Shamsur Rahman: The Poet Who Captivated the Nation

Photo by Irina Iriser | Pexels

Shamsur Rahman, a luminary figure in the realm of Bangladeshi literature, was a poet who captivated the nation with his eloquent verses and profound insights. His literary creativity and his ability to weave the socio-political fabric of Bangladesh into his poetry earned him the adulation of millions and made him a celebrated figure in the country’s cultural history.

Born on this day October 23, 1929, Shamsur Rahman was a prolific writer whose works spanned over sixty years, producing a vast corpus of poems that resonated with the hearts and minds of the Bangladeshi people. Often referred to as the unofficial “poet laureate” of Bangladesh, Rahman’s poetry was deeply rooted in the realities of his homeland, reflecting its struggles, triumphs, fears and dreams. His words not only embodied the spirit of the nation but also played a crucial role in shaping its identity.

Rahman’s poetry was a mirror to the society, capturing its diverse nuances and contradictions with remarkable clarity and depth. His verses were imbued with a sense of social consciousness, often addressing issues of inequality, injustice and political corruption. Yet, alongside these grim realities, Rahman’s poetry also celebrated life’s simple pleasures and the inherent beauty of his homeland.

The remarkable aspect of Shamsur Rahman as a poet was his ability to balance despair with hope, tragedy with triumph, giving voice to the collective experiences of the Bangladeshi people. His poems have been translated into many languages, underscoring their universal appeal and highlighting his stature as a poet of international repute.

Shamsur Rahman was more than just a poet; he was a symbol of Bangladeshi resilience and the voice of its people. His poetry continues to inspire generations and influence Bangladeshi literature. The legacy of this great poet will forever be cherished in the annals of Bangladesh’s cultural history.

I Become Happy

When you come from a distant place
And rest your feet in my backyard,
I become happy.

When you sail your remembrance
On the edge of your body and set a pair of pigeons free,
I become happy.

When you melt yourself into a glass of water
At the moment of quenching my thirst
And stare at me with passion,
I become happy.

When you make your face like a blooming rose
And bring the dawn to my sight,
I become happy.

When you take a nap in the afternoon
Holding your hands crossed on your butterfly chest
And let your misfortunes fade away from us,
I become happy.

When you place your roses between my lips
And call me with love,
I become happy.

When you come to me toppling the obstacles
And hold my flag up in the air,
I become happy.

-Shamsur Rahman, translated from Bengali by Hassanal Abdullah

Curated by Jennifer

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