Biography
Shakti Chattopadhay(November 25, 1934 - March 23, 1995) was among the greatest of Bengali poets. Shakti started writing in 1950s, but is usually associated with the generation of poets in 1960's. Regarded with great acclaim in Bengali Literature, Shakti is equally well known for his legendary bohemian lifestyle. Most of Shakti's life was spent in Kolkata, India. During Allen Ginsberg’s stay in India, the American poet is said to have developed a close friendship with Chattopadhay, and both are said to have influenced each other in various ways. Shakti Chattopadhyay’s first collection of poems, named (Hay Prem, Hay Noihshôbdo (O Love, O silence) came out in 1962. These poems were written at Chaibasa, Singbhum district in Bihar (now in Jharkhand) where he was guest of Samir Roychoudhury for a few years and fell in love with Samir's sister-in-law, which changed Shakti from a novelist to the best lyrical poet after Rabindranath Tagore. In the next thirty-two years, he wrote around two thousand five hundred poems which were published through forty-five books. Along with Sunil Gangopadhyay, Shakti remains the most famous poet of his generation. He was the leader of the Hungryalists, also known as the Hungry Generation poets. Shakti also became a close friend of Sunil Gangopadhyay and both worked tirelessly for Bengali legenadry poetry Magazine Krittibas. With Sunil, he was instrumental in the influential Krittibash magazine. These two poets are often referred together as "Sunil-Shakti" due to their friendship, poems and personal exploits. Shakti Chattopadhyay also enriched Bengali poetry through his collection of translated poems fromvarious languages. He was the co-editor of 1st Negro Poetry Collections in Bengali. In 1983, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for his collection of entitled (Jete Pari Kintu Kęno Jabo (I can go but why?).

That is not a very happy time

- by Shakti Chattopadhyay (Translated from the Bengali by Subrata Bhaumik)

The body wobbles from head to toe; you see walls inside walls,
cornice inside cornice, and change of sidewalks at midnight.
Time to go home; house inside house, leg inside leg,
chest inside chest,
and nothing else – (a lot more things actually?).

Hands up!  Keep your hands up until you are
picked up by someone – the authorities. Right then you see
black car inside black car, and yet a black hearse inside,
lined windows, door, burial ground, and hear hisses of skeletons’ breath.
White ants feed on skeletons - life inside decay
and death inside life. Therefore, death is hidden in death.
And nothing else!

Hands up!  Keep your hands up, until someone picks you up,
and throws you out of the car, but inside a different car,
where someone is in eternal wait – like a young banyan tree
clenching a little peel off  a decrepit building,
some fateful stranger lurks behind
the leafs like a hardened bud
with spider’s inviting noose in hand,
ready to adorn you with a wedding garland,
and you are married at midnight
when the sidewalks change,
the body wobbles from head to toe and you
see wall inside the wall, and cornice inside the cornice.

Imagine that the station moves while still stands the train,
twinkling stars glow in the dark while dooms lights wane .
Suppose that the shoes are walking while the feet rest still,
the Heaven, the Hell, and everything start to mill.
Imagine that children carry coffins to the crematory in bliss
and the old enjoys nuptial dance across life’s abyss.

Those are not very happy times, not moments of glee.
And right then, the body wobbles from head to toe,
there is wall inside wall in your perceptive sight,
cornice inside cornice, and sidewalks change at  midnight.
Time to go home: house inside house,
leg inside leg,  the world is in a scatter,
chest inside chest, and nothing else is the matter.