The birth anniversary of Bangladesh’s national poet was celebrated recently.
After Rabindranath Tagore, another Bengal poet Kazi Nazrul Islam was remembered in the first ever joint celebrations by India and Bangladesh. The festivity marked the 113th birth anniversary of Bangladesh’s national poet. The two-day programme in Dhaka in May also marked the 90th anniversary of the publication of Nazrul’s epic poem “Bidrohi” (The Rebel). Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the festivity, while Salman Khurshid, Union Law Minister of India, attended the inaugural function as the guest of honour.
The day’s programme included presentation of Nazrul songs and staging of his play “Shilpi”. An exhibition of Nazrul’s books, audio albums, photographs and belongings were on display. A houseful of audience enjoyed the performances of leading Indian and local artistes including their presentation of Nazrul’s famous ghazal “Eki sure tumi gaan shonaley”.
Kazi Nazrul Islam is not a Muslim poet as many would try to dub him. He was truly a renaissance man, with his revolutionary zeal against social discriminations. He was perhaps the most secular and humanist of all Bengali poets, who believed in no line of separation among mankind on the points of religion, cast, colour and creed. He stopped writing due to an incurable disease in 1942.
The poet, respected both in Bangladesh and India, had written numerous courageous poems. His rebellion against the colonial British rule was most courageously depicted in one of his famous essays “Raj Bandir Joban Bondi”. Nazrul was active in the anti-British movement and penned innumerable songs and poems against the repressive British empire. He was born on May 24, 1899, in Churulia village in West Bengal. His poems and songs encourage and provide strength to be defiant against all sorts of injustice, deprivation and exploitation even today.
After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Nazrul was brought to Dhaka from Kolkata and awarded citizenship. He was declared the national poet of Bangladesh by the post-Independence government of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He died on August 29, 1976, at the age of 77.