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Date of Publish: 2017-03-04

A few poems by Sananta Tanty

Touch

I touch your love. Entering your love, I burn myself.

My days are hot, my nights are hotter.

First, it was in the alphabets, it was hidden in the words.

Then it came to the touch of the hand. It revealed itself in life.

Blooming, spread like itself from heart to heart

I touch your love. Entering your love, I burn myself.

Now it's not easy to kill the love that lives in the blood of my veins

the way even if shot at, poetry does not die like men do.

Savage

Twenty seven persons were killed

Among them twelve were men

others were women and children

eyewitnesses said there were babies too

asleep in their mother’s bosoms

First, the villagers were surrounded

then breaking the doors

the men were dragged from their beds

Even ignoring the innocent faces of the children

the murderers fired their bullets indiscriminately

the bullets filled with gunpowder passed

through the innocent eyes and hearts of the children

The flies hovered all night over

the soil blackened by blood

the moon left the sky

the sky cried in the savagery

in grief, the coulds turned into rain

Seeing the heartbreaking scene

eyewitnesses didn’t say a thing

just covered their faces with handkerchiefs

After identification, this was learnt about the dead bodies:

  1. All twelve men were landless and without indepedence
  2. The women were mothers of hungry children
  3. The children were just children and flowers

Invitation

Come to the core of my heart

come to the deep source of words

Open up your love

abruptly in my blood

Perhaps you are my last invited guest

to partake in my mournful life

Come to the core of my heart

prepare me for the victory march

I survive in your purity

I survive in your purity

and blossom everywhere

I sink in eternal immersion

And be discovered everywhere

Even in the strong current, I remain unmovable

And I break the house inside

I burn perpetually in the heat of your heart

And burst out everywhere

Waking up with a golden dream

Suddenly I am born

quietly

inside you

How do I forget?

How do I forget your heartening warm hand?

We were joyous when the soft, quivering dreams

touched the winds which collided with the blue hills

and spread on us

We were desirous of touch in the time

spent in the soft sound of the rivulet

we had shifted the words crammed in an undiscovered pain

form heart to heart

We gazed at the lack of pride

How do I forget your warm voice in the spreading sky

where our dreams were plastered?

How do I forget your heartening warm hand,

the hand that threw upon us the words of dream?

After a long time

After a long time, the other day, I bumped into myself

I shook hands with myself. We moistened ourselves in fellow feeling

Drawing some blood, I mixed it with my own blood.

I mixed my own word with other words.

After a long time, the other day, I saw myself

I compared myself with the picture which, turning to fire

turnign to ash is has become past. While doign this, I went to sleep

beside my own shadow. Wakign up, I saw the time depart.

After a long time, the other day, I saw myself

I shook hands with myself. We moistened ourselves in fellow feeling

With me from past, I laughed, played and exchanged sadness.

The Day you arrived

The Day you arrived, I wore a green garment of dream

I waited next to the road. In my eyes, there was a deep desire to see you.

In my heart, there bloomed a rose.

Dismantling my heart, it bloomed withing me.

Surprisingly my nerve cells, flowed its unsung pain.

The day you arrived, my pain was crystallized.

The day you arrived, scented red flowers bloomed on the trees

and I was immersed in colour, in scent.

Sunayana’s birthday

Today is Sunayana’s birthday

What could I give Sunayana today?

Waiting for the city bus, I thought of Sunayana

She, who is crazy about love, on her birthday

It would be huge mistake

If I forget

My heart may crumble

My hours may grow tiresome

I could experience unbearable pain

I could remain sleepless all night

Perhaps the birthday would be spent in despair

Sunayana will weep; I wil weep in sorrow

Sunayana’s so desired

birthday party will go waste

for a slight mistake

Today is Sunayana’s birthday

I look around

City buses filled with passengers pass by me

Immobile like a tree

standing on the same spot

I think of a gift for Sunayana

on her birthday

Today is Sunayana’s birthday

I am sure to wish her on her birthday

the rain will turn into drizzle

the roads will be be without dust

free of dust trees will share their breez with the guests

The rain will wash away bloodstains

revealing the roots people will gaze into their past

the rail will wash away the bloodstains

from the dead in the bomb blast yesterday

the hours will be crystalline

I call up Mamoni Baideu

Today is Sunayana’s birthday

Is Mamoni Baideu coming?

