Kazi Nazrul Islam was a cosmopolitan personality who was born in India on 25 May 1899 and enlightened the whole world with his literary works.His magical works include poems,songs,drama,novels,short stories,speeches,letters,movies and many other literary items.He created great contents in his mother language, Bangla combining the indigenous and world literature which which enriched the diversified peoples of the vast Indian Subcontinent.He popularised the works of famous foreign litterateurs of the world among his peoples.He
became the cultural ambassador of the world and still holds this position even after death on 29 August 1976.
His talented contributions to the world literature is gratefully recognized by the peoples and governments of Bangladesh and India.Kazi Nazrul Islam has been honoured as the National Poet of Bangladesh.Innumerable educational
establishments, organizations and institutions have been named in Bangladesh and India to honour this great personality.Among such establishments a public university in honour of Kazi Nazrul Islam has been established at Trishal under the district Mymensing of Bangladesh.The university was established by the government in response to the popular demand at the place where Nazrul studied in secondary school which was named as Darirampur School located at Trishal.The name of this public university is Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University (JKKNIU) .You can visit its website at http://www.jkkniu.edu.bd/index.php Another remarkable organization is known as Nazrul Institute which is housed in Kabi Bhaban located at Dhanmondi Residential Area of Dhaka.Poet Nazrul was brought in this house to live until his death by Banganandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1972 upon obtaining special permission from the government of India.Many organizations have been established in the state of Poshchim Bongo under India.The latest one is the research centre and museum to be called as Nazrul Bhaban which will be inaugarated on the next birthday of Nazrul by Mamata Banerjee,the Chief Minister of Poshchim Bongo. It is impossible to determine how many people teach and practice the literary works of Nazrul in universities,colleges and schools of Bangladesh,India and other countries of the world.There are many experts who perform and practice his songs,dramas,poems,dance and other literary works as professionals.
Every conscious person hoped that Kazi Nazrul Islam would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.But their hope was never translated into formal nomination to award him the prestigious prize.Thus the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature which Kazi Nazrul Islam always deserved remains pending.The peoples of Indian Subcontinent specially peoples of the soverign state of Bangladesh whole heartedly trust that the pending Nobel Prize will be delivered posthumously to Kazi Nazrul Islam in befitting manner.
I like to mention a fragment of the works of the great litterateur from the vast resource of internet just to demonstrate what treasure Kazi Nazrul Islam has left for the world.The following content has been taken from the contribution of Mohammad Omar Farooq who portrayed a famous poem of Nazrul entitled “Nari” meaning “woman” which honoured women
of the whole world as the equal and dignified partners of men.I will update later to justify the relevance of Nazrul
in the past,present and future.
Original: Nari by Kazi Nazrul Islam
Translation: Mohammad Omar Farooq
There are several obscure expressions in Bangla original that I have translated as best as I could decipher. Also, all the rhyming words at the end are based on pronunciation in American English, to the best I have come to know. Any correction or suggestion to improve this or any of my other translation of Nazrul’s poem is most definitely welcome.
Original sin: Islam does not belive in original sin. Especially, it does not attribute the sin to the first woman. Rather both of them participated, possibly beginning with Adam, the first man.
Raam and Shita: Two important figures from Hindu religious scriptures
Muni: This is related to story from Indian scriptures where a Muni, religious sage, commanded his son to slaughter his mother – Muni’s wife – due to alleged adultery, which the son was not a witness of. The son, to prove his religious devotion, complied.
Amar chokhkhe purush-romoni
Kono bhedabhed nai.
Bishshe ja kichu mohan srishti
Ordhek tar koriyache nari
Ordhek tar nor.
Bishsher ja kichu ja elo
Pap tap bedona oschrubari,
Ordhek tar aniyache nor
Ordhek tar nari.
Norok kundo boliya ke toma
Kore Nari heyo gayn,
tare bolo, adi pap nari nohe
She je nor-shoytan.
Othoba pap je – shoytan je –
Nor nohe nari nohe,
Klib she, tai she nor or narite
Shoman mishiya rohe.
E bishshe joto phutiyache ful,
Foliyache joto phol,
Nari dilo tahe
Tajmoholer pathor dekhecho,
Dekhiacho tar pran?
Ontore tar Momtaj nari,
Gayner lokhmi, ganer lokhmi,
Shushoma-lokhmi narii firiche
Rupe rupe shonchari.
Purush eneche dibosher jala
Kamini eneche jamini-shanti
Diboshe diyache shokti-shahosh
Nishithe hoyeche bodhu,
Purush esheche modhu-trisha loye
Nari jogayeche modhu.
Shoyshsho khetro urbor holo,
Purush chalalo hol,
Nari shei mathe shoyshsho ropiya
Nor bahe hol, nari bohe jol
Shei jol-mati mishe,
Foshol hoiyya folia uthilo
Shonali dhaner shishe.
