Kumud Sahitya Mela – Palli Kabi Kumud Ranjan -Poetry of Humanity, Love and Brotherhood transcending boundaries.
Today 3rd March as we are celebrating the birthday of the legendary poet Palli Kabi Shri Kumud Ranjan Mallick through Kumud Sahitya Mela at Kogram a special moment for Bengali culture is being displayed all around the venue. This year organizers received a rare gift from one of the family members of the late poet from the UK. A rare unpublished poem of the legend sent to the key organizer of the event: Mollah Jasimuddin through IBG NEWS.
A lost treasure of the Bengali literature from the Tagore Era found in a hard time of mutual disrespect and distrust among communities and casts in the UK will show the light of hope through poet’s classical work.
The Grand Son and Grand Daughter-in-Law of the late legendary poet of Bengal Shri Kumud Ranjan Mallick shared a treasure of unpublished work of poet for recitation at Kumud Sahitya Mela at the ancestral house of the poet. Over two-decade fans and locals of Kogram are organizing this event every year with no significant support from any corner. All must come forward to support Kumud Sahitya Mela organizers to keep the event alive with even greater reach. The monumental task organizers are doing out of love and respect to the legend must be supported by Bengalis around the world.
Musa Mia & Kumud Ranjan Mallick
by UJJAL MALLICK
Kumud Sahitya Mela, March 2021, Mongalkote, West Bengal, India
THE MEETING OF THEIR RELATIVES MUKUL CHOWDHURY & UJJAL MALLICK EIGHTY YEARS LATER
How the connection and love of Tagore and West Bengal between a Hindu poet and Muslim politician, forged friendship and understanding across the sectarian divide and eighty years later reunited their descendants.
The title photo shows both Musa Mia, a Bengali politician from Katwa, West Bengal, who was murdered in the political violence of partition-India, and the famous Bengali poet Kumud Ranjan Mallick from Mongalkote, in a meeting at an unknown location in the mid-20th century.
They met in pre-partition India, one Hindu and one Muslim. Friends together. A shared love of their Bengali culture, Indian politics, traditions, and Tagore brought them together and transcended religious difference.
It would again bring together the two families in an accidental meeting of their descendants in the 21st century. Families who met not knowing their shared history, celebrating on evening the music and poetry of Rabindranath Tagore as Bengalis in London in 2018.
At the time of Musa Mia’s murder, Kumud Ranjan Mallick wrote a poem, devastated by the violent political murder of his friend and “brother” because of the religious violence of the time. The poem symbolizes great friendship and respect, borne of humanity, common principles, and values. Decrying sectarian violence and the pointless murder of Musa and the fact that West Bengal is a place of all faiths, sharing language and traditions. The meeting of a grandson (Ujjal Mallick) and great-nephew (Mukul Chowdhury) in the next century would bring back a lost story of great friendship and pointless violence. It would take forward, through newfound connections, the love and culture of West Bengal and India in memory of the wonderful spirit, energy, and love of Musa, Kumud, and of Mukul Chowdhury, who sadly passed away in November 2020.
From Faisal Islam, Economics Editor, BBC (partly taken from his Facebook tribute, and speech to the celebration Dinner of the 500th Anniversary of Manchester Grammar School, to his father “Shamsul Chowdhury Islam – Mukul) November 8th, 2020.
…The Story continues years later…Tima (my sister) organized for me, my mum and Dad (Mukul) to go to a Tagore concert at the Globe Theatre in London. Dad, who was sociable and friendly and would talk to anyone, started a conversation with the gentleman sat next t0 him, Mr. Ujjal Mallick, a doctor and the grandson of famous Bengali poet Kumud Ranjan Mallick. It turns out that Kumud Ranjan Mallick had written a poem about the assassination of Dad’s uncle during partition in 1948. He had tried through the poem to apologise on behalf of Bengali Hindus for Musa’s murder. Mr. Mallick reiterated the apology on behalf of his grandfather. Dad, a Muslim Bengali, wrote back to his new friend:
“I am proud of India and Bengal’s Hindu tradition. As a schoolboy, I read Mahabharata and Ramayana cover to cover. You do not need to apologise. The Goondas who commits heinous crime have no religion. We all belong to humanity. SABAR OPORO MANUS SATYA”
Dad went to visit the great poet’s house in Kogram on his last visit to Bengal before he passed away, surrounded by the love of his family and Tagore’s music in November 2020.
