LWM remembers significance of Jessore Road

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 23:11, Sep 28,2020


Moushumi Bhowmik, left, Farhana Ahmed Chaity participates in an online programme organised by Liberation War Museum on Sunday.

Liberation War Museum recalled September on Jessore Road and its significance in the context of the country’s liberation war in a special online programme streamed live on its Facebook page on Sunday evening.

The programme titled ‘September on Jessore Road’ featured discussions, relay of an audio-visual clip, recitation and others. It was held using Zoom App.

The programme was attended by Liberation war affairs secretary Tapan Kanti Das, Indian singer and activist Moushumi Bhowmik along with recitation artistes Farhana Ahmed Chaity and Ashraful Hassan Babu. Liberation War Museum programme coordinator Rafiqul Islam gave welcome speech and also anchored the programme.

September on Jessore Road is a poem by the American poet of the Beat Generation Allen Ginsberg. Dedicated to the refugees who were forced to cross the border to India in 1971, the poem was written after visiting a refugee camp in West Bengal on Jassore road. He recited the poem at St George’s Episcopal Church in a recitation programme. Bob Dylan, who performed with George Harrison, Ravi Shankar and other musicians at the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971, later set the poem to music. Later, Moushumi Bhowmik rendered the poem into Bengali and turned it into a song.

‘September on Jessore Road is a poem of witness to our liberation war and the plights of one crore refugees. Additionally, our former prime minister Tajuddin Ahmad announced victory on December 10, 1971 after Jessore was freed from the Pakistani occupation forces,’ said Rafiqul Islam.

The documentary that was showed at the programme captures the plight of one crore Bengali people on Jessore road in the time of the war.  It also portrays how they had struggled for foods and suffered various diseases during the nine-month-long war.

The poem September on Jessore Road became popular across the globe. In the middle of November, a Mumbai-based noted graphic artist made a poster using the poem. After the poster was published on November 14, a concert was organised on November 24 where a huge number of posters were sold.

At home front, after the independence, Khan Mohammad Farabi translated a part of Allen Ginsberg’s poem and noted Indian singer and activist Moushumi Bhowmik’s rendition of the poem in Bengali was used in Tareque Masud-directed film ‘Muktir Gaan’.

‘My friend and teacher Tareque Masud offered me in 1998 to turn Allen Ginsberg’s poem into a song. I cannot express the joy I felt as I worked on the poem and turned it into a song,’ said Moushumi Bhowmik.

‘The song became a people’s anthem. People from all walks of life took a liking to it. Jessore Road portrays how the hapless people were moving in search of shelters during the purge and we can also translate that as the search for the Almighty. The month of September reminded me of the song,’ added Moushumi.

Besides, Farhana Ahmed Chaity recited a part from Allen Ginsberg’s poem September on Jessore Road and Ashraful Hassan Babu recited the Bangla translation of the poem.

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