Narir ongo-porosh lobhiya
Narir birohe, narir milone
Nor pelo kobi pran,
Joto kotha tar hoilo kobita
Shobdo hoilo gan.
Nor dilo khuda, nari dilo shudha
Jonmo lobhiche mohamanober
Mohashishu tile tile.
Jogoter joto boro boro joy,
Boro boro obhijan,
Mata bhogni o bodhuder
Tayge hoiyyache mohian.
Kon rone koto khun dile nor,
Lekha ache itihashe,
Koto nari dilo shithir shidur
Lekha nai tar pashe.
Koto mata dilo ridoy upari
Koto bon dilo sheba,
Birer sriti-stombher gaye
Likhiya rekheche keba?
Kono kale eka hoyni ko joyi
Prerona diyache, shokti diyache
Raja koriteche rajjo shashon
Rajare shashiche rani,
Ranir dorode dhuyia giyache
Rajjer joto glani.
Manush korite nari dilo tar
Ordhek ridoy rin.
Dhoray jader josh dhore na ko
Boroshe boroshe jader shorone
Kori mora utshob.
Kheyaler boshe tader jonmo
Diyache bilashi pita,
Lob-kushe bone tajiyache Ram,
Palon koreche Shita.
Nari she shikhalo shishu-purusher
Sneho prem doya-maya,
Dipto noyone poralo kajol
Bedonar ghono chaya.
Odbhut rupe purush purush
Korilo she rin shodh,
Buke kore tare chumilo je jon
Tare korilo oborodh.
Pitar adeshe jononire jini
Katen hani kuthar.
Parsho firiya shuyechen aj
Nari chapa chilo etodin
Aj chapa poriyache nor.
Je juge purush dash chilo na
Narira chilo dashi.
Bedonar jug, manusher jug,
Shammyer jug aji,
Keho rohibe na bondi kaharo
Uthibe dongka baji.
Nor jodi rakhe narire bondi
Tobe er por juge,
Apnari rocha oi karagare
Purush moribe bhuge.
Piron korile – she piron eshe
Pira debe tomakei.
Onnere joto koribe piron
Nije hobe toto klib.
Korilo tomay bondini, bolo
Kon she ottyachari?
Apnare aj prokasher tobo
Nai she baykulota,
Aj tumi bhiru
Arale thakiya nepoththo koto kotha.
Chokhe Choke aj chahite paro na
Hate ruli, paye mol,
Mathar ghomta chire phel nari
Bhenge phel o shikol.
Je ghomta toma’ koriyache bhiru
Orao she aboron,
Dur kore dao dashir chinho
Oi joto abhoron.
Fero na to ar giridori bone
Shakhi-shone gan geye.
Kokhon ashilo “pluto” jomraj
Dhoriya tomay purilo tahar
Shei she adim bondhon tobo
Shei hate acho mori,
Morone pure; namilo dhoray
Shei din bebhabori.
Bhenge jompuri naginir moto
Ai ma patal phuri,
Adhare tomar poth dekhabe ma
Tomari bhogno churi.
Purush-jomer khudar kukur
Mukto o podaghate,
Lutaye poribe o choron-tole
Dolito jomer shathe.
Etodin shudhu bilale omrito
Aj proyojon hobe,
Je hate piyale omrito
She hate kut bish dite hobe.
Je din dhoroni purusher shathe
Gahibe narir joy.
I sing the song
In my view gender difference
is essentially a triviality.
Everything that is great in the world,
all the works, beneficial and good,
half must be credited to woman,
and to man half only we should.
All the vice or bad in the world,
and the pain or flowing tear,
for half, man should be blamed,
the other half only woman should bear.
Who belittles you as woman,
connecting you to Hell’s flame?
Tell him that for the first ever sin
not woman, but man must carry the blame.
Or, it may be that sin or Satan
is in reality neither man or woman;
Satan is gender-neutral, so
it flows equally in woman or man.
All the flowers blossomed in the world,
and all the fruits grown,
isn’t in beauty, nectar and fragrance of those
Have you seen Taj Mahal’s marble?
It’s spirit, have you seen?
At the heart of it Momtaj, woman;
outside is Shahjahan, the King and lover so keen.
The fortune of knowledge, or of music,
or, the fortune of all harvest,
woman’s grace has made it so worthwhile,
flowing from every home and nest.
In the hardship of day and its scorching heat,
you can see reflection of man;
in the soothing breeze
and in peace of night, who shines but woman?
During the day she is source of strength.
She glows in affection at night;
when man needs comfort and love,
her grace and sweetness flow to make his life bright.
With man behind the plough,
the crop field became bountiful, indeed;
the greenery was only more beautiful,
as woman sowed the seed.
Man carries the plough, woman carries the water;
from soil and water mixed together,
the crop grows in abundance,
ears of paddy – like blooming heather.
Of course, the metals –
gold and silver: ordinary otherwise;
those become fancy jewelry
with woman’s touch that underlies.
