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  • For a year or two, it felt like we were inseparable. I inspired him and he inspired me. The best of friends, we pushed each other to the limits of our minds, spending countless nights chatting away about philosophy, religion and art. Needless to say, like all good things it came to an end. I got in a serious relationship and ditched my friends. He went off and did his own thing.

    The recording that's playing is me reciting a poem by Kabi Nazrul. Nadim's on the background with his guitar. I mess up a lot, but with time, the mistakes feel like they belong there.

    "Proclaim, Hero,
    proclaim: I raise my head high!
    Before me bows down the Himalayan peaks!

    Proclaim, Hero,
    proclaim: rending through the sky,
    surpassing the moon, the sun,
    the planets, the stars,
    piercing through the earth,
    the heavens, the cosmos
    and the Almighty's throne,
    have I risen, I, the eternal wonder
    of the Creator of the universe.
    The furious Shiva shines on my forehead
    like a royal medallion of victory!

    Proclaim, Hero,
    proclaim: My head is ever held high!

    I'm ever indomitable, arrogant and cruel,
    I'm the Dance-king of the Day of the Doom,
    I'm the cyclone, the destruction!
    I'm the great terror, I'm the curse of the world.
    I'm unstoppable,
    I smash everything into pieces!
    I'm unruly and lawless.
    I crush under my feet
    all the bonds, rules and disciplines!
    I don't obey any laws.
    I sink cargo-laden boats, I'm the torpedo,
    I'm the dreadful floating mine.
    I'm the destructive Dhurjati,
    the sudden tempest of the summer.
    I'm the Rebel, the Rebel son
    of the Creator of the universe!

    Proclaim, Hero,
    proclaim: My head is ever held high!

    I'm the tempest, I'm the cyclone,
    I destroy everything I find in my path.
    I'm the dance-loving rhythm,
    I dance to my own beats.
    I'm the delight of a life of freedom.
    I'm Hambeer, Chhayanat, Hindol.
    I move like a flash of lightning
    with turns and twists.
    I swing, I leap and frolic!
    I do whatever my heart desires.
    I embrace my enemy and wrestle with death.
    I'm untamed, I'm the tempest!
    I'm pestilence, dread to the earth,
    I'm the terminator of all reigns of terror,
    I'm ever full of burning restlessness.

    Proclaim, Hero,
    proclaim: My head is ever held high!

    I'm ever uncontrollable, irrepressible.
    My cup of elixir is always full.
    I'm the sacrificial fire,
    I'm Yamadagni, the keeper
    of the sacrificial fire.
    I'm the sacrifice, I'm the priest,
    I'm the fire itself.
    I'm creation, I'm destruction,
    I'm habitation, I'm the cremation ground.
    I'm the end, the end of night.
    I'm the son of Indrani,
    with the moon in my hand and the sun on my forehead.
    In one hand I hold the bamboo flute,
    in the other, a trumpet of war.
    I'm Shiva's blued-hued throat
    from drinking poison from the ocean of pain.
    I'm Byomkesh, the Ganges flows freely
    through my matted locks.

    Proclaim, Hero,
    proclaim: My head is ever held high!

    I'm the ascetic, the minstrel,
    I'm the prince, my royal garb embarasses
    even the most ostentatious.
    I'm Bedouin, I'm Chenghis,
    I salute none but myself!
    I'm thunder,
    I'm the OM sound of Ishan's horn.
    I'm the mighty call of Israfil's trumpet.
    I'm Pinakapani's hourglass drum, trident,
    the sceptre of the Lord of Justice.
    I'm the Chakra and the Great Conch,
    I'm the primordial sound of the Gong!
    I'm the furious Durbasa, the disciple
    of Vishwamitra.
    I'm the fury of fire, to burn this earth to ashes.
    I'm the ecstatic laughter, terrifying the creation.
    I'm the eclipse of the twelve suns
    on the Day of the Doom.
    Sometimes calm, sometimes wild,
    I'm the youth of new blood,
    I humble even the fate's pride!
    I'm the violent gust of a wind storm,
    the roar of the ocean.
    I'm bright, effulgent.
    I'm the murmur of over-flowing water,
    Hindol dance of rolling waves!

