SADIQUL ISLAM translates Harekrishna Deka’s poems

Harekrishna Deka, (b. 1943) Eminent Assamese poet, fiction writer, critic, editor, and the recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award (1987), Katha Award (1996) and Assam Valley Literary Award (2010); has seven collections of poems, six volumes of short stories, five books of literary criticism, two novels, two edited books, two books of social criticism and one collection of translated poems to his credit; has served as the editor of the English daily ‘The Sentinel’ and the Assamese literary magazine Gorioshi. His poetry collection Aan Ejan was translated into Bengali and Oryia, and his story collection Bandiar was translated into Oryia. Starting his professional career as a college teacher, he has served as the Director General of Police and a member of the National Security Advisory Board.



On my piled up silence topples down

each blood-stained face. Inside the bones

the rising sound of a cacophony.

Amid this uproar how will you keep alive

the birds of your sorrows?

They’ll die in the swirl of blood.

Mounting on the snake-hood of wind

will come thousand Bohags.

Clarions unbounded heard all around.


Two Hands and Countless Hands

After burning all the hands

the two reddened hands

want to whet themselves.


The green hands crumble away

wearing rings of half-bloomed buds

in forked branches.

Every night I’m making two hands

that melt in the heat of the day.

I’m stretching my two hands to the sky;

in my finger glitter the gems of stars.

One hand, two hands, countless chaotic hands

drift on the reeds of the river.



I can’t reach them even stretching out my hands.

Gunmen with rickety hands.

They point to the sky the supplication of their hearts.

A  face sunk under the gush of sludge.

Countless forked branches of the ten spread out fingers.

I can’t reach them even stretching out my hands.

I intend blossoming flowers. They toss and become seedlings.

My anguish and wonder

flow over their bones as sorrows.

Every time I join a funeral procession.


The Dark Hand of the Field

The girl dressed all in white. Sitting on the grass

she was whispering  in the ear of the sky.

Why hasn’t she shown up here any more?

A white elephant has emerged from amid the fog.

She sweats so much even in this chill.

A throne on her back. What makes it so weighed down?

After a while a crimson sun will leap over the boots of the athletes.

Ere this, the dark hand of the field will wipe off the crimson blood.


Sadiqul Islam

Sadiqul Islam

Sadiqul Islam: (b. 1969) Translates from Assamese into English. Presently Assistant Professor of English (Selection Grade) in Moirabari College, Morigaon, Assam. He can be reached at