Rabindranath Tagore's Hero Poems
[While Tagore wrote extensively on philosophical exchanges between significant characters from India's great epics, such as the Karna-Kunti Samvad, the vast compendium of his poetry is essentially reflective and non-historic. He did, however, write a few tribute poems dedicated to heroic figures from India's medieval years, including the Sikh hero, Banda Singh Bahadur, and the Maratha chief, Chhatrapati Shivaji. In this sequence, I will present translations of these highly-regarded poems.]
I. The Valiant Prisoner
(A translation of Rabindranath Tagore's poem, Bandi Bir, addressed to the Sikh Hero, Banda Singh Bahadur (1670-1716))
Translated by: Monish R Chatterjee (April, 2018)
By the shoreline of the five rivers of lore
Tying their flowing tresses in topknots-
Verily have the Sikhs awakened at Guruji's call
Sounds of Hail to Guruji! from a thousand voices
Echoed across the skies everywhere
Awakened anew, a Sikh reborn
Gazed transfixed upon the Sun of a New Dawn.
"Alakh Niranjan!" Rose the great chant,
Breaking all bonds, shredding the last strands of fear.
Next to their mighty chests, ecstatic the swords clang