    I'm the unbridled hair of a maiden,
    the fire in her eyes.
    I'm the budding romance of a girl of sixteen,
    I'm the state of bliss!
    I'm the madness of the recluse,
    I'm the sigh of grief of a widow,
    I'm the anguish of the dejected,
    I'm the suffering of the homeless,
    I'm the pain of the humiliated,
    I'm the afflicted heart of the lovesick.
    I'm the trembling passion of the first kiss,
    the fleeting glance of the secret lover.
    I'm the love of a restless girl,
    the jingling music of her bangles!
    I'm the eternal child, the eternal adolescent,
    I'm the bashfulness of a village girl's budding youth.
    I'm the northern breeze, the southern breeze,
    the callous eastwind.
    I'm the minstrel's song,
    the music of his flute and lyre.
    I'm the unquenched summer thirst,
    the scorching rays of the sun.
    I'm the softly flowing desert spring
    and the green oasis!

    In ecstatic joy, in madness,
    I've suddenly realized myself,
    all the barriers have crumbled away!
    I'm the rise, I'm the fall,
    I'm the consciousness in the unconscious mind.
    I'm the flag of triumph at the gate
    of the universe,
    the triumph of humanity!

    Like a tempest
    I traverse the heaven and earth
    riding Uchchaishraba and the mighty Borrak.
    I'm the burning volcano in the bosom of the earth,
    the wildest commotion of the subterranean ocean of fire.
    I ride on lightning
    and panic the world with earthquakes!
    I clasp the hood of the Snake-king
    and the fiery wing of the angel Gabriel.
    I'm the child-divine, restless and defiant.
    With my teeth I tear apart
    the skirt of Mother Earth!

    I'm Orpheus' flute.
    I calm the restless ocean
    and bring lethean sleep to the fevered world
    with a kiss of my melody.
    I'm the flute in the hands of Shyam.
    When I fly into a rage and traverse the vast sky,
    the fires of Seven Hells and the hell of hells, Habia,
    tremble in fear and die.
    I'm the messenger of revolt
    across the earth and the sky.

    I'm the mighty flood.
    Sometimes I bring blessings to the earth,
    at other times, cause colossal damage.
    I wrestle away the maidens two
    from Vishnu's bosom!
    I'm injustice, I'm a meteor, I'm Saturn,
    I'm a blazing comet, a venomous cobra!
    I'm the headless Chandi,
    I'm the warlord Ranada.
    Sitting amidst the fire of hell
    I smile like an innocent flower!
    I'm made of clay, I'm the embodiment of the Soul.
    I'm imperishable, inexhaustible, immortal.
    I intimidate the humans, demons and gods.
    I'm ever-unconquerable.
    I'm the God of gods, the supreme humanity,
    traversing the heaven and earth!

    I'm mad, I'm mad!
    I have realized myself,
    all the barriers have crumbled away!!

    I'm Parashuram's merciless axe.
    I'll rid the world of all the war mongers*
    and bring peace.
    I'm the plough on Balaram's shoulders.
    I'll uproot this subjugated world
    in the joy of recreating it.
    Weary of battles, I, the Great Rebel,
    shall rest in peace only when
    the anguished cry of the oppressed
    shall no longer reverberate in the sky and the air,
    and the tyrant's bloody sword
    will no longer rattle in battlefields.
    Only then shall I, the Rebel,
    rest in peace.

    I'm the Rebel Bhrigu,
    I'll stamp my footprints on the chest of god
    sleeping away indifferently, whimsically,
    while the creation is suffering.
    I'm the Rebel Bhrigu,
    I'll stamp my footprints,
    I'll tear apart the chest of the whimsical god!

    I'm the eternal Rebel,
    I have risen beyond this world, alone,
    with my head ever held high!"

    Translation: Sajed Kamal
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