September on Jessore Road

September on Jessore Road is a poem by Allen Ginsberg on refugees from Bangladesh Liberation war in 1971. During Bangladesh's Liberation War in 1971, the US government was an ally of Pakistan and even sent its 7th fleet to intimidate India from interfering with the events in then East Pakistan.[1][2]


The Jessore Road (about 108 kilometres (67 mi) long) was an important road connecting Bangladesh with West Bengal, India. The road was used by refugees during the Bangladesh Liberation war and the Bangladesh genocide to move to safety in India.[3]


Ginsberg wrote the poem after visiting a refugee camp in West Bengal. He recited the poem at St. George's Episcopal Church in a poetry recitation program. Bob Dylan would later sing this song at the historic Concert for Bangladesh.[3][4] Moushumi Bhowmik did a rendition of the poem in Bengali.[5]


The September on Jessore Road Full Line

Millions of babies watching the skies
Bellies swollen, with big round eyes
On Jessore Road -long bamboo huts
No place to shit but sand channel ruts

Millions of fathers in rain
Millions of mothers in pain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of sisters nowhere to go

One Million aunts are dying for bread
One Million uncles lamenting the dead
Grandfather millions homeless and sad
Grandmother millions silently mad

Millions of daughters walk in the mud
Millions of children wash in the flood
A Million girls vomit & groan
Millions of families hopeless alone[6]

Millions of souls nineteen seventy one
Homeless on Jessore Road under grey sun
A million are dead, the million who can
Walk toward Calcutta from East Pakistan

Taxi September along Jessore Road
Oxcart skeletons drag charcoal load
Past watery field s through rain flood ruts
Dung cakes on tree trunks, plastic roof huts

Mother squats weeping and points to her sons
Standing thin legged like elderly nuns
Small bodied hands to their mouths in prayer
Five months small food since they settled there

On one floor mat with small empty pot
Father lifts up his hands at their lot
Tears come to their mother's eye
Pain makes mother ‘Maiya' cry'

On Jessore Road mother wept at my knees
Bengali tongue cried Mister please
Identity card torn up on the floor
Husband still waits at the camp office door

September Jessore Road rickshaw
50,000 souls in one camp I saw
Rows of bamboo huts in the flood
Open drains, and wet families waiting for food

Border trucks flooded, food can't get past
American Angel machine please come fast!
Where is Ambassador Bunker today?
Are his Helios machines gunning children at play?

Where are the helicopters of US Aid?
Smuggling dope in Bangkok's green shade
Where is America's Air Force of Light?
Bombing North Laos all day all night

Where are the President's Armies of Gold
Billionaire Navies merciful Bold?
Bringing us medicine food and relief?
Napalming North Vietnam and causing more grief?

Where are our tears? Who weeps for the pain?
Where can these families go in the rain?
Jessore Road's children close their big eyes
Where will we sleep when our father dies?

Ring O ye tongues of the world for their woe
Ring out ye voices for Love we don't know
Ring out ye bells of electrical pain Ring in the conscious of American brain.

The poem could not be presented in full but it contained main issues of the topic. Allen Ginsberg made it an epoch making poem giving details of his on the spot observation. It speaks of the whole of the people who fought for their mother tongue and also for freedom to lead a life of a heroic nation. Allen Ginsberg was bold enough voicing protest and hatred against his own government and the US President for waging war against Vietnam and also for supporting Pakistan for crushing freedom loving people of Bangladesh. But both US and Pakistan finally met the poetic justice as the both faced defeat at the hands of freedom loving people of Vietnam and Bangladesh.


  1. "On Jessore Road". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  2. "September on Jessore Road". The Arithmetic of Compassion. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  3. "Jessore Road brings back memories of '71". The Daily Star. BSS. 2 September 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  4. "September on Jessore Road". The Daily Star. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  5. "Jessore Road: A ride through hell". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  6. "Jessore Road, West Bengal, India". Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  7. "Poet Allen Ginsberg and September on Jessore Road". The New Nation. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
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