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    Volume 8 Issue 59 | February 27, 2009 |

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Book Review

Women in Different Colours

Marzia Rahman

One of the most important aspects of the Ekushey Boi Mela is that it gives an opportunity to countless new writers and poets to find a platform for their work. Kazi Labonya, is one such aspiring poet who has published her first book of poems “Rupali Jotsna” this year.

“Rupali Jotsna” (Muktodesh publications) is a fine collection of poems on varied moods, topics and subjects. The first poem of the collection entitled “Apan Bashe Parobashi” portrays an empty house which has become vacant and lifeless after the owner's death who lived in the house for 53 years.

In “Vote” the poet presents the sordid picture of election time when poor, desolate girls like Gulnahar pass a few fine days as some of the powerful persons of the society not only visit them but also give them money. The speaker sarcastically comments that during election time Gulnahar is treated like a human and even elevated to the status of a respectable citizen.

“Nabalika” presents a terrifying picture of the cruel society where a young girl, a victim of gang-rape fails to get justice and has to end her life.

“Aaj Shai Bolechhe” is a sweet love poem where the girl boldly says that today even if Alexander, the great, offers her half of the world, Jibanandan Das, the great Bengal poet, wishes to compose a new collection of verses for her and Aishwarya, the former Miss World and actress, desires to exchange her life with her, she will refuse all their tempting offers, only because today her dream man has expressed his love for her.

In the poem entitled “Ma” the poet sees a poor mother staring blankly at the sky while her hungry, nude child is looking for breast milk. The poet wonders what the mother is searching for- Food or God.

Women come in different colours, forms and positions in Labonyo's composition. A number of poems of her collection portray the Bangali wives of our society. For example the city wife in “Byasto Shobai”, complains about her husband who remains so busy that he does not have the time to receive a bunch of flowers from his wife. In “Suicide Note” a wife’s suicide note absolves her husband from being responsible for her death. In her death note she writes that she would have lived if the world were a better place and the people in it could love more. In “Nurbanu” a poor pregnant, wife waits for her husband's return from work. Night falls but her waiting does not end and there is no one who will look for her husband. The wife in “Satya Baro Nirmam” compares herself with a tenant who has to lead a restricted life under the rule of her husband whom she compares with a strict, unkind landlord.

Historical days also adorn Labonyo's poems. She has composed poems on Ekushey February, Phoila Boishakh, Women's day etc. The speaker in “Narir jhonyo Dibash” puts a question that why only women's day is celebrated not men's day.

In the last poem of the collection named “Kanamachhi” the protagonist is a disillusioned figure who no longer finds any pleasure nor any interest in anything existing in life. He/She realises the utter truth that all his/her life has been spent in playing a false game of hide and seek with life.

Surely, Kazi Labonyo's “Rupali Jotsna” presents poems which are unique and distinctive in many ways. The language used is simple and clear. Most of the images are taken from city life. It is obvious that she writes from her own personal experience and observation. In her poems the uncertainty and painful sense of loss, the frustration and disillusionment, the cruel, selfish picture of society, the position of women, have appeared vividly. All this is the mark of a genuinely fine poetry and makes the collection an entertaining read.


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