Dibya R S Khataniar

Celebrated Assamese poet Hiren Bhattacharjya (1932–2012) passed away on this day ten years ago. While the legend of this remarkable man keeps growing, there have been few fresh attempts to assess his poetical oeuvre.

Perhaps the new generation prefers to see him more as a lyricist than as a poet. His reputation as a poet outside his native state is by and large confined to Bengal. He not only translated many of his poems into Bengali but also wrote a number of original poems in that language.

After Prof Pradip Acharyya’s translations were published in two books, there has hardly been any sustained attempt at translating Hiren Bhattacharjya into English. We translate the following poem as a mark of respect for the poet on his 10th death anniversary.

He could have used today the words in the poem to console his countless fans/readers who continue to mourn his passing. Sadness in its personified form is endowed here with a kind of physical ripeness, which is rare in our poetry.

Sadness!

Sadness!

Rely on me.

Don’t keep sitting

in such a morose way,

my mind is overcome with sullenness.

Look up,

let me wash away your overwhelming grief with tears;

The way

the rose is washed by the morning dew.

Published on the occasion of the poet’s 10th death anniversary today.

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