Bridge to Global Literature

Let’s all remember that more and more poetry gets lost without earnest attempts at translation.Read poetry here to get a glimpse of the rhythms and resonances of languages you don’t know.

Birth of God – Monalisha Chattopadhyay

Apr 9, 2022 | Poetry | 0 comments

Translated from the Bengali by Boudhayan Mukherjee

Nobody knows me.So I sacrificed my head.
I severed it from my torso and told myself,
Now drink the blood from my cut-off head.

When God arrived, He placed it
On the neck of a human photograph.
I was writhing in pain and uttered
I’m not dead yet, kill me unto death.
Hearing my screams,he set my crown
Where it belonged on my body.

My stomach is rife with hunger
I suffer from hunger for hours.
When none gets prashad , offerings
Of sumptuous food placed before the deity
I too sit with askance staring at His photo.
This world’s a hunger field, like me.
God isn’t hungry, his heavenly abode
Does not know about pangs of hunger.
My head reels, I sit down, drown a glass of water.I discern the last evenings
Of my life through the face of God.
I light up incense sticks,talk to Him
Look up and tell Him
Men and women worship God,
But Gods don’t worship each other.
They’ve only crafted designs to kill humans.
Since men can’t become Gods, they are hoodwinked to worship idols as almighty.

Realizing this at last,
I throw off the idol in water.
I whisper to myself,
What’s the use of preserving such an useless icon ?

Me, whose birth and death are equal
I’m a dead corpse to you,dear God.
God’s greatness is fake,
It was only wastage of my devotion and loyality .

I stand before His frame and proclaim:
Without true devotees, you are false.

Today, I’ll play footsie with God’s life.
Who am I ? Who’s the renowned Almighty?
Let’s see who is more sensible today.

The immersed God is floating on the river;
The human throng has lined up beside the riverside to see Him.
I look at the wet scene with my blank eyes to feel the hour of hunger.


Monalisha Chattopadhyay is a poet from Bengal. She is the author of twelve collections of poetry. Although known as a poet, she has also authored and published several books of short stories and novels. She is the editor of a literary magazine called Swayamagata. She secured her master’s degree from Calcutta University. In 2006, she was awarded the Educare Sahitya Samman, followed by the Sabdakiran Sahitya Samman (2014) and Sadhak Chauranginath Puraskar (2014). She performed her poetry at Kochi All India Writers Meet, organized by Sahitya Akademi. Reading books and singing are her hobbies, and literature is her passion.

Boudhayan Mukherjee, a bilingual poet, author and translator started as student editor and literary secretary of Tagore’s Visva Bharati University. Has been published extensively in  journals and newspapers since the mid seventies . First book of verse ”Black Milk” followed by five poetry anthologies , a collection of short-stories and books of translations, Has represented Sahitya Akademi , the prime literary institution of India , at various poetry readings and taught Creative Writing in English at Indira Gandhi National Open University.. A founder member and poetry co-ordinator of Srijan , one of the most renowned literary platforms of Kolkata. Editor of several literary magazines, he has been recently awarded the Swaymagata Literary Prize [2021].


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