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Sukanta Bhattacharya: Young Poet With a Matured Hand in Bengali Literature
With the name of the poet Sukanta Bhattacharya the first thing that comes to my mind is “Ranar,” a famous poem. I read it first in my fifth grade Bengali book. The poem was later sung as a song by Hemanta Mukhopaddhay.
Shukanta was born in Calcutta in the year 1926. When he was growing up, the Second World War was going on and the heat of the war was also in British-controlled Bengal. It was an important period in the history of Bengal. The anti-British movement was continuing and the economy of Bengal was in dire straits which led to a famine in 1943. Sukanto was born, he saw and expressed the plight of the people and the suffering of the people of that time. Sukanta during her school life got involved in the left political movement. He was heavily influenced by Marxist ideas and concepts.
In his poems, he explained the problems that people are facing today such as hunger, war, suffering of poor people especially farmers and day laborers. In the year 1943, during the famine, he became a helper for the common people who came to Calcutta. He also worked with jute mills. Sukanta died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-one. In a very short time, he wrote many poems and plays. Among his works are Chhadpatra (1947), Purbabhas (1950), Mithekada (1951), Abhiyan (1953), Ghum Nei (1954), Hartal (1962), Gitiguchchha (1965).
In my post I want to talk about two of his famous poems and I also like them a lot. The first is “Chhadpatra,” a poem in which the poet talks about a newborn baby and announces its arrival by crying. The poet says that a child has come to this world and now we have to make a place for this child. The poet says that sometimes a child cries, sometimes laughs and makes noise but no one understands. People are getting angry but the poet understands his language. It is the hope of a new world, a new place. People will die and this new born child will take their place and in this way human life will continue to progress. Here the poet talks about the situation of his time of war, fragmentation, hunger and instability in his life. The poet never lost his faith in man. He hopes that the next generation will learn from the mistakes of their elders and try to make the world a better place. A newborn baby is a symbol of hope.
Another poem is “Ranar”. It is the story of a simple man of letters or Daak Harkara. In those days the communication system was not very developed. The job of a postman is to transfer letters and money orders and other important messages from one post office to another. It was exhausting and dangerous work. A postman must travel long distances and work at night. There are dacoits and robbers lurking along the way. Ranar is a mailman who risks his life every day to carry letters and money for people. Ranar is a very poor man. He carries a letter to every body but no one wants to know about him. He lives from hand to mouth. Ranar here is a representative of the working class. The poet here describes the suffering of poor people who are not recognized but their hard work helps people to live.
All these poems are neat and well written. They are opposed in very emotional terms. Both poems tell the same story, the new dawn of hope. The hope of a new world where people will not oppress or destroy each other. It will be a world without war, disease and hunger. A newborn child, and Ranar is the messenger of that new world.
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