Remembering Rashmoni
(Excerpts from a poem written by Sameer Roy in 1968 during the Naxalbari movement – in memory of Rashmoni, a woman of the Hajong tribe who was killed by the police during the Tebhaga movement in 1946–47)

Comrade, how old are we
Why not take a stock.
My mother, sitting by the wretched flicker of a fire,
Counts the age of Heeren, Nripen, Shyamal and Sameer—
Why do not you bother a little and count.

Rasmoni of Hajong died with an ill fate—
Other than the National Library and the hills of Hajong,
There is no picture of hers in Bengal.

…Why not recite her name to Shantilata, Jiad’s wife Fatema

…Why not now with Rasmoni’s name covertly in our pockets
Let us slip into a village a few miles away.

…Shantilata, Jiad’s wife Fatema—
Could be more incisive than the bow.

Comrade, let us from the old history book
Tear out Rasmoni’s picture

And march ahead, more surreptitiously than darkness.

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