Video | Poetry reading by “Marshal” Parimal Hembram – West Bengal

Parimal Hembram reads “Ak’ sar sap tege huyuk’ tena”

Translation into English by Antara Dev Sen, published in The Little Magazine, Vol. VII, Issue 3 & 4.:


You tell me, screaming,
That this nurtured plot of land,
this pond, this farmhouse
you tell me, these are not mine?
You order me, with blazing eyes,
to leave all this
and go away
wherever – anywhere at all.
But this was the land of legends.
The land of thick jungles,
a desolate land of trees and vines.
We worked hard to clean it up
to make it liveable
and lived happily.
Now if you claim
that this nurtured plot of land,
this pond, this farmhouse
these are not mine
then, well,
I must reach for my bow and arrow.


Parimal Hembram was born in Sankaria village of Bankura district, West Bengal, in 1957. He passed Higher Secondary in 1975 and graduated in 1978 from Uluberia College, Howrah, under the University of Calcutta. He obtained MA degree in Bengali from Calcutta University in 1980. He worked as a bank clerk and a school teacher for short periods of time before joining the All India Radio as Programme Executive in 1989.

He started writing in his mother-tongue, Santali, under the pen-name of ‘Marshal’ (literal meaning: “the light”). He is a prolific and versatile writer, with over twenty books to his credit. Though writing more in Santali, he is equally at ease in Bengali. Among his works are two history books in Bengali, Jharkhander Sankship to Itihas (2001) and Santali Sahityer Itihas (2007), two Santali novels, Tiri-Sipahi and Kashdungri (published in one book, Jor Jeleng Kahani: 2011) , a collection of one-act plays in Santali, Aakhara (1985), a collection of Santali short stories, Rimil(2007) and several collections of Santali poetry such as Aakaal (1988) and Manowa-Ho-Manowa (1996), Nakosi-Sikende (2002) and Akto Reyak Dalil (2012). He has also translated his own poems into Bengali in collections such as Jion (2002) and Hei Samalo (2009). As a literary critic, he has contributed the Bengali work, Saontali Bhasha Charcha-o-Bikasher Itibritta (2010).

Apart from his literary work, he is a performing artist who recites poems in both Bengali and Santali. He has been attached as an actor to a folk theatre group and has acted in stage dramas and films. He has also produced a radio-play in Santali, Radio-Gayan (2000). Presently, he is the President of the Santali Sahitya Parishad, West Bengal.

He can be contacted through email:

Source: Courtesy Dr. Ivy Hansdak (email 15 November 2017)

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Santali poet, scholar and translator
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