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Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar

’Rebel poet’ Kazi Nazrul (Page 4)

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Nazrul Jayanti
Nazrul in the world of cinema

ASADUL HAQUE

 

In the field of art and culture, Kazi Nazrul Islam is widely known as the Rebel poet of Bengali literature. He is not only a poet but also a novelist, dramatist, essayist, juvenile littrateur, songwriter, lyricist, music director, actor, film director, editor of weekly and daily newspapers, translator and a linguist. I believe in due course and with further research, other aspects of his qualities will be unveiled.
   Nazrul was undoubtedly a genius. A glimpse of his qualities can be seen when we find him joining the film industry at the beginning of a new era of Indian films in 1930. Before 1931, the film industry belonged to the silent era.
   From the year 1931 to 1942 Nazrul worked in different capacities within the cinema industry. During the span of eleven years, he displayed his talents as a story writer, film director, music director, actor, singer, lyricist, etc.
   During my stay in Calcutta from 1952 to 1963, I had started collecting information on Nazrul's film career. One day, as I was passing through College Street to see one of my friends in Shambazar area, I found some old books being sold on the road-side in front of the Chitra Cinema Hall. Among them, I found two small booklets on the films, 'Sapurey' and 'Dikshul'. This inspired me to collect more of these booklets that were sold in the cinema halls the day the films were released. Nazrul was associated with all these films in different ways.
   Ashoke Kumar Mittra in his book, Nazrul Prativa Parichiti stated that he had seen a documentary film in which Nazrul was reciting his poem 'Nan'. It is also known that Nazrul directed 'Dhupchhaya' and composed the music for the film in addition to playing the role of 'Bishnu' in the film.
   Most recently, in 2004, one night I found Durdarshan was telecasting a Bengali film named 'Kapal Kundola'. At the end of the film, there was a song, written and composed by the poet Nazrul. I have also seen the Hindi version of 'Kapal Kundola'. Moti Begum sang 'Kon kule aaj bhirlo tori ey kon shonar gaye', which was written and composed by Nazrul.
   Recently I found a Megaphone gramophone record which was first marketed in 1936. One side of the record has the song, taken from 'Amar durer bandhu', sung by Ahi Sannyal. This song had been taken from the film 'Griha Daho', written by Sharat Chandra Chatterjee and the film was directed by Pramathesh Barua.
   The information I gathered about Nazrul's connection with films, follows chronologically:
   1. 'Kapal Kundola' (at least one song was written and composed by Nazrul). Kon kule aaj bhirlo tori ey kon sonar gaye
   2. 'Dhruba' was produced by Pioneer Films. Nazrul jointly directed the film as well as composed the music for the film and wrote seventeen songs for it. He also played the role of Narod in the film and rendered three solos and one duet with Master Probodh. The film was released on January 1 in 1934 at Crown Talkie Hall, Calcutta.
   3. 'Patalpuri' was produced by Kali Films and was directed by Shoilojananda Mukharjee. Nazrul was the music director of the film. Nazrul also wrote seven out of the eight songs. One of the songs, 'Bon kato durey' was written by Shoilojananda, the music of which was composed by Nazrul.
   4. 'Griha Daho' was first released on October 10, 1936 in Chitra Cinema Hall in Calcutta. The song, Amar durer bondhu was written and composed by Nazrul.
   5. 'Graher Pher' was produced by Dev Dutta Films and was directed by Charu Roy. Nazrul was the music director of the film. Music for six of the songs were composed by Nazrul and written by Ajoy Bhattacharjee. This film was released on 4th December 1937 at Rupabani Cinema I-Tall, Calcutta.
   6. 'Bidyapati' (Bengali) was produced by New Theatres. The story was written by Nazrul for His Master's Voice gramophone records. The film was directed by Deboki Bose. Nazrul wrote one song and tuned one song. Nazrul composed the music for 'Ei bhara bhadorey maho bhador shunya mandiro mor'. This film was released on 2nd April 1938 at Chitra Cinema Hall, Calcutta.
   7.'Bidyapati' (Hindi) was based on Nazrul's play. Until now it is not known whether Nazrul had written or composed the songs. The film was released in December 1938 in Karachi and Bombay.
   8. Nazrul was the music director of the film, 'Gora', was based on the famous novel of Rabindranath Tagore. The song, 'Usha elo chupi chupi' was written and composed by Nazrul. The film was released on July 30, 1938 at Chitra Cinema Hall, Calcutta.
   9. 'Sapurey' was produced by New Theatres and directed by Devoki Bose. The story was written by Nazrul. He also wrote and tuned seven songs. The first lines of the songs are as follows:
   Halud gandar phul ranga palash phul
   Akashey helan diye
   Katha kaibena bou
   Kalar mandas banaiya deogo
   Pichhal pathey kuriey pelam
   Dekhi bo tor bath dekhi
   Futfutey oi chand hasherey
   The film was released on 22nd May 1939 at Purnima Cinema, Calcutta
   10. 'Sapera', the Hindi version of Nazrul's Bengali film 'Sapurey', was produced by New Theatre. Until now, it has not been possible to find out how many songs were present in this film and whether Nazrul wrote or tuned any of them. It was released in 1939 in Bombay and Karachi.
   11. 'Rajato Jayanti' was produced by New Theatres and directed by Pramathesh Barua. It was first released on 12th August 1939 in Chitra Cinema Hall. Two songs of Nazrul were in the film, sung by Malina Devi.
   12. 'Nandini' was produced by K.B. pictures and directed by Shoilojananda Mukherjee. Nazrul wrote and tuned only one song, 'Chokh gab chokh gab', rendered by the famous singer Kumar Sachind Dev Burman. This film was released on November 8, 1941 at Rupabani Cinema Hall, Calcutta.
   13. 'Chowranghee' (Hindi) was produced and directed by S Fazli. It was released on July 4, 1942. Nazrul was the music director of the film and wrote six songs. The first lines of the songs are as follows:
   (1) Chowranghee chowranghee
   (2) Saradin chhad piti
   (3) Aja re nidia
   (4)Ohkabkeayevi
   (5) Jo unpe gujarti hai
   (6) Kaisey khelonajahe
   Although the booklet of 'Chowranghee' (Hindi) shows that the composer of the song 'Chowranghee Chowranghee' is Pratab Lucknowvi but the label of the gramophone record testifies that the composer was Nazrul.
   14. 'Chowranghee' (Bengali) was produced by S Fazli and directed by Nabendu Sundar. Nazrul was the music director. It was released on September 12, 1 942. The first lines of the songs are written by Nazrul.
   15. 'Dikshul' was produced by New Theatres and was directed by Premankur Atorthi. Nazrul wrote two songs tuned by Pankaj Kumar Mulick, the music director of the film. It was released on June 12, 1943.
   16. 'Shor Theke Dure' was released in 1943, at 'Rupabani' Cinema hall, Calcutta. In the title of the film Nazrul's name was shown as on of the lyricists. The song, 'Ke bedashi bon udashi, bansher bansi bajao bona' was twice sung in the film.
   7. 'Avinoy Noy' was produced by Kali Films and was directed by Shoilojananda Mukherjee. Nazrul wrote only one song. The film was released on 2nd March 1945 at Rupabani Cinema Hall, Calcutta.
   In 1960 an Urdu monthly magazine 'Nadeem' was first launched from Dhaka. In this magazine, Dr Wafa Rashedi wrote an article on Nazrul. He described a scene in the film in which Nazrul featured. He specially mentioned Nazrul's accent and pronunciation of Farsi, Arabic and Urdu impeccable. Nazrul was selected for playing the role of Meer the poet.
   The writer is a researcher on Nazrul and has published several books on the poet

