But to what extent are youngsters truly aware of Nazrul and his works? During a walk around Dhaka University (DU) campus, the final resting place of Kazi Nazrul Islam, this correspondent spoke to a few students on this regard.
Mohammad Mehedi, a final year student of the Department of Management, was standing by the DU Mosque gate, near the mausoleum of Kazi Nazrul Islam, along with fellow student Mohammad Mahmudul Haque.
“Nazrul has made significant contribution to our literature and culture. His songs are considered timeless assets,” said Mehedi.
“What we know of Nazrul is what we read in our textbooks in school and college. As university students we don’t have enough opportunities to explore Nazrul or any other great poet/litterateur as there is no general literature course in the business faculty,” he added.
“For students outside Dhaka there is very little scope to study Nazrul. Major programmes on the poet’s birth or death anniversary are rarely held outside Dhaka,” said Mohammad Mahmudul Haque who grew up in Brahmanbaria.
Can you name some of Nazrul’s remarkable works? ‘Bidrohi’ and ‘Agnibina’ — we had chances to read these two, said Samemi Javed and Moumita Roy, second year students of Tourism and Hospitality Management Department, who were on their way to their residential halls after their class.
A group of students were busy in an adda at TSC. They were asked to name some Nazrul songs. “Durgomogiri,” covered by Artcell, was the response. “Aurthohin also covered one of the songs, ‘Chol Chol Chol’,” said another member of the group.
Any other song? “ ‘Ramzan-er Oi Rozar Sheshey’ — this song is always aired on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr. Hamd and Naat of Nazrul are also aired on BTV and other channels during Ramadan and other religious occasions,” said Shyamol, another student from the group.
The group couldn’t name any other Nazrul Sangeet. The common grievance was that Nazrul songs are not aired regularly on the TV channels or they are not made appealing for the young. TV channels should hold more programmes on Nazrul throughout the year. The government also has a major role to play in promoting the National Poet, was their suggestion.
Siragis Sadik is a student of Public Administration Department.
“Nazrul is my favourite poet,” said Sadik. “Since childhood I have read his works. I find Nazrul to be a constant source of inspiration.”
“Among his works, the poem ‘Manush’ is my favourite. I see Nazrul as a poet who speaks of humanity,” Sadik added.
“I think Nazrul was the first Bengali poet to combine romance with revolution in his writings. His poetry has the power to encourage the deprived and oppressed against tyranny,” said Sohel Sarkar Rana, a third year student of Bengali Department.
Requesting anonymity, a student of Linguistics said, “I think the main reason why the young don’t know much about Nazrul is because his songs and literature are not promoted effectively. At book fairs, a youngster always looks for books by contemporary writers such as Humayun Ahmed, Zafar Iqbal and Imdadul Haque Milon, because their works are better marketed.”