Theme: History

False Fort

by Rajat Das Gupta
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“I’ll not touch water”
Thus did the Chittor Rana* swear
“Till the Bundi fort
Standing there I can’t abort”.
“Alas! What an oath;
Impregnable it is” – the ministers quoth;
“You can venture into it
But for ignoble defeat”.
The Rana* says, “If so,
My oath will go”.

Chittor and Bundi fort are asunder
But only six miles from one another.
The Harabansi tribe there
Dare devil as tigers they are.
Random is their king Hamu’s raid
Of any hazard he is not afraid;
All these the Rana heard about –
Evidences now leave him in no more doubt.
And it is only six miles away,
So the Rana will no more sway.

Calls all, his subservient the minister –
Thus all of them confer –
“Let’s build a false fort tonight
That like Bundi will sight;
Let the Rana with his hands own
Hit the fort and see it blown.
Else, just his words to abide
He is heading for suicide!”
So the minister with his aides
The false fort near Chittor lays.

Kumbha a Harabansi, Rana’s vassal
With his tribal 
bravery
On return from his stag hunt
Shoulders with archery load stunt
Smells foul in the hearsay
Early in the day –
Cries aloud, “Who’s there?
With a false fort dare
Abase the Harabansi Rajput –
I’ll guard the fake castle astute.”

Comes Rana amidst bustle
To smash the clay castle –
“Keep afar Your Highness” –
Uproarious Kumbha says,
“A fake Bundi for a fake fight
Never I’ll endure this slight;
To defend that clay mound
Today I’m duty bound”.
So does Kumbha thunder –
“Your Highness, keep afar!”

On the ground sets his knees
Shoots arrows in whiz;
Kumbha alone wards off
Their sly plot to scoff
The Harabansi glory
In full fury.

Rana’s troops slay his head
All around surrounded
Near the gateway
Of the fort for play.
He drops dead,
His blood, crimson red
Sanctifies the castle clean
In ablution of all vicious sin.


Original Poem Nakalgarh (False Fort) in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore of the book Katha (Legends) written in 1899.

Note: “Rana” was the title of the King of Rajputana (now Rajasthan) whose capital 
was Chittor. This poem touchingly reflects the heroic character of the Rajputs and yet their various factional egos which were the causes of their downfall at the hands of the Muslim invaders.

Translator’s note: Historians have recorded, interpreted and analyzed the historical events/developments. Tagore, through a number of his poems, has extracted and presented us hot the human emotions - ego, uprightness, virtuosity, malice, evil etc. which had propelled our history. Our students have to cram their history lessons on compulsion. Could Tagore’s poems anyway supplement their lessons to enable them to understand the humans of the yore beyond their mere historical silhouettes? They may find at least some of the chapters of Indian history e.g. those on the struggles of the Sikhs, Marathas and Rajputs, the Buddhist period etc. animated by virtue of a good number of inspiring poems of Tagore based on historical facts and legends related to these periods, inter alia. Our teachers may give this proposal a thought.

25-Oct-2012

More By  :  Rajat Das Gupta

Views: 4065     Comments: 2

Comments on this Poem

Comment 12 March, 2013
TO: Mr. Biman Roy
Thanks for your comment. But this needs dedicated effort of many in our education dept. So far as West Bengal Govt. is concerned, I don't see anyone there to bell the cat. Possibly it more needs a personal attitude of the concerned teacher to induct such inspiration among his students and cannot be institutionalized. We had one such (Jamini Ganguly) in our school days for whose lectures we would eagerly look forward to while in other sections / classes not having the advantage of Mr. Ganguly's lessons, would find history as a boring subject.
Rajat Das Gupta

Rajat Das Gupta
12-Mar-2013 07:25 AM

Comment Good thought, Rajat. Teachers should always color the lesson with their personal and contempory experience.

Biman Roy
11-Mar-2013 21:46 PM


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