Mukul Chowdhury and Ujjal Mallick shared a rare example of mutual love, respect and fellow feeling :
Mukul and Ujjal enjoyed their brief but special friendship before Mukul passed away. They both felt strongly about inter-faith dialogue in West Bengal, and the friendship between Hindus and Muslims that they had experienced in their own lives, growing up in Katwa and Mongalkote.
They shared a love of people, of stories, of learning and education and for the powerful tradition of poetry, prose, and music that comes from West Bengal, especially of Rabindranath Tagore, which has been able to transcend religious difference, remain timeless, and revels in the beauty of humanity.r
Mukul was a great adventurer and traveler, with a deep curiosity about the world, a deep faith and a love of people, stories, and learning. He was tolerant and spirited, forward thinking yet deeply indebted and loving of the traditions of his culture, religion, and family.
In memory of Mukul – his children are developing projects to support the education of young Bengali children in Karajgram, Katwa, Bolpur and surrounding areas. They are joining with the Mallick family on music projects to fuse Tagore and the west.
The Poem – in Bengali – Musa Bhai
The Poem – Translation in English – Brother Musa
Translation by Mr. Ujjal Mallick, grandson of Kumud Ramjan Mallick
Proud we, of ALL FAITHS, were of Katwa as a sacred place,
As a land of Sri Gouranga’s Love and embrace.
My brothers of Katwa of the Islamic Faith, listen to my call,
This humble Hindu poet, servant of our Lord, holds you high, honours you all.
Thought of the horrific murder of brother Musabhai,
Always brings agony and Floods of tears to my eye.
You are no more amongst us and nothing makes any sense,
We all feel in our hearts the pain and suffering intense.
What sin we did for such a curse to our fellow men,
Shameful darkest chapter in Katwa’s history, forever to remain.
Revered Martyr! with the red colour of your blood and tragic death,
You lit a glowing light of caution on the joint pilgrimage of our faith(s).
My pen shivers in sorrow and stops; as nothing else it can,
Write of the act of cowardice and the appalling cruelty by man to man.
The Islam-Chowdhury and Mallick Families are planning to build and strengthen their recently found connection to build on inter-faith dialogue and support education, music, and cultural projects in West Bengal and Internationally, to remember the precious lives, spirit of adventure and learning that was so integral to Mukul, Musa Mia and Kumud Ranjan Mallick. Do contact us at the link below if you interested in knowing more.
“Kumud Ranjan Mallick (1883-1970) was a Bengali writer and poet. He was a poet of the Tagore era of Bengali literature. He was an early mentor and coach to the poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.
He was born on 1 March 1883 in a Baidya family in a village named Kogram in Purba Bardhaman district of West Bengal, India. He graduated from the Scottish Church College of the University of Calcutta in 1905 and won the Bankimchandra Gold Medal. He started his teaching career at MATHRUN NABINCHANDRA VIDYAYATAN in Purba Bardhaman where he later became the headmaster.
Kumud Ranjan’s poetry was influenced by Vaishnavism. His poetry is also a portrait of rural Bengal. He died on 14 December 1970.”~ Wikipedia excerpt.
***IBG NEWS express gratitude to Mr. Ujjal Mallick, grandson of Kumud Ramjan Mallick and his wife for sharing this article for publication. Bengal needs to care for her golden past and legends. We must educate our kids in India and overseas about our heritage and culture. Copyright and ownership of items are with the respective owners. Published under creative expression and permission from Mr. Ujjal Mallick, grandson of Kumud Ramjan Mallick***