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Parantap Chakraborty

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Parantap Chakraborty : The Son of Man

Man's face. Image courtesy -

(Original Bengali poems ‘Manabputra’ and ‘Banshi’ by Tagore.
Translated by Parantap Chakraborty)

The Son of Man

Hundreds of years have passed
Since the day Christ offered his immortal soul
On the plate of death for the lowest of the low.
Today – He descended from heaven to earth, and saw -
As in those times - Man was mutilated by 
sinful methods 
The arrogant cannonball and pike, the sly knife and cleaver,
The cruel- convoluted sword – 
They are now being sharpened 
In Factories, with the raised flag of black smoke,
With electrifying efficiency producing, sparks and clangs.

However, the killing machines that shine in the hands of the killers, 
are being stamped by the priests 
With a swipe of their claws.
Christ clasped his hand on the chest,
Realizing the unending moment of his death had not passed.
New spears are being created in laboratories – 
piercing his veins.
Those, who killed him that day,
Standing in shadow of the temple – 
They are born again in numbers –
They now stand in front of the altar
Calling armies trough hymns
Commanding them to “Kill, Kill”
The Son of Man looked above in anguish and said
“Oh, God, oh the God of Man
Why have you abandoned me?” 

The Flute

Kinu the Milkman’s Lane.
On the grilled ground-floor room of a two story building just facing the road ;
The dust coming off the patchy damp walls.
A picture of Ganesha on an American cloth 
Stuck on the wall.
I live alone with another being in the room - 
A lizard; the only difference – 
It doesn’t have to worry about food.

A junior clerk at a trading office.
Salary –twenty five rupees per month.
I get food at Duttas, 
teaching their son.
Evenings are spent at the Sealdah Station.
Saving the burden of lighting lamps.
The sound of engines,
The whistle,
The hurried passengers, 
and the call of porters take me through to half past ten.
Then I return to the room of lonely silent darkness.

The Dhaleswhari flows beside my aunt’s village
Her brother-in-law fixed the marriage of his daughter with this doomed lad,
The hour certainly proved auspicious-I ran away.
She was saved
So was I.
Could not bring her home but she enters my mind every now and then – 
Clad in Dhakai Sari, Sindur on her forehead.

The rains intensify
The cost of trams increase
I am fined now and then.
The corner of the lane is filled up by rotten stuff –
Mango peel, jackfruit pulp
Fish scales, dead kitten 
and a lot of trash.
The umbrella looks like my salary- full of holes,
The office attire like the mind of Gopikanta Gosai
Always full of humour.
The darkness of the clouds 
Enters the damp room and faints like 
An animal in a trap.
Night and day I feel tied to a half dead world.

In the corner of the lane lives the fashionable Kanta Babu
With his very carefully parted hair,
And big eyes.
He loves playing the cornet
Creating some rare music in terrible air of the lane – 
Sometimes at night, or early morning
Sometimes in the afternoon,
In play of light and shadow.
Suddenly in evening the sound of Sindhu-Barwan
Fills the entire sky and
Creates the eternal parting pain.
In that moment I realize this lane is a lie,
Much like the gibberish of a drunkard.
Then, my mind learns 
There is no difference between 
the clerk Haripada and King Akbar
The sad sound flute carries the royal canopy and 
the torn umbrella to the same heaven.

Where this song is real in unending twilight
Where flows the Dhaleshwari
On the bank the dark shadow of trees
And in the yard
She waits
Clad in Dhakai Sari, Sindur on her forehead.


Focus – "Reading Across Time": Tagore Today

  Amrit Sen : Editorial

Lead Article
  Udaya Narayana Singh : Redrawing the Boundaries

Critical Essays

  Nation, History, Cultural Exchange
    Avijit Banerjee : Tagore’s Visit to China
    Bijoy Mukherjee : Rabindranath and Indian History
    Biswanath Banerjee : Tagore and Acharya PC Ray
    Sagarika Chakraborty : Tagore the Diplomat
    Soumitra Roy : Tagore’s Ghare Baire

  Responses to Caste and Gender
    Dhriti Ray Dalai/ Panchanan Dalai : Tagore’s ‘Chandalika’
    Dipankar Roy : Women in Tagore’s ‘Domestic Novels’
    Sanjukta Dasgupta : “Streer Patra” - A Feminist Text?
    Swati Ganguly : Gender, Sexuality and Conjugality in Samapti

  Translation and Reception
    Anindya Sen : Tagore’s Self-Translations
    Jayati Gupta : Whose Gitanjali is it Anyway?
    Sushobhan Adhikary : Cartoons on Tagore
    Usha Kishore : The Auto-translations of Rabindranath

  Rural Reconstruction and Ecopoetic
    Bipasha Raha : Experiments with Village Welfare
    Debotosh Sinha : Tagore and Rural Reconstruction
    Falguni Piyush Desai : Floriography in Tagore’s Poetry
    Marie Josephine Aruna : ‘Letters’ and Ecopoetics

  Aesthetics, Paintings and Dance Dramas
    Aju Mukhopadhyay : The Poet of Sublime Love
    Raghupathi K V : Aesthetics of Tagore and Sri Aurobindo
    Sudeshna Majumdar : Paintings of Tagore
    Sutapa Chaudhuri : Dance Dramas of Tagore

  Tagore and the Short Story
    Dominic K V : Tagore’s Short Stories
    Mausumi Sen Bhattacharjee : ‘The Hunger of Stones’

  Tagore and Visva-Bharati
    Anindita Chongdar : Anecdotes of Santiniketan
    Debmalya Das : The Visva-Bharati Quarterly
    Subodh Gopal Nandi : The Visva-Bharati Library

Creative Responses

    Sanjukta Dasgupta : Remembering Rabindranath

    Frank Joussen : Tagore and Walt Whitman
    Nuggehalli Pankaja : The Voice of Tagore
    Sanjukta Dasgupta : To Rabindranath
    Shambhobi Ghosh : Yet

  Ahmed A H S : Birthday and other poems
  Anup Maharatna : From ‘The Last Writings’
  Ashoka Sen : Africa
  Barnali Saha : The Vacation (Fiction)
  Naina Dey : Chance Meeting
  Parantap Chakraborty : The Son of Man
  Suranjima Saha : Preamble to a Journey
  Swapna Dutta : The Editor

  Amrit Sen:Behind the Veil & Tagore and Modernity
  Kumaran S : Pathos in the Short Stories of Tagore

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