Today marks the 120th birth anniversary of Kazi Nazrul Islam, the poet of love, revolt and equality. This national poet of Bangladesh, popularly known as Bidrohi Kobi, born on this day of 1899 in the village of Churulia, Asansol Sadar, Paschim Bardhaman district of the Bengal Presidency (now in West Bengal, India).
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave different messages on the birth anniversary of Bangladesh`s national poet. The government and different socio-cultural and political organizations have taken elaborate programs to observe the day. Newspapers have published special contents and Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar are broadcasting various programs on this occasion.
Kazi Nazrul Islam has become popular in Bengali literature basically through his poetry and songs. He came out on top of popularity as a rebel poet by writing poems and songs against exploitation and suppression of British rulers. His poems like Bidrohi (The Rebel) and Bhangar Gaan had inspired people to fight against injustice and repression of the colonial rule. He had been imprisoned by the enraged British government. But like he said in his poem, "I am the rebel eternal,I raise my head beyond this world, High, ever erect and alone!", they could not stop his effusion. During his imprisonment, he wrote Rajbondir Jobanbondi (The Deposition of a Political Prisoner). Many saw the advent of Nazrul Islam in Bengali literature as the debut of a comet.
With his versatile talent, the poet played a great role in Bangla literature as a novelist, essayist, poet, writer, musician. His songs include a significant part of his literary work. Nazrul Islam composed nearly 3 thousand songs. He created a new section in Bengali music through his Islamic Ghazal.
This great gift of Bengali literature has had a very hard childhood. After losing his father at the age of only 9, he had to go through hardship throughout his childhood. Nazrul`s childhood name `Dukhu Mia’ resembles his struggle. Nazrul joined the first World War abandoning his study in 1917. Diverse events of his life enriched his experience. Nazrul was ahead of his time. The principle of secularism that emerged in his poetry, has given him a more dignified position in Bengali literature.In an editorial of Joog Bani, he said, "Come brother Hindu! Come Musalman! Come Buddhist! Come, Christian! Let us transcend all barriers, let us forsake forever all smallness, all lies, all selfishness and let us call brothers as brothers. We shall quarrel no more."
Nazrul fell ill suddenly in 1942. He was diagnosed with Pick`s disease because of which the poet lost his psychic balance and his power of speech. A newly independent Bangladesh brought Nazrul to live in Dhaka with the consent of the Government of India on May 24, 1972 and gave him the status of `National poet`. In January 1976, he was accorded with the citizenship of Bangladesh.
This rebel poet left his last breath on 29 August 1976. In accordance with a wish he had expressed in his poem `Azan`, Nazrul was buried beside a mosque on the campus of the University of Dhaka. Tens of thousands of people attended his funeral.
On the birth anniversary of our National Poet, we remember him with reverence.
Bangla Insider/ SM