Khaled Hossain remembers the Poet
When we talk about poet Nazrul Islam's music and songs in Bangladesh, Khaled Hossain's name is one of the foremost that comes to our mind. He has been involved with the radio and television of Bangladesh as a Nazrul Sangeet artiste and then as a director for about five decades. He has been relentlessly working with institutions like the Nazrul Academy, Nazrul Institute, Hindol and other government organisations, as an instructor of Nazrul Geeti in its original version, with accurate musical notations. His records of Nazrul Geeti has been recorded by HMV in India and Dhaka Record in Dhaka. At present he is the Head of the Department of Nazrul Sangeet and Vice-Principal in the Government Musical College. NS Nisha talks to the veteran artiste during the celebration of Nazrul Jayanti

 

Tell us something about Nazrul

 

as a writer and a musician.
   At a very young age Nazrul used to write and compose songs for a group called Leto. He took training in music from Ustad Kader Baksh, Ustad Monju Shaheb, Ustad Zamiruddin Khan and Mastan Gama in India. However he started composing songs much earlier. His compositions were spontaneous. It is said that often he sat with various artistes with a harmonium composing different songs simultaneously. He was the composer for HMV. He recorded songs with Columbia, HMV, Twin and Senola. Nazrul had a very powerful, husky but melodious voice.
   He wrote 37 types of songs. Though widely known as a rebellious poet, Nazrul was versatile. He even composed about twenty raags with beautiful names like Dolonchapa, Nirjhorini. His secularism and his wish to unite people are evident from his Hamd and Nath as well as Kirtan and Shyamasangeet. He had the same honour for all religions in his heart.
   Nazrul has written a large number of humorous songs, but many young learners of Nazrul Sangeet are oblivious of this.
   Why are Nazrul's light, humorous songs hardly practiced?
   Generally the audiences who come to the musical soirees of Nazrul Geeti are in a grave mood; they prefer something serious, classic. The artistes not trying to disappoint the listeners choose the most popular numbers and the melodious ones that establish their powerful grasp over the notes and gayki of the songs. The culture of the Nazrul Geeti programmes that has developed over the years is that everyone is prepared for something romantic or the kind.
   Nazrul's amusing songs are satirical, often providing an insight into the society of his era, sometimes making fun of individuals who are excessively class-conscious. You need a different mood for this. In a quintessential Nazrul Geeti programme the rendering of a comic song will seem very sudden and abrupt and its impact futile. When I had presented humorous songs in a couple of occasions on TV, I realised that they were suitable for only specific and carefully planned events, because of their atypical composition.
   And for that very reason, I these songs are becoming archaic. Many young learners are not even aware of this particular genre. Teachers at the music institutes are not very keen to teach these songs to the students and sometimes even if they do the students don't seem very enthusiastic. So the shortcoming is from both sides. It is the responsibility of the teacher to make the students take interest and learn different types of compositions.
   Singing the satirical songs is very tough. You need a real performer to articulate the context of the song vividly and depict the characters by stressing at words where necessary as well as bringing the correct facial expressions. The artiste has to be a good entertainer to capture the essence of the songs. The bottom-line is the songs have to be more widely performed to prevent them from falling into oblivion.
   
   Did Nazrul compose all the songs he had written?
   Almost all. Nazrul's close companions included Komol Das Gupto, Subol Das Gupto, Durga Sen, Monoronjon Sen Gupto, and Anil Bagchi. For instance, when Nazrul finished writing a song, one of his associates would express the desire to compose that song. Since Nazrul was a generous person, he didn't mind and readily agreed. So a number of his songs had been composed by his friends. But those are considered as Nazrul's composition since they had been recorded after the poet had modified or revised the tunes. After Nazrul was incapacitated by his neurological illness in 1942, individuals with very little knowledge about his work made alterations and recorded his songs. The musical notations of these songs can definitely not be regarded as original. We consider only those compositions as Nazrul's which the poet had revised before he had seriously fallen ill.
   
