The Rebel: English translation of revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam’s famous poem ‘Bidrohi’ by Kabir Chowdhury:
Say: High is my head!
Looking at my head
Is cast down the great Himalayan peak!
Say: Ripping apart the wide sky of the universe,
Leaving behind the moon, the sun, the planets
and the stars
Piercing the earth and the heavens,
Pushing through Almighty’s sacred seat
Have I risen,
I, the perennial wonder of mother-earth!
The angry God shines on my forehead
Like some royal victory’s gorgeous emblem.
Ever high is my head!
I am irresponsible, cruel and arrogant,
I an the king of the great upheaval,
I am cyclone, I am destruction,
I am the great fear, the curse of the universe.
I have no mercy,
I grind all to pieces.
I am disorderly and lawless,
I trample under my feet all rules and discipline!
I am Durjati, I am the sudden tempest of ultimate summer,
I am the rebel, the rebel-son of mother-earth!
Ever high is my head!
I am the hurricane, I am the cyclone
I destroy all that I found in the path!
I am the dance-intoxicated rhythm,
I dance at my own pleasure,
I am the unfettered joy of life!
I am Hambeer, I am Chhayanata, I am Hindole,
I am ever restless,
I caper and dance as I move!
I do whatever appeals to me, whenever I like,
I embrace the enemy and wrestle with death,
I am mad. I am the tornado!
I am pestilence, the great fear,
I am the death of all reigns of terror,
I am full of a warm restlessness for ever!
Ever high is my head!
I am creation, I am destruction,
I am habitation, I am the grave-yard,
I am the end, the end of night!
I am the son of Indrani
With the moon in my head
And the sun on my temple
In one hand of mine is the tender flute
While in the other I hold the war bugle!
I am the Bedouin, I am the Chengis,
I salute none but me!
I am thunder,
I am Brahma’s sound in the sky and on the earth,
I am the mighty roar of Israfil’s bugle,
I am the great trident of Pinakpani,
I am the staff of the king of truth,
I am the Chakra and the great Shanka,
I am the mighty primordial shout!
I am Bishyamitra’s pupil, Durbasha the furious,
I am the fury of the wild fire,
I burn to ashes this universe!
I am the gay laughter of the generous heart,
I am the enemy of creation, the mighty terror!
I am the eclipse of the twelve suns,
I herald the final destruction!
Sometimes I am quiet and serene,
I am in a frenzy at other times,
I am the new youth of dawn,
I crush under my feet the vain glory of the Almighty!
I am the fury of typhoon,
I am the tumultuous roar of the ocean,
I am ever effluent and bright,
I trippingly flow like the gaily warbling brook.
I am the maiden’s dark glassy hair,
I am the spark of fire in her blazing eyes.
I am the tender love that lies
In the sixteen year old’s heart,
I am the happy beyond measure!
I am the pining soul of the lovesick,
I am the bitter tears in the widow’s heart,
I am the piteous sighs of the unlucky!
I am the pain and sorrow of all homeless sufferers,
i am the anguish of the insulted heart,
I am the burning pain and the madness of the jilted lover!
I am the unutterable grief,
I am the trembling first touch of the virgin,
I am the throbbing tenderness of her first stolen kiss.
I am the fleeting glace of the veiled beloved,
I am her constant surreptitious gaze.
I am the gay gripping young girl’s love,
I am the jingling music of her bangles!
I am the eternal-child, the adolescent of all times,
I am the shy village maiden frightened by her own budding youth.
I am the soothing breeze of the south,
I am the pensive gale of the east.
I am the deep solemn song sung by the wondering bard,
I am the soft music played on his lyre!
I am the harsh unquenched mid-day thirst,
I am the fierce blazing sun,
I am the softly trilling desert spring,
I am the cool shadowy greenery!
Maddened with an intense joy I rush onward,
I am insane! I am insane!
Suddenly I have come to know myself,
All the false barriers have crumbled today!
I am the rising, I am the fall,
I am consciousness in the unconscious soul,
I am the flag of triumph at the gate of the world,
I am the glorious sign of man’s victory,
Clapping my hands in exultation I rush like the hurricane,
Traversing the earth and the sky.
The mighty Borrak is the horse I ride.
It neighs impatiently, drunk with delight!
I am the burning volcano in the bosom of the earth,
I am the wild fire of the woods,
I am Hell’s mad terrific sea of wrath!
I ride on the wings of the lightning with joy and profound,
I scatter misery and fear all around,
I bring earth-quakes on this world!
I am Orpheus’s flute,
I bring sleep to the fevered world,
I make the heaving hells temple in fear and die.
I carry the message of revolt to the earth and the sky!
I am the mighty flood,
Sometimes I make the earth rich and fertile,
At another times I cause colossal damage.
I snatch from Bishnu’s bosom the two girls!
I am injustice, I am the shooting star,
I am Saturn, I am the fire of the comet,
I am the poisonous asp!
I am Chandi the headless, I am ruinous Warlord,
Sitting in the burning pit of Hell
I smile as the innocent flower!
I am the cruel axe of Parsurama,
I shall kill warriors
And bring peace and harmony in the universe!
I shall uproot this miserable earth effortlessly and with ease,
And create a new universe of joy and peace.
Weary of struggles, I, the great rebel,
Shall rest in quiet only when I find
The sky and the air free of the piteous groans of the oppressed.
Only when the battle fields are cleared of jingling bloody sabres
Shall I, weary of struggles, rest in quiet,
I the great rebel.
I am the rebel eternal,
I raise my head beyond this world,
High, ever erect and alone!
Courtesy: Mohammad Nurul Huda. Poetry of Kazi Nazrul Islam in English Translation [Dhaka: Nazrul Institute, 2000). pp. 12-16.
Bidrohi (The Rebel) recitation above by Shah Kamal on Grand Finale of Serader Sera (The best of the Best) 2016 talents competition in Bangladesh.
The famous 1921 poem by the Bangladeshi national poet recited by poet’s son Kazi Sabyasachi can be watched on YouTube.