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Kazi Nazrul Islam

Coordinates: 23°44′06″N 90°23′42″E / 23.7351°N 90.3950°E / 23.7351; 90.3950
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Kazi Nazrul Islam
কাজী নজরুল ইসলাম
Nazrul Islam playing setar, before 1940
Pronunciation[kad͡ʒi nod͡ʒɾul islam]
Died29 August 1976(1976-08-29) (aged 77)
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Resting placeMausoleum of Kazi Nazrul Islam, Dhaka
23°44′06″N 90°23′42″E / 23.7351°N 90.3950°E / 23.7351; 90.3950
  • Poet
  • short-story writer
  • novelist
  • essayist
  • playwright
  • journalist
  • editor
  • translator
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • singer
  • actor
  • soldier
  • activist
Years active1920–1942
Political partyWorkers and Peasants Party[4][5][6]
MovementBengali Renaissance
Criminal chargesSedition
Criminal penalty3-month imprisonment
Nargis Asar Khanum
(m. 1921; div. 1937)
Ashalata Sengupta (Pramila Devi)
(m. 1924; died 1962)
  • Kazi Faqeer Ahmed (father)
  • Zahida Khatun (mother)
Writing career
Pen nameDhūmketu
NicknameDukhumian, Tarakkhyapa
Notable works
Musical career
DiscographyFull list
Formerly ofLeto group
Military career
Allegiance British Empire
Service/branch British Indian Army
Years of service1917–1920
Rank Havildar (Sergeant)
Unit49th Bengalee Regiment[7]
Battles/warsWorld War I

Kazi Nazrul Islam PB EP IA (Bengali: কাজী নজরুল ইসলাম, pronounced [kad͡ʒi ˈnod͡ʒɾul islam] ; 25 May 1899 – 29 August 1976) was a Bengali poet, writer, journalist, and musician.[8] He is the national poet of Bangladesh. Nazrul produced a large body of poetry, music, messages, novels, and stories with themes that included equality, justice, anti-imperialism, humanity, rebellion against oppression and religious devotion.[9] Nazrul Islam's activism for political and social justice as well as writing a poem titled as "Bidrohī", meaning "the rebel" in Bengali, earned him the title of "Bidrohī Kôbi" (Rebel Poet).[10] His compositions form the avant-garde music genre of Nazrul Gīti (Music of Nazrul).[11][12][13][14]

Born into a Bengali Muslim Kazi family hailing from Burdwan district in Bengal Presidency (now in West Bengal, India),[2] Nazrul Islam received religious education and as a young man worked as a muezzin at a local mosque. He learned about poetry, drama, and literature while working with the rural theatrical group Leṭor Dôl, Leṭo being a folk song genre of West Bengal[15] usually performed by the people from Muslim community of the region. He joined the British Indian Army in 1917 and was posted in Karachi. Nazrul Islam established himself as a journalist in Calcutta after the war ended. He criticized the British Raj and called for revolution through his famous poetic works, such as "Bidrohī" ('The Rebel') and "Bhangar Gan" ('The Song of Destruction'),[16] as well as in his publication Dhūmketu ('The Comet'). His nationalist activism in Indian independence movement led to his frequent imprisonment by the colonial British authorities. While in prison, Nazrul Islam wrote the "Rajbôndīr Jôbanbôndī" ('Deposition of a Political Prisoner').[17] His writings greatly inspired Bengalis of East Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

Nazrul Islam's writings explored themes such as freedom, humanity, love, and revolution. He opposed all forms of bigotry and fundamentalism, including religious, caste-based and gender-based.[18] Nazrul wrote short stories, novels, and essays but is best known for his songs and poems. He introduced the ghazal songs in the Bengali language[19][20][21][22] and is also known for his extensive use of Arabic and Persian influenced Bengali words in his works.[23][24][25]

Nazrul Islam wrote and composed music for nearly 4,000 songs (many recorded on HMV gramophone records),[26] collectively known as Nazrul Gīti. In 1942 at the age of 43, he began to be affected by an unknown disease, losing his voice and memory. A medical team in Vienna diagnosed the disease as Pick's disease,[27] a rare incurable neurodegenerative disease. It caused Nazrul Islam's health to decline steadily and forced him to live in isolation. He was also admitted in Ranchi (Jharkhand) psychiatric hospital for many years. At the invitation of the Government of Bangladesh, Nazrul Islam's family took him to Bangladesh and moved to Dhaka in 1972. He died on August 29, 1976.[21]

