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Life Arts    H4'ed 8/23/19

The Laws of Twenty One

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(Based on the Sukumar Ray satire in Bengali, Ekushe Aine)

Translated by ┬ę Monish R Chatterjee

(in commemoration of my daughter (an aspiring lawyer)'s 21st birthday, August 23, 2019)

***

In Lord Shiva's very own land

The laws are lethal and grand!

Should one but slip and fall

Will be grabbed by sentries on call

The village Kazi finds him guilty

Twenty one rupees his penalty.

***

There, if it is not quite six at eventide

Sneeze without a ticket? Beware, just run and hide.

Without a ticket if one dares sneeze, then -

Vigorous the whipping on the back with a cane

The kotwal stuffs snuff in each nostril

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Monish R. Chatterjee received the B.Tech. (Hons) degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from I.I.T., Kharagpur, India, in 1979, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering, from the University of Iowa, (more...)
 

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Monish Chatterjee

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(Member since Feb 12, 2009), 3 fans, 34 articles, 45 comments
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A translation of Sukumar Ray's Ekushe Aine, or The Laws of Twenty One- part of his incomparable nonsense verse collection, Abol Tabol, to commemorate my daughter's 21st birthday.

Submitted on Friday, Aug 23, 2019 at 5:44:24 PM

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John Rachel

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"In this razor sharp satirical poem, the renowned Bengali humorist, satirist and limericks wizard, Sukumar Ray (1887-1923), SR, portrays a dark, draconian realm where the laws are, simply put, entirely irrational and out-of-whack."

They seem very reasonable to me. Which is why I never snore or recently sprouted a mustache. Maybe I lived in the U.S. for too long and my sense of "justice" is skewed.

Submitted on Tuesday, Aug 27, 2019 at 12:35:30 AM

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Monish Chatterjee

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John: Thanks for your note. Sukumar Ray portrayed a crazy land whose laws are both draconian an plain insane. I think your imputing crazy laws in the U.S. context may actually be quite apt (note the current craze with wall-building, separating families, and actually putting little babies in isolation (I avoid using the word jail); also, the penchant for carrying deadly weapons in insane numbers). I think John D Rachel, George Orwell, Sukumar Ray all think alike.

Submitted on Wednesday, Aug 28, 2019 at 12:29:46 AM

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