Kazi Nazrul Islam

Kazi Nazrul Islam

Kazi Nazrul Islam
Nazrul in Chittagong, 1926
Nazrul in Chittagong, 1926
Native name কাজী নজরুল ইসলাম
Born 24 May 1899[1]
AsansolBurdwan districtBengal PresidencyBritish India(now Paschim Bardhaman districtWest BengalIndia)
Died 29 August 1976 (aged 77)
Resting place Dhaka University
  • Poet
  • short-story writer
  • song composer
  • playwright
  • novelist
  • essayist
  • literary translator
  • film actor
  • political activist
Nationality British Indian (24.05.1899–15.08.1947)
Indian (15.08.1947–29.08.1976)
Bangladeshi (1976)
Period 1922–1942
Literary movement Bengali renaissance
Notable works
Notable awards
Spouse Pramila Devi
Children 4 sons


Kazi Nazrul Islam (Bengaliকাজী নজরুল ইসলামpronounced [kazi nozrul islam]; 24 May 1899 – 29 August 1976) was a Bengali poetwritermusician, and revolutionary from the Indian subcontinent. He is the national poet of Bangladesh.[2] Popularly known as Nazrul, he produced a large body of poetry and music with themes that included religious devotion and spiritual rebellion against fascism and oppression.[3] Nazrul's activism for political and social justice earned him the title of "Rebel Poet" (Bengaliবিদ্রোহী কবিBidrohi Kobi).[4] His compositions form the avant-garde genre of Nazrul Sangeet (Music of Nazrul). Nazrul and his works are equally commemorated and celebrated in Bangladesh and India, particularly in India's Bengali-speaking states such as West Bengal, parts of Assam, and Tripura.[5][6][7][8]

Born in a Bengali Muslim Kazi family, 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 Letor Dal. He joined the British Indian Army in 1917. After serving in the British Indian Army in the Middle East (Mesopotamian campaign) during World War I,[9] Nazrul established himself as a journalist in Calcutta. He criticised the British Raj and called for revolution through his poetic works, such as "Bidrohi" ("বিদ্রোহী", 'The Rebel') and "Bhangar Gaan" ("ভাঙার গান", 'The Song of Destruction'),[10] as well as in his publication Dhumketu ('The Comet'). His nationalist activism in Indian independence movement led to his frequent imprisonment by the colonial British authorities. While in prison, Nazrul wrote the "Rajbandir Jabanbandi" ("রাজবন্দীর জবানবন্দী", 'Deposition of a Political Prisoner').[11] His writings greatly inspired Bengalis of East Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

Nazrul's writings explored themes such as love, freedom, humanity, and revolution. He opposed all forms of bigotry and fundamentalism, including religious, caste-based and gender-based.[12] Nazrul wrote short stories, novels, and essays but is best known for his songs and poems. He created the first Bengali language ghazals.[13][14][15] He is also known to have experimented with ArabicPersian, and Sanskrit words in his works to produce rhythmic effects.[16][17]

Nazrul wrote and composed music for nearly 4,000 songs (many recorded on HMV and gramophone records),[18] collectively known as Nazrul Geeti. In 1942 at the age of 43, he began to suffer from an unknown disease, losing his voice and memory. A medical team in Vienna diagnosed the disease as Morbus Pick,[19] a rare incurable neurodegenerative disease. It caused Nazrul's health to decline steadily and forced him to live in isolation in India. He was also admitted in Ranchi (Jharkhand) psychiatric hospital for many years. At the invitation of the Government of Bangladesh, Nazrul and his family moved to Dhaka in 1972. He died four years later on 29 August 1976 in Bangladesh.

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

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