   Is it true that Nazrul's original work had been distorted? How were his songs assembled and compiled?
   Yes Nazrul's musical creations had suffered blasphemous deviations. The compiling process has been very complex. Nazrul had written between 4000-and 4500 songs in his short writing career of twenty-twenty two years. Nazrul's
   nonchalance had turned out to be the greatest enemy of his creation. Often artistes came and requested him to write and compose a couple of new songs that they wished to perform in programmes. He gave songs to them very casually. This led to the lack of copyright over several of his songs. When his comrades informed that some group of people were presenting the songs in public claiming them as their own creation, instead of getting annoyed Nazrul used to burst into laughter and say, 'If a bucket of water is taken from a sea, does the sea become empty?'
   It is clear that Nazrul was a real bohemian. And after he lost his speech and memory at the age of 42 it became more difficult to regulate his work.
   Tagore had made it much easier for coming generations as he compiled 2200 songs in the Gitabitan and their sworolipi (musical notation) in Shorobitan. Nazrul had unfortunately done nothing of the kind. About 888 to 1000 of his songs had been published in his book of verses but more than 3000 were not preserved in any form of printing. He recorded almost all of his songs by artistes such as Indubala, Angurbala, Komolajoria but at that time the name of the lyricist and music composer were not written on the records. After the era of these artistes the records went out of market. Even if many records were recovered from private collections, name of the writer and composer were missing. Later a man in Calcutta named Abdul Aziz published a book from his Haraf Prakashani containing 2300 songs of Nazrul that he had been able to collect. Publishing these songs was not useful until the correct musical notations were discovered. Calcutta hadn't taken effective steps to preserve the songs. Many swarolipis had been printed but most of them had been distorted. Ninety per cent of the songs that are now being recorded are not original compositions and the artistes have made alterations according to their desire. This phenomenon does not commonly prevail in Bangladesh because there is seldom any recording of Nazrul's songs here.
   Distortion of or deviation from the work of these classic writers and composers are not at all acceptable. Everyone doesn't necessarily have to love Tagore, Nazrul or Dijendra Lal but they have the right to know who they are. Whether the altered compositions are good or bad, that is not the question. Their work portray the distinct characteristics of these great composers. We have no right to exploit them by adding our own touch to adapt them for the modern society.
   
   Isn't there any committee that ensures that the original musical notations are strictly maintained whenever Nazrul's songs are recorded? Has Bangladesh taken any steps to preserve Nazrul's songs in their deserved state?
   Nazrul Academy took an initiative in 1968-69 to authenticate Nazrul Sangeet notations. The government established Nazrul Institute for the purpose of preserving his songs. More than 1000 old gramophone records containing half of Nazrul's complete work had been extracted from various places. There is a board for swaralipi restoration process of which I am a member. But you see people are not accustomed to the idea of swaralipis. Some dedicated students will use them but not the common mass. They will go to the shops to purchase records. How will they know which cassettes or CDs contain the original versions? What Nazrul Institute could have done is rapidly produce records by learned artistes of Nazrul Geeti. But here another obstacle is most recording companies do not want to sponsor recording of Nazrul's songs; they opt for popular modern songs. On the other hand Calcutta is injecting a large quantity of Nazrul Sangeet cassettes that arrive in Bangladesh. Two to four cassettes released each year by our country can't compete with about 50 Nazrul Sangeet cassettes released from India. What I think can be done is to collect master copies from old recording companies, dynamically produce a large number of records with the original version, involving few instruments to cut down the cost. The government should allocate some funds for recording endeavours. Besides like the Biswa Bharati committee that guards and protects Tagore's work, a board should be set up to preserve Nazrul's songs too.
   
   Did you have any encounter with the poet directly?
   During my childhood in Calcutta the poet used to live in my vicinity but at that time I was unaware of his fame as I was very small. I met the poet in person frequently when he was brought in Dhaka. But unfortunately he was already suffering from his long ailment. Many aspiring artistes sang to the poet his songs sitting by his side. I was one of them. The poet couldn't speak. But his eyes had some kind of expression. He was very good-looking.
   
   How keen are the young learners of Nazrul Geeti?
   It is a wrong impression when people say the current generation is not eager. They are talented and they are interested. They have to be guided properly by the teachers to practice original notations. A strong background in classical music is recommended. They have to be inspired to bear the torches successfully. Creations of such great poets will never seem antiquated to people even after centuries

 

 





Edited by Qwest - 28 March 2006 at 7:06am

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A choice of Kazi Nazrul Islam's verse

The Ecstasy of Creation (Excerpt)


Today— in the ecstasy of creation
my face smiles, my eyes smile,
my bubbling blood smiles!
Today— in the ecstasy of creation!


Today, in the shallow waters of my imprisoned self, mighty tides rise
in the joy of breaking down the doors!
In the ecstasy of creation
come forth smiles and tears,
freedom and bondage,
words from deep within my heart,
the joy of bitter pain.
The pain of my empty heart comes
today— in the ecstasy of creation!

Translated by Sajed Kamal


Helmsman Beware (Excerpt)

Travellers beware!
The night is dark, the way is long,
The deserts vast, the mountains high,
And the seas' fury must be met
When you set sail for distant lands.

Helmsman beware!
Let swelling waters, raging storms
Not swerve you from your journey's end.
Your sails are rent, your rigging strains.
But guide you must the ship to port.

Translated by Syed Sajjad Hussain


Shat-el-Arab

For ever glorious, for ever holy,
Your sacred beaches, Shat-el-Arab,
Are bathed in gore, the blood of fighters
Of many races, and diverse colours.

Strewn on these sands lie the bones of Arab,
Egyptian and Turk and Greek and Bedouin,
Also of women, bold and daring,
Who sobbed as they battled, reckless of danger.

The surging waters of the roaring Tigris
Bring you the blood they shed at Amara;
And the Euphrates thunders daily
Warnings to those whose hearts are evil.

You the nurse of the brave and the fearless
Who'd rather die than bow to a master.
These beaches ring with the voice of Ali
From a distant past, now dim and shrouded.

The crimson flame-like roses of Basra
Are radiant emblems of war and glory;
They flourish on soil where heads have tumbled
Like fruit from the date—palm in arid deserts.

We meet by chance, but here are my greetings— Homage sincere from a fellow bondsman—
To the sacred beaches of Shat-el-Arab,
For ever glorious, for ever holy.

