The 24th May is a remarkable day in the history of India-Bangladesh relationship, as on this very day 50 years ago Rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam came to newly born Bangladesh from Kolkata.
This happened after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman requested then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to send the poet to Bangladesh and Indira Gandhi gave her consent after consulting Poet’s family.
Bangabandhu first shared his desire to bring Kazi Nazrul Islam to Bangladesh with A L Dias. Bangabandhu wanted to bring Kazi Nazrul Islam in Dhaka before his 73rd birthday though it was not an easy task.
Kazi Nazrul researcher and writer Badhon Sengupta has described the conversation between Bangabandhu and Dias with BBC Bangla in this way, “Sheikh Mujib said to A L Dias, see, I’ve a request to you. Kazi Nazrul Islam lives in this city (Kolkata). Like yours he is also our poet. Both of our language and culture are same. Earlier, Kazi Nazrul Islam visited many times in Dhaka. We want to celebrate the poet’s 73rd birthday elaborately in Dhaka.”
After listening to Bangabandhu’s argument, A L Dias said, “It is an excellent proposal. We can celebrate the poet’s birthday by rotation, one year in Dhaka and another year in Kolkata. But, only Delhi can give final decision on the matter. You can talk to Mrs Indira Gandhi directly in this regard.”
Later, Bangabandhu talked to Indira Gandhi about the matter. He also met family members of Kazi Nazrul Islam. Bangabandhu informed the poet’s two sons--Kazi Sabyasachi and Kazi Aniruddha that the poet will be accorded a grand reception in Bangladesh.
Then, two countries started diplomatic procedures in this regard. Between February to May, then Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdus Samad Azad and his Indian counterpart Swaran Singh exchange letters many times about the matter.
According to Kazi Nazrul’s granddaughter Anindita Kazi, Indian government accepted Bangabandu’s request on a condition that Kazi Nazrul Islam will stay in Bangladesh for only a week.
“Then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi allowed Bangladesh government to take my grandfather to Bangladesh for a week. The question may arise in the mind many that Kazi Nazrul Islam was brought to Bangladesh for a week. But why he stayed in Bangladesh permanently? Actually, after few days, when Bangabandhu asked my uncle Kazi Sabyasachi, what should be done about Kazi Nazrul Islam? Then, my uncle said that the poet is quite well in Dhaka and he is also responding well to treatment there. So, let him stay in Dhaka and finally it was decided that Kazi Nazrul Islam will stay in Dhaka,” Anindita Kazi said in an interview with BBC Bangla.