Seeing my Teachers as Poets
VISITING the Ekushey Boimela, I purchased a number of books amongst which Jhulbarandai, a collection of Bengali poems, made my heart ecstatic. The poetic work comprising 42 poems (21 poems in each) was a jointly published work by Sharif Hasan and Samir Theo (Theotonius Gomes) who teach at my beloved institution, Eastern University. So, seeing my own teachers as poets was really a thrilling experience.
Samir Theo grew up in old Dhaka. Hence, the image of old Dhaka spontaneously made an access to his poems. References of Luxmibazar, the local church building, Bangshal, Protap Das Lane, Paridas Lane, Café Corner and use of the dialect of old Dhaka in some of his confessional poems bore the testimony of his indivisible spiritual bond with the root. 'Evabei Chole Jabo' was a zany poem in which his thought of death and patriotic zeal were exposed in an excellent way. 'Shahore Shukrobar' was a brisk lyric pregnant with extraordinary images and irony for the corrupt economic system of Bangladesh. 'Sikkatulir Kazichan' was a dramatic monologue that followed the Dhaka dialect with Kazichan as the central figure is old Dhaka's resident, an aged freedom fighter who demands for the head of the king of razakars for his grandson. The dialect of old Dhaka made the poem dynamic. 'Hawker' was very engaging poem which provoked images and strokes portrayed the rush of a hawker and the farcical element of newspaper. Last but not least, 'Jhulbarandai Bristiveja Godhuli' had lyrics, with a lull, with rain soaked urban twilight painted with the ecstasy of aesthetic flight.
Sharif Hasan's poems of 'Jhulbarandai' were marked by their overall simplicity and lucidity. But the presentation of the subjects and the situations was brilliant enough to constantly hold the fascination of their readers. In this regard, some light could be thrown on some of his remarkable poems that enthralled me most. 'Mukh O Mukhosh' was a thought provoking poem which related the poignant fact that artificiality and sophistication have affected our modern life based on capitalism so shoddily that we sometimes turned out to be strange and unknown to ourselves. 'Appreciation' was another masterpiece to draw our sympathy for the impoverished and underprivileged people of society. The excellence of the poem is an outstanding use of irony throughout the poem which was indeed magnificent. 'Tini Ekjon Vodrolok' was an impressive dramatic monologue in which the meanness, hypocrisy and cruelty of a so-called gentleman of the society got skillfully exposed. 'Eedur Dour' was a splendid poem as the curse of capitalism had been fabulously focused. Finally, 'Ekushke Khola Chithi', which unraveled the pathetic truth with the consummate use of irony, that we are rapidly going far away from the great and consecrated spirit of 'Ekushey', the life-blood of the Bangladeshis. Hasan sir's effortless use of irony would leave anyone to chuckle while turning from one poem to the other. So, when clouds of melancholy hover around in the sky of your heart, just pick up one of these poems and let your imagination speak.
(Student Dept. of English, Eastern University)