I do sing of equality

In which dissolves

All the barriers and estrangements,

In which have been united

Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians.

I do sing of equality.

–“Samyabadi”, Kazi Nazrul Islam

 

Born in 1899 in Bengal, Kazi Nazrul Islam was a Bengali poet, writer, musician known as “rebel poet” for his fierce opposition to the oppression; be it the British colonialism or Capitalist exploitation. His interests in literatures and music developed early on in his life when he joined a travelling theatre group. His poem “Bidrohi” (Rebel), written in 1922, was well received among the different independence movements of the sub-continent and is considered a masterpiece of anti-colonial literature. He was arrested in 1923 for criticizing the British rule in his magazine. Deeply inspired by the writings of Marx and Lenin, Kazi also founded Kirti Kisan Party in 1925. Along with the independence of the sub-continent, the party also strived for the social, economic security of the workers. Kazi Nazrul Islam also wrote poetry on love, nature and deities of various religious traditions. Besides poetry, he was also a musician who composed over four thousand songs. Unfortunately, his prodigiously rich creativity was cut short by a neurological disease due to which he started losing his speech and memory around 1941. After the formation of Bangladesh, he was brought to Dhaka and was honored with the status of “national poet”. He died in 1976.

Many learning and culture centers in Bangladesh and India have been named after Kazi Nazrul Islam. On the other hand, the state of Pakistan has perhaps only harassed, jailed, willfully omitted revolutionaries, poets, activists like Kazi Nazrul Islam.