Which Side Are You On?

english translation

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Ani Dasgupta reads the poem in translation, Which Side Are You On? by Sankha Ghosh (translated from the Bengali.)

Which Side Are You On?

original Bengali poem

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audio of "Tumi Kon Dale?"
Ani Dasgupta reads the original poem, Tumi Kon Dale? by Sankha Ghosh in Bengali

Tumi Kon Dale?

তুমি কোন্দলে

বাসের হাতল কেউ দ্রুত পায়ে ছুঁতে এলে আগে তাকে প্রশ্ন করো তুমি কোন্‌ দলে
ভুখা মুখে ভরা গ্রাস তুলে ধরবার আগে প্রশ্ন করো তুমি কোন্‌ দলে
পুলিশের গুলিতে যে পাথরে লুটোয় তাকে টেনে তুলবার আগে জেনে নাও দল
তোমার দুহাতে মাখা রক্ত কিন্তু বলো এর কোন্‌ হাতে রং আছে কোন্‌ হাতে নেই
টানেলে মশালহাতে একে ওকে তাকে দেখো কার মুখে উলকি আছে কার মুখে নেই
কী কাজ কী কথা সেটা তত বড়ো কথা নয় আগে বলো তুমি কোন্‌ দল
কে মরেছে ভিলাইতে ছত্রিশগড়ের গাঁয়ে কে ছুটেছে কার মাথা নয় তত দামি
ঝন্‌ঝন্‌ নাচ হবে কোন্‌ পথে কোন্‌ পথ হতে পারে আরো লঘুগামী
বিচার দেবার আগে জেনে নাও দেগে দাও প্রশ্ন করো তুমি কোন্‌ দল
আত্মঘাতী ফাঁস থেকে বাসি শব খুলে এনে কানে কানে প্রশ্ন করো তুমি কোন্‌ দল
রাতে ঘুমোবার আগে ভালবাসবার আগে প্রশ্ন করো কোন্‌ দল তুমি কোন্‌ দল


Sankha Ghosh

Sankha Ghosh is widely considered the preeminent poet writing today in Bengali, a language spoken by more than 200 million people. Ghosh was born in Chandpur, Bangladesh in 1932, and currently resides in Kolkata, India. His first book of poems came out in 1956 and he is the author of more than two dozen volumes of poetry and several volumes of literary criticisms. His poetry is renowned for its aural splendor, density of images, and an acerbic tone often directed at perpetrators of social and political malfeasances.


Ani Dasgupta

Ani Dasgupta was born in Kolkata, India, and holds a PhD in Economics from Princeton University. He is a Professor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the director of MMA’s International Maritime Business Center. He has taught at Penn State, Tufts, and Boston Universities, in addition to serving as the chief economist of a dot-com and being a business consultant and software creator. He is currently working on a book-length project of “trans-creating” several of Sankha Ghosh’s poems.



Heinrich Heine

Heinrich was born in Düsseldorf, Germany in either 1797 or 1799. In 1831 he took exile in France, where he often struggled financially despite irregular patronage from a millionaire uncle. With freedom of speech he developed an international reputation for the lyricism, wordplay, irony, and excoriating satire of his poems, and was called the last of the Romantics. In 1841 he married Crescence Eugénie Mirat (“Mathilde”), who cared for him during eight years of paralysis; he wrote from bed until his death in 1856.


Pierre de Ronsard

Pierre de Ronsard (1524 – 1585) was attached to both the French and Scottish courts in his youth; he was later named royal poet for the House of Valois. He led the group of poets called the Pleiades, who looked to classical poetry for paradigms but wrote in French rather than Latin to encourage the development of French literature. In An Introduction to the French Poets, Geoffrey Brereton writes, “He projected . . . an image of his own century. . . .


Terese Coe

Terese Coe’s poems and translations have appeared in Able Muse, Alaska Quarterly Review, the Cincinnati Review, New American Writing, Ploughshares, Poetry, Threepenny Review, Agenda, the Moth, New Walk, New Writing Scotland, Poetry Review, the TLS, the Stinging Fly, and many other publications and anthologies. Her poem “More” was heli-dropped across London in the 2012 London Olympics Rain of Poems, and her latest collection of poems, Shot Silk, was published by Kelsay Books.


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