Early life[edit]

Nazrul Islam was born on Wednesday 24 May 1899[28][29] in the village of Churulia, Asansol Sadar, Paschim Bardhaman district of the Bengal Presidency (now in West Bengal, India). He was born into the Bengali Muslim Taluqdar family of Churulia and was the second of three sons and a daughter.[30][31] Nazrul Islam's father Kazi Faqeer Ahmed was the imam and caretaker of the local Pirpukur mosque and mausoleum of Haji Pahlawan.[32] Nazrul Islam's mother was Zahida Khatun. Nazrul Islam had two brothers, Kazi Saahibjaan and Kazi Ali Hussain, and a sister, Umme Kulsum. He was nicknamed Dukhu Miañ (দুখু মিঞা) literally, 'the one with grief'). Nazrul Islam studied at a maktab and madrasa, run by a mosque and a dargah respectively, where he studied the Quran, Hadith, Islamic philosophy, and theology. His father died in 1908 and at the age of ten, Nazrul Islam took his father's place as a caretaker of the mosque to support his family. He also assisted teachers in the school. He later worked as the muezzin at the mosque.[1][33]

Attracted to folk theatre, Nazrul Islam joined a leto (travelling theatrical group) run by his uncle Fazle Karim. He worked and travelled with them, learning to act, as well as writing songs and poems for the plays and musicals.[28] Through his work and experiences, Nazrul Islam began studying Bengali and Sanskrit literature, as well as Hindu scriptures such as the Puranas. Nazrul Islam composed folk plays for the group, which included Chāshār Shōng ('the drama of a peasant'), and plays about characters from the Mahabharata including Shokunībōdh ('the Killing of Shakuni), Rājā Judhisthirer Shōng ('the drama of King Yudhishthira), Dātā Kōrno ('the philanthropic Karna'), Ākbōr Bādshāh ('Akbar the emperor'), Kobi Kālidās ('poet Kalidas'), Bidyan Hutum ('the learned owl'), and Rājputrer Shōng ('the prince's sorrow').[1]

In 1910, Nazrul Islam left the troupe and enrolled at the Searsole Raj High School in Raniganj. In school, he was influenced by his teacher, a Jugantar activist, Nibaran Chandra Ghatak, and began a lifelong friendship with fellow author Sailajananda Mukhopadhyay, who was his classmate. He later transferred to the Mathrun High English School, studying under the headmaster and poet Kumud Ranjan Mullick. Unable to continue paying his school fees, Nazrul Islam left the school and joined a group of kaviyals. Later he took jobs as a cook at Wahid Confectionery, a well-known bakery of the region, and at a tea stall in the town of Asansol. In 1914, Nazrul Islam studied in the Darirampur School (now Govt. Nazrul Academy) in Trishal, Mymensingh District. Amongst other subjects, Nazrul Islam studied Bengali, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian literature and Hindustani classical music under teachers who were impressed by his dedication and skill.[1][34][35]

Nazrul Islam studied up to grade 10 but did not appear for the matriculation pre-test examination; instead in 1917, he joined the British Indian Army at the age of eighteen. He had two primary motivations for joining the British Indian Army: first, a youthful desire for adventure and, second, an interest in the politics of the time.[36] Attached to the 49th Bengal Regiment, he was posted to the Karachi Cantonment, where he wrote his first prose and poetry. Although he never saw active fighting, he rose in rank from corporal to havildar (sergeant), and served as quartermaster for his battalion.[37]

During this period, Nazrul Islam read extensively the works of Rabindranath Tagore and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, as well as the Persian poets Hafez, Omar Khayyam, and Rumi.[38][39] He learned Persian poetry from the regiment's Punjabi Moulvi, practiced music, and pursued his literary interests. His first prose work, "Life of a Vagabond" ('Baunduler Atmakahini), was published in May 1919. His poem "Mukti" ("মুক্তি", 'Freedom') was published by the Bengali Muslim Literary Journal (Bangiya Mussalman Sahitya Samiti) in July 1919.[1]


Bidrohi (The Rebel)

I am the unutterable grief,
I am the trembling first touch of the virgin,
I am the throbbing tenderness of her first stolen kiss.
I am the fleeting glance of the veiled beloved,
I am her constant surreptitious gaze...

