Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Friday, March 23, 2018 03:22:14 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Poet Allen Ginsberg and September on Jessore Road

photo by

Allen Ginsberg composed the poem, \'September on Jessore Road\' which he recited in a poetry reading session in George Church New York. The poem touched greatly, Ginsberg\'s friend Bob Dylan, the great Pop singer of the world who gave the poem a musical f

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Professor Anwarul Karim,Ph.D  :
Allen Ginsberg (1926- 1997) a noted American poet of New Jersey was an acclaimed poet of his age and generations. He was one of the most respected and leading figures of the Beat writers. He was a humanist. His father Louis was a school teacher in New Teacher and also a lyric poet. His mother was a Communist. They were Jewish and migrated from Russia to America.  
The poem ‘September on Jessore Road’ was composed by Allen Ginsberg, after he visited the War victims of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, on Jessore road personally in 1971. Allen Ginsberg first came to know about the horrible and terrifying moments faced by the people of the then East Pakistan through reports of foreign correspondents. The harrowing tales of inhuman sufferings of the people caught the attention of the   poets and singers who composed songs and poems on them.
Ginsberg came all the way from America to witness the war victims on the over crowded Jessore road living under the open sky, braving sun and shower and without food. He was greatly moved coming in contact with the millions of war victims who were forcibly evicted from their hearth and home when Pakistani army let loose a reign of terror, killing, burning and destroying everything that came on their way in Dhaka and elsewhere of the country on the fateful night of March 25, 1971 and afterwards. It was a miserable situation and Allen Ginsberg was greatly shocked to see things personally. With tears in his eyes, Allen Ginsberg witnessed with pity and awes the inhuman sufferings of the people who were without food and shelter .for months together. He also came across the mothers without food and children unnourished. Allen saw the hungry fathers and mothers   holding the empty pots for food and succour in trembling hands. He also experienced deaths of people in the camps.
Allen Ginsberg composed the poem, 'September on Jessore Road' which he recited in a poetry reading session in George Church New York. The poem touched greatly, Ginsberg’s friend Bob Dylan, the great Pop singer of the world who gave the poem a musical form and presented in Bangladesh afterwards. Both the song and the poem thrilled the world who looked horrified and pitied on the war victims. George Harrison and Ravi Sankar also arranged concert and the people became awe stricken and were spell bound as they listened to these songs and concerts. An Indian singer Maushumi Bhowmik also composed a Bengali version of the song and performed. A  CD of the song is also now available.
But surprisingly enough, the US Government headed by President Henry Kissinger supported Pakistan and betrayed the cause of the then East Pakistani people. The general people of America, like other countries, vehemently protested and condemned the action taken by the US government.
This has also been reflected in the poem written by Ginsberg, entitled September on Jessore Road. And up came the historic poem,

September on Jessore Road

Millions of babies watching the skies
Bellies swollen, with big round eyes
On Jessore Road -long bamboo huts
No place to shit but sand channel ruts

Millions of fathers in rain
Millions of mothers in pain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of sisters nowhere to go

One Million aunts are dying for bread
One Million uncles lamenting the dead
Grandfather millions homeless and sad
Grandmother millions silently mad

Millions of daughters walk in the mud
Millions of children wash in the flood
A Million girls vomit and groan
Millions of families hopeless alone

Millions of souls nineteen seventy one
Homeless on Jessore Road under grey sun
A million are dead, the million who can
Walk toward Calcutta from East Pakistan

Taxi September along Jessore Road
Oxcart skeletons drag charcoal load
Past watery field s through rain flood ruts
Dung cakes on tree trunks, plastic roof huts

Mother squats weeping and points to her sons
Standing thin legged like elderly nuns
Small bodied hands to their mouths in prayer
Five months small food since they settled there

On one floor mat with small empty pot
Father lifts up his hands at their lot
Tears come to their mother’s eye
Pain makes mother ‘Maiya’ cry’

On Jessore Road mother wept at my knees
Bengali tongue cried Mister please
Identity card torn up on the floor
Husband still waits at the camp office door

September Jessore Road rickshaw
50,000 souls in one camp I saw
Rows of bamboo huts in the flood
Open drains, and wet families waiting for food

Border trucks flooded, food can't get past
American Angel machine please come fast!
Where is Ambassador Bunker today?
Are his Helios machines gunning children at play?

Where are the helicopters of US Aid?
Smuggling dope in Bangkok's green shade
Where is America’s Air Force of Light?
Bombing North Laos all day all night

Where are the President's Armies of Gold
Billionaire Navies merciful Bold?
Bringing us medicine food and relief?
Napalming North Vietnam and causing more grief?

Where are our tears? Who weeps for the pain?
Where can these families go in the rain?
Jessore Road’s children close their big eyes
Where will we sleep when our father dies?

Ring O ye tongues of the world for their woe
Ring out ye voices for Love we don't know
Ring out ye bells of electrical pain
Ring in the conscious of American brain.

