An epoch-making period, with ominous clouds
Of mistrust, conflict and war, that loomed
Large over the world, with the boom
Of guns, that shattered the peace and the shrouds
Of hope and freedom, and by 1914
War became imminent, between the Allies
And Central Powers, with no compromise
Or mercy, a world, torn apart and in strife.
Britain was part of the Allied forces
And India, a British colony, was thrust
To participate, with the nation's resources
In the battle, with Indians trained in trust
In modern warfare, and a Bengali platoon
Formed, where many brave, idealistic youths
Enlisted their names, with courage and boon
Of strength, to fight for their country and roots.
A lean Bengali youth, of average height
Also applied, with his scrawny frame
And daring attempt, that sparked delight
Among the British military recruiters' game
Of laughter, but Ramanath Biswas was not
Deterred, with immense faith in his inner strength
And willing to take up any challenge, fought
With courage and pride, to prove his length.
Hailing from Sylhet, the then Bangladesh
He lost his father early in life and had to quit
Studies, when he was in the eighth standard, thus brand
With hardship and struggle, he took up odd jobs
To support his family, with the Swadeshi
Movement gaining ground, following the Partition
Of Bengal, and he secretly joined the Anushilan Samiti.
His association with the revolutionary group
Became public, and he was expelled from his job,
With the First World War breaking out, he loop
With a gypsy soul yearned for adventure, joined
The Bengali Paltan and went to the war in Mesopotamia,
But fell ill, and was discharged and sent home
In 1924, he took up a job with the British Navy
And moved to British Malaya, and mastered
Bicycling in his teens, with his bicycle
His constant companion, as he explored uncharted
Territories, and finally decided to explore
The world on his bicycle, with his first world tour
In 1931, from Queen Street in Singapore.
With a pair of slippers, two wrappers, a bicycle
And a box containing tools for repair, he
Cycled through many South and East Asian countries
Including Malaya, Siam, Indo-China, China,
Korea and Japan, and after his return,
Undertook two more trips, in 1934 and 1938,
Travelling through Afghanistan, Persia, Iraq, Syria,
Lebanon, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary,
Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Netherlands,
Belgium, France, reaching England and Scotland,
The long arduous journey took toll on his health
In 1936, he returned from London, in a ship
Via Port Said, and reached Mumbai, after regaining
His health and fitness, he travelled to Santiniketan
To meet Rabindranath Tagore, in 1938, he embarked
On his third world tour, this time he travelled to Africa,
From Bombay, he travelled to Mombasa in a ship,
Started on his bicycle, and hurtled through Kenya,
Uganda, Nyasaland, Rhodesia, and reached South Africa.
Once, while he was travelling through South Africa,
He witnessed the racial segregation practiced by the Whites,
With a large presence of Indian community.
And yet, his legacy lived on,
A spirit that refused to be gone,
For he left behind a tale so true,
Of adventure and bravery anew.
The boy from Sylhet, Ramnath Biswas,
Cycled through lands both near and far,
With nothing but his bicycle and heart,
Exploring the world, from the very start.
With every mile he travelled and passed,
He learned of the world, and its many contrasts,
He saw the beauty of nature, pure and vast,
And the horrors of man, that caused such aghast.
In Africa, he saw segregation so vile,
Where the natives were treated like cattle on file,
He stood up for what was right and fair,
And helped two poor men, without a care.
His travels inspired him to write,
His tales and stories, so full of light,
And in the end, he left us with a gift,
A glimpse of the world, and how to live.
For Ramnath Biswas was more than a man,
He was a spirit that refused to be tanned,
By the troubles and conflicts of the world,
He lived a life that was free and bold.
And so, as the years pass us by,
We remember Ramnath Biswas with a sigh,
For he was a man of courage and might,
Who explored the world, and saw the light.
And yet, the world was not ready for his words,
For his thoughts and travels, which he so deserved,
To be shared and read by millions, if only they could,
And to bring hope and light to a world in need.
But fate had other plans, and so it was,
That his works remained hidden, locked away,
For so many years, until a time would come,
When his words would finally be heard, and sung.
And so it was, that in the year of nineteen-fifty-five,
Ramanath Biswas, took his final bow,
Leaving behind a legacy, of adventure, and life,
And the travels of a man, who followed his own vow.
But his spirit, like the winds, will never die,
For it lives on, in every word he wrote,
And in every journey, that he took, so brave and free,
Through the heart of a world, that he called home.
For in his travels, he saw things that most cannot,
The beauty of nature, the splendor of man,
The pain and suffering, the sorrow and loss,
And the hope that still shines, in the darkness of the world.
