Kazi Nazrul Islam’s 124th birth anniversary being marked

National Poet Kazi Nazrul IslamBSS

The 124th birth anniversary of National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam is being celebrated across the country in a befitting manner on Thursday.

Ministry of Cultural Affairs has taken elaborate programmes to mark the day at the national level. Different organisations and cultural bodies, including Dhaka University, have also taken programmes to celebrate the day amid various functions.

President Mohammed Shahbuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages paying rich tributes to the memory of National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.

This year’s theme of the day is ‘Agnibinar Shatabarsha: Bangabandhur Chetonai Shanito Rup’.

The birth anniversary of the national poet is being celebrated in the poet’s memorable place Trishal in Mymensingh, Doulatpur in Cumilla, Tewta in Manikganj and Karpasdanga in Chuadanga and Chattogram.

The main programme of the birth anniversary is being held at Darirampur of Trishal in Mymensingh. The three-day programmes will jointly be organised by the cultural ministry and the local district administration. Deputy leader of the Jatiya Sangsad Begum Matia Chowdhury will inaugurate the programme.

Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private television channels will live telecast the inaugural ceremony and air special programmes and print media have published special supplements highlighting the birth anniversary of the national poet.

Bangla Academy paid respect to the national poet by placing wreaths at his grave near Dhaka University mosque and Nazrul’s portrait at Nazrul Mancha on the academy premises at 8:00 am.

Dhaka University has taken programmes to mark the birth anniversary of the national poet. As part of the programmes, teachers-students and officials-employees of the university attended in an assembly at the Aparajeo Bangla at 6.15 am and place wreaths at the grave of Kazi Nazrul Islam near the university mosque lead by vice-chancellor professor M Akhtaruzzaman. A discussion would also hold there with the vice chancellor in the chair.

Kazi Nazrul Islam was born on the 11th Joishtha in Bengali calendar year 1306 in Churulia, near Asansol in the Burdwan district of West Bengal.

He was famous for his fiery poem Bidrohi (The Rebel) and his many melodious songs. He was a poet, lyricist, musician, revolutionary and philosopher.

The nation got inspirations from Nazrul’s poems and songs during the great Liberation War and all democratic movements and struggles.

Kazi Nazrul Islam
File photo

There are 2,400 Nazrul songs, and together, they are known as Nazrul-Geeti or Nazrul Sangeet. He composed the songs, which he liked to tune himself.

Considering his impressive talent, Rabindranath Tagore dubbed him as Saraswati’s bor-putra (the gifted son of the Goddess of learning).

Kazi Nazrul Islam was the poet of rebellion against social injustice and taboos. His nickname was Dhukhu Miah. True to his name, Nazrul suffered a lot in his life.

His father died in 1910 while he was still at school and he became the breadwinner of the family working for a bakery company, Wahid’s, the most well known in north Bengal at that time.

Later, he resumed studies at Darirampur of Trishal in Mymensingh. But he left his studies to join the British Indian Army as a non-commissioned officer and was posted to Karachi. He left the army and settled in Kolkata, where he started publishing a fortnightly, Dhumketu (The Comet).

The magazine had a fiery tone and was critical of the British rule in India. He soon found himself in prison for publishing one of his poems, ‘Anandomoir Agomone’ (Advent of Goddess Durga-the Goddess of destruction of all evil).

In prison, he did not stop writing. He wrote, “Rajbandir Jabanbandi” (Deposition of a political prisoner).

After a prolonged hunger strike, Nazrul was released from the prison. But throughout the 1920s, he found most of his work banned. After the death of his second son - Kazi Bulbul - the poet grew sombre. He wrote, “My nightingale sleeps forever.”

Although known for his rabid criticism of imperialism, social and religious taboos, Nazrul also explored the themes of love, romance and devotion.

President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

He also introduced a robust style that was very bold and innovative. His use of Persian and Arabic words in Bengali poetry also opened up new literary horizons. In the 1930s, the leading gramophone company of India, HMV, as a lyricist, employed him full-time.

Later, All-India Broadcasting Authority employed him. But his luck once again ran out and in 1942, he developed a rare neurological disorder that led to the loss of his voice and memory. Doctors in Vienna diagnosed it as Pick’s disease.

After the independence of Bangladesh, Nazrul was declared the national poet and he was brought to Dhaka from Kolkata by Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and given a house at Dhanmondi. He breathed his last there in 1976 and was buried beside the central mosque of Dhaka University.

President and PM pay tribute to Nazrul

President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday paid rich tributes to the memories of National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam on his 124th birth anniversary.

In separate messages, they prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul of the poet.

In his message, President Mohammed Shahabuddin said: “On the occasion of the 124th birth anniversary of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, I remember this short-lived poet with utmost respect.”

The head of the state said the poet’s fiery writings speak out for the rights of the exploited and deprived people and teach them to protest against injustice.

The songs and poems of the poet had greatly inspired the freedom-loving people during the War of Liberation, Shahabuddin said.

From his writings, people have been inspired in every democratic movement including anti-British movement, language movement, mass upsurge of 1969 and the Liberation War, he added.

The president hoped that the new generation will be able to enrich themselves by following the lifestyle of Nazrul and devote themselves to build a happy-prosperous Bangladesh with patriotism, honesty and devotion.

“I pray for the eternal peace of the departed soul of this poet,” he continued.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said Poet Nazrul has enriched the literature, music and culture of the country through his writings.

She said Nazrul was the first Bengali poet who demanded complete independence of India from British rule.

In his literary works, the message of struggle against subjugation, communalism and imperialism has been uttered, the prime minister said, adding that possessing an extraordinary and versatile talent, Nazrul was a symbol of secularism and nationalism.

The greatest Bangalee of all time, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was devoted to poet Nazrul, she said.

In the post-independence period, the poet was brought from Kolkata to Bangladesh with the honour of National Poet as per the desire of Bangabandhu, she added.

“Poet Nazrul dreamt of establishing a non-communal, discrimination-free, exploitation-free and peaceful society and we find that reflection in the struggle and actions of the father of the nation,” the prime minister said.

She believed Nazrul’s work will play a role in building a non-communal, non-discrimination, peaceful, happy-prosperous and modern Bangladesh by removing all evil obstacles from the people’s mind.

She thought poet Nazrul’s struggling life and his immortal works will be a source of endless inspiration for the Bangalee nation.

The president and the prime minister wished an overall success of all the programmes taken on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the national poet.