The Egalitarian

Original: Shammyobadi by Kazi Nazrul Islam
Translation: Mohammad Omar Farooq


Note: The original Bangla title was Shammobadi. The common dictionary meaning of this word from Bangla to English is "communist." Of course, Kazi Nazrul Islam was not a communist. Thus, I have translated the title in a way that conveys his theme that he believed in the universal equality of all as human beings and that is the message of this poem. I am sure you will understand that literal translation of rhymed poetry, especially with rich decorated expressions of Nazrul is not possible, and I did not attempt such. Interestingly, in referring to all religions and philosophies, Nazrul made many types of connections. However, when it came to the Prophet Muhammad (p) and the Qur'an, it is noticeable that he uniquely linked the theme of equality to the Qur'an.


Transliteration   Translation

shammyer gan,
jekhane ashiya ek hoye geche
shob badha-babodhan.

Jekhane misheche Hindu-boudhdho
Sammyer gan.

Ke tumi? Farsi? Joino? Ehudi?
Shaotal, Til, Garo?
Confucius? Charbak-chela?
Bole jao, bolo aro.

ja khushi how,
Pete-pithe, kadhe-mogoje
Ja khushi puthi o kitab bow.

Jendavesta Grontho-shahib
Pore jao joto shokh.

Kintu keno a pondoshrom,
Mogoje hanicho shul?
Dokane keno a dor-koshakoshi,
Pothe fote taja phul.

Tomate royeche shokol ketab
shokol kaler gayn,
Shokol shastro khuje page shokha
Khule dekho nij pran.

Tomate royeche shokol dhormo
Shokol jugabotar,
Tomar ridoy Bishsho-dewul
Shokoler debotar.

Keno khuje fero debota-thakur
Mrito puthi-kongkale?
Hashichen tini omrito hiyar
Nivrito ontorale.

bolini jhut,
Eikhane eshe lutaiyya pore
Shokol rajmukut.

Ei ridoyi she nilachol, kashi
Mothura Brindabon,
Budhdha Goya e, Jerusalem e,
Modina, Kaba-bhobon.

Masjid ei, Mondir ei,
Girja ei ridoy,
Eikhane boshe Isa Musa
Pelo shottyer porichoy.

Ei ronobhume bashir kishor
Gahilen moha-Gita,
Ei mathe holo mesher rakhal
nobira Khodar mita.

Ei ridoyer dhayn guha majhe
Boshia Shakkyo-muni,
Tajilo rajjyo manober
Moha-bedonar dak shuni.

Ei kondore Arob-dulal
Shuniten ahoban,
Eikhane boshi gahilen tini
Koraner Shommo gan.

Miththa Shunini
Ei ridoyer cheye boro kono
Mondir-Kaba nai.

I sing the song
Of equality,
Where all status and class
Become triviality.

The Rendezvous of Hindu, Buddhist,
Muslim or those of Christianity,
I sing the song
Of equality!

Who are you? Persian? Jain?
Shaotal, Til, Garo? Jew?
Confucian? Charvaka-disciple?
Anything else; something new?

My friend!
Be whatever you are,
Or, whatever book or scroll you carry
in your head or on your shoulder.

Vedas, Tripitak,
Or Quran - Puran,
Avesta or another,
read as much as you like or can.

But why this foolhardiness
Whacking your head with all your power,
Why so much haggling in the market,
When at your roadside blooms fresh beautiful flower?

Right in you resides
The essence of all books, of all time,
In every scripture you will find this,
My friend, if you just open your heart sublime.

Your heart hosts faith's essence
And of all that you deem holy,
Your heart is the world-altar
representing all the divine, wholly.

Why do you seek the holy or divine
in the skeletons of scrolls dead?
He smiles behind the curtain
right in your soul-bed.

My friend, believe me
I am not lying,
To bow in your adoration,
All the crowns are dying.

This heart is Kaashi, Mathura,
Brindaban or holy Nile flowing,
It is Buddha's Goya, Jerusalem
Madina, or where Kaba is glowing.

Real mosque, temple, church -
are not distant from this heart,
Sitting here Jesus and Moses
found their awakening to the truth start.

In world's arena Bhagavad-Gita,
Played eternal youth's tune,
In this same field the sheep-grazing prophets'
chord with God was hewn.

Meditating in this cave of the heart
Great Buddha the saint,
Gave up the kingdom
Hearing humanity's pangs go faint.

At this altar the desert's prince
Used to hear the divine call,
From this throne, he also sang
Quran's message of equality of all.

My brother, yes, O my brother,
Wrong I haven't heard,
There isn't any temple or mosque
greater than this heart.