I am the burning volcano in the bosom of the earth,
I am the wildfire of the woods,
I am Hell's mad terrific sea of wrath!
I ride on the wings of lightning with joy and profundity,
I scatter misery and fear all around,
I bring earthquakes on this world! "(8th stanza)"

I am the rebel eternal,
I raise my head beyond this world,
High, ever erect and alone!

 – Translation by Kabir Choudhary[40]

Nazrul Islam teaching music to his disciples

Kazi Nazrul Islam joined the army in late 1917. Nazrul Islam left the British Indian army in 1920, when the 49th Bengal Regiment was disbanded,[41] and settled in Calcutta. He joined the staff of the Bangiya Mussalman Sahitya Samiti ("Bengali Muslim Literary Society").[42] He published his first novel Bandhan-hara (বাঁধন-হারা, 'Freedom from Bondage') in 1920, on which he continued to work over the next seven years.[1] His first collection of poems, which included "Bodhan", "Shat-il-Arab", "Kheya-parer Tarani", and "Badal Prater Sharab", received critical acclaim.[1]

Nazrul Islam grew close to other young Muslim writers, while working at the Bengali Muslim Literary Society, including Mohammad Mozammel Haq, Kazi Abdul Wadud, and Muhammad Shahidullah. Nazrul Islam and Muhammad Shahidullah remained close throughout their lives. He was a regular at the social clubs for Calcutta's writers, poets, and intellectuals such as the Gajendar Adda and the Bharatiya Adda. Nazrul did not have the formal education of Rabindranath and as a result his poems did not follow the literary practices established by Rabindranath. Due to this he faced criticism from followers of Rabindranath.[43] Despite their differences, Nazrul looked to Rabindranath Tagore as a mentor.[1] In 1921, Nazrul Islam was engaged to Nargis, the niece of a well-known Muslim publisher, Ali Akbar Khan, in Daulatpur, Comilla.[44] On 18 June 1921, the day of the wedding, upon public insistence by Khan that the term "Nazrul must reside in Daulatpur after marriage" be included in the marriage contract, Nazrul Islam walked away from the wedding ceremony.[45]

Young Nazrul Islam in-front of Dalmadal Cannon in Bishnupur, Bankura, 1920s

Nazrul Islam reached the peak of his fame in 1922 with Bidrohi (The Rebel), which remains his most famous work, winning the admiration of India's literary society for his description of a rebel.[citation needed] Published in the Bijli (বিজলী, "Lightning") magazine, the rebellious language and theme were well received, coinciding with the Non-Cooperation Movement – the first mass nationalist campaign of civil disobedience against British rule.[1] Nazrul Islam explores the different forces at work in a rebel, the destroyer, and the preserver who is able to express rage as well as beauty and sensitivity. He followed up by writing Pralayollas ('Destructive Euphoria'), and his first anthology of poems, the Agni-veena ("অগ্নি-বীণা", 'Lyre of Fire') in 1922, which enjoyed commercial and critical success. He also published a volume of short stories, the Byathar Dan "ব্যথার দান" ('Gift of Sorrow'),[46] and Yugbani ("যুগবাণী"), an anthology of essays.[47][48]

Nazrul Islam started a bi-weekly magazine, Dhumketu ("ধূমকেতু", 'Comet') on 12 August 1922 that was critical of the British Empire. Earning the moniker of the "rebel poet", Nazrul Islam aroused the suspicion of British Raj authorities.[28][49] The Police raided the office of Dhumketu after it published "Anondomoyeer Agomone" ("আনন্দময়ীর আগমনে"), a political poem, in September 1922. Nazrul Islam was arrested on 23 January 1923 and charged with sedition.[49] He presented a long argument in the court, an excerpt of what he said:

I have been accused of sedition... To plead for me, the king of all kings, the judge of all judges, the eternal truth the living God... I am a poet; I have been sent by God to express the unexpressed, to portray the unportrayed. It is God who is heard through the voice of the poet... I am an instrument of God. The instrument is not unbreakable, but who is there to break God?[50]

Nazrul Islam in the role of Narada, in the stage drama Dhruba.

