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Twenty-First February*

February 21st has come again, at the turn of the year -
Can we forget the lost beloved ? Bloodshed and fear ?
Those who became immortal by sacrificing their souls -
Achieved their heavenly freedom, enduring heavy tolls.
Those who ignored intimidation through igniting resistance
Will remain in our sweet memories, always as an instance !
They had never retracted even after being caught by the strong opponents -
'Cause Salaam, Jabber and Rafique, Barkat were our language proponents !
Everyone now wonders: what type of magics they all knew ?
That stirred up the whole nation with the exception of a few ?

We advanced through oppositions and ignored the machine of power -
To snatch our mother tongue by marching through the bullets shower !
We achieved our hot dreams by crushing the dam of oppression -
And retrieved our Bengali language with non-violent aggression !
Freedom of our own mother tongue, at present, creates a lot of excitement -
While bloodshed of martyrs will be carried on as the source of enticement !
Those who broke the ribs of wretched and oppressed,
Had to surrender to masses and some of course fled !
Finally, curse, hatred, and grievances strapped them all -
And we achieved mother tongue at the end of their fall !

Today, let us situate our own joyous hearts to the thrones of gold -
And cherish our language now through the history written in bold !
Let us march forward on the dew-moistened green grass,
Unknown streets, avenues, roads, and shattered terrace !
Let us now get together in vacant homes, or in open fields -
’Cause Lord our savior has guaranteed His mighty shields -
To resist all the threats of our tyrant,
And rejuvenate us, the Triumphant !
The garland of all red bloodshed,
From huddled masses and unfed
Will glow very brightly to remind our future generations -
The sacrifice the martyrs made -
With an unselfish red bloodshed,
Had paved the way to free speech and current operations !

Once again, at the end of the year, February twenty - first will soon appear -
But Rafique, Barkat and Salaam, Jabber will remain alive without any fear ! 

  Hillol Ray
June 15, 2003

* Celebration of "Twenty-First February" is one of the most auspicious cultural events for all Bengalees. This is a memorable and triumphant day for the Bengali speaking people around the world. In 1952, a socio-political movement resulting in bloodshed and loss of many lives took place in Bangladesh (formerly known as East Pakistan). This was triggered by a dictatorial government who unilaterally decided to change the mother tongue "Bengali" of over 70 million people. As a result, protests and demands surfaced within the poets, writers, painters, journalists and intellectuals as well as Bengali speaking public to demonstrate their grievances. Lots of protesters were killed. Since then, February Twenty-First continues to be celebrated to pay tribute to the martyrs of the famous Language Movement and also to renew efforts toward the cause of Arts, Culture, and Literature by over 200 million Bengalees. Today, this poem is being dedicated as a personal tribute to such a noble cause in the history of Bengali language.  For the benefit of our Bengali readers, the above poem is also reproduced in Bengali.

Ekushay February

Bachhor ghhuray elo abar Ekushay February,
Priyojonder beeog byatha kee sahojay bhhooltay paari?
Faansheer kaathhay praanta deeyay jibonto holo jara,
Taaraai moder protinidhhi, noyko baddhhyo kaara.
Protirodhher aagoon jelay chhirhlo jaara jaaal,
Jaagbay taara smritipotay, roibay cheerokaal!
Shotroo jaalay baddhho holeyo daainee naakay khhot,
Aaamader bhhai Salam, Jobbar, Rofiq, Borkot!
Kee jaadoo jaanto taara?
Korlo moder paagolpara?

Ogneepaanay dhheyachheenoo shob voshmo koree shoshon jantro,
Chhineeya enoo maatribhhasha, shooni naai go kumontro!
Ottyachareer baandhhta bhhengay meetlo avilaash,
Feeray pelem Banglabhasha feylee deerghhoshwash!
Matribhashar swadhheenota aaj lagaai monay dola,
Shoheed joner raanga rakto thhaakbay mathhai tola!
Neehshwojon o sharbohaarar bhhaanglo paanjor jaara,
Proteebaader jhhonjabaanay kothhai gaalo tara?
Raktoshoshak o prishthhoposhok janotaar obokhhoy?
Bojraanolay ottyachareer osthhee pelo saaja,
Aamra lobhhee raashtrobhasha, shaddyojaato raja!

Bhhashar laagi aajkay shonpee lakkhho-kotee mon,
Bangla moder rashtrobhasha jolbay anukhhon!
Durbadolay egiyeea cholee
Greeho-gothhay mili aaj,
Mookh boojay kori kaaj,
Bhashar tawray shapotth kori,
Neepeerheeter shonka hori,
Lorhhbo mora mukto monay,
Jujhhbo shoshok songoponay,
Shato shaheed er raktomaala,
Hoke naa moder baron daala,
Koshtay penoo matribhasha,
Bangla moder rashtrobhasha, baanchbay cheero deen!

Tomra shudhhoo monay rekho,
Shomoy pelay bhhebeyo dekhho,
Poob deegontay robieer aalo,
Felbay dhhuay moner kaalo,
Neerjateet er ranga rakto hobay naa kobhhoo leen!

Bachhor ghhuray ashbay abar Ekushay February,
Rofiq, Borkot, o Salam, Jobbar thhakbay shiroporee!!


More By  :  Hillol Ray

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