TRIBUTE | Jesus of Kolkata by Nirendranath Chakravarty

TRIBUTE
Nirendranath Chakravarty – a gifted poet with immense contributions to contemporary Bengali literature – passed away on December 25, 2018. As we pay homage to him, we choose to share a poem written by him: a poem that enchants us, and sharpens our ways of seeing.

Jesus of Kolkata

Nirendranath Chakravarty

There was no red signal

Of prohibition

still stopped sudden

The city which so far had the speed

of storm;

Precariously held on to the road

Balancing perilous on wheel

Taxi and private, tempo, tiger embossed double deckers;

All those who raised hue and cry

And came from all sides

Laborers, hawkers, shopkeepers, customers -they all became part of a still picture.

They all became part of a still picture

Done by the artist, stuck to his easel;

Everyone dumbfounded

Saw how a naked child crossed the road

From one end to another;

Now the light had pierced through

the clouds

Kolkata seemed to be flooded by illusory light;

Peering out of the window of the state bus

Saw the face of the sky and saw you too;

Son of a mother

Beggarly

You the Jesus of Kolkata

Stopped the traffic by your spell;

The screaming millions,

The teething and gnawing of impatient drivers

Did not deter you;

You walk through

The passage

with death on both sides,

Like someone learning to walk,

 

Like humanity incarnate

too glad to learn to walk

truing to get the whole world.

Translated from Bengali by Moinak Dutta.

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