Translated by Syed Sajjad Husain


My Love

Come darling and be my love!
I shall adorn thy hair with flowers of stars,
And thy ears with rings of the
young spring moon.
And around thy neck shall I put a garland
White as a row of swans,
And thy cloud-coloured dishevelled hair
I shall gather and bind
In dazzling ribbons of silvery lightning.
I shall mix sandalwood with moonlight
And with it wash thy body.
I shall snatch the red from the rainbow
And with it paint thy feet.
With the seven tunes of my song
I shall build thy wedding-bower.
And around thee will sing the nightingale of my
poesy.

Translated by Kabir Chowdhury


In the Assembly of Flowers

Why art thou silent O poet, in the assembly of
flowers?
Why is thy face sad and tear-streaked in the
morning breeze?

Let the lyre lying awake at thy feet
With tunes full to the brim in her bosom
Scatter forth joy at thy tender touch.
Let the air and the sky fill with the
fragrance of its music.

Thy beloved bade thee farewell in the night
in wounded pride
And in the gray morning her passion
cries out like a rose!

Forget her who will not return
And look at the one who waits at thy doors.
The sun has risen in glorious love
To make thee forget thy longing for the
setting moon.

Translated by Kabir Chowdhury







Edited by Qwest - 28 March 2006 at 8:20am
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A Chronology of Rebel Poet Nazrul's Life


In 24th May, 1899 (11th Jaishtha, 1306) in the village called Churulia (Thana: Jamuria; Subdivision: Ashansole; District: Bordhoman) of the West Bengal, the poet Kazi Nazrul Islam was born. He was given the nickname "Dukhu Mia" [hapless chap].

His father was Kazi Faqir Ahmad and mother Zaheda Khatun. The poet lost his father in 1908. He began his early education in the local Maktab (religious school).

In 1910 he graduated from the primary school. Even at this early age he served as the attendant of the local Majar Sharif and also as the Imam of the local masjid.

In 1911 for a short period he attended the Mathrun High School in Bardhoman. The headmaster of that school was poet Kumudronjon Mullick. During this time to sustain himself, poet Nazrul worked as a cook in Raniganj and also at a bakery in Ashansole.

In early 1914 he became acquainted with a police inspector from Mymensingh, Mr. Kazi Rafizullah. Impressed by young Nazrul's talent, Mr. Rafizullah took him from the bakery job and gave him a shelter in his own village, Shimla. For almost a year he studied tuition-free in seventh grade at Dorirampur High School.

In January 1915 he transfered to Raniganj Shiyalsol Raj School in eighth grade. Once again, on the basis of his merit, he earned remission of his tuition and boarding fees.

In 1917, while in the tenth grade, he listed with the 49th Bangali Platoon. After completing his training in Naushera, he was permanently posted in Karachi and was promoted to "Battalion Quarter Master Havildar".

In March 1920 the Bangali Platoon was dissolved. After returning in next January, first he stayed with his childhood friend Shoilojanondo in Calcutta, and then took residence with comrade Muzaffar Ahmed at the office of "Bongio Mussalam Shahitto Shomiti" [Bengal Muslim Literary Society].

In May 1920 with the financial sponsorship of Sher-e-Bangla A. K. Fazlul Huq, a evening daily "Nobojug" (New Age) started publishing under joint editorship of Nazrul and Muzaffar Ahmad. He severed his relationship with that publication toward the end of the year.

In 1920 several of his poems - "Shat-il-Arab", "Kheyaparer Toroni", "Muharram", "Fatiha-e-Dowaz Dahom", "Qorbani" (sacrifice) etc. - were published in "Moslem Bharat" (Muslim India). In no time he earned the recognition as the best poet of Muslim Bangla.

In 1921 he became formally engaged with Sayyida Khatun (alia Nargis Ashar Khanom) of Daulatpur, Comilla. However, this matrimonial relationship was not consummated and came to a premature and quick end.

In November/December of 1921, at the presence of Nazrul and others and under the leadership of Muzaffar Ahmad, it was decided to form the Communist Part of India at 3/4 C Taltola Lane.

In the autumn of 1921 he wrote his most famous "Bidrohi" (Rebel) poem.

After the publication of "Bidrohi" and "Kamal Pasha" in Moslem Bharat in 1922 (Kartik 1328), his fame exploded instantly. In January 1922 (22th Poush, 1328) "Bidrohi" was reprinted in Weekly Bijlee. During the same year (Kartik 1329) his first prose work "Jugbani" was published and under the accusation of sedition the work was banned.

The same year (3rd Kartik, 1329) the first poetry collection of Nazrul, "Agnibina" and story "Bayther Dan" were published.

On 12th August, 1922 (Srabon 1329), under his editorship a new periodical, Dhumketu (Comet), started. The following month (22nd September) an arrest warrant was issued against him for writing "Anondomoyir Agomone" and another essay in Dhumketu. He was arrested in Comilla.

On 8th January, 1923 he was sentenced to one year hard labor in prison at the court of Judge Swinhoe. Nazrul started a 39-days hunger strike in protest against abuse of political prisoners, which created nationwide agitation in his support. Nobel Laureate Poet Rabindranath Thakur and Chittaranjon Das sent telegrams appealing to him to break his fast. He was released from jail in December of the same year. After being free, he was given a hearty reception in Medinipur.

The same year (Ashshin 1330) his works "Dolon Chapa" and "Rajbondir Jobanbondi" (Confessions of the Political Prisoner) were published.

On April 24, 1924 he tied his knots with Ashalota Shengupta (Promila) of Calcutta.

In 1924 his work "Bisher Bashi" (Flute of Poison) was published and the government confiscated it. Then, "Bhangar Gan" (The Song of Breaking) and "Chayanot" were published.

[note: One piece of information omitted from this chronology is that later that year Nazrul's first son Krishna Mohammad (Azad Kamal) was born, who unfortunately died the same year.]

In 1925 he became a member of the Bengal Provincial Congress Committee. [It might be worthwhile to remember that with all these events in his life so far, at this time he was merely twenty-six.]

Toward the end of the same year he participated in the formation of the "Mojur Shoraj Party" (Labor Independence Party), an organ of "Bharotiyo Jatiyo Mohashomiti" {Greater Indian National Association).

