Dhaka – Bangladesh will celebrate the 118th anniversary of its rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam on Thursday with the government and socio-cultural organization chalking out elaborate programmes.
Born on the 11th Joishtha in Bengali calendar year 1306 in Churulia, near Asansol in the Burdwan district of West Bengal, Nazrul was famous for his fiery poem Bidrohi (The Rebel) and his many melodious songs.
He was a mystic, poet, lyricist, musician, revolutionary and philosopher, and inspiration for the Benglai nation.
There are 2,400 of his songs, and together, they are known as Nazrul-Geeti or Nazrul Sangit. He composed the songs, which he liked to tune himself.
Considering his impressive talent, Rabindranath Tagore dubbed him as the gifted son of the Goddess of learning.
Nazrul was the poet of rebellion against injustice and taboos. His nickname was Dhukhu Miah. True to his name, Nazrul suffered a lot in his life.
His father died in 1910 when 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, Trishal of 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 a poem written by him, “Anandomoir Agomon” (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 ’20s he found most of his work banned.
After the death of his second son, Kazi Bulbul, the poet was sad. 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.
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 ’30s 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 Bangladesh’s independence, Nazrul was declared the national poet and he was brought to Dhaka from Kolkata. He died here in 1976 and was buried beside the grave of the central mosque at Dhaka University.
In his short articulate years, he also wrote and directed a play, Byathar Dan (The gift of pain).
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in separate messages, paid rich tributes to the memory of the poet on the occasion of his birth anniversary.
The government has taken elaborate programmes to observe poet’s birthday.
Cultural affairs ministry will hold the main programme on that day in city’s Osmani Smrity auditorium. President Abdul Hamid will address the programme as the chief guest.
The programme of the day will begin with placing of wreaths by the cultural affairs ministry at poet’s grave on the Dhaka University campus early in the morning.
The Nazrul Institute and the Shilpakala Academy will organize separate discussions and cultural functions marking the day.
The local administrations will also celebrate Nazrul’s birth anniversary at Trishal of Mymensingh, Daulatpur of Comilla and Chittagong.
The birth anniversary of the national poet will also be celebrated at educational institutions and district headquarters across the country.
Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private television channels will air special programmes and print media will bring out special supplements highlighting the birth anniversary of the national poet.