On 14 April 1923, he was moved from Alipore Jail to Hooghly Jail in Hooghly. He began a 40-day fast to protest mistreatment by the British jail superintendent, breaking his fast more than a month later and eventually being released from prison in December 1923. Nazrul Islam composed numerous poems and songs during his period of imprisonment. In the 1920s, the British Indian government banned many of his writings.[1] Rabindranath Tagore dedicated his play "Basanta" to Nazrul Islam in 1923. Nazrul Islam wrote the poem "Aj Srishti Shukher Ullashe" to thank Tagore.[51] His book Bisher Banshi ('The Flute of Poison'), published in August 1924,[52] was banned by the British Raj.[53] Bisher Banshi called for rebellion in India against the British Raj.[54] Bisher Banshi was read and distributed in secret following the ban.[55]

Plaque in memory of Nazrul Islam in Hooghly Jail

Nazrul Islam was a critic of the Khilafat Movement in British India which he condemned as "hollow religious fundamentalism".[1] His rebellious expression extended to rigid orthodoxy in the name of religion and politics.[56] He also criticised the Indian National Congress for not embracing outright political independence from the British Empire. Nazrul became active in encouraging people to agitate against British rule, and joined the Bengal state unit of the Indian National Congress.[1] Along with Muzaffar Ahmed, Nazrul also helped organise the Sramik Praja Swaraj Dal (Workers and Peasants Party), a socialist political party committed to national independence and the service of the working class. On 16 December 1925, Nazrul began publishing the Langal ('Plough'), a weekly, and served as its chief editor.[1]

During his visit to Comilla in 1921, Nazrul Islam met a young Bengali Hindu woman, Pramila Devi, with whom he fell in love, and they married on 25 April 1924. Brahmo Samaj criticised Pramila, a member of the Brahmo Samaj, for marrying a Muslim. Muslim religious leaders criticized Nazrul Islam for his marriage to a Hindu woman. He also was criticised for his writings. Despite controversy, Nazrul Islam's popularity and reputation as the "rebel poet" increased significantly.[1][57]

With his wife and young son Bulbul, Nazrul Islam settled at Grace Cottage, Krishnanagar in Krishnanagar in 1926. His work began to transform as he wrote poetry and songs that articulated the aspirations of the working class, a sphere of his work known as "mass music".[58]

Daridro (Poverty)

O poverty, thou hast made me great
Thou hast made me honoured like Christ
With his crown of thorns. Thou hast given me
Courage to reveal all. To thee I owe
My insolent, naked eyes and sharp tongue.
Thy curse has turned my violin to a sword...
O proud saint, thy terrible fire
Has rendered my heaven barren.
O my child, my darling one
I could not give thee even a drop of milk
No right have I to rejoice.
Poverty weeps within my doors forever
As my spouse and my child.
Who will play the flute?

 – Translated by Kabir Chowdhury[59]

In what his contemporaries regarded as one of his greatest flairs of creativity, Nazrul Islam vastly contributed in profusely enriching ghazals in Bengali, transforming a form of poetry written mainly in Persian and Urdu.[33] Nazrul Islam's recording of Islamic songs was a commercial success and created interest in gramophone companies about publishing his works. A significant impact of Nazrul Islam's work in Bengal was that it made Bengali Muslims more comfortable with the Bengali arts, which used to be dominated by Bengali Hindus.[60] His Islamic songs are popular during Ramadan in Bangladesh. He also wrote devotional songs on the Hindu Goddess Kali.[61] Nazrul Islam also composed a number of notable Shyamasangeet, Bhajan and Kirtan, combining Hindu devotional music.[62] In 1928, Nazrul Islam began working as a lyricist, composer, and music director for His Master's Voice Gramophone Company.[63] The songs written and music composed by him were broadcast on radio stations across India, including on the Indian Broadcasting Company.[1][64]

Naari (Woman)

I don't see any difference
Between a man and woman
Whatever great or benevolent achievements
That are in this world
Half of that was by woman,
The other half by man.

