The Miller of the Dee- (বৰনৈৰ পাৰৰ কৃষক ৰংমন)

Pranab Sarma

Today I am very happy. I wanted to translate the poem, The  Miller of the Dee to Axomiya (Assamese) for a a very long time but was always stymied by a proper, one word translation of the word miller in Axomiya. I have a healthy respect for people who are successful translators. In fact my urge to read classics started very early on after reading translation of those classics published in many Assamese magazines of my childhood. We always had magazines like Ramdhenu, Navayug,Monideep, Pratinidhi etc. in our home along with all the puja editions of Assamese and Bengali magazines. Oh, what a treasure troves those were. For a young child, it opened up a world beyond belief. However, along with that also came the apprehension of translating anything worthwhile. I think translation is hard because the translator must have a grasp of both the languages, one that is being translated to and the other that is being translated from. In case the original was already translated to a language from which it was being translated to Axomiya, that raised another issue because now the original was being looked at through a borrowed glass. This is not an issue translating directly from English to Assamese. All said and done, I kept myself away from translating  others’ works though there was always an itch at the back of my neck to translate some of my favorite poems to Axomiya.
One of those favorite poems of mine is The Miller of the Dee. It was a poem from our school text book that had touched my heart because of its simplicity and universal message. The issue of translating a poem, I think, is the brevity of words that are available to the translator. There was no water mill in Assam and as such there was no original word to describe it or the work of water milling concisely. So, though I had the urge several times during the last few years, I did not sit down and attempt translating the poem.  As I went out for my morning walk today, an idea came to my mind and took a concrete form at that most personal space in a person’s life, his castle. The bathroom. Don’t be surprised. Many a time that’s where interesting ideas pop up. Instead of translating the poem word by word, I translated the environment to Assam and words flowed. I am happy with the results. Hope my readers are happy also.
Origin of the  Miller of the Dee was as a English folk song and there were several versions. The version I used for translation was written by Charles MacKay, Scottish poet of nineteenth century. I am not sure if this was the poem we read in school as I remembered the poet being anonymous. Well, memories fade in half a century.
বৰনৈৰ পাৰৰ কৃষক ৰংমন
বৰনৈৰ পাৰতে ,
নিজৰেই ঘৰতে,
আছিলে কৃষক ৰংমন কাই,
পঠাৰৰ লখিমী,
আনিছে ঘৰলৈ,
মৰণা মাৰিছে ভাই।
সুঠাম, সজল
ৰংমন‌ কাই,
কাম কৰে দিনটো
আনন্দৰে গুণগুণাই,
নাই এনে কোনো চৰাই,
প্ৰাণোচ্ছল সুৰৰে,
এনুৱা সুৱদী গীত গায়।
কামৰ সময়ত
নাই দুখ ভাগৰ,
সদায় এইটোৱে গীত,
নাই কোনো ঈৰ্ষা,
নকৰোঁ কাকো হিংসা,
নকৰোঁ, নকৰোঁ মই।
এদিন হঠাতে নৈৰে দাতিৰে
বুঢ়া ৰজা পাৰ হৈ যায়,
শুনি ৰংমনৰ গীত,
বুঢ়া ৰজা স্তম্ভিত,
ৰংমনক লগালে মাত,
শুনা হেৰা বন্ধু,
ভুল তোমাৰ সংগীত,
যিমান হ’ব পাৰে ভুল,
গাইছা সিমানেই ভুল।
যদি মোৰ অন্তৰ
পাৰিলে হেঁতেন হ’ব,
তোমাৰ নিচিনা
কোমোৱা তুলাৰ দৰে পাতল,
আনন্দৰে কৰিলো হেঁতেন,
তোমাৰ সতে অদল-বদল।
কোৱা মোক কিদৰে,
মুকলি মনৰে, উচ্চস্বৰে,
বৰনৈৰ পাৰতে
গোৱা তুমি মধুৰ সঙ্গীত?
আৰু ৰজা ম‌ই যদিও,
হৃদয় মোৰ আনন্দ ৰহিত।
মূৰ দোৱাই হাঁহি মাৰি
ক’লে ৰংমনে,
নাপাতো হাত ম‌ই
কাৰো ওচৰত
মোৰ খোৱাৰ বাবে,
ভাল পাওঁ পত্নীক মোৰ,
জানে সকলোৱে
মোৰ বন্ধু প্ৰীতি, আৰু
সন্তান তিনিটি
স্নেহৰ পাত্ৰ মোৰ।
নহ‌ওঁ ধৰুৱা মই,
নাই কোনো ধাৰ,
বৰনৈৰ কৃপাত,
সাৰুৱা পথাৰত,
ফলে লখিমী আই,
চলি যায়
মোৰ সংসাৰ।
বিদায় বন্ধু,
দীৰ্ঘশ্বাস এৰি ক’লে বুঢ়া ৰজাই।
সুখে থাকা, কুশলে থাকা,
কিন্তু হোৱা যদি সত্যবাদী,
নাগাবা কাহানিও
নকৰে কোনেও ঈৰ্ষা তোমাক।
তোমাৰ মূৰৰ ফুটা জাপিটো
মোৰ মুকুটৰ সমান মূল্যবান,
ৰাজভৰাল মোৰ নহয় ধনী
তোমাৰ সুখৰ সংসাৰৰ সমান।
গৌৰৱান্বিত মোৰ দেশ,
তোমাৰ দৰে প্ৰজাই
বঢ়াই দেশৰ সন্মান,
হেৰা বৰনৈৰ পাৰৰ,
সুখী কৃষক ৰংমন।
প্ৰণবেন্দ্ৰ শৰ্মা, আগষ্ট ২৬, ২০২০
চান হ’জে, কালিফোৰ্ণি‌য়া
The Miller of The Dee
There dwelt a miller, hale and bold,
Beside the River Dee;
He worked and sang from morn till night,
No lark more blithe than he;
And this the burden of his song
Forever used to be:
“I envy nobody – no, not I –
And nobody envies me!”
‘Thou’rt wrong, my friend,” said good King Hal,
“As wrong as wrong can be;
For could my heart be light as thine,
I’d gladly change with thee.
And tell me now, what makes thee sing,
With voice so loud and free,
While I am sad, though I’m the King,
Beside the river Dee?’
The miller smiled and doff’d his cap,
“I earn my bread,” quoth he;
“I love my wife, I love my friend,
I love my children three;
I owe no penny I cannot pay,
I thank the river Dee,
That turns the mill that grinds the corn
That feeds my babes and me.”
“Good friend,” said Hal, and sighed the while,
“Farewell, and happy be;
But say no more, if thou’dst be true,
That no one envies thee;
Thy mealy cap is worth my crown,
Thy mill my kingdom’s fee;
Such men as thou are England’s boast,
O miller of the Dee!
This version was written by Charles Mackay.
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