Mondir O Mosjid
(Temples and Mosques)
Original in Bangla by: Kazi Nazrul Islam
Translated by: Subrata Kumar Das
[‘Mondir O Mosjid’ (Temples and Mosques) is one of the eight
essays of Nazrul’s essay-book Rudromongol(The Violent Good)
published possibly in 1927 in Calcutta. The essay was written
during the Hindu-Muslim riot in Calcutta which started on April
02, 1926. ‘Mondir O Mosjid’ was published in Gonovani(People’s
Voice) on August 26, 1926. Though Rudromongolwas not prohibited
by the British Government, the author was warned not to publish
more copies of the book.
This is one of the major prose works of Nazrul that pioneered
Hindu-Muslim communal harmony in India.]
‘Annihilate the jobons Annihilate the kafers !’again the Hindu−Muslims problem
has been created ⎯first the quarrels, then the battles.Those who were shouting loudly to
save the prestige of mother Kali or Allah beforehand did not remember them when they
began to fall down. Both the Hindus and the Muslims were groaning in the same
language ‘Oh mother, Oh father’ ⎯ as two motherless children cry for the mother.
I saw, the mosque did not move hearing the cry of the dead or the injured the
stone−gods did neither respond. Only their alters were showered with their blood.
That destroyer who will level all the religious places like temples mosques, churches
and throng all humanity under the single dome of the sky is coming.
I know well, the self announced private secretaries of the Creator are rushing to chase
after me putting off their hats, lifting their head covers and causing their long tufts of
their heads dance. Even then they will perish. They are the orthodox. They have not taken
the light of truth, rather have drunk the “alcohol” of religious books.
Pussyfoot Johnson has been beaten repeatedly for his actions against the orthodox.
These descendants of these people who attacked Muhammad, the orthodox who
attacked Isha-Musa, are now attacking people—people like Isha-Musa-Muhammad.
Where are those avotars and prophets who were assaulted while saving people from
others’ assault ? They came for the welfare of the humanity, but their beastly disciples
have been the cause of all misdeeds.
He, who is the God of man, is captivated in the jails of the temple, in the prisons of
the mosque, in the gaols of the church. The priests are now guarding Him like the
jail−wards. The Satan has taken the seat of the Creator.
In a place I saw forty nice gentle Hindus inhumanly beating a Muslim, in some other
place I saw about the same number of Muslim people beating a Hindu man. Two poor
helpless men being beaten by beasts. They are hitting human beings as the wild
barbarians kill the pigs by pricing them. I glanced at their faces and saw that faces are
uglier than that of devils, spiteful than that of the pigs. They have the unending foul smell
in their bodies due to envy and meanness.
They have the single person as the leaderwho is the Satan. Changing his name
sometimes he is going to excite the Muslim people wearing a head-cover and beard;
sometimes he is going to incite the Hindu people knotting a long hair tuft, some other
times he is becoming the English or the Nepalese soldiers and shooting the HinduMuslim people. His tail has reached the other shore of the sea, his face is red like the wicked monkeys.
I saw Allah did not come to save His mosque, Kali did not come to protect the mother
Kali’s temple. The tops of the temples got smashed, the domes of the mosques got
But no response from Allah or Kali. No hailstorm on the heads of the Muslims from
the sky, no shower of stones of Ababil on the heads of the Hindu people.
In this chaos some Hindu boys came and took the clean saved, riot-hit Khairu Mian to
the crematorium for burning uttering ‘Bolo Hori Hori Bol’ (Say Hori, Hori say) and
some Muslim boys took the bullet-shot bearded dead body of Sadananda Babu to the
burial to bury uttering La Ilaha Illalahu.
The temple and the mosque begin to split which seem laughter from each other to us.
Riot is going on. Amid it a lean and thin beggar−woman is asking for alms with her
newly born baby on her breast. The umbilical cordhas not yet been cut. In its helpless
voice it was protesting its birth in this world. The beggar−woman cried ‘Babu, I can’t
afford a little for my child. It has come notlong before. I don’t have a drop in my
breast.’ As if the mother earth cried in her voice. A nearby Babu scorned at her saying,
“What a figure! Not a drop of blood in the body, but she must have a child !”
The beggar−woman looked at the man without any wink. What glance in her eyes!
Her eyes shone like the stars as if she was the representation ofwomen of the whole
world. Thus they have simply stared at the persons who have violated them. It seemed I
could understand the meaning of her look. She wanted to say “The hunger of the belly is
so severe that it is satisfied by selling the body.”
It is nothing unusual that the man who ridiculed her is the unknown father of the
child. If he is not, then certainly any one of his friends or relatives is the begetter of the
The stars of the sky, who are like the eyes ofthese distressed and beggars, are asking
something to the people of the world.
