English Translations of Shyamal Kumar Pramanik by Jaydeep Sarangi

Jaydeep Sarangi (Translator)

Translated from Bengali


Rain has Returned Just Now


In our home touching the muddy walls

Rain returned just now

Now the courtyard is enlightened

Night birds are carrying life pulse

Though our hearts have deep wounds

Though the air if full of hatred and antagonism

In the bends of currents

Even then, the world is engrossed in dreams of the dawn.


Descendants Walk Down


Our houses are at the end of the village

Near the field, there is the war of religion

There lies our birth and death

Near our homes seasonal flowers, muddy pond

Mother is grinding rice

Under heavy stressful life

Time stands in front

There I’m beaten by the roots of a tree

Hunger keeps me waiting throughout the night

Where shall I go?

Where ever I gaze only pensive faces

Breathings exhausted beating the head against the wall

Vacuum engulfs the chest

In the midst of that, my descendants

Walk down to make the world more beautiful.


I’m Awake Alone


Sleep doesn’t come to my eyes

I’m awake in this lonely dark night

I watch night birds flying

Never sang a song of freedom

In this painful life of neglect

Blood wet soil of this land

I’m a dumb and deaf in the tired coffin

I cover up my face with the shameful poison

Veins and sub-veins tremble with pain

Not seen the lighted world for long

When shall I see my mother’s smiles?

When shall the rain drops in Monsoon come?

And the birds which fly in our dreams?


Translator’s Note:

Shyamal Kumar Pramanik writes on social and political values, and engages with Dalit literary texts and forms of movement in his works. His writing glitters with pain, angst, and impactful social commentary. He sees his writing as a commitment which is both social and political in nature. Dalit literature is born out of ideological warfare. Pramanik is a socially-committed artist with a large body of works under his belt. He shows us a better society—one that is based on justice, equality, and fraternity instead of discrimination. His other collection of Dalit poetry titled Aguner Bornomala was first published in 2000 in Bengali. In 2019, it was translated to English as Fiery Garland of Letters, by Kalyan Basu, brought out by the Kolkata-based publisher, Gangchil. The present collection of poems is rich with earthly symbols which serve to demonstrate his protest against the age-old stereotypes around caste in Bengali society, while envisioning a new world where there is equality and freedom for all.

  • Published with permission from the translator.

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