This Land


With a splendid mix of politics and aesthetics, social realism and lyrical rhythm, Subhas Mukhopadyay’s poems made a significant difference in the landscape of Bengali poetry. We are happy to revisit one such poem which, the readers are likely to realize, has immense relevance in our times.

Subhas Mukhopadyay

I have no more faith

in mere words of mouth,

whoever speaks them.

I must have solid proof

pat in my hand.

Nor do I wish

anyone to have faith

in my words,until he has tested me 

through fire, through bloodshed

and through conflict, 

and say

if I am a true coin.

In this gathering darkness

I can see the spectral faces

of those that duped me 

 with mere words.

By whatever name

they describe violence, 

 whatever the uniform 

with which they camouflage war,

I refuse to be hoodwinked, 

with whatever name

they may like to disguise death.

The land to which 

I pledge my troth,

extends from the Indian Ocean

to the Himalayas.

No one can deprive me 

of my birthright in this land,

because I refuse to be taken in

by mere words. 

(Translated from Bengali by Kshitis Roy)


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