Recently, I heard his poem ‘The scientist leaves Rajsabha’ in the voice of Rezauddin Stalin at a poetry meeting in Dhaka. It was not difficult to understand that this is a very popular poem of his, seeing the response of the audience. As a poet Stalin was aware of the country, time, politics, logic and scientific mind gave his poetry a remarkable distinctiveness.
In the mentioned poem, whatever His Highness the Ruler asks to do, an old scientist in his meeting does it in an instant. For example, at the command of the king, he makes the blue rose bloom in the void, the new moon becomes the full moon. Yet the king’s sadness and longing do not go away. He wants to become greater than history. Now the scientist no longer observes it. ‘History is an infallible truth’ he slowly left the palace, ‘where the earth goes round the sun’. By the last line of the poem, the poet actually transcends the country and the past. This poem highlights an eternal truth.
Stalin’s poems are composed of simple sentences, but his assonances give great depth to the underlying meaning of the poem. As his poetry is not strange, on the other hand it resonates deeply with feelings after reading, that is why these poems have gained readership. Stalin has the ability to monitor social reality, combined with sensitivity. As a result, although there is speech in his poetry, it is not just speech. It becomes a poem because it gets an artistic form in different imagery and sound consonance. The prose used by him does not become a hindrance in the creation of poetry.
I have had the opportunity to read some of Stalin’s recent poems. One of them is a poem ‘from the gallows’. First of all, one has to be surprised by the name. During the anti-British movement we read of the gallows, where patriotic revolutionaries ascended with a smile or a happy heart. The narrator of the poem written in Uttam Purush is imprisoned and he remembers— his mother used to say, ‘You don’t get rice by writing poetry’. The narrator is brave today and can ask, ‘Do those who do not write poetry/ get rice’? This is an impossible question.
It is understood that many people around the world still die of hunger, the poet wants to convey the shame of this civilization to the readers. No ruler accepts the death of people from hunger. Not in our subcontinent. However, the poet has created a range for the reader to think about himself by implying why the narrator has to die by hanging. Sometimes the narrator’s words become the poet’s own words — ‘All my poems/ are the summaries of their lives/ I have only arranged in the indelible ink of truth’.
Telling the truth is the work of poetry. And the poet continues to walk along the path of truth. That is the poet’s religion. Here, the words spoken by the poet in the above three short simple lines are no longer bound as the personal words of the poet. It becomes the impersonal and eternal truth of poetry. Where the poem ends, the narrator is walking towards the slaughterhouse. And in a few minutes he will be hanged. At such a moment he soliloquies with conviction and nonchalance at the same time, ‘Meanwhile what shall I leave to a fallen nation / But the example of a fiery death’. The word ‘fallen’ is particularly noteworthy. This decline is actually human sense, morality. And ‘fiery death’ became the protest of a deathless soul against all this. There is no exaltation anywhere in this poem, there is no excess of emotion. What there is, is a pure faith and self-assurance of true understanding.
One of his poems composed in rhyme and endymology is ‘Vasma To Fera’. This poem is made up of four stanzas and seven stanzas, reminding of the war in Syria, Ukraine, Palestine. The ferocious heat of war is conveyed here through simple imagery of nature and surroundings. In the afternoon, the sun is falling like rain, there is no wind anywhere, the dust of the road is burning with the feet. Every recent war has witnessed the tragic deaths of thousands of children. The poet says, ‘How much fever is the child burnt in the war, / What will measure true anger?’ Simple line arrangement and use of simile is one of the characteristics of this poem. For example, ‘People of Syria and Ukraine, / After bread is bread.’
A special aspect of Stalin’s poetic personality is that his poetry makes connections with various events in the world. Therefore, as Bangladesh feels the heat of these events, the concern is isolated somewhere in Palestine or China or Taiwan. But ultimately the flow of human life is so indestructible that even in this fire-bomb ‘man gives birth to hope’. And from the ashes they return home. But I want to mention one thing in this context. The crisis of life comes deeply in this poem, but the way the optimism is expressed at the end seems a bit simple goodwill and tradition.
Another remarkable aspect of Stalin’s poetry is that he easily moves the reader from reality to surreal, sometimes even magical imagery. Such experiences are encountered in the poem ‘Fenar Rajya’. In the very first stanza of the poem, the poet arouses the interest thus — ‘Whom yesterday I saw old / Today he is young / Who was buried as dead / He walks in the yard / A wretch who had no legs runs in the field’. The imagery that emerges in the next lines is a wonderful extension of the preceding imagery, a range and awe that leaves the reader standing in awe—’Dhudhu Baliadi today/ Buoyed by the foam of the sea/ Dead fish jump and bathe in the river’.