And though he may be gone, his message remains,
A reminder of what it is to be human,
To strive for greatness, to explore and to see,
To live life to the fullest, and never stop dreaming.
For Ramanath Biswas, was a man of his time,
A man of great courage, a man of great might,
Who took on the world, and saw things beyond,
And left us a legacy, of adventure and life.
So let us honor his memory, and follow in his steps,
With a heart full of courage, and a spirit so bold,
And let us embrace the world, with all its mystery,
And never stop exploring, until we grow old.
And as he travelled, he saw the world with new eyes,
With a soul that was free, and a heart full of prize.
He saw the beauty in every single place,
From the majestic mountains to the beaches of grace.
He travelled through different lands and different climes,
From the scorching deserts to the chilly sublimed.
He encountered different people, from different creeds,
And in each and every soul, he saw a noble breed.
But something that troubled his heart and his mind,
Was the segregation and racism he saw so confined.
In South Africa, where he had gone to roam,
He saw a system that oppressed and destroyed, like a demon’s home.
The Indian community was there, he had found,
But even they looked down on the natives who were bound.
By a system so cruel, it shattered his heart,
And he knew he had to play his own small part.
So, he took two poor natives with him to explore,
The vast bounty of nature, beyond the usual shore.
And as he was coming back, he felt a few crisp bills,
In his pocket, that gave him immense thrills.
He took them out, and in a gesture of love,
He donated it to the two men who accompanied him, like a dove.
Both were shocked, and wondered if he had lost his wits,
But Ramanath knew, this was one of the few acts of love that he had ever done.
And thus he travelled, from land to land,
With a heart that was full, and a soul so grand.
His adventures became tales that he wrote,
And his books that he published, continued to float.
In Kolkata, he finally settled down,
And he wrote of his travels, with a smile and a frown.
He wrote of the world, with all its grandeur and strife,
And his books became a source of knowledge and life.
Ramanath Biswas, a name that will remain,
For all of the world, and the love that he claimed.
For he showed the world, what it is to be free,
And his spirit continues to inspire, eternally.
And so, Ramnath Biswas left a lasting legacy
Of a man with a restless spirit, who journeyed endlessly
From the scorching deserts of Africa to the frozen tundras of the north
He roamed far and wide, in search of knowledge and worth
He saw the world in its rawest form
And he was touched by the beauty that was so warm
From the rugged mountain ranges to the rolling seas
He captured it all in his words, with ease
And through his writing, he shared his visions with the world
He opened up eyes, that before were blinded, and hearts that were curled
He spoke of the kindness of strangers, and the wealth of humanity
And of the wonders of nature, that left him in awe, so serenely
Ramnath Biswas was more than just a man on a bicycle
He was a symbol of hope, a soul that was truly nimble
He crossed paths with war and conflict, but he refused to be defeated
And in the end, his spirit remained undefeated
He left us with a legacy of courage, of hope, and of love
A reminder of the beauty that lies within, if we just look above
His story is one that inspires, and his words a guide
For all those who wish to see the world, and be filled with pride
So, let us pay homage to this brave, idealistic youth
Who rode through life, with strength and truth
Who faced challenges and obstacles, but never lost his way
And lived a life that was truly, a testament to his own bravery.
The poem you have read is an excerpt from one of the main chapters of the book "Homo Sapiens Part XV" under the popular "Homo Sapiens" book series written by Mawphniang Napoleon. To fully experience the poem and the rest of the book, we recommend purchasing a copy from a variety of online bookstores, including Amazon. Don't miss out on the opportunity to read the complete version and explore other books by the same author.
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About this poem
The poem tells the story of Ramanath Biswas, a Bengali youth who defied societal expectations and joined the British Army during World War I. After being discharged due to illness, Biswas embarked on a series of world cycling tours, exploring South and East Asia, Africa, and Europe. Despite facing racial segregation and witnessing the horrors of war and conflict, Biswas remained a courageous and hopeful spirit, sharing his tales and stories through his writing. His legacy of adventure and bravery lives on, inspiring generations to live boldly and see the world through new eyes. more »
Written on January 21, 2023
Submitted by Mawphniang.Napoleon on February 14, 2023
Modified on March 05, 2023
- 9:27 min read
- 10 Views
|Scheme||Text too long|
|Closest metre||Iambic hexameter|
|Stanza Lengths||8, 8, 8, 7, 13, 19, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 2|
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"The Restless Spirit: Remembering Ramnath Biswas and His Enduring Legacy" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 27 Sep. 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/151625/the-restless-spirit:-remembering-ramnath-biswas-and-his-enduring-legacy>.