On 16th June, 1925, at the death of Chittoranjon Das, he wrote and published "Chittonama". In December 25 under Nazrul's directorship, the newspaper of Shoraj Party, Langol, started. The same year his book of poetry collection "Puber Hawa" [Eastern Wind] and the story "Rikter Bedon" [The agony of the Destitute] were published.

On 12th August of 1926, Langol changed its name to "Gonobani" [People's voice]. His book of poetry "Shorbohara" [Destitute], and prose-work "Durdiner Jatri" [voyager of hard times].

From 1926-28 the poet resided in Krishna Nagar.

In 1926 another son of the poet, Bulbul, was born. That year he published "Jhinge phul".

In 1926 Nazrul unsuccessfully contested for the Central Parliament. While residing in Krishna Nagor, his novel "Mrittu Khudha" was published. At the provincial conference in Krishna Nagar, he sang his famous song "Kandari Hushiyar".

In 1927 Nazrul inaugurated the first convention of Muslim Shahitto Shomaj [Muslim Literary Society] in Dhaka. During that same year his books of poetry "Foni Monosha" and "Shindhu-Hindol" and the novel "Badhonhara" were published.

In 1928 "Jinjir" (chain), poetry collection "Shonchita" and Lyric collection "Bulbul" (1st vol.) were published.

On 15th December 1929, Nazrul was given a reception on behalf of the nation at the Albert Hall in Calcutta. Acharya Profullo Chondro Roy presided at that meeting. The chairman of the reception committee was S. Wajed Ali and the main speaker was Shubhash Chandro Bose.

In early 1929 he was honored by the Bulbul Society of Chittagong. During the same year he presided at the meeting on the occasion of founding the Chittagong Muslim Education Society. Also, his "Chokrobak", "Shondhay", "Chokher Chatok", and "Chondro Bindu" were published.

In 1930 his book "Proloyshikha" were banned and confiscated under the accusation of sedition. He was sent to prison for six months. He was released as a part of a pact between Gandhi and Irwin. The same year his infant son, Bulbul, passed away. While at the bedside of his sick child, he translated some works of Hafiz. His other two younger sons' were Kazi Shabyashachi Islam and Kazi Anirudhdha Islam. The younger one died in 1974 and the older one in 1978 - not long after the poet himself passed away. These two sons have made their own unique and remarkable contribution in recitation and musical instruments, respectively.

In 1931 his lyric-collection "Shur Saki", story "Sheuli Mala", novel "Kuhelika" and musical drama "Aleya" were published. The same year he joined the film and theater industry. He directed a film, "Dhupchaya" and also acted in it.

During November 5-6, 1932 he presided at the Bongiyo Muslim Torun Shommelon [Bengal Muslim Youth Conference] at the theater hall in Sirajganj. His works "Zulfiqar" and "Bonogiti" were published.

In 1933 "Kabyo Ampara" (poetical translation of the 30th segment of the Qur'an) and "Gul-Baghicha" lyric collection were published.

In 1934 his works "Giti-Shotodol" and "Ganer Mala" were published.

In 1936 he presided over the Muslim Students Convention in Faridpur District.

In 1938 he wrote two film scripts: "Biddapoti" and "Shapure" (director: Debokikumar Bose).

He gave the presiding speech at the inaugural meeting of Jono Shahitto Shangshad. That year his poetry work "Nirjhor" was published, but did not get lot of publicity. He also published two opera script: "Shat Bhai Chompa" and "Putuler Biye"

On 10th December, 1939 he presided over the memorial meeting at the death of Ustad Jamiruddin Khan. It is noteworthy that he was a master of Nazrul's Thungri genre. The same year the wife of the poet was affected by tuberculosis.

In 1940 he presided over the Eid Conference of the Bengal Muslim Literary Society. The same year he spoke at the opening of the Shiraji Public Library and Free Reading Room" in Calcutta. On 23rd December, he spoke at the Muslim Institute of Calcutta. Also, during 5-6 April, 1940 he gave the presiding speech at the silver jubilee of Bengal Muslim Literary Society held at the Muslim Institute of Calcutta.

In 1941 he accepted the editorship of republished Daily Nobojug. On 16th March, he presided at the 4th literary conference of Bonogaon.

On 25th May, 1941 his 43rd birthday was celebrated, presided by Jotindromohon Bagchi.

On 10th July, 1942 Nazrul became seriously ill.

In 1945 Calcutta University honored him with "Jagottarini" gold medal. His "Notun Chad" [Crescent] was published.

In 1952 a committee, Committee for Nazrul's Medical Treatment, was formed.

On 10th May, 1953 the same committee sent him and his wife to London for better treatment. However, after unsuccessful treatment in London as well as in Vienna they returned to home on 15th December.

In 1955 his poetry collection "Shonchoyon" was published.

In 1957 his incomplete poetry-biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s) "Moru Bhashkor" was published from Calcutta.

In 1958 "Shesh Saogat" was published.

In 1959 "Rubaiyyat-e-Omar Khayyam" was published.

In 1960 the Indian government honored him with the title of "PadmoBhushon". The same year "Jhor" (storm) was published.

On 30th June, 1962 his wife Promila Nazrul passed away and she was buried at Nazrul's birthplace Churulia.

On 24th May, 1972 at the special invitation of the government of Bangladesh the poet and his family were brought to Dhaka. Honored as the state guests, they were kept at a special residence at Dhanmondi Road 28. Special arrangements were made for his treatments.

In 1974 Dhaka University honored the poet for his unparalleled literary contribution by conferring on him honorary doctorate degree.

In 1975 he was transferred to P. G. Hospital in Dhaka.

In January 1976 he was formally honored by the government of Bangladesh by offering him the citizenship of the country. Later on 21st February, he was offered "Ekushe" gold medal.

On May 24, 1976 he was honored by Bangladesh Army with the Army Crest.

on 29th August, 1976 (10:10 am; 2nd Ramadan; 12th Bhadra, 1383) he breathed his last at P. G. Hospital. The same day his funeral took place where along with the President, lakhs of grief-stricken people of all background joined and with national honor he was buried at the courtyard of Dhaka University Mosque.


