Kazi Nazrul Islam

Translation: Syed Sajjad Husain


For ever glorious, for ever holy,
Your sacred beaches, Shat-el-Arab,
Are bathed in gore, the blood of fighters
Of many races, and diverse colours.
Strewn on these sands lie the bones of Arab,
Egyptian and Turk and Greek and Bedouin,
Also of women, bold and daring,
Who sobbed as they battled, reckless of danger.
The surging waters of the roaring Tigris
Bring you the blood they shed at Amara;
And the Euphrates thunders daily
Warnings to those whose hearts are evil.
You the nurse of the brave and the fearless
Who'd rather die than bow to a master,
These beaches ring with the voice of Ali
From a distant past, now dim and shrouded.
The crimson flame-like roses of Basra
Are radiant emblems of war and glory;
They flourish on soil where heads have tumbled
Like fruit from the date-palm in arid deserts.
We met by chance, but here are my greetings --
Homage sincere from a fellow bondsman --
To the sacred beaches of Shat-el-Arab,
For ever glorious, for every holy.

Courtesy: Rafiqul Islam. Kazi Nazrul Islam: A New Anthology [Dhaka: Bangla Academy, p.26]