Glossary to "Open Poem"

Proper Nouns

Third month of the Bengali year (mid-June through mid-July), beginning of monsoon season
First month of the Bengali year (mid-April through mid-May)
Last month of the Bengali calendar (mid-March through mid-April), generally hot and dry.
Champaknagar, Poradaha, Shivaganj
Cities in Barisal division, south-central Bangladesh.
River in Barisal division, also called "Arial Khan"
The river Ganga, or Ganges, as it flows through Bangladesh; also a woman's name (literally, "lotus").
Ancient sage-philosopher, fifth incarnation of Vishnu, who in the Bhaghava Gita says, "among cows, I am the celestial cow"; in context, the cow of plenty.
Chand Saodagar
Merchant of Champaknagar who offends the snake goddess, Manasa; in revenge, she sends a snake to kill his son, Lakhindar, on his wedding night. Lakhindar's bride, Behula, sets out with his corpse on a raft for the god's dwelling place to plead for her husband's life.
Mahua, a snakecharmer, and Nodya (Nader Chand), a zamindar's son
Star-crossed lovers in a Bengali folktale.
Habuchandra and Gobuchandra
Rajah and his minister in Rabindranath Tagore's children's poem "Juta Abishkar" (Invention of Shoes): "If you don't wear shoes, you have to cover the whole world to protect your feet."
Tagore sangeet
Songs composed by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Thakur (Tagore), drawing on traditions of Indian devotional music and Bengali folk music; forbidden during Pakistani rule, when the government attempted to impose Urdu as the state language and enforce Islamist reforms on the Bengalis of East Pakistan.
Bagha Jatin
Jatindra Nath Mukherjee (1879-1915), anti-British revolutionary; he is said to have once killed a tiger (bagh) without any weapons.
Munir Choudhury (or Munier Chowdury) and Shahidullah Kaiser
Writers who were jailed for protests during the Language Movement, which sought recognition of Bengali as a state language of Pakistan. (On the twenty-first of February 1952, protestors on the campus of Dhaka University were killed by police bullets.) Munir Choudhury and Shahidullah Kaiser were among the Bengali intellectuals taken from their homes and killed at the end of Bangladesh's war for independence in 1971.

Regular Nouns

Pomelo (large grapefruit), a late monsoon fruit.
chapati, ruti
Flat bread.
Thick spicy soup or stew of lentils, split peas, chickpeas, or other dried legumes; with rice a staple of the Bengali diet.
Steps leading to a riverbank or boat landing; used for washing clothes, bathing, cremation.
Fragrant night-blooming flower; also a woman's name.
Police chief, sheriff.
Long bamboo stick, often used as a police baton.
Knee-length cloth worn wrapped around the waist.
Monetary unit of Bangladesh; same as Indian rupee in West Bengal.