India and the world has seen a lot in the recent past, and these poems from the past mirror the importance of resistance when the times are tough. The purpose behind translating these three different poets was a common underlying humanitarian theme of their work which believed in democratizing the political space. I personally feel that these three poems can help us reflect on our situation and why we must resist now, in utter urgency.

 

WE SHALL FIGHT COMRADE

 

We shall fight, comrade, for the grieving seasons

we shall fight, comrade, for the slaved aspirations.

 

We shall amass the scattered pieces of life

the hammer still blows on the blue anvil

the plough still pierces the howling soil

this isn’t a duty of ours – the question revolves.

we shall fight comrades

climbing onto the shoulder of questions.

 

Assassinations betided-

for the oath to the exploited

for the vows to the extinguished eyes

for the promise to the scars in the hands

we shall fight comrades

 

We shall fight till-

Viru, the goatherd, is dictated to drink goat piss,

the cultivators are let to smell the invigorating scent

of their blooming mustard flowers,

the husband of the rural swollen eyed teacher

returns from the long-going war.

 

Until-

the policemen are bound to strangle

the throats of their own brothers,

the bureaucrats write the alphabets

with the bloody ink.

 

We shall fight till

there is a need to fight in the world.

When there will be no guns,

there will be swords.

When there will be no swords

there will be diligence to fight.

If there will be no modus,

there will be a need to fight.

 

And we shall fight, comrades,

we shall fight

for, no one gets anything without fighting

we shall fight

for, why haven’t we fought yet?

we shall fight

to keep the memories alive

of those who have died

in acceptance to their guilt,

we shall fight.

 

(Poem by: Paash

Translated by: Sutputra Radheye)

 

(2)

This war is the war of freedom

Beneath of the flag of freedom

Of the inhabitants of India

Of the denounced, of the feeble

Of the tipsy lovers of freedom

Of the serf, and the laborer

 

To us, belongs the whole world:

the east, the west, the north, the south.

We are Africans;  Americans, we are

We are the revolutionaries of China.

Red soldiers, we are, in a war with oppression

With bodies of iron.

 

What war is the war, what peace is the peace

If the enemy has not been disposed

What world will that world be

Where there will be no self-rule

What freedom will the freedom be

Where no reign of the workers be

 

There, the red dawn is coming

of freedom, of freedom

Pomegranate flowers are singing the song

of freedom, of freedom

Look, the flag is fluttering in the wind

of freedom, of freedom.

 

(Poet: Maqdoom Mohiuddin

Translation: Sutputra Radheye)

 

(3)

The pain iced like mountain must melt

From this Himalaya, a Ganga must flow

 

Today, this wall is trembling like the curtains

But, the bet was that the foundation shall tremble

 

In every street, every alley, every city, every village

Every dead-body shall walk quivering their hands

 

My goal isn’t to create only a chaos

All my efforts are to change the condition

 

If not in my heart, then in yours

Wherever, the fire may, but it shall be alive

 

(Poet: Dushyant Kumar

Translation: Sutputra Radheye)

Sutputra Radheye is a poet and translator.


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