Qazi Nazrul Islam is the ‘Rebel Poet’ of Bengali literature. His poems breathe an atmosphere of optimism. As a powerful poet of the present generation he occupies a unique position in the domain of Bengali literature.
Qazi Nazrul Islam was born at Churulia in the district of Burdwan in 1306 B.S. in early life he had to struggle hard against poverty. His literary career really began in the military camps. His first ballad called ‘MUKTI’ or Salvation was published in a Bengali Magazine of Calcuttal. It is indeed a remarkable poem. He came back from the battlefield to Calecutta. It was at this time that his famous poem ‘VIDROHI’ or the Rebel and ‘KAMAL PASHA’ were published in a magazine named ‘Muslim Bharat’. His noted works are ‘AGNIBEENA’, ‘BANDHANGARA’, ‘RICTER BEDAN’, ‘BISHER BANSHI’, PRALAYA SHIKHA’, etc. Qazi Nazrul Islam is a poet of great originality. He used his mighty pen to champion the cause of India’s struggle for independence against the powerful British ruler. His lyrics are wonderful and appealing to all.
It is, indeed, an irony of fate that our poet was self-forgetful in his later life. His voice, once so rich, strong and sweet, fell silent during his life-time. Bengali literature owes a great debt to this ‘fiery minstrel of Bengal’ for his treasury of immortal verses. The poet breathed his last on August 29, 1976. The ‘Agnibeena’ has stopped for ever. The vina-player is no more. But the lingering resonance of the note will not stop for years to come. Attracted to folk theatre, Nazrul joined a leto (travelling theatrical group) run by his uncle Fazle Karim. He worked and travelled with them, learning to act, as well as writing songs and poems for the plays and musicals. Through his work and experiences, Nazrul began learning Bengali and Sanskrit literature, as well as Hindu scriptures such as the Puranas. Nazrul composed many folk plays for his group, which included Chāshār Shōng (“the drama of a peasant”), and plays about characters from the Mahabharata including Shokunībōdh (“the Killing of Shakuni,“), Rājā Judhisthirer Shōng (“the drama of King Yudhishthira” ), Dātā Kōrno (“the philanthropic Karna“), Ākbōr Bādshāh (“Akbar the emperor”), Kobi Kālidās (“poet Kalidas“), Bidyan Hutum (“the learned owl”), and Rājputrer Shōng (“the prince’s sorrow”)