Two Protest Poems: Why do I Write? / Desire

Reading Time: 3 minutes

An artist-painter from Bangladesh, Maksudul writes two protest poems for Different Truths. His translator, a poet and art critic, RS Yadav, introduces his poems to us.

I was indeed happy to trans-create Maksudul Ahsan’s Bangla poems he had so intensely and emotionally composed in his own golden land (Sonar Bangla). The fact that human as well as natural environment had affected his sensibilities cannot be hidden. His abode at the tri-junction of Padma, Meghna and Dakatia rivers at Chandpur, in Bangladesh, shaped both his boyhood, adulthood and early socio-political life. In the good old days of activism, in which every young man sees a way forward, Ahsan was frequently called up to do posters and drawing for the cause he and colleagues were attached to. And this could not but sharpen his sensibilities towards his environment – both social as well as political – and urge him to move towards the road he has now taken – that is poetry and painting.

We are all of course aware as to how sweet and sensitive the Bangla language is. Literary and musical context of Bangla have made it immensely rich. And the unbroken tradition of the North Indian languages-down to the Oriya. Assamese and Bengali, has kept the cultural and lyrical heritage of a people alive and vibrant. It is this vibrancy and zest that makes Bangla poetry so endearing and culturally and emotionally rich. In real life both living as well as faith, hope as well as aspirations go together. This mix could be seen so vividly in Ahsan’s poems offered here.

As is the tradition, he has treated nature as feminine and environment (at dusk) as Godhuli Varna. None of the dramatis personae are real. But in a way, they are more than real- being that affect you deeply and day in and day out. So here is Ahsan with basket of flowers (or linguistic diamonds, if you please) to give you some real good moments with his muse.

©R.S.Yadav, Translator, writer and art critic.

Why do I write?

I write because –
What wells up within me
Compels me to take up the pen.
And the questioning within me
Day in and day out
Compels me to write
The questioning that tears me to
Makes a thousand questions –
Shreds knocks at my mind door.
A beauteous face propped up suddenly,
Or the sway and sound of nature
And my zest for life
Compel me to take up the pen.
The pangs of awakened consciousness –
The urgings of the sub-conscious mind
And your motionless lips
(as if chiseled out of stone)
Compel me to take up the pen.
Through pleasure, pain and sorrow,
Through loss and gain or worry
I write on…

Write on…
To pen the word ‘love’
In perfect beauteous tones
Over the sky and the earth.

I write because of my faith.
In disaffection too I write.
I write about truth and eternity.
When falsehood overshadows the sky.
And the vastness of earth,
Then too I take up the pen.

I write when in communion
With the grates
Through voice or word.
I write because of my commitment.
To beauty and truth.
I write off and on.
Ceaselessly too I write.
When sins flood the earth
And when tyrants come to rule it
I write (in sheer protest).
When compelled by sights of
Prejudice – and violence
I write

In crisis I write.
And because of my own nature
I go for the pen.
When hopeful or despairing, I write.
Compelled by a cause (and otherwise too)
I write.
Incessantly, as if possessed,
I write … write on …

©Maksudul Ahsan



What do we want in both of our hands cupped?
Strength, of course!
What do we wish for our eyes twin?
A vision, of course!
What would one want in his heart- of – hearts?
Peace, of course!
What does a wearied traveler search for?
His destination, of course!
What does a heart pine for?
Love, of course!
What play goes on in the head and mind
A deep awareness of worry, of course!
Why in the body desire awaken, perpetuate?
To rejoin the beloved, of course!
What the advent of Adam on earth promised us?
His progeny, of course!

©Maksudul Ahsan

Pix from Net.