Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sukanta Bhattacharya: Young poet with a matured hand

With the name of poet Sukanta Bhattacharya the first thing that comes into my mind is “Ranar,” the famous poem. I read it first in my class five Bengali text book. The poem was letter sung as a song by Hemanta Mukhopaddhay. Shukanta was born in Calcutta in 1926. By the time he grew up Second World War was going on and the heat of the war was also felt in the British ruled Bengal. It was a crucial time in the history of Bengal. The anti British movement was going on and also the economy of Bengal was in a very bad condition which resulted in a man made famine in 1943. Sukanto was born, observed and depicted the problems of society and suffering of people of that time. Sukanta during his school life became involved into leftist political movement. He was deeply influenced by Marxist thoughts and ideals. In his poems he described the contemporary social problems such as famine, war, suffering of poor people especially farmers and day laborers. During the famine of 1943 he became a relief worker for the peasants who came to calcutta. He also worked with jute mill trade organizations. Sukanta died of tuberculosis when he was only twenty one years old. Within such a short span of time he wrote many poets and plays. Some of his works are Chhadpatra (1947), Purbabhas (1950), Mithekada (1951), Abhiyan (1953), Ghum Nei (1954), Hartal (1962), Gitiguchchha (1965).
In my writing I want to talk about two of his famous poems and they are my most favorite as well. The first is “Chhadpatra,” a poem where the poet talks about an infant who has just taken birth and declaring his arrival through crying. The poet says that the baby has come to this world and now we have to make place for this baby. The poet says that some times the baby is crying, sometimes laughing and making noise but nobody understands it. The people are getting irritated but the poet understands his language. It is the hope of a new world, a new place. The people will die and this new born baby will take their place and in this way the cycle of human life will move forward. Here the poet is actually referring to the contemporary condition of his time war, piece, famine and instability in life. The poet did not lose his faith on human being. He hopes that the next generation will learn from the faults of their elders and try to make the world a better place. The new born baby is that sign of hope.
Another poem is “Ranar”. It is the story of a simple mail man or Daak Harkara. In those days the communication system was not very developed. The function of the mailman is to move letters and money orders and other important messages from one post-office to another post-office. This was a very tiring job and risky as well. The mail man has to go long distance and work at night. There are dacoits and muggers hiding on the way. Ranar is such a mail man who risking his life everyday carries important letters and money for people. Ranar is a very poor person. He carries letter for every body but there is no body who wants to know about him. He lives from hand to mouth. Ranar here is the representative of the labor class. The poet here depicts the suffering of those poor people who goes unrecognized but whose hard works contribute to the human society.
Both of these poems are very neat and well written. They are charged with highly emotional words. Both poems focus on the same subject a new dawn of human society a ray of hope. The hope of a new world where people will not oppress or destroy each other. It will be a world free of war, disease and famine. The new born child, and Ranar are the messenger of that new world.

Written by: S M Mehdi Hasan

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