Bengal: An identity

Bengal: An identity

a poem by Alolika A. Dutta

Naked children playing in the rain, young women chattering away in the bustling bazaars of an idle city, lonely men at the bus stop with pressed shirts neatly tucked into plain gray trousers with a Woodland Brown leather belt across their narrow waists and a piece of classic literature in their hand, poets, philosophers, and madmen lost in the lanes with a beige Jhola on their shoulder and a cigarette between the thumb and the index finger, sun-coloured Ambassador taxis with frowning old men at the helm and a playful arm lolling outside the driver's window, hand-pulled rickshaws carried by contemporary remnants of the British Raj in wrinkled sky-coloured dhotis, loose shirts, and ragged shawls,

Neighbourhoods with sandalwood women in white cotton sarees, and political opinions assertively placed on the breakfast table alongside a copy of the local newspaper and a cup of light-tinted milk tea under the arching shadows of colonial architecture assembled from Rajasthani white marble and starved lives, songs of slavery and chants of the free that find a place of burial on the reddened lips of chirpy housewives who sing away their monotony, colourful walls with posters of a non-conformist reformer who traded blood for liberty, rows of bookstores with novels and textbooks stacked outside, and a call for revolution that echoes through the walls and pillars of a city painted in propaganda, in political limericks, caricatures, and satirical literature that mock at the obedient children of the government,

 

In Bengal, even politics fears literature when radicalism rises to the skies as red-coloured flags with a white hammer and sickle in the middle, hoisted on bamboo sticks by ordinary men who robbed ordinary men,

 

In Bengal, even politics fears art, because when the musicians, the rationalists, the artists, the writers call for rebellion, the law stands void.

Photo source: the author

Photo source: the author

About the author:

Alolika Dutta is an 18-year-old author, poet, and spoken word artist based in Bombay, India. To learn more and read additional works, please visit medium.com/@alolikadutta_.


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