Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Notes from a public pulpit

Pre-script: The translations in English are mine. Those offered by the Telegraph were too literal and bland.

Lokey pachchhe naa aaloo
CPM-er durnitio chalu

People can't buy potatoes
That's how CPM's anarchy goes.

Thus spake Mamata. Her latest Shahid Minar rally drew an audience of 2 million, for which a police force of 3 lakh had to be deployed. Now my post is not to criticise the vast wastage of law-keeping resources. Neither the blockage of one of the busiest transport and commercial centres in the heart of Kolkata. It is to ponder upon Mamata Banerjee's nonpareil poetic acumen. Too much of which we just can't have. And it's not just the never-done-before rhyming of "aaloo" with "chalu". There's a bit of nearly every major Bengali poet in her.

Fiery espousal of the common man's aspirations, a cause once championed by Sukanta Bhattacharya:
Aamader shopno, aamade pon
dhongsho noi unnayan.

Our dream, our promise to redress
No destruction, a path towards progress.

Not to forget Madhusudan Dutt's brand of unrhymed verse:
Shobaar pete bhaat,
shobaar jonyo kaaj chai.

Food in every stomach,
jobs for all.

Also a bit of Nazrul (who spoke for a society inclusive of people across the socio-economic spectrum):
Chhatra, jubak, krishak, shramik
tomra aamader unnayan-er sharik.

Worker, youth, farmer, student
All of you are reapers of development.

For those not on her side after the recent train mishaps, she has a stern word of warning:
Aamar podotyag chaichho,
bondhu tomai dehotyag korte hobe!

You ask me to resign from my post
Before that happens, you'll have to turn into a ghost!

If you think she is too Bong-centric, with only local influences, think twice. She throws in a bit of Dali-esque surrealism:
Aajke chan kortey gechhilam, paye ki jeno shur-shuri dichchhilo... dekhlam ekta kankra bichhe.

I had gone to take a shower today when something tickled me... It was a scorpion.

Scorpions usually sting. But this one didn't. It tickled her. Some CPM stooge must have planted it in her bathroom. Even scorpions can't resist Didi's animal magnetism.

And the best of all:
Shudhu Mamata Banerjee-te allergy?
(This one is immune to good translation. One cannot retain her otherworldly alliteration.)

Such valiant attempts at poetry should inspire some amount of optimism in me. What it does, however, is instigate the naughty cells in my brain. So let me make up a few slogans, in the best Mamata tradition, for her next rally.

Kalchar Kolkata-r hrid-spondon
Buddha babu aar jachchhen naa Nondon.

Culture is Calcutta's lifeline
(But) For that Buddha babu has no more time.

Lal durgo bhengechhi aamra
tai toh uriye dichchhe train-er kamra.

We've breached the Red Battlement
That's why they blew up a train compartment.

Jyoti babu chhilen maanusher trata
kobe dhuye diyechhilam aamar-onar hisheber khata.

Jyoti babu was the common man's life-support.
Between us, we shared an amicable rapport.

Mamata-di should draft me to her culture brigade or advising body. I'll keep supplying her such wonderful lines. And she can keep me perpetually fed and cared for. Plus, lots of celebs from film, theatre and art there. August company, and better chances for me to make my first film! Whatsayall?

Disclaimer: This is just to parody what I consider unintentionally hilarious public-speaking. No other intentions exist.

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