“To Each My Blood and Other Hymns”- 1971 poems from Papua New Guinea

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bangabandhu.com.bd : The immense struggle, sacrifice and bravery of the Bangalee nation in 1971 war of liberation emotionally moved the intelligentsia of Papua New Guinea and prompted this Oceania nation to publish a collection of poems titled, “To Each My Blood and Other Hymns” and attract world attention in favour of Bangalees.
It was published from Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea in 1971 and was edited by Prithwindra Chakroborti.
There were 16 poems written by 15 poets in the collection of poems. Prithwindra Chakroborti and Ulli Beier translated the Bangla poems into English. The poets whose poems were published in the collection were: Jasimuddin, Subhash Mukhopadhyay, Al Mahmud, Abdul Gani Hazari, Anisuzzaman, Asad Chowdhury, Ram Basu, Hasan Hafizur Rahman, Siddheshwar Sen, Ahsan Habib, Tushar Moulik, Shamsur Rahman, Kaisul Haque, Sanat Bandyopadhya and Alwal Joy. Ahsan Habib was the only poet whose two poems were published in the collection.
The book was dedicated to martyrs of Language Movement of 1952 and freedom fighters of Liberation War of March in 1971. The poem of Alwal Joy was the largest one in the collection and it covered five pages. He (Joy) is not familiar as a poet. The last line of his poem was “Joy Bangla for each drop of blood.”
Few lines of Sanat Bandyopadhya’s poem titled Bangladesh were: “I cannot leave you, even if I want to. Cannot efface your memory, Engraved in me even if I want to. When I leave you. You follow me like the fairy girl. Winds of gold and silver in the hands, you reach me quietly, my Bangladesh.”
Noted historian Professor Dr Muntassir Mamoon in an article “Papua New Guinea Thekeo Bangladesher Kabita Sangkolon Ber Hoi” (Collection of poems of Bangladesh even published in Papua New Guinea) in his edited book “Muktijuddher Chhinna Dalilpatra” gave a description on it.
Immediately after the nine-month war that began on March, 1971, thousands of people of different countries stand behind Bangladesh. George Harrison, an English musician, singer and songwriter organized the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh with Ravi Shankar while Poet Allen Ginsberg will also be remembered by Bangalees for calling the world’s attention to the suffering of victims during the Liberation War in 1971.
Ginsberg wrote his legendary 152-line poem, “September on Jessore Road”, after visiting refugee camps and witnessing the plight of millions fleeing the violence. Hundreds of others people held rallies and processions supporting the war and collected donations for the 1971 victims.
BY Asraful Huq and Mahmudul Hasan Raju