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Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation Part IV

March 18, 2018 | By

‘Chitrangada’, a dance drama composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1892, is based on the love life of Manipur’s princess Chitrangada and Arjun, the third Pandava of the epic Mahabharata. Lopa Banerjee translates it into English. Part 4.

CONTINUED FROM PART III – Click here to read

Chitrangada: The Warrior Princess

The newfound splendor of your love, gradually illuminating us

Scene IV.

[Madan and Chitrangada.]

Chitrangada: My weary sighs, buried in their own ashes

How long would you let this game of deception persist,

Oh Lord, how long, at all?

That which is destined to end, will end, after all,

Let it end with grace.

Let the beautiful lie leave traces of a beautiful dream,

Let it not be tarnished, worn out.

 

Madan: Do not be afraid, dear sakhi, the worst will not occur.

The flower that will find a closure to the game, will surely bear its fruit.

Let the scintillating time of intoxicated love leave behind its magical touch,

Its new rhythms and resonances.

[He exits.]

[Arjun and Chitrangada sing together.]

Beloved mine, how we have spent our days of ‘Viraha’,

Our fateful separation, pining for love, and it’s unreal trajectories.

All our paths have merged today, at long last,

In your eyes, the final destination.

The newfound splendor of your love, gradually illuminating us,

Who did weave this divine moment of ecstasy?

Our new universe, our blessed terrain, in our eyes, conjoined.

Look, how the cloud comes to eclipse the sky, submerging the stars.

The lost light, now moored, only in our eyes, locked in unison.

My muted, forlorn tears, craving to manifest itself for long

Has found its closure in the pain of words, our eyes, being their anchor.

[They exit.]

[Arjun re-enters.]

Arjun: Why does fatigue overwhelm my senses?

My body, my soul, my being is consumed by an excruciating sadness.

Tear apart this fog that has sucked away all my masculine pride, I pray.

Why, at all, have you kept me resting in this worthless prison, what for?

[A herd of villagers enter.]

Gather up, you people, in the name of Chitrangada, our valiant warrior princess

The Villagers: Look, how the gang of robbers emerge to destroy us all!

Roaring, raving, as if a torrential flood.

Gather up, you people, in the name of Chitrangada, our valiant warrior princess

Let us face their onslaught.

Do not be afraid.

Arjun: Come hither, listen, you village folks, don’t you have any savior?

The Villagers: Our savior? Yes, we had one, the invincible princess,

But she is off to an unknown pilgrimage.

The keeper of a silent vow, she is,

Our warrior princess, Chitrangada.

Arjun: Ah! A woman she is, isn’t she?

The villagers: By virtue of her tenderness, she is a mother.

Yet, by virtue of her valor, she is a king.

Come, let us blow the trumpet in her holy name.

Glory be with our princess Chitrangada.

Be not afraid, as long as she lives.

 

Free yourselves from your fears, win over them

One who is overwhelmed by terror, insults himself ceaselessly.

Do not be distressed by your imagination of a crisis, friends!

Free yourselves from your fears, win over them.

You can be your own strength, win over your own demons, friends.

Save the weak amongst you, while attacking the wicked forces.

Remember, never think of yourself as poor, helpless.

Free yourselves from your fears, win over them.

You can be your own support, only never doubt your own strength.

Remember, when the call of duty will need you,

With silent conviction, go ahead, surrendering your life.

Free yourselves from your fears, win over them.

Remember, in these most trying times,

You will leave the imprint of your true character, friends.

[They exit.]

[ Chitrangada enters.]

Chitrangada: What keeps you thinking so hard, my lord?

How she is, how her nature is, why is she such an enigma.
I have heard tales of her tenderness, which makes her a woman.
I have heard tales of her valor, which makes her a man.

Arjun: All this while, I can’t help thinking of princess Chitrangada.

How she is, how her nature is, why is she such an enigma.

I have heard tales of her tenderness, which makes her a woman.

I have heard tales of her valor, which makes her a man.

I have heard that she adorns her throne

Like Goddess Durga, seated on her lion.

