Analyzing the history of Bangladesh's independence, it is seen that almost every month carries the significance of various tragic events of our liberation war. The month September also looks a little differently in our hearts today, even after 49 years of our liberation. In 1971, our genuine friend and humanitarian American poet Allen Ginsberg wrote the poem "September on Jessore Road" with the essence of the brutality of the Pakistani rulers against us.
The 152-line poem "September on Jessore Road" is so vivid that even if a lay reader reads the poem, the image of the brutal genocide of Pakistani forces will emerge before his eyes. Every line of the poem "September on Jessore Road" is like an epic of the suffering of the innocent people of East Pakistan.
In the same way that the poets and artists of our country inspired the freedom fighters to jump into the war of liberation through their poems and songs, the 20th century poet Allen Ginsberg, through his poem "September on Jessore Road" also encouraged and tried to instill hatred towards West Pakistan in the hearts of our people.
Born in New Jersey, USA on June 3, 1926, the poet's impeccable work "September on Jessore Road" is a silent witness to the torture of Pakistani rulers. Allen Ginsberg was very modest and accustomed to living a simple life. He was always against war from an early age and often wrote letters to The New York Times about this anti-war policy and workers' rights.
Explaining the deep meaning of the title of the poem "September on Jessore Road", a fragment of how much we were tortured in the 9 months of our liberation war will come to our memory. In the poem, the month of September basically refers to the indescribable time of our liberation war and points the way to the asylum camps of India in order to save the freedom-loving oppressed people through Jessore Road to get rid of that pain and suffering.
The poem "September on Jessore Road" depicts our suffering and torture in different ways during the liberation war. Just as our freedom fighters took up arms against the Pakistani ruling class, Ginsberg took up the pen as a language of protest in solidarity with our plight.
The peace-loving poet Allen Ginsberg has written wherever he has found the imprint of injustice, oppression, and inhumanity. In 1971, he rushed to the house of Sunil Gangopadhyay, a literary personality of West Bengal, to hear about the plight of many refugees who had taken refuge in India to escape the indiscriminate rape and genocide of the Pakistani aggressors.
With Sunil Gangopadhayay, Ginsberg witnessed the plight of the refugees who took refuge at the border. The road connecting East Bengal and West Bengal was known as Jessore Road and this road also played an important role in the communication of two Bengals during that British period.
Due to heavy rains in September 1971, the road was submerged in water and the poet Ginsberg took Sunil Gangopadhyay with him to the Jessore border of Bangladesh by boat. The poet Ginsberg was deeply shocked and saddened to see the suffering of hungry children and homeless parents.
So he went back to the United States and wrote this poem protesting against the West Pakistanis. He did not stop just writing poetry. He converted the poem into a song with his friend Bob Dylan (later a Nobel Prize winner in literature). Together with Bob Dylan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, George Harrison and some others, they organized concerts and sang humanitarian songs to raise funds for the refugees of Bangladesh. This poem later found a place in his book "The Fall of America".
Ginsberg believed in the principle of peace, not war. Not only was he a companion in the horrific days of '71, but in 1960 he also took an active part in the anti-Vietnam War movement. And the courage and generosity of the citizens of that country to take a stand in favor of the oppressed masses of Bangladesh, ignoring the policy of the US government in 1971, is really an exception.
Organized with many of America's most popular artists, the concert was able to move around the world in addition to fundraising. Apart from India or America, the story of the brutality and oppression of the Pakistani rulers on the freedom-loving people of Bangladesh spread all over the world. As a result, not only India, but also many countries of the world were eager to see an independent sovereign country named Bangladesh.
In his poems, Ginsberg depicts how the people of Bangladesh spent every moment and day in hardship in 1971, how they cried for food, where they slept and how they died. Many poems, songs, novels and films have been made in our own country centering on the war of liberation. But it is rare to become a citizen of a foreign country who worked for the freedom of Bangladesh by writing poems and working directly to alleviate the suffering of our exploited people.
We are indebted to Allen Ginsberg, who worked to alleviate the plight of the refugees taking refuge in 1971 in Kolkata, India, and on the Jessore border of Bangladesh. The Government of India also set a unique example of humanity by providing shelter and assistance to the millions of people of the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) who entered India through Jessore Road for their survival.
The contribution of those from outside the country who extended a helping hand to our freedom-loving people in various ways in protest of the oppression, genocide, rape, arson and looting of the Pakistani regime should not be forgotten. That is why the Bangladesh government later honored Ginsberg with the 'Bangladesh Liberation War Friendship Award' in recognition of his contribution.
The events of those who have accelerated the pace of our liberty along with the freedom fighters of the motherland must be recorded in the pages of history in such a way that it never fades away in the course of time. Our today's freedom is the result of blood of millions of martyrs, fathers and sisters. It is also the result of the cries of childless mothers and displaced people.
Bangladesh is free now for the cost of the lives of our freedom fighters and for the cooperation of some great men like Allen Ginsberg. And so, even though he passed away in the United States on April 5, 1997, Allen Ginsberg, a true friend of Bangladesh, is still here with our freedom.
The writer teaches English at Ishakha International University.
Email: [email protected]
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