'Nazrul stirred the Bengali soul'

"Poet of equality and harmony, Nazrul, wanted to eliminate all class discrimination from the very core of his heart. He felt love could win over all. It was not only through his writings, but with his life that he took all risks in his efforts for unity. He applied his beliefs to his personal life too, to his marriage, to his sons. As the youngest daughter-in-law of his family, I could feel this tangible truth."

These words were spoken by Kalyani Kazi, the daughter-in-law of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. She was speaking at the opening of the online festival held on the occasion of Kazi Nazrul Islam's 122nd birthday. The event, "Ami Nazrul (I am Nazrul) International Nazrul Fest", was organised by the organisation for liberation war affairs, Mukta Ashor. The theme of the event was 'Nazrul in Equality'

Kalyani Kazi

Speaking as chief guest at the event, national professor Rafiqul Islam said, "When he was just 22 or 23 years old, this young man wrote the poem 'Bidrohi' ('Rebel'). The poem created stir in Bangla literature and that effect remains as strong today. That is not just one of the major poems of Nazrul, but one of the major poems in Bangla literature. After the Bolshevik revolution following World War I, TS Eliot wrote 'The Wasteland', a poem that changed the character of English literature. Nazrul's 'Bidrohi' was written before that and it also changed the prevailing trend in Bangla poetry. Many had wanted to break away from the influence of Rabindranath's poetry, but failed to do so. Nazrul succeeded."

Rafiqul Islam

Former vice chancellor of Assam University, Topodhir Bhattacharya, said, "Nazrul was a man who stirred the Bengali soul. He wrote of equality. We read his works again and again, and learn more and more. Have I managed to really grasp Nazrul, or do I remain blind? One must read Nazrul exhaustively to fully understand him and his works."

Writer Selina Hossain said, "Kazi Nazrul Islam aroused humanity and consciousness within mankind. He inspired patriotism. He reached the masses. He respected people as human beings, he did not view things through religion. He saw the right to live from the positive angle of religion. He brought equality before us."

Selina Hossain

The poet's granddaughter Khilkhil Kazi said, "The entire world is in distress. We need Nazrul badly now. He faced so many struggles in life. He went to jail. He spoke of humanity. No one spoke of equality as he did."

Khilkhil Kazi

Researcher and write Sumita Chakrabarty said, "Nazrul Islam is an intellect of international height. His poem 'Bidrohi' had two aspects -- one, the weapon against oppression and two, the cry of the oppressed. That is what equality is all about. When he wrote poems about Kamal Pasha, Amanullah, Jaglul Pasha, he was a global freedom fighter. The flame of freeing world humanity burned within him. He had an international level of intellect in the understanding of religious scripture."

Editor of Puber Kolom, Ahmed Hasan, said, "I thank Bangladesh for fulfilling the poet's last wishes. He went to Bangladesh towards the end of his life and was duly honoured there. We in West Bengal will never forget that."

Editor and publisher of 'Udar Akash', Faruk Ahmed, said, it was Kazi Nazrul Islam who first raised the issue of self-rule in the publication 'Dhumketu'. He sowed these seeds in the hearts of people in undivided India. He gave people the strength to stand up against the British rulers. He thus spoke of equality."

Founder and president of Mukta Ashor, Abu Sayed, said, "'Equality in Nazrul' is the theme of the 'I am Nazrul' festival. Nazrul's ideology on equality is now essential in today's world. I feel that the youth should be imbibed with this spirit. It should be spread around the world."

The two-day festival was joined by 32 Nazrul researchers, academics and artistes from five countries. The event was supported by the National Committee of the Bangladesh History Olympiad, Boicharita, Udar Akash (India), Kazi Nazrul Islam Foundation (North America) and Dialogue Inn (India).