Ajit Dutta (1907-1979) was born in Bikrampur, Dhaka and stood first in Sanskrit and Bengali M.A. examinations from Dhaka University. He taught Bengali language and literature and was recognized as a distinguished poet of modern Bengali. Along with Buddheva Bose, he jointly edited the Pragati magazine and later joined the Kallol group. He was one of the chief contributors of the journal on poetry entitled Kabita.
What first catches the eyes of a modern reader when he reads Ajit Dutta’s poems is his use of the Sadhu Bhasha, the chaste and elegant Bengali, a mode of expression never quite associated with modern poetry and yet his ways are strikingly modern. The charm of the language and rhythm of his poetry comes from that elusive and leisurely motion about them, a sluggishness heavy with poetic intoxication. The spirit of Ajit Dutta’s muse, especially in his first volume of poetry named Kusumer Mas (Month of the Flowers), is quaintly slow-moving, something that makes his love poems all the more fascinating.
Here’s a translation of his poem Ekti Swapno…
You have come so far! When did you come this far?
How did you know the path in such an unredeemed darkness?
For so long I have been thinking only of you.
Every day when I am alone, I think of you.
Have you unfastened and put away those exuberant bracelets?
Is it proper to come in such seclusion like a shadow!
Will you have to return now? Have you come only to see me?
If you came this far, what a strange wish was it from you!
Keep your promise, don’t go back today in this darkness.
Very tired are you today, what if we don’t talk much?
Even then don’t leave, can’t you rest here for awhile?
Does anyone go out on such a perfectly still night?
Sit a little longer; haven’t you felt what profound comfort
Floats in the darkness of the room from the fragrance of your hair?