Sunday, September 24, 2017 | ePaper

Nazrul, Bangabandhu

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As the Editor of Nabajug and Dhumketu, he made the life of the British as of Hell in India. Nazrul’s works, Proloy Shikha, Chondrobindu were proscribed by the British. In fact, Nazrul became a danger to the British Empire. Nazrul’s poem Anondomoyir Agomoney was a poem that was directed towards the destruction of the British Empire using the name of Hindu goddess, Durga as the Mother Goddess and he invoked her to rise up on the occasion against the British oppressive rule and to save her people.  These poems of Kazi Nazul Islam speak of the downtrodden and the oppressed throughout the world. He represented the common and ordinary people of the world. His poems include themes which are universal in nature and ever living. He is always modern with all its complexities and none can ignore him and his poems and these have all the greatness, comparable to all the classic poems. It might be because of his involvement with the Communistic ideals, he was not considered for Nobel Prize. There are English poets of modern times like Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes who were awarded Nobel Prize. Their poems are of much lower grade in so far as in ideas and also in imagery to Nazrul’s works.   Nazrul always worked for the suffering humanity and stood firm against the enemies to humanity.           
Nazrul was out and out a nationalist. He strongly protested when a group of Indian leaders including Gandhi was to accept the Dominion status of India instead of full independence, He made satirical remarks about those who   decided to accept such kind of plan with the British.
As Nazrul was born in a religious Muslim family, he was all through non- communal in his approach. He took up the profession of a writer not for the sake of Muslims only, but also for all irrespective of caste and creed. Principal Ebrahim Khan, when he wrote a letter to Nazrul to uphold Muslim views in his writings and to become a poet of the Muslim community, he humbly disagreed. He told him that literature represents life and not particularly any religion. The writer must not confine himself/herself in the sentiments of one community. Nazrul's writings, however, covered both the Muslim and the Hindu and other communities. So much so that the Hindus proclaimed Nazrul as one of the best producers of Shyama Sangeet. For his non-communal approach he married a Hindu lady. And this irritated and angered a section of Hindu community. And the Editor of Monthly Probasi   stopped publication of his writings. The monthly Sanibarer Chiti (Saturday Letter) made him the principal target of its parodies. Nazrul remained a target of attack. But his writings were so powerful and all embracing that he was recognized as a world class poet. Some Muslims too did not accept him as a poet of Muslim community. The Muhammadi journal of Akram Khan was bent on crushing him as a poet. A section of communal Muslims declared him a non-believer in the Muslim faith. But his writings on Islam and Muslim creed endeared him to all and sundry. Nazrul, however, continued to be a non-conformist and secular.
Nazrul was always against communalism He strongly protested against the growing danger of communalism. Nazrul considered Bangla as a home where Hindus, Muslims and other communities had lived together for generations uninterrupted and without any communal disturbance. During the Turkish Sultans and the Mughals, people lived in peace and harmony. It is during the British, the relationship between Hindus and Muslims became strained following double dealing of the British. The British ruled India for one hundred ninety years on the basis of dual administration together with Divide and Rule policy. There were mass killings by the British in many places of India and the biggest massacre was done at   Jalianwalabag.  Muslims were taken as outsiders by a section of scholars, writers and elites.  There was a demand for United Bengal but some corrupt politicians made a distinction between Hindus and Muslims. Riots broke out in Kolkata. Thousands of people were killed for religion. Nazrul hated and condemned it. He criticised both Hindu and Muslim leaders. He called for unity and peaceful co-existence. Nazrul was against all fanaticism and violence committed in the name of religion. In one of  the Muslim Literary Association meetings held in Dhaka he gave his presidential speech this way : “This you know - whether at home or outside, publicly or privately, I have no desire whatsoever to preside over any one or any place. Only the One Who is the true Ruler of all activities, religions, races, nations and the whole world has the right to preside or lead. Human beings can have this right --- I admit this. But unless it was sanctioned by Him, it's arrogance. I consider this arrogance a messenger of ugliness. This arrogance is not divine, it is demonic. I don’t worship ugliness; my God is supremely beautiful. To me, He is eternally the Beauty of endearment, the Beauty of love, the Beauty of flavor, the Beauty of joy ….. I cannot tolerate my separation from Him even for a moment. … ‘Kazi Nazrul Islam in the same meeting  further said that if he was blessed with awakened nourishment of the Supreme Power, he would sing once again’  songs of love, songs of equality - of the kind this world never had  heard for a long time. Nazrul; said… ‘If the same Divine source which has permitted me to experience the eternal Beauty of the Formless within my body, wills to accept my entire excistence and returns to it the Anandamoyee’s Power of Love, if a flood of tears wells up in the eyes of that Power, if once again nectar rejuvenates Power, if its feet dance to Krishna’s rhythm, then I will turn this malicious, ugly, communal, discriminating, demon-ruled world into a beautiful world. What this thirsty world has been deprived of for ages --- love, nectar, joy --- it will get these back again. Equality, unity and peace will return again.’  (Tr Sajed Kamal, Kazi Nazrul Islam: Selected Works, pp.220- -222, Nazrul Institute, Dhaka) 1999).
The great Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam will live as a humanist, a fighter against social oppression, a hero of Hindu Muslim brotherhood, a poet and musician of highest order.
We salute to his memory and thank Late Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his daughter, the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina for their love and respect for the poet who inspired Bangladesh as the land of Hindu Muslim amity. n
(The writer was formerly a Visiting Scholar, Divinity School, Harvard University and presently Pro-Vice Chancellor, Northern Universirty, Bangladesh)

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