The sky and the air free of the piteous groans of the oppressed
Only when the battle fields are cleared of jingling bloody sabres
Shall I, weary of struggles,rest in quiet,
I,the great rebel.”
This is a part of the poem of Kazi Nazrul Islam. He was imprisoned, tortured,poisoned slowly, still he did not give up fighting for the country he loved. This is one of the characteristics of an individual that makes him immortal. His name will remain in the hearts of people for generations to come.
He was born on the 25th May 1899 in a small village named Churulia near Asansol,Burdwan district of undivided Bengal, in India.His father was Kazi Faqeer Ahmad.He was the Imam and caretaker of the local mosque and mausoleum. He had two brothers and a sister. He studied in a madrassah ‘It was run by the mosque. He learned to read the Quran at an early age. He was only ten years old, when his father died. He started working in his father’s place to support his family. In a short time he was able to take the job of the Muezzin in the mosque where he studied.
Despite his poverty,he continued to study. He worked with theatrical groups. He learned the art of writing poetry,drama and literature. He made strong verbal attacks against the British Raj in India. He preached revolution through his poetic works.’ Bidrohi,the Rebel’ was his most famous Bengali poem.It was collected in a volume titled,”Agnibeena” in 1924. The first anthology of his poems.
His poems depicted elements of romanticism,heroism and love.He called for rebellion against all forms of oppression including the oppressive acts of the British Raj in India. It is believed he got his inspiration from Walt Whitman’s ,’Song of Myself’.
His activism landed him in prison. He wrote ‘Deposition of a Political Prisoner’, while in prison. He worked for the freedom of the downtrodden masses in India.
He enrolled in schools whenever he was capable of paying the fees,he loved to study . He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge,which he acquired whenever he got the opportunity.
Throughout his career he wrote short stories,novels and essays.He was well-known for his poems. He wrote and composed music for nearly four thousand songs.
At age eighteen,he joined the Indian army. He enrolled in the British army for two reasons; his inclination to study the unknown,secondly the call of politics. He was posted in Karachi cantonment. He wrote his first prose and poetry in Karachi. He read extensively and was influenced by Tagore and Saratchandra Chattopadhay,also the Persian poets, such as Hafez,Rumi and Omar Khayyam. He learned Persian poetry from the regiments Punjabi Maulvi. He practiced music and pursued his literary interests.
At the age of forty three this vibrant poet lost his voice and was silenced forever,he also lost his memory. He died in Bangladesh in 1976 at the age of seventy-seven!