My beloved, if you know of her, tell me, I pray.

 

Chitrangada: Shame! She is a foul-looking woman.

She is not endowed with beautiful, slanted eyebrows.

Nor do her eyes twinkle, like the sparkling stars.

Nor can she pierce the valorous heart of a man

With her maneuvering, amorous glances.

Nor is she endowed with the natural sense of modesty and fear

That defines a woman.

She does not have the natural flair for feminine humor

Or the beautiful, rhythmic music of her silent postures, alas.

 

Arjun: This description only elevates my interest, lady!

Where is that woman, brave, chivalrous?

A sword unsheathed, beautiful in its sheer strength

As if a lightning, fierce in its temerity.

She is by no means the voluptuous beauty

Capturing the eyes of a hedonist.

She is the true glory of the ‘kshatriya’ clan,

The feisty beauty of their gallant arms.

 

A sword unsheathed, beautiful in its sheer strength
As if a lightning, fierce in its temerity

The Sakhis: Why this weariness at all,

With this surge of endearing feminine beauty?

Did the wondrous game of love have to end right now?

The enticing dream in which you were enraptured,

Was it only a honeyed illusion, a transitory dream?

Was it a sheer insult to the truth which you craved?

Your heart is filled only with vain hopes

As you are sculpting the idol of love.

What have you been thinking,

when you bestowed masculinity in a lady?

Is this also the result of your illusion?

If Chitrangada, our beloved Sakhi

Shreds her feminine tenderness to pieces,

Throws away her grace and beauty in dust,

Her anguish, her hopelessness will kill her.

Such cruel irony of her fate, dear Arjun, we know

Will only agitate you. Your anger, your disillusionment

Will only ravage her heart with a fierce, devastating arrow.

 

But if I meet her for once, I will accompany the princess
In her quest to save the poor, helpless countrymen.

Arjun: But if I meet her for once, I will accompany the princess

In her quest to save the poor, helpless countrymen.

For long, I have indulged in the pursuit of lustfulness.

I will plunge headlong, in the cascading flow of a conquest.

Today, I hear the echoes of war in my restless blood.

Chitrangada, the remarkable princess,

Is the rare confluence of a man and a woman.

 

Chitrangada: But she is blessed, at long last

She has been invoked in my hero’s heart.

Today, let it mark the end of the dark, sullen night.

Tomorrow, at the onset of dawn, she will emerge before you.

The woman, once shrouded by beautiful lies, will stand

Unveiled, in front of your eyes.

 

The Sakhis (addressing Arjun):

Let the woman rise strong, unabashed,

Shedding her manipulative, amorous art.

By virtue of her pure, chivalrous heart,

Standing erect, unyielding

Like the firm, young tree of the mountain,

May she find honor in a man’s heart.

May the woman, a luscious beauty in her man’s bed

Be the equal partner in his life’s mission.

Let the left hand be the fair partner of the right hand.

May this union bring bliss in the life of the gallant man.

CONTINUE READING TO PART 5 and 6

(Pictures courtesy: Pixabay)

CHITRANGADA ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation (Part I)

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation Part II

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation Part III

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation Part IV

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation Part V & VI

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Lopamudra Banerjee is a writer, poet and translator, currently based in Dallas, USA. She is Deputy Editor of Learning & Creativity and the co-editor of 'Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas', published by Readomania in collaboration with Incredible Women of India. She has been the Creative Editor of Incredible Women of India. 'Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant's Wayward Journey', her debut memoir/autobiographical novel, recently published by Authorspress, has been First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media LLC, USA. Her literary works have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, both in India and the US. She has been a regular contributor for Cafe Dissensus, Different Truths, Readomania.com and many other e-zines. Her fiction will also be featured in the upcoming Silhouette I & II anthology, to be published by Authorspress. She has received the Reuel International Award 2016 for her English translation of Rabindranath Tagore's novella Nastanirh (The Broken Home) instituted by The Significant League, a renowned literature group in Facebook, and the book is available in Amazon Kindle.
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