After three days, I saw the same beggar−woman on the street. Now nothing was on
her breast. Her eyes were also dry. The day when she had a child on her person, I saw the
affection of mother−earth in her eyes. The sympathy ofuncountable woman gathered in
her eyes and so she was begging. Today possibly the mother in her mind has died with
her child. Today she was also begging but she did not have that eagerness in her eyes.
She was begging for the sake of begging.
She recognized me. That day I gave her the six poisas that I had for my tram-fare.
The eyes of the beggar−woman were suddenly filled with tears. I asked, “Where is your
boy?” She pointed upwards with her fingers. Afterwards she kept silent for a moment and
told me, “Babu, would you please comewith me ?” I followed her.
There was a Krishnochuratree by the road side. A dustbin nearby. All the garbage of
the town were gathered there. I shrieked. The beggar−woman brought out something
wrapped by clothes from under the dustbin and began to kiss it howling “Oh! my dear, oh
This was her kid ⎯ this was her dear, this was her darling. The beggar then kept
silent for sometime. Afterwards she threw her baby to the dustbin and said, “Babu, that
day I bought a tin of rotten barley expending those poisas. These days I gave the boy this
barley mixed with cold water. I myself took some of it hoping that I will get milk in my
breast. But no milk was producedin this skinny body. For three days my dear child did
not get even a drop of milk. Last of all I could not supply with milk even, and
consequently he has passed away today. It has been well, now my baby will take birth in
a rich family. He will survive on milk there.”
Later on the beggar−woman went away for begging alms.
I went to the graveyard taking the kid in my hands. …
Time is thus carrying one million dead bodiesof Bengali children to the crematorium
or the graveyard.
While going there I saw the Hindus and Muslims quarreling over the heaps of bricks
and stones of the temple and mosque.
I stayed there for long with the dead baby. The dead boy seemed as a prayer for a
remedy, an order for an explanation. The orthodox persons then had no time to turn back
to the dead baby. They had begun an ugly fight over the bricks and stones.
In the same way they have been maddened for the bricks and stones ignoring
humanity. Killing human beings they have saved those bricks and stones. They have not
looked back at the motherly Bangla who was walking past him with her ten lakh of
famine−stricken, diseased and untimely dead children. They have considered the bricks
and stones more sacred than human beings. They adore the bricks. They adore the stones.
Temples and mosques as the possessed personshave possessed them by evil spirits.
They will have to suffer a lot.
The one million people are dying every year only in Bengal ⎯ they are not only
Hindus, neither only Muslims. They are humans ⎯ the favourite creation of God.
These houses of God have been created for human welfare, humans have not been
created for the welfare of those houses. If today due to our orgy these houses become the
causes of loss ⎯ which should have been bridges between earth and heaven ⎯ then
demolish those temples and mosques. Let all the people come under the same sky-head,
at the auspices of the same moon-sun and- star-lit great house.
Man made brick crushing mud with his feetand erected temples and mosques. Will
two hundred people be beheaded for the damageof two bricks of it? He, who says so,
must be judged.
If we are to pay two hundreds heads for two bricks, then how many million heads will
need to pay for the hundreds of thousands of people who are dying every year under the
suppression of the exploiting devils.
The tops of the temples and mosques will again be built up by the foot- crushed mud,
will be purified with the purity of the labourof humans, only those will not come back
who did not get a ray of light, a breath of air, a little milk, two spoons of watery barley.
They are doing penance through their deaths for the cruelty of the nation. Through whose
deaths the whole nation is approaching death.
I astonish, why do those religious houses not fall down when one million of dead
bodies of the disease-and poverty-stricken, clothless, foodless common people pass by
the temples and mosques. Why does that earthquake not destroy the earth? Why does that
destroyer not come who will shatter all those houses that have been the gatherings of
lower class animals and remove the religious marks of the people?
If the drums are beaten before the temples or mosques, it is remedied ⎯big amounts
are paid and thereby the leading community comes as vultures hover over dead cattle.
But the death of one million is never remedied.
There are so many cowards around us who have taken the advantage of provoking the
fanatics and become great people.
Only the youths have overcome all interest and greed through ages in all nations. Oh
dear youths, oh courageous brothers of fire-players, that ten lakh dead bodies are standing
at your doors. They demand remedy.
You are not of the group of those vultures,you are the flames of fire, you have no
particular nationality. You are of the light, of the songs, of welfare. You do come out,
you do drive away those hovering vultures over the dead cattle.
I can hear the call to prayer, from the mosques; I can hear the sound of the conch
from the temples. They are rising high−towards the throne of God. I can see, the whole
sky is becoming happy.
To email Subrata Kumar Das: firstname.lastname@example.org