Literary giant Sharatchandra Chattopaddhay, in his moving masterpiece, Shrikant portraits many hair-raising eerie feeling of dark night while relishing the beauty of dark night with sound of nocturnal birds apparently looking like fearful sound of bad spirits and genies. As a wanderer of cremation ground, at the dead of night, Shrikant’s narrative about his adventure in the cremation ground where he heard the squeaks and cries of baby-vulture on tree-top sounding like cries of human child in distress was fearful in deed, but nevertheless mind staggering in sketching the beauty of darkness.
In dark night, if you visit riverside, you will be overwhelmed with the musical croaks of frogs and other coldblooded reptiles seemed to be apparently paranormal activities of darkness. Your mind will be profusely illuminated by the sparkles of fireflies in the bank of a river in the dark night. Glimmers of fireflies blended with crocks of frogs in dark night in the river side, needless to emphasize, boggles the mind indeed. If you live in an area of a nearby jungle or a picturesque surrounding of bushy land and meadows, loud silence erupts from sunset time with continuous chirps of crickets remaining abuzz for the rest of the dark night. Darkness with the chirp of crickets and other insects makes the night-time sleeping-spree savoring. Gusty winds and torrential rainfall in the dead of dark night creating jingle sounds, takes a man of mind to the world of imagination with rhapsody.
Beauty of black or darkness is manifold. In praise of black and dark complexion of the paramour or fiance of imagination, eminent poets compose poems of splendor and grandeur. To name one of such poets of eminence in Bangla literature is poet Jibananda Das. In his famous poem Banalata Sen, in praise of black and darkness, poet wrote: “………………… Her hair was like an ancient darkling night in Vidisha/ her face, the craftsmanship of Sravasti/ As the helmsman when his rudder broken, far out upon the sea adrift/ sees that grass-green lord of a cinnamon isle, just so through the darkness I saw her. / She said, “ where have you been so long?”/ And raised her bird’s-nest-like eyes – Banalata Sen of Natore /At day’s end, like hush of dew comes evening/ A hawk wipes the scent of sunlight from its wings./ When earth’s color fade and some pale designed is sketched,/Then glimmering fireflies paint in the story/All birds come home, all rivers, all of life’s task finished/ only darkness remains, as I sit there face to face with Banalata Sen” (Translation: Clinton B. Seely.)
With poetic hues and flavors, Poet Jibananda Das set there with Banalata Sen indeed in praise of her bird’s-nest-like-eyes, while I, at this point, seat back to go with Tagore to investigate how the poet praised a black village girl and called her by name of Krisnakoli or a black bud of flower. Tagore wrote: “I call her Krishnokoli though villagers call her dark/ On an overcast day, I saw in a field, a dark girl with dark deer eyes/ Her head was bare, her braid swung down her back/ Dark? However dark she is, I have seen her dark deer eyes/ The clouds closed in as two ebony cows lowed/ The dusky girl came out of the hut with hurried, uneasy steps/She looked up with arched brows at the sky, heard the clouds rumble/Suddenly, a gust from the East gamboled a wave through the rice crops/Alone , I stood between the fields, there was no one else in the expanse/Did our glances meet? /That remains a secret between her and me/Dark? However dark she is, I have seen her dark deer eyes/They remind me of the kohl-clouds that collect in the North –East each summer/Of the soft dark shadows that descend on the tamal grove when the rains start/Of the happiness that unexpectedly fills my being on a monsoon night/I call her Krishnokoli even if others call her by a different name/I had seen her in Moynapara meadows, a dark girl with dark deer eyes/She left her head uncovered as she had no leisure to be shy/Dark? However dark she is, I have seen her dark deer eyes.”(Source: internet).
Both the poets Jibananda Das and Rabindranath Tagore, most pertinently, painted pictures in the tapestry of their minds and praised their black maidens of imagination or of real drama of life in their poems in romantic hues and flavors of high values aesthetic proportion.
Going back to investigate about the source of darkness, as stated, black or dark is primordial, existed in the womb of a dot we call it Singularity before the birth of the universe by Big Bang with flashing light in all directions thus creating Space and Time as our scientific knowledge suggests. Black or dark in whatsoever name we may call it,blooms a perennial flower of beauty for eternal time by its own rights, stirring the faculty of imagination in creative mind.
In fine, I fallback upon great Russian novelist Feodor Dostoevsky who wrote: “The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man”.
Mahbubar Rahman is a
freedom fighter and a
former civil servant.