The War Drum

(Original: Rono-bheri)

Kazi Nazrul Islam

Translation: Kabir Chowdhury

[Greece had started a war against the Angora-Turkish government. On learning of a proposal for sendng a volunteer corps pf ten thousand soldiers from India to help Kamal Pasha, this poem was written.]
O come, come along!
There sounds the war-drum
from beyond the vast deep.
O come, come along!
Islam is about to die.
The devils have taken over,
they brag and rejoice,
they crush under their feet
the skulls of martyrs.
O come, come along! Die if you must,
but let not your manhood be disgraced!
Grab the crest of the gale
in the iron fist of a Muslim,
sound the horn and unfurl the flag.
The heroes are eager to fight,
listen not to the soft words of the cowards!
Your honour and life are at stake today!
O come, come along!
There sounds the war-drum
from beyond the vast deep.
O come, come along!
There you can hear the ringing of the weapons!
Alas, how can one stay away
and tolerate this disgrace?
O come, come along!
Your brothers look at you
with pensive eyes.
Oh, how ashamed it makes me feel!
Won't the sword flash out yet
in your hands?
Won't the flood in your veins
dance with joy
as you hear the war-drums beat?
O come, come along!
We are vigorous and full of life,
In our hands alone does the sword
find a fitting place!
Ignoble are they who fall in a faint
and kiss the ground with chains
around their neck. How dare a cur kick at a lion?
Will an elephant be moulded by a jackal?
There you can hear the ringing of the weapons
O come, come along!
There sound the war-drums,
here sound the battle-cries!
There the lion-hearted heroes roar!
O come, come along!
Give up all sadness of the mind,
abandon your chest of wealth,
take up arms, and let your heart beat
with a noble rage!
O come, come along,
dance with joy, and fight for justice and truth!
come, brother, give up your life today
in the name of Allah!
See how the battle-cry of Faith
resound throughout the earth and the sky!
Hear the roars go up:
"No giving up today
Only taking over!"
Be ready now for the supreme sacrifice! .
Oh, all glory is about to disappear!
O come, come along!
There you can hear the ringing of the arms,
there you can hear the war-drums beat!
O come, come along!
Don your battle dress!
Will you hide your face in shame?
How far is the land
where everyday heroes celebrate
the festival of death
and spill gaily the blood of the foe?
Put on the attire of the brave
and rush to the land of those heroic people.
Today men of a captive land
go to secure the freedom of a free country !
O come, come along!
Say: Long live truth!
Long live the heroic and the noble!
Let the timids die!
As women hear the war-drums beat
they too laugh happily and clap their hands,
they too rush to the battle-field!
We want to fight!
We want to fight!
So beat the drum,
put your helmet on,
hold aloft the sword in your hand
For justice and truth we fight,
clad in crimson clothes are we!
O come, come along!
There sound the war-drums,
there they don the battle-dress!
O come, come along
There the bugler sounds the call for war
at the door of the seige,
there the canons break out in a song!
O come, come along!
There sound the war-drums,
there sound the battle-cries!
Come, raise your voice now
like the great Hazrat Ali's,
there is nothing to fear!
You will surely slay the false giant,
you will surely make truth prevail!
Have no fear as you march along
to kill your foe!
We are bold and fearless,
there is no timidity in our blood.
Holding high the standard of truth and justice
we shall destroy tile tyrants.
We are invincible,
we are full of love;
yet we can bear at ease our chest
before the sword!
The fighters are we,
we he long to the breed of real martyrs,
we gladly embrace death
fighting the tyrants.
Smilingly we receive the thrust
of the sword
On our breast.
We sing the victory of Freedom !
O come, come along!
There sound the war-drums
from beyond the vast deep !!

Courtesy: Mohammad Nurul Huda. Poetry of Kazi Nazrul Islam in English Translation [Dhaka: Nazrul Institute, 2000). pp. 76-79.