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Kazi Nazrul Islam: Interesting Facts About the 'Rebel Poet'

Nazrul developed an interest in poetry, drama, and literature while working with the rural theatrical group Letor Dal.

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Updated:August 29, 2019, 12:43 PM IST
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Kazi Nazrul Islam: Interesting Facts About the 'Rebel Poet'
Nazrul developed an interest in poetry, drama, and literature while working with the rural theatrical group Letor Dal.
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August 29 marks the 43rd death anniversary of eminent Bengali poet, writer, musician and anti-colonial revolutionary Kazi Nazrul Islam. Born on 25 May 1899 in the Bardhaman district of West Bengal (part of Bengal Presidency under British rule), Kazi Nazrul’s poetry and music focused on themes like religious tolerance and rebellion against oppression.

The national poet of Bangladesh is fondly remembered as Bidrohi Kobi or "Rebel Poet". The impact of Kazi Nazrul Islam on Bengali music can be gauged from the that the nearly 4,000 songs written and composed by him make up a genre their own : (Music of Nazrul).

Born in a Bengali Muslim family, during his youth Kazi Nazrul Islam served as muezzin ( the person who recites the adhan or call to prayer) at a local mosque where his father Kazi Faqeer Ahmed was the imam (prayer leader) and caretaker.

Nazrul developed an interest in poetry, drama, and literature while working with the rural theatrical group Letor Dal.

He joined the British Indian Army in 1917 and served in the 49th Bengal Regiment before establishing himself as a journalist in Calcutta.

Nazrul called for revolution through his poetic works such as "Bidrohi" or “The Rebel” and "Bhangar Gaan" or “The Song of Destruction”. He was also very critical of the British Raj in his publication Dhumketu or “The Comet,” suffering frequent imprisonment for his participation in the Indian independence movement.

Nazrul wrote the "Rajbandir Jabanbandi" or “Deposition of a Political Prisoner” in prison.

Nazrul's works explored themes such as freedom, humanity, love, and revolution and opposed all forms of bigotry and fundamentalism. They would go on to greatly inspire Bengalis of East Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

Although he wrote short stories, novels, and essays, it was songs and poems that etched Nazrul in the minds of people.

Nazrul only enriched Bengali language ghazals but is also known to have used Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit words in his works for rhythmic effects.

At the age of 43, Nazrul began losing his voice and memory due to a mysterious illness, which was later identified by doctors in Vienna as Pick's disease. The rare incurable neurodegenerative disease caused a decline in Nazrul's health and forced him to live in isolation in India, including at a psychiatric hospital in Ranchi( now in Jharkhand)

Nazrul and his family moved to Bangladesh at the government’s invitation in 1972. He died four years later on August 29, 1976.

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