 – Translation by Sajed Kamal[65]

Nazrul Islam believed in the equality of women, a view his contemporaries considered revolutionary, as expressed in his poem Naari (women).[66] Nazrul Islam's poems strongly emphasised the confluence of the roles of both sexes and their equal importance to life. His poem "Barangana" (Prostitute) stunned society with its depiction of prostitutes who he addresses in the poem as "mother".[67][68] In the poem, Nazrul Islam accepts the prostitute as a human being first, reasoning that this person belonged to the "race of mothers and sisters"; he criticises society's negative views on prostitutes.[69]

An advocate of women rights, Nazrul Islam portrayed both traditional and nontraditional women in his work.[67] He talked about the working poor through his works such as the poem: 'Poverty' (Daridro).[40][70]

Nazrul Islam wrote thousands of songs, known collectively as Nazrul Geeti. The exact number is uncertain. The complete text of 2,260 is known, and the first lines of 2,872 have been collected, but according to musicologist Karunamaya Goswami, it is popularly believed that the total is much higher. Goswami has written that some contemporaries put the number near 4,000.[71]

Religious beliefs[edit]

Nazrul Islam was born an Orthodox Sunni Muslim, but engaged in religious syncretism so often such that he was seen by laymen as only a proud pluralist. Nazrul Islam wrote an editorial in Joog Bani in 1920 about religious pluralism,

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.

— [72]

In another article entitled Hindu Mussalman, published in Ganabani on 2 September 1922, he wrote that the religious quarrels were between priests and Imams and not between laymen Muslims and Hindus. He wrote that the Prophets had become property like cattle but they should instead be treated like a light that is for all men.[73]

Nazrul Islam in Sitakunda, Chittagong District in 1929.[74]

Nazrul Islam criticized religious fanaticism, denouncing it as evil and inherently irreligious. He wrote about human equality in his writings. He also explored the philosophy of the Qur'an and Muhammad by writing about them. Nazrul Islam has been compared to William Butler Yeats by Serajul Islam Choudhury, Bengali literary critic and professor emeritus at the University of Dhaka, for being the first Muslim poet to create imagery and symbolism of Muslim historical figures such as Qasim ibn Hasan, Ali, Umar, Kamal Pasha, and Muhammad.[50] His condemnation of extremism and mistreatment of women provoked condemnation from Muslim and Hindu fundamentalists who opposed his liberal views on religion.[75]

Nazrul Islam's mother died in 1928, and his second son, Bulbul, died of smallpox the following year. His first son, Krishna Mohammad, had died prematurely. Pramila gave birth to two more sons – Sabyasachi in 1928 and Aniruddha in 1931 – but Nazrul Islam remained grief-stricken and grieved for a long time. His works changed significantly from the rebellious exploration of society to a deeper examination of religious themes. His works in these years led Islamic devotional songs into the mainstream of Bengali folk music, exploring the Islamic practices of namaz (prayer), roza (fasting), hajj (pilgrimage), and zakat (charity). He wrote the song "O Mon Romzaner Oi Rozar Sheshe" on fasting during Ramadan.[76] This was regarded by his contemporaries as a significant achievement, as Bengali Muslims had been strongly averse to devotional music.[77]

Nazrul Islam was not limited to Islamic devotional music but also wrote Hindu devotional music. He composed Agamanis, Bhajans, Shyama Sangeet, and kirtan.[78][79] Nazrul Islam wrote over 500 Hindu devotional songs.[80] However, a section of Muslims criticized for writing Shyama Sangeet and declared him Kafir (infidel). On the other hand, he became displeased with some Hindus for writing devotional songs about Hindu goddesses because he was a Muslim.[81] Nazrul Islam's poetry and songs explored the philosophy of Islam and Hinduism.[73][82] Nazrul Islam's poetry imbibed the passion and creativity of Shakti, which is identified as the Brahman, the personification of primordial energy. He also composed many songs of invocation to Lord Shiva and the goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati and on the love of Radha and Krishna.[33] Nazrul Islam was an exponent of humanism.[83] Although a Muslim, he named his sons with both Hindu and Muslim names: Krishna Mohammad, Arindam Khaled (Bulbul), Kazi Sabyasachi and Kazi Aniruddha.[84]

Later life[edit]

