True, the Forests are No More as Before True, the forests are no more as before However it has become a lot easy to skip and jump; The only need is to attain the skill of calculations. The days have stiffened Only for the troop of monkeys The trees have become sparse The days come to an end Prancing on the clanging roof-tops. With such a thought a meeting was arranged Those living in the jungles and thickets came out Preparing to discuss Everyone looked at each other's face and asked— How have the humans become so good in prancing, There the day before, here today Again tomorrow perhaps at some place or the other Everyone together proposed to think out a solution Where and how one could climb with leaps Onto the branch of humans. Against Ravages Against War I'll hand you rifles and machine-guns Tanks, anti-tank missiles I'll hand you sophisticated multiple-attack rocket launchers For air-to-air, ground-to-ground, ground-to-air, air-to-ground attack I'll hand you sea-demons of ships and submarines I'll provide if necessary even biological armaments Apart from fighter-jets and bombers undetectable by the radar I'll hand you nuclear stuff I'll Constantly message from the satellites Brief on tackling any emergency They say -- What took place at the Kurukshetra What happened in the two World Wars Forgetting everything We'll form a hostile unending queue Displacing amity with an inhuman air of preparation Have you ever heard the alarm-cry of the siren Have you ever heard the screams of someone in distress Have you ever seen a picture Of the mingling of blood and tears Ever seen an inconceivable scene of someone beheaded by the roadside Ever seen corpses white as the jasmine Ever seen the sorry plight of the maimed and the crippled Ever seen city after city ravaged by bombardment The misery of the absconders turning into refugees in foreign soil After forsaking their homesteads, assets and country Ever seen the ailing and the wounded being dragged out of hospitals and riddled with bullets And the 'holi' of hot blood splashes Sprayed on the opposite walls and pillars Ever heard the sky-shattering rumble of ballistic missiles Ever seen the sky-high archway of sooty smoke impeding the entry of light Ever seen the countless being pressed and pushed for burial in the same gutter Have you ever confronted the onslaught of enemy troops and tears trickling out of terror Ever seen any day living bodies getting benumbed and turning into ash within moments? You say -- Everyone's blood is red You say -- There's only one God You say -- Ours is a single village You say -- We're all brothers and sisters You say -- Ignorance is the root of all crumbling acts You say -- At present everyone is well-educated and civilized You say -- War is the work of barbarians How twisted are your words How twisted are your actions As a gift you always offer a holy book From which a hooded viper begins to dance once the pages are opened! It's the passengers who are seen travelling on luxury ships Who's seen the lethal missiles and nuclear bombs concealed underneath! Yes, visibly we even shake each other's hands While secretly we spread the chilling toxic fomentations! Amid this lot of provocation Why then are there talks on global warming Talks on pollution control by each and every country O' war-mongering people, O' adorers of destruction Why then these discourses and discussions On the demonic horror It's not armaments! Offer a pen Offer a handful of rice-grains Offer an establishment Offer a healthy environment To converse with those Stricken by the war-fever Offer a heart and a voice Offer some remedy To keep the soil, water and air Free from ailments.
Translated by Krishna Dulal Barua
Tapan Barua is a prominent Assamese poet based in Tengakhat, Dibrugarh. He has fourteen collections of poems to his credit.
Krishna Dulal Barua is a prominent translator and writer based in Nagaon, Assam. He received the Katha Award for translation in 2005.