Helal Hafiz in translation

This life will be cursed forever
If I should not be part of the uprising now
When they talk of cowards, my sons and theirs will talk of me.
If all my youth is given at a time like this
To worshipping the female form.


Helal Hafiz
(Translation, mine)


Helal Hafiz is one of Bangladesh’s greatest living poets. He was born in Netrokona on 7th October 1948. His poems speak of his love for his country, his anguish during the freedom struggle in 1971 and his support for democracy. Hafiz has never been directly with any political activity but his famous verses “Ekhon joubon jar juddhe jabar tar shreshtha samoy” (It’s the best time for one to go to war who is in his youth) was a popular slogan that found its way to wall writings, posters, leaflets and procession chants at university campuses before the Liberation War against Pakistan. It has returned as a popular slogan of student activists and left-leaning organisations during popular movements against military or autocratic rules in independent Bangladesh.

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