In 1930, his book Pralayshikha was banned and he faced charges of sedition by the British Indian colonial government. He was sent to jail and released in 1931, after the Gandhi–Irwin Pact was signed.[53] In 1933, Nazrul Islam published a collection of essays titled "Modern World Literature", in which he analyses different styles and themes of literature. Between 1928 and 1935, he published 10 volumes containing 800 songs, of which more than 600 were based on classical ragas. Almost 100 were folk tunes after kirtans, and some 30 were patriotic songs. From the time of his return to Kolkata until he fell ill in 1941, Nazrul Islam composed more than 2,600 songs, many of which have been lost.[33] His songs based on Baul, jhumur, Santhali folksongs, jhanpan, or the folk songs of snake charmers, bhatiali, and bhaoaia consist of tunes of folk-songs on the one hand and a refined lyric with poetic beauty on the other. Nazrul Islam also wrote and published poems for children.[33]

Nazrul Islam's success soon brought him into Indian theatre and the then-nascent film industry.[1] His first film as a director was Dhruba,[85] which made him the first Muslim director of a Bengali film.[53] The film Vidyapati (Master of Knowledge) was produced based on his recorded play in 1936, and Nazrul Islam served as the music director for the film adaptation of Tagore's novel Gora. Nazrul Islam wrote songs and directed music for Sachin Sengupta's biographical epic play based on the life of Siraj-ud-Daula.[86] He worked on the plays "Jahangir" and "Annyapurna" by Monilal Gangopadhyay.[86] In 1939 Nazrul began working for Calcutta Radio, supervising the production and broadcasting of the station's musical programs. He produced critical and analytic documentaries on music, such as "Haramoni" and "Navaraga-malika". Nazrul Islam also wrote a large variety of songs inspired by the raga Bhairav.[87]

Illness and death[edit]

As per a wish expressed in the Nazrul Geeti "Mashjideri Pashe Amar Kobor Dio Bhai" (Bury me next to the mosque, brother), Nazrul Islam is buried beside the Central Mosque of the Dhaka University[88]

Nazrul Islam's wife Pramila Devi fell seriously ill in 1939 and was paralysed from the waist down. To provide for his wife's medical treatment, he mortgaged the royalties of his gramophone records and literary works for 400 rupees.[89] He returned to journalism in 1940 by working as chief editor for the daily newspaper Nabajug ('New Age'), founded by the Bengali politician A. K. Fazlul Huq.[89]

On hearing about the death of Rabindranath Tagore on 8 August 1941, a shocked Nazrul Islam composed two poems in Tagore's memory. One of the two poems, "Rabihara" (loss of Rabi, or without Rabi), was broadcast on the All India Radio.[90] Within months, Nazrul Islam himself fell ill and gradually began losing his power of speech. His behaviour became erratic, he started spending recklessly and fell into financial difficulties. In spite of her own illness, his wife constantly cared for her husband. However, Nazrul Islam's health had seriously deteriorated and he grew increasingly depressed. He received treatment under homeopathy as well as Ayurveda, but little progress was achieved before mental dysfunction intensified and he was admitted to a mental asylum in 1942. Spending four months there without making progress, Nazrul Islam and his family began living a quiet life in India. In 1952, he was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in Ranchi. Through the efforts of a large group of admirers who called themselves the "Nazrul Treatment Society",[91] Nazrul Islam and Pramila were sent to London, then to Vienna for treatment.[92] The examining doctors said he had received poor care, and Dr. Hans Hoff, a leading neurosurgeon in Vienna, diagnosed that Nazrul Islam had Pick's disease. His condition was judged to be incurable, Nazrul Islam returned to Calcutta on 15 December 1953.[92] On 30 June 1962 Pramila died,[53] and Nazrul Islam remained in intensive medical care. He stopped working due to his deteriorating health.[93]

Despite receiving treatment and attention, Nazrul Islam's physical and mental health did not improve; and Nazrul Islam soon died from his long-standing ailments on 29 August 1976. In accordance with a wish he had expressed in one of his poems, he was buried beside a mosque on the campus of the University of Dhaka.