Edited by Qwest - 28 March 2006 at 8:24am
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Kazi Nazrul Islam

Seeing myself I see the unseen creator

Kazi Nazrul Islam: Known as "The Bidrohi Kobi," "The rebel Poet" for his astonishing masterpiece "The Bidrohi." A furious manifesto of self-conscious against immorality. Sajid Kamal describes the poem as, "A universal proclamation, an affirmation, an inspiration, an invocation, of 'The Rebel' within the hearts of each 'I' of the common humanity which lay oppressed, subjugated, exploited, resigned and powerless." It is said that Nazrul would have been Nazrul even if he hadn't written anything else but "The Bidrohi.

The following is a part of the poem "The Bidrohi."

I clasp the hood of the snake-king
and the fiery wing of the angel Gabriel.
I am the child-divine-restless and defiant.
With my teeth I tear apart the skirt of mother Earth.

Sajed Kamal (translation)

The national poet of Bangladesh, Kazi Nazrul Islam was born in Churulia, Burdhaman district, West Bengal in 1899 (1306 Bengali year.) He didn't grow up with the luxury of enjoying his boyhood, rather lost his father in his early life. For financial hardship, he worked as a teacher in a lower "Islamic school," at the age of 9. His education went up to 10th grade but continued learning Arabic and Persian languages. As a boy, he translated Persian ghazals and Arabic writings in Bengali. He also educated himself enough to enjoy the writings of Keats, Shelly and Whitman.

The British rule of India influenced Nazrul to take an active part through his writings in the Swadishi and Khilafat movement. He was imprisoned by the British government for one year of hard labor for his writing "Andamoyeer Agamaney," which appeared in Dhumketu.

Rabindranath Tagore called him "Dhumketu," "The Comet," Mahatma Ghadhi described his poem as, "The song of the spinning wheel" and "Nazrul is the ultimate spirit of the spinning wheel and freedom runs through his vein."

Nazrul wrote 50 books of poetry and songs, 6 books of stories and novels, 3 books of translations, 53 plays, verse-plays and operas, 2 movie scripts, 5 books of essays and 4000 songs and ghazals. (Source: Nazrul Institute, Bangladesh.)

Nazrul holds the world record of recorded songs, most of which, the music were composed by Nazrul himself. (Source: Nazrul Institute.) 

The Rebel Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, not only refused to compromise with the unjust, but carried on so much of agony throughout his entire life. His first son Krishna Muhammad died in less than a year of his birth; his second son Bulbul also died in his childhood. Broken-hearted Nazrul wrote his first Bengali gazal...

He also wrote:

His wife Pramila became paralyzed from her waist down in 1938. Nazrul found himself more hopeless and depressed. Starting in 1942, he felt loss of speeches and finally became mentally dysfunctional and lost his speech completely in a short time.

The rebel poet Nazrul, in his poem "Bidrohi," once said....

I will stamp my footprints on the chest of God

He also wrote....

Bury me by a mosque, so that I can hear "The Ajan" in every dawn

As his final wish, in 29th of August in1976, The national poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam was laid to eternal rest by the mosque of Dhaka University.

SHAMS



Edited by Qwest - 28 March 2006 at 8:28am
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'37'

NAZRUL ISLAM : THE REBEL BENGALI POET<>*</>

Ashish Sanyal<>**</>

    Kazi Nazrul Islam, better known as the rebel Bengali poet, is considered as the second poet of the Rabindra period, at least in its later phase. He is eminent both as a writer and musician- a rare combination not to be found in any celebrity of his age other than, of course, Rabindranath himself. He was by nature and conviction a people's poet and believed all through his literary career that "art is for the people".     Nazrul had his primary education at a Madrasa. He learnt Persian and Arabic from Maulavi Kazi Fazle Ahmed. He passed his lower primary examination at the age of ten. But he could not complete his primary education although he got an opportunity to continue his study at a high school at Mathrun where Kumudranjan Mullick, a noted poet, was its head master. In 1917 he left his studies and enlisted himself in the regiment called "Double Company". He was immediately despatched to Naushera (North-West Frontier) and then to Karachi along with his regiment. At the end of the First World War, the Bengali Regiment was demolished in 1920. Earlier he had visited Calcutta and Churulia, his village home. After the Regiment was disbanded, he came back to Calcutta and was lodged with Muzaffar Ahmed on the first floor of a house at 32, College Street where the offices of the Moslem Bharat and Musalman Sahitya Samiti were situated. Nazrul's first novel titled Bandhan-Hara (Free from Bonds) had started appearing from the first issue of the Moslem Bharat. His poems also had started appearing into different literary journals.     The year 1919 was an eventful one in the history of India's freedom movement. The full report of the Rowlatt Committee was published on January 19, 1919 and the bills were introduced in the Supreme Legislative Council by William Vincent on February 6 of the same year. The bills were designed to restrict the liberties of the people of India. An intense agitation against this legislation rocked the entire country. The anti-Rowlatt Act agitation brought Gandhiji to the fore of the National Freedom Movement with a new technique. The Jallianwalabagh massacre shocked the entire nation. Rabindranath Tagore renounced the Knighthood as a protest. In 1922 there was a violent outrage at Chauri Chaura, a village in Uttar Pradesh. Salt Satyagraha and Civil Disobedience Movement were to start in 1930.     Nazrul Islam had thrown himself into the struggle which left a permanent mark on his work. He wrote one of the immortal songs reflecting the militant mood of that period in Bangalar Katha, a Bengali weekly run by Deshabandhu Chittaranjan Das. A relevant part from that poem is quoted: "Break this iron-gate of the prison,/ Pull down into pieces,/ The blood-bathed pulpit of stone/ Raised for worship of the goddess of the fetters." (Tr. Gopal Haldar)     This poem is considered by many as the first great song reflecting the ideals of our national freedom movement. His book of poems titled Agnibina (The Flute of Fire), published in 1922, created a sensation and immediately he was accepted as a rebel poet. The most famous poem of the book Bidrohi (The Rebel) inspired the entire Bengali society. In that poem he says: I am cyclone/ I am Typhoon/ I will destroy everything which will come to my way/ I will do whatever I will/ I will not obey any law or rules/ I am the deluge/ I am the fire consuming the universe/ I am the man born of Isreal/ I am Bhrigu kicking Vishnu (Tr. Balkrishna Sharma).     His work, full of vitality, brought a new note of robust optimism into Bengali literature. He was keenly sensitive to the sufferings and injustices of the contemporary society. His songs and poems are full of hope for the exploited and downtrodden. He advocated the ideal of equality in a very vigorous manner. In his poem titled Samya (Equality), he declared: "I sing of equality, In which dissolve all barriers and disunity,/ In which mingle all faiths-Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity."     Communal harmony was upheld by him as a must for the success of India's struggle for freedom. He was very conscious of the divide and rule policy of the British Government and it was clear to him that the British Government was responsible for the distrust between the two communities - the Hindus and the Muslims. In April, 1926, he composed a song which he himself sang at the Congress session at Krishnanagar, a district town of undivided Bengal. He expressed his views very clearly on the communal problems in the country.     The helpless nation may sink and die/ as it knows not how to swim/ Sailor, "tis time when you must act and fulfil your pledge and dream/ "Hindu or Muslim?" who ask this question?/Sailor, tell him, it is men who are sinking/the children of our common mother."     Two other chorus songs are considered by many as more defiant in tone including the one sung by Nazrul himself at the inaugural session of the Students' Conference. It was a marching song and begins with - "We are the Force, we are the Power/ We are the students."     Besides being patriotic, his poetry had the profundity of the universal brotherhood of man. In the poem titled Udar Sakal Manabe, he wrote: "Liberal India, men of all kinds have shelter on your lap/ The Parsee, the Jain, the Buddhist, the Hindu/ the Christian, the Sikh and the Muslim/ You are an ocean, and in your vastness have mingled/ All religions and all people."     Nazrul Islam was a true poet of revolution equally keen on national liberation of India and removal of exploitation from the prevailing society of ours. The idea of communism naturally touched his heart, but he was not the man to subscribe to any political creed. He was specially successful in touching the public mind. Kazi Abdul Wadud has rightly remarked :"The poetry of Nazrul has been one of the contributing factors of that awakening of the masses that we now see around us. From that point of view, his historical importance is very great indeed."

