Porajoy Udjapon Seshe (At the end of celebration of defeats) by Poet Arshad Siddiqui is a narrative of his journey through life that has offered him cups of hemlock and he has drunk it fearlessly with Socratic calmness determined to celebrate the defeats. His dreams get dashed and broken time and again and yet he can only dream of a life better than lived by all humans. Soummo Prokashani published it with cover design by Mostafiz Karigar in February this year.
The poet questions the present civilization shaped by capitalism's invisible hand and calls forth the natural force of the bison (Bison) to jump out of the ancient cave into the building of artificial modernity for leveling everything down.
Boredom and anger emanating from his tortuous journey through life that misled him too often seems to be an overwhelming tone in his poems, yet call for keeping one's head cool in tumultuous times point to his hidden desire for action.
This is not a secret murder, not killing by fire
Keep your head cool!
The country is now Lalmonirhat
Fire is burning full.
(Mathata Thanda Rakhun)
Despite all the pains purveying through his poems, his writings take readers on a smooth boat ride in a breezy night. Readers are easily pulled towards his simple rhythm and silent music of words. That is the real power in poet Arshad Siddiqui.
His power originates not from any empty space but is rooted deep in his social awareness, desire for change and acute feelings. Once he had "A dream of a red flag/ A dream of a green land/ A dream of breaking chains/ A dream of finishing off debt." (Joy-joyanti)
Alas! Yet "The buds of dreams have been crumpled under feet/ Not by any walrus but a flying ogre/ I am rootless and without address since my birth/ No return to home I know." (Onaborton) So "an unexpected embrace has spread a long sigh" in the life of the poet. (Brittabhash)
Poet Arshad Siddiqui has been a victim of the division of a national land through British conspiracy and thus has gone through the untold sufferings due to it. He knows full well that:
Neither fire nor the tide of water
Nor the bite of a poisonous snake
Nor the fear of a hungry wolf
There was only fear of men behind
Nothing is more dangerous than humans
Who can be poisonous without fang and murderous too.
Poet Arshad Siddiqui has witnessed all the ups and downs of Bangladesh since its independence. He dedicated his golden youth into struggle for a socialist society, but saw its sudden collapse in places of its birth on the world stage. This put enormous pain into his soul and pushed him into a search for its cause. But the futility of this search wakes him up from sleep at midnight and like a child he cries out: Who are you, you all/ Bending down before power for a piece of bone?/ Listen, there is the seed of rebellion in this blood-soaked soil of ours. (Odhogoti)
Trust upon this seed of rebellion gives him power to move on. But he witnesses: "The invisible hand swallows up/ Hat-bazar, super-shop, bioscope." (Sonabala) And "In this situation, Rampal-Banshkhali-Chunarughat, torture, budget, vat-tax, market price fly away at a super fast speed." (Class-syndrome). The outcome of all this can be a dangerous world in which "Some men already redundant will face death in the trap of rules and fate/ Are they really humans? There will be researches on this." (Quarantine)
This pain-inflicted poet madly waits for the bison of history to come out with rage and recover the earth to its old natural health. Every one of us should be with him in his journey to a world which is healthy, happy and just. Reading of Arshad's poetry will give us a chance to be in mental unity with the poet's desire for a better world after so many celebrations of defeats in history.
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