In longing for woman, or in her communion,
man found where the poets’ hearts belong,
as his words became poetry
and sounds turned into song.
Man’s present – the passion; woman’s is affection –
with the communion that hungry loves entail,
comes the children – all magnificent
from man the great that even angels hail.
All the great victory of the world
and all the grand voyages,
gained grandeur and nobility from sacrifice of
mothers, sisters, and wives, throughout the ages.
How much blood man has offered
is recorded in annals of history;
how many women became widow –
No record of that – Is it a mystery?
How many mothers poured their hearts,
and how many sisters did serve?
the memorials of heroes – great or small
do not show that – do you not observe?
Victory hasn’t kissed man’s sword,
because of the valor of man alone;
the inspiration and pride woman brought
to men, that should also be known.
While king rules the kingdom
and queen rules the king,
the misery and sadness go away,
joy and happiness her grace does bring.
heartless, like a stone;
to make human out of him,
woman gave half of her heart as loan.
All the great celebrities, immortal –
whose fame knows no bound;
we celebrate in their memory
regularly, every year around.
They came to this world,
as at moment’s passion they were fathered;
but Raam found shelter in jungle,
while all the care and nurture Sita gathered.
Wasn’t it the woman who taught baby-“men”
love mercy and compassion?
Didn’t she touch their eyes with kohl
as a shadow of her sad affection?
Man paid that debt off
in a very strange way;
holding on lap she who kissed him,
behind curtain and wall, she was put away.
Man the great;
Is he so, really?
who cuts open his mother’s throat
at the command of his Muni father, bending his knee?
In the world’s bed, half the deity: woman
just turned the side;
so far woman has taken enough,
now man will be confined.
is that age,
when man was the master
to enslave woman in his wish’s cage.
This age is of empathy, of being human,
of equality is this new time;
no one would be the other’s prisoner –
don’t you hear that chime?
If man imprisons woman,
then the turn will come sure;
in the same prison he built,
he will rot and die without a cure.
Take this lesson –
a wisdom always right and true,
if you make suffer someone,
suffering will catch up with you.
you the creature of this earth!
the more you oppress others,
your humanness? gradually, there will be dearth.
In the dungeon of treasure
with jewelry of silver and gold,
who confined you, O woman,
who is that animal with heart so cold?
No more agitation or bewilderment
to express yourself any more;
now you are timid, vulnerable, and
speak only from behind the wall or door.
You can’t look eye to eye, and still wear
bracelet and anklets – the prisoner’s symbol;
tear off the veil of yours,
unchain yourself, it has taken enough toll.
The veil that made you timid,
let that go away;
all those ornaments and symbols of servitude,
throw away, throw away.
To this world precious you really are!
Don’t roam in jungle or
to sing to trees you wander afar.
When did the Regent of Death come
flying on the wing of night’s shade,
snatched you to captivity
in its dungeon where nobody can raid.
In that bondage of old time,
you are still living dead;
from that time world’s light is stolen
and our vision is obscure in dread.
Come like a lightening, O mother,
breaking away from that pit;
your broken grass bracelets
will keep your path lit.
The animal, that is man’s hunger –
at the fling of your leg,
will drop dead at your feet, and
together, with smashed undertaker, will earnestly beg.
Your ambrosia all of us enjoyed,
now different is the need,
the hand that offered ambrosia before
to the monsters must now offer hemlock, indeed.
Not very far
is that cherished day,
when with homage to man,
to woman also homage, the world will pay.
Note: This poem heavily draws from Mythical names from various traditions and thus, is not very easy to literally convey its theme. This poem was published in 1925, during the early years of his life. There are many expressions, such as “Shithir Shidur” in the case of married Hindu woman, that I was not meaningfully able to translate.
As far as “veil” is concerned, of course, only Nazrul could explain what he had in mind, but in lieu of that, the following information about his choice of word “ghomta” might be helpful. According to Sangshad Bangala Obhidhan (Kolikata) it means: obogunthon; stri-loker mukhaboron. In english, from Students’ Favorite Dictionary (Bengali to English) by Ashu Tosh Dev, it means, “veil”. In Bangla Academy English-Bengali Dictionary “veil” is translated as “obogunthon; mukhaboron; nekab”. Veil generally does not imply just the head-covering when a covering of the face is not used. May be Nazrul’s choice of word was more instructive and thoughtful in this case than many would like to give him credit for.
Nazrul’s call for throwing away “veil” has been misunderstood by many, particularly among the conservative Muslims, and conveniently misinterpreted by many others. But if it is understood that “veil” – covering of face – (ghomta) is not neither required in Islam nor is it norm, rather in many societies it has become symbol of backwardness or repression, one can probably better understand and appreciate the message of this poem. Even in Iran after the Islamic revolution, women are having remarkable participation in the society, of course, without covering of face. One of the Vice Presidents in Iran is a woman; she dresses Islamically, and does not cover her face.