    The genius of Nazrul Islam since his first appearance in the field of Bengali literature has never been in doubt. The different aspects of his contribution - as a poet of the people, as a writer of songs, as a fearless fighter for our national freedom - have been gratefully acknowledged by his countrymen. In 1945, the University of Calcutta had honoured him with the Jagattarini Medal - the highest honour of that period for original contribution to the literature of Bengal. After Independence, the Government of India awarded him Padma Bhushan and the Government of Bangladesh honoured him as its Poet Laureate till his death in August, 1976. Nazrul Islam is a great modern Bengali poet who succeeded in capturing the masses through his literary charisma.




Edited by Qwest - 28 March 2006 at 8:45am
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This page is on the songs (based on ragas) of the great poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Viewers are requested to email their comments, suggestion, information and requests to the author

Kazi Nazrul Islam - Nazrul, the son of Kazi Fakir Ahmed and Zaheda Khatun, was born in 1899 in an undivided India. His nick name was given 'Dukhu Miya' since he was born in an utter poverty. He lost his father at a very young age and since then he had to face the bitter face of reality, struggling very hard with poverty. Apart from all these extremely adverse situation, he composed hundreds of poems and songs and became a renouned personality not only in India and Bangladesh, but also in abroad.

He learned Arabian and Persian during his childhood education. His poems and songs, specially 'Ghazals' (written in Bengali) carry many Urdu, Arabian and Persian words. His compositions were based on various aspects e.g. nature, love, devotion and patriotism. His noteworthy work is 'Agnibina', which comprised of his outstanding poems like 'Bidrohi', 'Pralayollash', 'Dhumketu', 'Kamalpasha', 'Anowar', 'Quorbani', 'Mohram'. His other contributions are 'Sikal Parar Gaan', 'Srishti Sukher Ullashe', 'Super (Jeler) Bandana', 'Rajbondir Jabanbondi'. These were written by the freedom-fighter poet Nazrul, when he was convicted in jail during the pre-independence period. He was a very controversal figure of that time. He is known as 'Bidhrohi Kobi', meaning a rebel poet. Some of the other marvellous compositions are 'Kandari Hunshiyar', 'Pralayshikha', 'Bulbul'. He put a great effort to unite the Hindus and Muslims to fight against the British for freedom. One of his poems is partly quoted below which reflects his mentality of a Hindu-Muslim unity.

"Mora Eki Brinte Duti Kushum Hindu Musholman |

Muslim Tar Noyon-Moni, Hindu Tahar Pran" ||

Ek She Aakaash Mayer Kole, Jeno Robi-Soshi Dole |

Ek Rokto Buker Tole, Ek She Narir Taan ||

Below is given the list of the songs, based on ragas, written by Kazi Nazrul Islam. The list is done in an alphabetical order and the names of the ragas are in red. It is to be noted that I have tried to write the songs as they are pronounced in Bengali. Most of them are taken from the 'Ragpradhan' part of the Nazrul-Geeti book. The names of the ragas are spelled in the formal way. Please note that in some songs, there may be slight deviations from the pure form of the Raga.

