August 17, 2004

And Everything Will Be in the Custody of the Damned

The above is a title of a poem by Humayun Azad, in which he listed the aspects of his world that he saw as being threatened by the destructive, the evil, the ruinous, the terrible. Some of his images were simple: black clouds, a red sari, the white moon—these too would disappear, be swallowed up by those who fear beauty.

Azad's death has been confirmed as from natural causes (Please refer to my previous post). Probably Azad was living in a wrong time. As he says in one of his poem:

I was living in others’ time
My thoughts were infested with others’ thoughts
I had learnt to walk like the others
I had learnt to talk like the others
They had made me live like them
But I had tried to live my kind of lifestyle
I had tried to dream like myself
I had tried to unshackle my voice
I had chosen tortures to total submission
They did not like it.
My eyes could not see, what it wanted to see
Because my time had not come
I was living in others’ time.

In one remarkable interview he pointed out "In Bangladesh corruption has been blended with religious blindness. The people of Bangladesh are busy with domestic religious blindness, political blindness"

But does Azad's death mean that the struggles of the free-thinkers will be subdued and all will submit to the blindness? We must question ourselves is it always necessary to live and talk like others? Is it a crime to be different or go against the current or just simply pose a question? Probably we embrace submission for a trouble free meager lifestyle in fear of the glorified struggle for truth and liberty. Poet Kaiser Haque dedicates one poem to Azad:

Something is dying in us
and we watch in bewilderment;
When to live and let live
is a philosophy
minced with butcher's knives
the thinking mind must reiterate
before the powers that be
and the powers that are desperate
to be the powers that be
some simple lessons of civilization:
And to drag God's name down
into the gutter of politics
is utterly flagitious
or monstrously insane

To be azad, to be free
to walk, talk, write, sing,
love, draw, dance
is the A to Z of life,
the rest is death


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