Stalin fluently uses myth, myth or fragments of history in his poems. This poem shows Arjuna, Radha and Krishna in the midst of a complete reversal of events in their lives. The blind poet Tamiris sees the light. And the red-skinned Julekha gradually became a young woman. It is not the logic of reality that is at work here, but the logic of mystical artistic sense. But only one line in the last stanza brings the poem to a climax. The poet says, ‘But Jesus has not yet been taken down from the cross’. The image of the Crucifixion of Isa or Jesus creates an extraordinary surprise here, but it completes the whole idea. The symbol of humanity is Isa or Jesus from the crucifixion. We have not yet freed our sense of humanity from the cross. On the contrary, the poet has brought us here to the ground of reality.
The world was built on biodiversity. Humans are part of the vast animal kingdom in this world nature, only its part. But man today has become the master, the ruler of this animal world. He is also ruling nature, destroying the balance of nature. Destroying green trees, forests, rivers, mountains. As a result, forest animals are entering the locality in search of their food. People are dumping them in zoos, keeping some as pets, re-teaching some to earn money.
Rezauddin Stalin brought out this cruel reality in his poem ‘Tiger Cat or Monkey’. The tiger is imprisoned in the huge cage of the zoo. The cat, however, awakens the imagination of the householder and settles in their house. Here the poet has created a wonderful imagery – ‘Not even a fly dies in my paws / I lie on the table / The cry of hungry books terrifies me / I hide under the bed / And sleep in the solitude of a hundred years’. And the monkey was tied and whipped to teach the game. His unwillingness is sold by the man, who is actually his brother. At the end of the day the tired wretched monkey thinks — ‘This is one world we are all one / The moon and the sun are brothers’.
But after reading the poem, an inevitable thought will come to the mind of the reader. That is, the life of different classes of people is not reflected anywhere in the symbol of tiger, cat or monkey! It is natural to have this multidimensionality in the poetry of a good poet.
As the crisis of the time is reflected in Stalin’s poetry, that crisis is also universal, in which there is a deep-rooted protest against violence and terror, human justice-love and a strong faith in the infinite power of life. So at the very beginning of the poem ‘Utde Utde Tona’, he says clearly, ‘Not waiting for the order/ To stand up/ He who waits for the order/ He is subordinate/ Despite the beheading/ He must reflect himself up to the radius of blood’. This pronunciation is incredibly convincing. An Impersonal Life-Philosophy — ‘Time stands alone after the flood/ Think of Spartacus, the day after the beheading/ He stands’.
The poem ‘One day everything will be fine’ is about the crisis and dreams of every human being around the world. The poem starts like this – ‘Nothing goes right/ when leaving the house/ the door is not locked’. A lot of things don’t go right. In this poem, Stalin has effortlessly mastered the striking postmodern imagery. But in the midst of it, the crisis of the world civilization is directly raised by him in Nirva’s lines, while all the feelings become heavy as he reads it – ‘There is nothing in the world that stops/ The missiles of superpowers/ Hit the raindrops/ Israel drags the line of blood/ Chinese bees. Armored vehicles running down the Silk Road / Rushtanks eating up all Ukraine’s wheat / America locked in the soles of a shoe / Floyd’s vision’.
A poet’s keen observation of world life is very important. The poet needs to have that sense in which the endless spectrum of human suffering and tears, dreams and excitement will be echoed. We find ample evidence of that observation and sensibility in Stalin’s poetry. So, at the end of this poem, the man’s eternal waiting and longing echoes – ‘I think maybe one day everything will be alright’.
In the post-modern era, human life and civilization have become increasingly complex. The mechanization of technology has made people isolated, selfish. Capitalist state system is increasing economic inequality among people. Aggressive war trend is increasing. Consumer culture has changed social life. The world of globalization is uprooting people from their own rooted cultures. But most common people are not able to understand it. As a result, various types of crises are concentrated everywhere from personal relationships to larger life. A very conscious and sensitive poet, artist or creative person can highlight this situation through art, to awaken people’s minds. Rezuddin Stalin’s poetry shows that artistic effort, which is good for the society, which reassures the reader.