The nation observes national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam’s 123rd birth anniversary today in a befitting manner.
A poet, revolutionary, journalist, lyricist, composer, playwright and novelist, Nazrul is one of the most celebrated cultural icons of the nation.
And his raga-based songs had developed their taste and inspired them to experience the eternal beauty of love.
The nation took inspirations from his poems and songs during the Liberation War and all democratic movements and struggles.
Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra, the radio station run by the Bangladesh government in exile, was reopened on his birth day in 1971 to pay tribute to him.
On the occasion of the birth anniversary of the national poet, President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages, paying rich tribute to the polymath.
After two years of hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be a few public functions this year to mark the day.
The day’s programmes will begin with wreaths being placed on the grave of the national poet.
DU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman, delegations of different political parties, family members of the poet, different socio-cultural organisations and the mass people will pay respects to him visiting his grave on the occasion.
Bangladesh Television and other private television channels and Bangladesh Betar and FM radio stations will air special programmes and newspapers will publish special contents highlighting the life and works of the national poet.
Born on May 25, 1899 or Jaishthya 11, 1306 at Churulia village in Burdwan district of West Bengal in undivided India, Nazrul had to leave his study at an early age for earning his living as his father died when he was only 11.
Initially, he had joined a professional leto troupe where he got introduced to the richness of Bangla and Sanskrit literature.
A year later, he resumed education and got enrolled in Matharun English School but dropped out from Class-VI due to poverty. This time, he worked with a Kabi Gaan troupe and subsequently took up a job at a bakery.
While working there, Nazrul started writing poems and his talent soon grabbed the attention of a police officer named Kazi Rafizullah, who gave him shelter at his house in Mymensingh’s Trishal in 1914, and enrolled him in Class-VII at Darirampur School.
He joined the British Army in 1917. During his two and a half years of service, the young poet got introduced with Persian literature and learned to play different musical instruments following notation.
Nazrul’s literary practice got a formal shape at that time. His first poem Mukti, first novella Bounduler Atmakahini, novel Badhon Hara and a number of other writings were published in that period.
From 1920, he concentrated in creating his literary masterpieces. Many of his famous poems appeared during that time. Nazrul came to Cumilla in April 1921 and met Promila Devi, a young Hindu girl whom he loved and married subsequently.
In 1922, he began editing a fortnightly named Dhumketu which literally stormed the British rulers in India.
On October 13, 1922, Kazi Nazrul Islam, as the first person in the subcontinent, made the demand of independence in an article published in Dhumketu.
For his political poem Anondomoyir Agomone, he had been sentenced to one-year jail.
While staying in prison, the poet began a hunger strike protesting the mistreatment by the British jail superintendent. He was released consequently but the British government banned most of his books throughout the 1920s.
In his short creative life, Nazrul also worked as a lyricist and music composer for popular music brand HMV (His Master’s Voice). He developed 17 new ragas and created six new taals or rhythms.
He acted in a film and directed music as well. He joined the All India Radio Kolkata in October 1939.
But Nazrul suddenly became sick in 1942 and was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder named Pick’s disease that led to the loss of his voice and memory. He was sent abroad for treatment but could not recover.
In his short artistic career of just over 20 years, he penned 3,174 songs, 600 poems, three novels and 43 essays.
After the independence, Nazrul was declared as the national poet of Bangladesh in 1972 and Bangabandhu brought the ailing poet with due honour to Bangladesh.
Nazrul died in Dhaka on August 29, 1976 or Bhadra 12, 1383.