Adhir ambare guru garjan mridang baaje -Hamvir
Abujh mor aankhi bari ami rodhite naari - Tilak Kamod
Arunkanti ke go jogi bhikhari - Ahir Bhairav
Agnigiri ghumonto uthilo jagiya - Lankadahan Sarang
Anjali laho mor sangeete - Tilang
Aaji mone mone laage hori - Pilu-Khambaj
Aajo kande kanone koyeliya - Kedar
Aajo bole koyeliya - Sindhura
Ami path-manjari phutechi aandhar raate - Pat Manjari
Aar kothai lukabi shyama -
Bageshri

Bonpathe ke jaye - Chandrakaush
Bone chole banmali - Kafi
Bone Bone dola laage - Chayanat
Boron korechi tare shoi - Khamaj
Barosha oi elo barosha - Megh Malhar
Bolo na bolo na olo shoi - Hamvir
Basant mukhor aaji - Basant Mughari
Bhabane aashilo atithi shudur - Gaur Sarang
Bholo bholo bholo maan - Mishra Tilang

Chapal aankhir vashaye - Minakshi
Chamake chapala meghe - Sudh Sarang
Chander piyalate aaji - Bageshri
Chaitali chandni raate - Madhumadhavi Sarang
Chi chi here gele shyam - Bhairavi

Dokkhino shamirano shathe - Madhumadhavi Sarang
Deepak mala gantho gantho shoi - Deepak Mala
Dur benu kunje murli muhu muhu - Anandi
Dhuli pingal jatajut mele - Sudh Sarang

E ghanoghor raate jhulan dolaye dulibe mamo sathe - Sur Malhar
Ekela gori jalke chole gangatir - Jaunpuri
Eki e madhur shyam-birohe - Vrindavani Sarang
Esho Priyo aaro kaache - Deshi Todi
Elo e banante pagol basanto - Paraj Basant
Elo barosha shyam sharosha priyo-darasha - Surdashi Malhar

Gagone shaghone chamakiche damini - Megh
Gunja-mala gole kunje esho he kala - Malgunji
Gunja-monjori-mala anchale - Malgunji
Ghana deya garajaye go - Mishra Malhar

Hangsha mithun ogo jao - Bada Hansha Sarang
Hanshe aakashe shukhtara hanshe - Arun Ranjani
He madhav, he madhav - Bhairavi
Haaraano hiyar nikunja pathe - Bageshri

Jay bigolito karuna rupini gange - Bhairavi
Jago arun bhairav jago - Arun Bhairav
Jaha kichu mamo aache priyotamo - Sindhu Bhairavi

Jharo jharo bari jhare ambar byapiya - Sudh Sarang
Jhare bari gagone jhuru jhuru - Desh
Jharer banshite ke gele deke - Miya ki Malhar

Kato janom jabe tomar birahe - Bhairavi
Kohite nari je kothaguli - Bhupali
Kaberi nodi jole ke go balika - Karnati Samant
Kalo bhramar elo go aaj - Pilu
Kahari tore keno dake - Pilu
Kuhu kuhu kuhu kuhu koyeliya - Mishra Khamaj
Ke elo ore ke elo - Hamvir
Ke elo | Dake chokh gelo - Kalangra
Ke duranto bajao jhorer byakul banshi - Mishra Hindol
Keno karun shure hidoyo pure bajiche banshori - Desh
Keno go jogini - Jogiya
Keno megher chaya aaji chander chokhe - Darbari Kanada
Koyela kuhu kuhu dake - Khamaj

Mon keno udashe - Sudh Sarang

Mamo madhur minoti shuno ghana-shyam - Jaunpuri
Mrittu nai, nai dukkho - aache shudhu pran - Ashavari
Megh bihin kharo baishakhe - Sabant Sarang
Megh-medur baroshaye - Jaijaiwanti
Meghe meghe andho ashim aakash - Jaijaiwanti
(Mor) na mitite aasha bhangilo khela - Deshi Todi

Nayan mudulo kumudini haye - Todi
Na mitite assha bhangilo khela - Desi todi
Naache nanda dulal - Nat Malhar
Nidagher kharo taape klanto e dharani - Shivranjani
Nirjan phulban, esho priya - Gara
Nirandhra meghe meghe andha gagan - Malhar
Nishi nijhum ghum nahi aashe - Bihag
Nishith nishith jagi gonyayun raati - Gaur Sarang
Nilambari shari pori nil jamunaye ke jaye - Nilambari

Oor nishitho samadhi bangiyo na - Darbari Kanada

Payela bole rinijhini - Rup Manjari
Piyu piyu bole papiya - Desh Khamaj
Piyu piyu birohi papiya bole - Lalit
Peye keno nahi pai hidoye - Khamaj
Pronomi tomaye banodebata - Durga
Prothom pradip jalo - Patdip
Probhat bina tobo baje - Bhairavi
Phire nahi ele priyo - Nat Malhar
Phuler jalshaye nirab keno kobi - Hijaj Bhairavi
Palash phuler gelas bhoria - Mishra Palashri

Rimjhim rimjhim jhore sawan dhara - Mishra Malhar
Rumjhum nupur bole - Nat Bihag
Rumjhum badol aaji baroshe - Nat Malhar

Shanto hayo shib - Jogini
Shunyo e buke pakhi mor - Chayanat
Shono e shodhya malati balika tapoti - Sandhya Malati
Shono lo banshite dake - Malkaush
Shyama tanhi ami megh barona - Megh
Sati hara udhashi bhairav kande - Udashi Bhairav
Sandha malati jabe phulbone jhure - Dhanshri Bhairavi
She dhire dhire aashi - Deshi Todi
She priyo keno go elo - Bhairavi

Shapone eshechilo mridu bhashini - Bhairavi
Shedin abhab ghuchbe ki mor - Khat Todi
Snighdho shyam beni barna - Miya ki Malhar
Shaon asilo phire - Kazi Karfa

Tarun ashanto ke birohi - Chandni Kedar
Timir bidari alokho bihari - Sindhu Bhairavi

Udar ambar darbare tori proshanto probhat bajaye bina - Darbari Todi

Udar ambar darbare tori proshanto probhat bajaye bina - Darbari Todi



Edited by Qwest - 28 March 2006 at 8:51am
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  The Rebel Poet's Picture Gallery



 

Rare photograph of Nazrul, seen in a hunting spree

 




 

 

 



Edited by Qwest - 28 March 2006 at 11:08am
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The Rebel Poet's In his own handwriting:


English handwriting of the Nazrul
 

 

Urdu handwriting of Nazrul
 
 

Hindi handwriting of Nazrul
 
 
Bangla handwriting of Nazrul
 
 
 



Edited by Qwest - 28 March 2006 at 7:34pm

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