ he ‘compelled to suppress some of his most important writings or to locate them in a secret life.’ During his lifetime, only seven volumes of his poems were published. After his death, it was discovered that apart from poems Das wrote several novels and a large number of short stories. His unpublished works are still being published. Das died on October 22, 1954; eight days after he was hit by a tramcar. The witnesses said that though the tramcar whistled, he did not stop and got struck. Some deem the accident as an attempt of suicide.

Jibanananda Das was born on February 17 in 1899 in the small district town of Barisal, in the south of Bangladesh. His ancestors came from the Bikrampur region of Dhaka, from a now-extinct village called Gaupara on the banks of the river Padma. Jibanananda’s grandfather Sarbananda Dasgupta was the first to settle permanently in Barisal. He was an early exponent of the reformist Brahmo Samaj movement in Barisal and was highly regarded in town for his philanthropy. He erased the Gupta suffix from the family name, regarding it as a symbol of Vedic Brahmin excess, thus rendering the sumame to Das.
Jibanananda’s father Satyananda Das (1863-1942) was a schoolmaster, essayist, magazine publisher, and founder-editor of Brohmobad, a journal of the Brahmo Samaj dedicated to the exploration of social issues. Jibanananda’s mother Kusumkumari Das was a poet who wrote a famous poem called Adorsho Chhele (The Ideal Boy) whose refrain is well known to Bengalis to this day:

Amader deshe hobe shei chhele kobe/
Kothay na boro hoye kaje boro hobe
(The child who achieves not in words but in deeds,
when will this land know such one?)

Jibanananda was the eldest son of his parents, and was called by the nickname Milu. A younger brother Ashokananda Das was born in 1908 and a sister called Shuchorita in 1915. Milu fell violently ill in his childhood, and his parents feared for his life.
Fervently in desiring to restore his health, Kusumkumari took her ailing child on pilgrimage to Lucknow, Agra and Giridih. They were accompanied on these journeys by their uncle Chandranath. In January 1908, Milu, by now eight years old, was admitted to the fifth grade in Brojomohon School. The delay was due to his father’s opposition to admitting children into school at too early an age. Milu’s childhood education was therefore limited to his mother’s tutelage.

His school life passed by relatively uneventfully. In 1915 he successfully completed his Matriculation examination from Brojomohon, obtaining a first division in the process. He repeated the feat two years later when he passed the Intermediate exams from Brajamohan College. Evidently an accomplished student, he left his rural Barisal to join the University of Calcutta.
Bengali is the mother tongue of more than 320 million people living mainly in Bangladesh and India. Bengali poetry of the modem age flourished on the elaborate foundation laid by Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824-1873), Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976). Tagore, a literary giant, unparalleled in his time, ruled over the domain of Bengali poetry and literature for more than half a century, inescapably influencing contemporary poets.

In Bengal, efforts to break out of the Tagorian worldview and stylistics started in the early days of the 20th century. Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam popularised himself on a wide scale with patriotic themes and musical tone and tenor. However, a number of poets consciously attempted to align Bengali poetry with the essence of worldwide emergent modernism, starting towards the end of the 19th century and attributable to contemporary European and American trends. Five poets who are particularly acclaimed for their contribution in creating a post Tagorian paradigm and infusing modernism in Bengali poetry are Sudhindranath Dutta (1901-1960), Buddhadeb Bose (1908-1974), Arniya Chakravarty (1901-1986), Jibanananda Das (1899-1954) and Bishnu Dey (1909-1982). The contour of modernism in 20th century Bengali poetry was drawn by these five pioneers and some of their contemporaries.

However, not all of them have survived the test of time. Of them, poet Jibanananda Das was little understood during his lifetime. In fact, he received scanty attention and some considered him incomprehensible.

Readers, including his contemporary literary critics, also alleged faults in his style and diction. On occasions, he faced merciless criticism from leading literary personalities of his time. Even Rabindranath Tagore made unkind remarks on his diction, although he praised his poetic capability. Evertheless, destiny reserved a crown for him.

On October 14, 1954, he was carelessly crossing a road near Calcutta’s Deshapriya Park when he was hit by a tram. Jibanananda was returning home after his routine evening walk At that time, he used to reside in a rented apartment on the Lansdowne Road.

Seriously injured, he was taken to Shambhunath Pundit Hospital. Poet-writer Sajanikanta Das, who had been one of his fiercest critics, was tireless in his efforts to secure the best treatment for the poet. He even persuaded Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy (then Chief Minister of West Bengal) to visit him in hospital. Nonetheless, the injury was too severe to redress. Jibanananda died in hospital on October 22, 1954 eight days later, at about midnight. He was then 55 and left behind his wife, Labanyaprabha Das, a son and a daughter, and the ever-growing band of readers.

His body was cremated the following day at Keoratola crematorium. Following popular belief, it has been alleged in some biographical accounts that his accident was actually an attempt at suicide.

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