The poem could not be presented in full but it contained main issues of the topic. Allen Ginsberg made it an epoch making poem giving details of his on the spot observation. It speaks of the whole of the people who fought for their mother tongue and also for freedom to lead a life of a heroic nation. Allen Ginsberg was bold enough voicing protest and  hatred against his own government and the  US President for waging war against Vietnam and also for supporting  Pakistan for   crushing  freedom loving people of Bangladesh. But both US and Pakistan finally met the poetic justice as the both faced defeat at the hands of freedom loving people of Vietnam and Bangladesh. n

The Writer is formerly a Harvard Visiting Scholar (1985) and  presently Pro-Vice Chancellor, Northern University Bangladesh. Email: dranwar.karim@gmail.com)     

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Right conditions are to be created to sustain graduation process

ECONOMISTS have asked for easing the cost of doing business and implement massive regulatory reforms to create a business friendly environment in the country to sustain the graduation process from the LDC status to a developing one. The emphasis came for more homework to sustain the growth at a time ...

Cricket »

Australia`s Ellyse Perry (center) celebrates after Harmanpreet Kaur`s wicket against India during the Women`s T20 Triangular Series in Mumbai, India on Thursday.

Sports »

The sportsmen & sportswomen brought out a colourful rally in the city street on Thursday.

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury speaking at a discussion organised by Zia Parishad at the Jatiya Press Club on Thursday marking its 31st founding anniversary and demanding release of BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia

Entertainment »

Nora Fatehi`s jaw dropping `impromptu` belly dancing!

Nora Fatehi, a self-taught belly dancing sensation has become a viral star because of her mesmerizing dance moves. With over 4.5 Million views on her videos on youtube, this star is taking the internet by storm. Her last video where she swayed to the moves of Swag Se Swagat from ...

International »

UN chief alarmed by chemical attacks in Syria

AP, New York :UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced alarm yesterday over allegations of chemical attacks in Syria and urged the Security Council to take action to address "such serious crimes."The appeal came after Guterres met on Tuesday with the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), ...

Editorial »

Justice in Tonu murder, don't make our country safe for killers and rapists

TWO years have elapsed after the murder of college student Tonu, and justice seems elusive for her family. Investigators claimed to have failed to identify any suspect, let alone arrest any. But many believe powerful quarters in the Comilla cantonment area are stalling the progress. The investigators have repeatedly come ...

Cricket »

Scotland players celebrate the wicket of West Indies batsman Shai Hope during their cricket World Cup qualifier match at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday. Zimbabwe is playing host to the 2018 Cricket World Cup qualifier matches featuring 10 countries.

City »

A delegation of Bangladesh-Egypt Friendship Association (BEFA) presenting a book on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to former Prime Minister of Egypt Prof. Dr. Essam Sharaf (2nd from left) at a function held in a Cairo hotel recently. BEFA President Advocate Faisal Reza (left), Better Bangladesh Foundation (BBF) Chairman and Founder Masud A Khan (2nd from right), Hossain Mazumder (extreme right), Director of BBF and Vice President of BEFA and also owner of Ali Air Travels joined the programme.

Entertainment »

Katrina Kaif is Bollywood`s most popular actress globally

Katrina Kaif has secured the top spot in a list of popular Bollywood actress outside India, according to a study. She is followed by Anushka Sharma, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Kajol.The findings are a part of consumption trend study done by Spuul, a video-on-demand (VOD) streaming platforms for ...

International »

Trump faces legal storm over alleged sexual misconduct

Reuters, New York :US President Donald Trump faced legal challenges from women on two fronts on Tuesday as a defamation lawsuit brought by a former Apprentice TV show contestant moved forward and a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump sued to undo a confidentiality agreement.The ...

Football »

Self-belief is key to success: Ronaldo

AFP, Lisbon :Cristiano Ronaldo says the key to his staggering success is believing nobody is better than he is -- and he advised his Portuguese teammates to adopt the same attitude.The Real Madrid star made the comments as he accepted the Portuguese player of the year award in Lisbon."We should ...

Entertainment »

Sayali Bhagat reveals her Marathi Debut

Sayali Bhagat, the title holder of 'Femina Miss India World turned actress was last seen in 'Yaariyan' in 2014 is now enjoying motherhood and preparing for her next project simultaneously. She was recently seen at a book launch event of her dear friend, Sonia Golani at Marini queen exhibition at ...

International »

China ready to fight `bloody battle` to regain its rightful place in world: Xi

AFP, Beijing : President Xi Jinping delivered a blistering nationalist speech on Tuesday, warning against any attempts to split China and touting the country's readiness to fight "the bloody battle" to regain its rightful place in the world.Xi's address capped an annual session of the National People's Congress that paved the ...

Editorial »

Developing nation status without reaching benefits to common people meaningless

DESPITE Bangladesh's positive achievements towards becoming a developing nation soon growing inequality, unemployment, lack of good governance, high cost of borrowing and less trade facilities are still the major challenges that need to be overcome to achieve the developing nation's status. The nation requires sustained efforts to fight back these ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news