Controversy has been reported around the funeral of Nazrul Islam. Nazrul Islam's sons requested the Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi to arrange for the return of their father's body to India by an aircraft so that he be buried beside their mother's grave as per her last wishes. A space had been reserved for his burial next to her grave in the poets native village, Churulia. When the sons arrived in Dhaka for the last rites, they found that they were completed without their attendance and that the poet had been buried in Dhaka University. Popular demand continues in West Bengal for the poet to be buried back in India.[94][95]

Bangladesh observed two days of national mourning, and the Parliament of India observed a minute of silence in his honour.[96]


According to literary critic Serajul Islam Choudhury, Nazrul Islam's poetry is characterised by abundant use of rhetorical devices, which he employed to convey conviction and sensuousness. He often wrote without care for organisation or polish. His works have often been criticized for egotism, but his admirers counter that they carry more a sense of self-confidence than of ego. They cite his ability to defy God, or rather orthodox conceptions of God, yet maintain an inner, humble devotion to Him.[50] Nazrul Islam's poetry is regarded as rugged but unique in comparison to Tagore's sophisticated style. Nazrul Islam's use of Persian vocabulary was controversial, but it increased the range of his work.[50]


Nazrul Academy in Churulia, Asansol, West Bengal, India which is also the birthplace of Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Kazi Nazrul Islam on stamp of Pakistan
Kazi Nazrul Islam on stamp of Pakistan
Kazi Nazrul Islam on stamp of India
Kazi Nazrul Islam on stamp of India

On 24 May 1972, the newly independent nation of Bangladesh brought Nazrul Islam to live in Dhaka with the consent of the Government of India. The government of Bangladesh conferred upon him the status of "national poet" in 1972.[97][98] In February 1976, during his stay in Bangladesh, he was awarded Bangladeshi citizenship.[1]

He was awarded an Honorary D.Litt. by the University of Dhaka in 1974 and in 1976 he was awarded the Ekushey Padak by the President of Bangladesh Justice Abu Sadat Muhammad Sayem.[41][53] Many centres of learning and culture in Bangladesh and India had been founded and dedicated to his memory. The Bangladesh Nazrul Sena is a large public organization working for the education of children throughout the country.[99] The Nazrul Endowment provides funding for research into the life and work of Kazi Nazrul Islam in U.S. Universities like California State University, Northridge and Connecticut State University.[100][101] Nazrul was awarded the Jagattarini Gold Medal, the highest honour for work in Bengali literature by the University of Calcutta, in 1945 and was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award of India, in 1960.[92]

Nazrul Square in DC Hill Park in Chittagong City.

