• Parabaas
    Parabaas : পরবাস : বাংলা ভাষা, সাহিত্য ও সংস্কৃতি
  • পরবাস | Translations | Essay
  • Kali the Trickster by Ramdulal Nandi : Ramdulal Nandi
    translated from Bengali to English by

    Kali the Trickster by Ramdulal Nandi

    Kali the Trickster

    Ramdulal Nandi

    Kali, I know that you know

    how to play tricks.

    You let anyone call you

    by any name they choose:

    The Magas call you Pharatara,

    Europeans call you God;

    Mughals and Pathans,

    Saiyids and Qazis

    all call you Khoda.

    Shaktas say you are their Shakti,

    Shaivas call you Shiva.

    Sauryas think you're the Sun,

    and pious Vaishnavas call you

    O gracious Radha.

    Ganapatyas call you Ganesh,

    and Yakshas call you Kuber.

    Craftsmen call you Vishvakarma;

    boatmen say you're their saint, Badar.

    Ramdulal says this is no illusion.

    From what comes to pass,

    the truth is felt.

    Only the mind misbehaves,
    and takes One God

    to be many.

    * This poem features a number of different communities found in South Asia
    during the poet's lifetime; each community is paired with the respective
    object of its devotion. The Magas are a people of (what is now)
    Northeastern India and Bangladesh, and Pharatara is presumably a deity in
    their traditional pantheon. Pathans are from Afghanistan and Northwestern
    Pakistan. Saiyids are Muslims believed to have descended from the family
    of the prophet Muhammad. Qazis are Islamic judges. Khoda is the Persian
    and Hindustani word for the Islamic unitary God. Sauryas are worshippers
    of the sun. Ganapati is another name of the elephant-headed god Ganesh,
    and Ganapatyas are his special devotees. Yakshas are nature deities who
    often guard hidden treasures, and the legendary Kuber is the wealthiest of
    the Yakshas. Vishvakarma is the Hindu patron god of architects and
    craftsmen. Badar is the Muslim patron saint of boatmen.

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