Sukanta: The teenage poet of revolution

Sukanta Bhattacharya

The noted romantic poet in English literature, Percy Bysshe Shelly, remarked: “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the joys and sorrows of this world.” The poet of nature, William Wordsworth, said: “A true poet is a person, speaking to a common person.” Really, poets must not be the indifferent and idle residents of the ivory towers of illogical fantasies, imagination and rhetoric. They must be the impartial and undaunted envoys of the desires and failures of the human satiety.

There was such a revolutionary, teenage poet (Kishore Kavi) from the English-dominated, undivided Bengal, whose igneous bouquet of poetry is still inspiring teenagers and ambitious individuals to protest against the demons of corruption and social injustice, breaking the shackles of racial discrimination, bondage, greed and ferocity of war. Incidentally, the day of the demise of the 22-year-old poet falls on the day our country won its Independence. That brave, innovative and dynamic poet’s name is Sukanta Bhattacharya.

Since his childhood, Sukanta, like the other rebellious poet (Vidrohi Kavi) of Bengal, Qazi Nazrul Islam, had to struggle very hard with impoverishment, hunger, negligence and unemployment. That inborn spirit of strife made him more determined to fight against all the oddities of society.

While deploring the lazy, luxurious and affluent class of society who had been draining out the sweat and labour of the have-nots, Sukanta blasted a poetic crater like the African-American poet, Langston Hughes: “Shone Rey Majutdar! / Fasal Falaano Matitey Torey Ropan Korbo Ebaar” (O Capitalist and black marketer, hear! / I’ll now sow you deep within the fertile ground). Sukanta was well aware of the peasants’ and labourers’ uprising in England, China, Indonesia, France, Soviet Union and Japan. That was why he invoked the prospect of a free India from colonial shackles by following that path of struggle by the Proletariats: “Aaamar Thikana Khonj koro Shudhu Suryodayro Pathey / Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Russ o Chiner Kachhey / Aamaar Thikana Bohukaal Dharey Jeno Gachhito Aachhey” (Search for my address on the path of the Land of Rising Sun / Search that path in Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Russia and China / My address is stored there since a long time.

Subscribe to The Teenager Today print / digital editions to read the full article.

Koushik Roy
Latest posts by Koushik Roy (see all)

Koushik Roy

Koushik Roy is an English school teacher with the Government of West Bengal. He was a former Kolkata city correspondent with The Hindustan Times daily.