I call up Saurav Tripathy

My revolutionary companion once upon a time

who spent the night of impenetrable darkness

I call up everyone

close to Sunayana

today is Sunayana’s birthday

are they coming?

The sun climbs up

Standing like a tree, I think of Sunayana

What be the gift

on Sunayana’s birthday?

I think of Sunayana’s wish list

I thonk of the things Sunayana likes

Sunayana likes perfume

Sunayana like deodorant

Sunayana likes music

Synayana likes pictures

Sunayana likes paneer pao-bhaji

Sunayana likes gajor ka halwa

and apple fruit salad

Sunayana loves to sing and dance

Sunayana cannot stand still whenever she hears

the sound of vehicles

Sunayana, like me, likes the company of poets

I call up my wife

listen, today is Sunayana’s birthday

what do we give her on her birthday?

Over the phone my wife

gives me a long list of birthday purchases

She said – bring two kgs of happiness

bring joy, bring prayers and wishes

and to offer the guests

bring the heart,

if possible bring some choice sweet

And listen, to offer the deity bring some gram

and banana and apple

for Sunayana, bring a long ghagra

because in a long ghagra

she will look dazzling

From the city bus stop

I walk towards the market

and reaching the market

in the cry of my mobile phone

I lose my consciousness

Weeping, my wife gives me the news

Sunayana committed suicide today

Sunayana is no more

Breaking all our hearts

Sunayana has left the world

Sunayana’s birthday is now a day of mourning

now sorrowful hours cover

Sunayana’s birthday

I purchased bereavement from the market

I purchased sadness from teh market

I bought despire and despondency from the market

I bought salt from the market to hide my sorrows

Burying the news of my beloved

Sunayana's death in my heart

immobile, I ask myself alone

where did my Sunayana go?

Sunayana was my daughter

She was never a dog

Translation of all the poems from Assamese into English by Dibyajyoti Sharma

The Poet

Sananta Tanty was born in 1952, in Kalinagar Tea Estate in Karimganj district in Assam. Tanty came from an Oriya speaking poor tea-garden labourer family and was bought up in a semi-town environment of Ramkrishna Nagar. During his chilhood and adolescence he was exposed to Bengali literature through the Bengali language he first learnt and fall in love. He wrote his first poem, a love lyric in Bengali. But his stay in Jorhat in Middle Assam, at the threshold of his youth and the lucidity and life of Assamese language forced him to write in Assamese. A poet who is originally Oriya, educated in Bengali and writes in Assamese is definitely a success. His left redicalism and sensitivity during the time of great political unrest in Assam in eighties made him a voice to be reckoned with.

His literary works include Ujjal Nakhyatrar Sandhanot,1981 (In Search of a Bright Star); Moi Manuhor Amal Utsav, 1985(I’m Man’s Shining Celebration); Nijor Biruddhe Sesh Prastab, 1990 ( Final Proposal Againt the Self), Sabda Athaba Sabdahinotat ,1993( In Sound or in Silence) ; Tathapio Ketiyaba Barisha Ahe, 1997 (Sometimes it floods even in dream); Dhowa Saair Sapon,2002 (The Dream of Smoke and Ash), Dirna Basantar Saurav, 2002( Fragrance of a wretched spring), Apuni Aponar Hotey Juddha Karibo Paribone, 2008( Would you be able to wage a war against you); Moi, 2009 (I); Kailoir Dinto Amar Hobo, 2013 ( Tomorow will be ours), Mor Priya Sopunor Osore Pajore, 2017 (Around my favourite dream).

“Selected poems: Sananta Tanty", is the collection of some of his translated poems published in English in 2017 and translated by Dibyajyoti Sharma.

He is a recipient of Mrinalini Devi Goswami Award by Asom Kavi Samaj in 1992, Bir Birsa Munda Award in 2002, Osman Ali Sadagar Samannay Award by Char Chapori Sahitya Parisad in 2011, Krantikal Samman in 2014, Nijora Kobi Sailadhar Rajkhowa Award by Asam Sahitya Sabha in 2015,and SIRISH-OIL Literary Award by APPL Foundation in 2016. ( Source : Selected poems : Sananta Tanty)

The Translator

Dibyajyoti Sharma has published two volumes of poetry and an academic book, besides numerous contributions in edited volumes, journals and websites.

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