Friday, September 21, 2012

For Aung San Suu Kyi

Muhammad Samad 

 For Aung San Suu Kyi

Dear Aung San Suu Kyi,
it was a long time ago that, marking a radiant photograph of yours,
you in your full youth decorated with roses in your bun of hair
and jasmine flowers blooming in the garland on your neck,  
I made one unnoticed comment: Wow! the East Asian beauty has outmatched the matchless Aryan ladies.

Later on, ignoring the comforts of your dear husband and children,
and immersing yourself in the cordial love
of the speechless and oppressed Burmese people,
yearning for light, you have, like Nelson Mandela,
become a dear Nobel-laureate political prisoner.

Dear Suu Kyi, on the day of Victory,
you put on garland of Bakul flowers on the neck;
a bouquet of roses drenched in people’s love was in your hand;
Kyang, green hills, forests and crop-fields
were soothing our eyes with the rhythm of your laughter as full as
the flow of the full moon; new leaves of spring were dancing in joy.

The flag of NLD, for bearing which
simple and freedom-seeking people and innocent
Buddhist monks of Burma were thrown into prisons,
that flag studded with white stars between red ground
and golden peacock is now swinging to the rhythms of dance
by colorful adolescents on the streets from Yangon to Mandalay,
from Mandalay to Naypido, the new city of bunkers of the junta,
swinging in the enchanting manner of elated pop singer Shakira.
And the waves of long-awaited freedom
are spilling over the banks of Iravati
into the turbulent stream of the Naf.

Suu Kyii,
you are free today. Many paths are open to you.
Know you surely which one to take; yet,
at the sight of grit and stone under your feet,
and the frequent appearance of hawks in the sky of Yangon
I am frightened a little.
So, remembrance of the grief of Chandrani,
the heroine created by the Bengali poet Doulat Kazi at the royal
court of the Arakan King and those in that of Alaol’s Padmabati,
makes it a liability for this present-day poet of Bangladesh
to tell it in the Bakul-covered ears of yours:
`Though the speed of light is about two hundred thousand miles
per second, one cannot be sure as to how and when that light
will find an entry into a society of bare subsistence,
society seized by engulfing flames, bloodshed
and avaricious foes at home and abroad.’

May 2012, University of Dhaka

Translated by Kajal Bandyopadhyay
Muhammad Samad

Muhammad Samad was born in a remote village in 1956 in the Jamalpur District of Bangladesh. He earned his Bachelor of Social Science (BSS) with honors and master’s degrees in Social Welfare (mostly known as Social Work) from the Institute of Social Welfare and Research (ISWR), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He completed his PhD on the participation of the rural poor in development programs of government and NGOs in Bangladesh. Dr. Muhammad Samad was the Director at the Institute of Social Work & Research, University of Dhaka. Dr. Samad has taught the course Globalization of Social Welfare as a visiting Professor at the Department of Social Work of Winona State University (WSU), Minnesota, USA twice in 2005 and 2009 respectively. He has worked as a Fellow of Katherine A. Kendall Institute of International Social Work Education, CSWE, Washington DC, USA in 2009. Currently he is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Information Technology and Sciences (UITS).

Dr. Muhammad Samad has done extensive research on the rural poor, indigenous peoples and the underprivileged classes in Bangladesh. He has more than 30 articles published in national and international journals.  A well-known social scientist Dr. Muhammad Samad has authored and edited more than 10 books in the field of social science and development. Highlights include The Invisible People: Poverty and Resiliency in the Dhaka Slums (2008; Jointly with Dr. Cathleen Jo Faruque), PublishAmerica, Baltimore, USA, Participation of the Rural Poor in Government and NGO Programs: A Comparative Study (2002), Awareness About the Role of UN in Bangladesh: An Opinion Survey (2000), The Santal Community in Bangladesh: Problems and Prospects (2003; Jointly), Human Rights: 50 Years of Advancement 1999, (Ed. in Bengali), The Fourth World Conference on Women: Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action (Ed. 1997 in Bengali), Role of NGOs in Rural Poverty Alleviation of Bangladesh (1984, in Bengali) and The Struggle of Poets and Poems (A collection essays ed. in Bengali, 1994). He is widely published in America, China, India, Japan, Indonesia and Korea.

Muhammad Samad is a genius and popular poet of Bengali language. He has been writing poems since his school days. The first book of his verses Ekjan Rajnaitik Netar Menifesto (Manifesto of a Political Leader) was published in 1983 and won the Trivuj Literary Award in the same year from among the young poets aged 25 years in Bangladesh. His other published books of verses are Selected Poems (bi-lingual), Premer Kabita (Love Poems) Kabitasangraha (Selected Collection of Poems), Aaj Sharater Akashe Purnima  (The Full Moon in the Autumn Sky) Cholo, Tumi Bristite Bhiji (Let Us Be Drenched in Torrential Rain), Podabe Chandan Kaath (Will Burn Sandal Wood) Ami Noi Indrajit Megher Adale (I am not Indrajit Behind the Clouds) and  Utsaber Kabita (Poems From Festival ed. Bengali poems rendered in the National Poetry Festival). Dr. Samad has been serving as the President of Bangladesh Council for Social Work Education (BCSWE) since 2007. He has visited China, India, Nepal, Japan, Indonesia, Korea, United Kingdom and United States of America on invitation as academic and poet.

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