Tag Archives: Banda Bir

Banda Bir – বন্দী বীর – An eulogy by Rabindranath Tagore

This poem by Rabindranath Tagore describes the uprising led by
Banda Singh Ji Bahadur  against Mughal Empire and his eventual martyrdom on 9th June 1716

Bengali Original

বন্দী বীর

পঞ্চনদীর তীরে
বেণী পাকাইয়া শিরে
দেখিতে দেখিতে গুরুর মন্ত্রে
জাগিয়া উঠেছে শিখড্ড
নির্মম নির্ভীক।
হাজার কণ্ঠে গুরুজির জয়
ধ্বনিয়া তুলেছে দিক্।
নূতন জাগিয়া শিখ
নূতন উষার সূর্যের পানে
চাহিল নির্নিমিখ।

“অলখ নিরঞ্জন’
মহারব উঠে বন্ধন টুটে
করে ভয়ভঞ্জন।
বক্ষের পাশে ঘন উল্লাসে
অসি বাজে ঝন্ঝন্।
পঞ্জাব আজি গরজি উঠিল,
“অলখ নিরঞ্জন!’

এসেছে সে এক দিন
লক্ষ পরানে শঙ্কা না জানে
না রাখে কাহারো ঋণ।
জীবন মৃত্যু পায়ের ভৃত্য,
চিত্ত ভাবনাহীন।
পঞ্চনদীর ঘিরি দশ তীর
এসেছে সে এক দিন।

হোথা বারবার বাদশাজাদার
তন্দ্রা যেতেছে ছুটে।
কাদের কণ্ঠে গগন মন্থ,
নিবিড় নিশীথ টুটে–
কাদের মশালে আকাশের ভালে
আগুন উঠেছে ফুটে!

পঞ্চনদীর তীরে
ভক্তদেহের রক্তলহরী
মুক্ত হইল কি রে!
লক্ষ বক্ষ চিরে
ঝাঁকে ঝাঁকে প্রাণ পক্ষীসমান
ছুটে যেন নিজনীড়ে।
বীরগণ জননীরে
রক্ততিলক ললাটে পরালো
পঞ্চনদীর তীরে।

Translation by 

On the banks of the rivers five,
His locks coiled upon his head,
Has risen the Sikh
Inspired by his Gurus’ writ
With unrelenting tread.
Waver or fear he does not.
“Hail the Gurus,” the quarters resound
With the cry that rises
From voices that in thousands abound.
Thus has the Sikh risen,
His gaze fixated unblinking
Upon the new sun of dawn.

“Alakh Niranjan,” –
The great cry breaks all fetters,
Scatters all fears.
While close to the breast,
With a joy so great,
Rattles the sword.
Today, all Punjab raises the roar
“Alakh Niranjan.”

Today is the day
When a million hearts
Know no doubts
Nor bear any debts.
Life and death
Are as slaves at their feet
Of all worries are their spirits freed.
Such a day has arrived indeed
Upon the ten banks bounding
The rivers five.

Upon the ramparts
Of the palace in Delhi
The Emperor worries
Unable to sleep –
‘Whose voices churn the heavens,
Shatter the night so silent and deep,
The fire from whose torches
The brow of the sky scorches?’

On the banks of the rivers five
Gushes blood devout
From a million hearts so stout.
As flocks of birds, souls so many
Rush to their nests.
The mothers of the braves
With blood anoint their brows
Upon the banks of the rivers five.

In war, each other
Mughal and Sikh face,
And fall
Clasping in a death embrace.
One the other battles
As a falcon, poison rent,
Battles a serpent.
In fray so terrible that day
“Victory to the Gurus,” the brave Sikhs say,
The cry from a deep store of peace hails.
While the Mughal, blood maddened,
“Deen, Deen” yells.

At the fort in Gurdaspur
Was Banda captured
By the Turani legion.
Chaining him
As they will a lion
Delhi’s road they take.
Thus of Banda in battle
A prisoner did they make.

The Mughal soldiers lead the way,
Upon the road, clouds of dust appear.
The severed heads of Sikhs they display
Impaled upon spears.
Seven hundred Sikhs, their chains rattling,
In the soldiers’ wake walk following.
Multitudes gather by the way, jostling for space,
Many windows are thrown open, many eyes gaze.
The Sikhs roar, “Victory to the Gurus,”
For their own lives, they do not sorrow.
Thus, today,
Mughal and Sikh walk Delhi’s way

The Sikhs jostle in impatience
To be the first to die,
As a day ends,
And night draws nigh
Line they up and at terminator’s hands
Saying “Victory to the Gurus”
A hundred braves give up their hundred heads.

Thus, a week was past
And the seven hundredth life
Was taken at last.
Then a Qazi put on Banda’s lap
One of his sons.
“With unconcern
Must you slay your son,”
The Qazi said.
With these words, his hands fettered,
Was Banda his little son given.

Banda’s speech lay at rest.
Tenderly, his little son
He drew to his breast.
For a moment, he put his right hand upon the boy’s head,
Once Banda kissed his turban red.
Then from his girdle
He pulled his dagger.
Looking upon his son, “Victory to the Gurus,”
Banda whispered in his ear,
“Fear not my son,” said he.

That form so new
Shone with fervour.
A song from that young voice flew
Over the court which was a-tremor.
“Victory to the Gurus, all fear is a mirage,”
Sang the little boy
Looking at Banda’s visage.

Then Banda curled his left arm
Around the boy’s neck.
While his right hand, unwavering, firm
With a dagger did the child’s breast rake.
“Victory to the Gurus,” the child cried
And fell upon the earth and died.

The court stood silent!
Banda’s form
The terminator did rend
With heated tongs.
Banda died a death stoic,
Not once did the brave moan,
He was a man heroic.
Not once did Banda in pain cry.
Of the onlookers,
Horror shut every eye
In stunned silence, the court watched by.

Source of Translation : SikhNet by Saumya Dey