‘Television of the Rotten Soul’ by Falguni Ray, translated by Atindriyo Chakraborty.
‘Television of the Rotten Soul’ is a poetry collection of the late (Died 1980) Bengali poet, Falguni Ray. This book contains translations from Atindriyo Chakraborty, with an appendix. This has been edited by Tanvir Ratul. Who is keeping alive the existence of his Antivirus publications.
Some might glance at the attractive front cover, “Corporate Love, Corporate Lust” by Afrida Tanzim and could erroneously think “Too many editors spoil the book!”.
But Ratul brings another perspective to Falguni Ray’s pieces, printed into English for the first time.
“Of Theist community clinging
to the gonads of the absolute universe or universal
-‘I Am Human’
With all this resting on Antivirus’s business sense, is “Television of the Rotting Soul” worth a buy?
The answer is “Yes, however…”.
And that doubt comes from the fact that I probably will never understand poetry from the “Hungry Generation”, but Falguni Ray comes across as a megalomaniac who has lost everything and has become driven to sexual encounters with this very reality itself.
And at least Falguni Ray walks it, as the brother of the poet Tushar Ray, (who died from relentless drug abuse) his story and character are bought closer than perhaps some readers might have liked to been bought closer.
What makes the book work is the tandem of Atindriyo Chakraborty’s translations and Tanvir Ratul’s editorials. My favourite part of the book would be those moments when from the same poem (“Here”,”My Rifle, My Bible” and “Professional Bed” to come up with two different accounts of the original account from Falguni Ray.
It is a thrill to compare “I have ran to lover with hunger of penis” from Atindriyo’s translation of ‘My Rifle, My Bible’ to “I ran to my girlfriend/books never refused me” from Tanvir’s interpretation.
The greatest part of the book is the title poem and Tanvir’s “The Second Uterus”.
“From the mouth of each man the head of a snake
protrudes snakes are found on the head of vultures
which were seated on floating babies”
-‘The Second Uterus’
This book in time will be discovered as a large part of the poetic jigsaw bridging Bangla poetry to anybody around the planet who can read English. The only caution I feel I should urge is this is not a book recommended for children. Given the Political pedophile missing document incidents around the planet, had Falguni Ray survived he’s probably be questioned over:
“Fetus, can you talk?-
Do you have the power to think?”
-‘My Renaissance and Resurrection?’
Atindryo Chakraborty and Tanvir Ratul can take a bow at their efforts in bringing the poetry from the former Hungry Generation to the 21st Century. For a new publisher to print a dead man’s words might seem like business suicide, but the book balances out such risks by existing as a testament to whatever Hell-raising associations the Hungry Generation achieved, documented through the explanations of another person’s vision onto the book’s pages.
So next time it seems there is nothing good on the television, remember how it’s still got it’s rotten soul, and you could prefer using this book to escape from?
That said, I’d keep your front door key between your fingers as you read!
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