Nazrul Islam's works for children have won acclaim for his use of rich language, imagination, enthusiasm, and an ability to fascinate young readers.[50] Nazrul is regarded for his secularism.[102] His poetry has been translated to several languages including English, Spanish, and Portuguese.[103] The Uzbek poet Erkin Vohidov wrote an epic poem about Nazrul Islam entitled Ruhlar isyoni (The Rise of the Spirits).[104] A major avenue is named after him in Dhaka, Bangladesh.[105] Kazi Nazrul University in Asansol, West Bengal, India is named after him and Kabi Nazrul College In Birbhum, West Bengal.[106] Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University in Mymensingh, Bangladesh is a public university named after him.[107] Kabi Nazrul Government College in Dhaka, Bangladesh is also named after him. There is a cultural institution called Nazrul Academy, which is spread throughout Bangladesh. Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport in Andal, West Bengal, is India's first private greenfield airport.[12] A chair has been named after him in University of Calcutta and the Government of West Bengal has opened a Nazrul Tirtha in Rajarhat, a cultural centre with library, auditorium and movie theatre dedicated to his memory.[12][108] On 25 May 2020, Google celebrated his 121st birthday with a Google Doodle.[109] On 20 November 2020, a documentary film about Kazi Nazrul Islam was released in Dhaka titled Biography of Nazrul. There is a metro station named "Kavi Nazrul" on Blue Line of Kolkata Metro.Nazrul Mancha is a auditorium of kolkata.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Rafiqul Islam (2012). "Kazi Nazrul Islam". In Sirajul Islam; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. ISBN 978-984-32-0576-6. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  2. ^ a b Chakravarty, Basudha (1968). Kazi Nazrul Islam. National Biography Series. New Delhi: National Book Trust, India. p. 1. OCLC 837539518. Kazi Nazrul Islam was born on Jaistha 11 of the Bengali year 1306, corresponding to May 24, 1899 at village Churulia in Burdwan district of what is now West Bengal.
  3. ^ Talukdar, Rezaul (1994). Nazrul, The Gift of The Century. Manan. p. 121. ISBN 978-9848156001. In 1976 Nazrul was awarded the citizenship of Bangladesh.
  4. ^ Banerjee, Prathama (4 January 2021). Elementary Aspects of the Political: Histories from the Global South. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-1-4780-1244-3.
  5. ^ Bairathi, Shashi (1987). Communism and Nationalism in India: A Study in Inter-relationship, 1919–1947. Anamika Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-85150-00-0.
  6. ^ Murshid, Ghulam (25 January 2018). Bengali Culture Over a Thousand Years. Niyogi Books. ISBN 978-93-86906-12-0.
  7. ^ "Bangali Paltan - Banglapedia". en.banglapedia.org. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  8. ^ Langley, Winston (2007). Kazi Nazrul Islam: The Voice of Poetry and the Struggle for Human Wholeness. University of Minnesota. p. 5.
  9. ^ Hemal, Mahmudul (28 May 2015). "Nazrul's humanist vision". Dhaka Courier. Archived from the original on 18 April 2017.
  10. ^ Mitra, Priti K. (1 May 1993). "The Rebel Poet and the Mahatma: Kazi Nazrul Islam's Critique of Gandhi's Politics in the 1920s". South Asia Research. 13 (1): 46–55. doi:10.1177/026272809301300103. ISSN 0262-7280. S2CID 144847702.
  11. ^ Sheik Hasina. "India-Bangladesh Joint Celebration, 113th birth anniversary of Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and 90th year of his poem 'Rebel'" (PDF). Prime Minister's Office, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  12. ^ a b c Chakraborti, Suman (26 May 2015). "West Bengal government celebrates Kazi Nazrul Islam's birth anniversary". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 19 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  13. ^ "Nazrul Jayanti celebrated across Silchar". The Sentinel. 27 May 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  14. ^ Menon, Anoop (26 April 2017). "List of public holidays in May 2017 to plan out your vacations". Travel India. Archived from the original on 28 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018. Tripura will be celebrating Nazrul Jayanti on 26 May
  15. ^ Bhattacharya, Ashutosh (1977). Bangiya Lok-Sangeet Ratnakar, Vol. 4 (An Encyclopaedia of Bengali Folk-song) (in Bengali). Calcutta: A. Mukherjee & Co. Pvt. Ltd. p. 1802. পশ্চিম বাংলার এক শ্রেণীর জনপ্রিয় লোক-সঙ্গীত লেটো গান, ইহাকে লাটু গান, লোট্যার গানও বলে৷
  16. ^ Alam, Abu Yusuf (2005). Muslims and Bengal Politics (1912–24). Raktakarabee. p. 256.
  17. ^ Hāldār, Gopāl (1973). Kazi Nazrul Islam. Sahitya Akademi. p. 41.
  18. ^ Kazi, Ankan (14 June 2017). "Diminishing A Poet". The Indian Express. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  19. ^ Hussain, Azfar. "Rereading Kazi Nazrul Islam" (Video lecture). Retrieved 15 July 2016 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ Ali, Sarwat (21 September 2014). "A taste of Bengal". The News International. The News on Sunday. Archived from the original on 28 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018. Firoza Begum too sang these Bengali ghazals of Nazrul Islam
  21. ^ a b Shafiqul Islam, Mohammad (25 May 2007). "Nazrul: An ardent lover of humanity". The Daily Star. Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018. He is best known for his songs, in which he pioneered new forms such as Bengali ghazals
  22. ^ Feature article (15 September 2016). "Remembering the rebel poet". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  23. ^ Shams, Ahmed Tahsin (24 May 2018). "The rebel icon of Bengal: Kazi Nazrul Islam". The Bangladesh Post. Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  24. ^ Rashid, Md Mumit Al; Nur, Tanjina Binte (24 November 2017). "Persian Words Used in Kazi Nazrul Islam's Poetry". Language Art. 2 (4): 117–128. doi:10.22046/LA.2017.23. ISSN 2538-2713.
  25. ^ Ahmed, Dr. Forqan Uddin (27 August 2018). "Kazi Nazrul Islam : Classic and romantic". The New Nation. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
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External links[edit]