People from all walks of life, including students, teachers, politicians, professionals and family members of the poet, on Saturday, offered prayers and paid tributes to national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam on his 114th birth anniversary. Floral wreaths were placed at the poet’s grave at the central mosque premises of the Dhaka University. Awami League joint general secretary Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif, cultural affairs minister Abul Kalam Azad, posts and tele-communications minister advocate Sahara Khatun, foreign minister Dr Dipu Moni and BNP standing committee member barrister Rafiqul Islam Mia paid tributes to the poet, on behalf of their respective parties. Students, teachers, officials and employees of the Dhaka University, led by vice-chancellor Prof. Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique, paid their homage to the poet, at his mazar early in the morning.
Later, different socio-cultural and political organisations, including family members of the poet, Juba League, Jatiytabadi Chhatra Dal, Bangladesh Chhatra League, National Museum, Nazrul Institute, Bangabandhu Sanskritik Jote, Jahangirnagar University, Nazrul Academy and Bangladesh Nazrul Recitation Parishad also paid their tributes to the poet.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated a two-day national programme on the occasion, at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city. Kicking off the programme, the Prime Minister urged everyone to work together to build a secular, modern and democratic Bangladesh, to make the poet’s dream true. “The dream of Nazrul will come true, if we can build a secular, democratic and exploitation-free Bangladesh, ensuring equal rights for everyone,” she said, adding Nazrul professed equality, which annoyed the British rulers. The poet drew flak for exposing the hypocrisy of those who had misinterpreted religion.
“Despite all adversities, Nazrul never broke down and compromised. Nothing could make him scared and dampen his courage and heroism. It’s a great lesson for us,” the PM said.
In a discussion marking Nazrul’s birth anniversary, DU vice-chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique said, “The country has a history of liberation war. Freedom fighters fought against Pakistani army and its collaborators, singing Nazrul’s songs. The enthusiasm spread throughout the country, when Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra aired Nazrul Sangeet.” Nazrul’s songs embody the spirit of equality against all kinds of inequality and crime.
Barrister Rafiqul Islam Mia said, “Nazrul is the poet of equality. Through his writings, he protested during the various critical moments of the country.” Local district administrations across the country also organised programmes to observe the poet’s birth anniversary. Various socio-cultural and political organisations have also observed the day.
Born on May 25 in 1899, at village Churulia in Burdwan district of West Bengal in India, Nazrul, through his poems, had inspired the people to fight against injustice and repression of the colonial rule. The poet’s fearless voice also earned him the wrath of the British rulers, who had jailed him several times.
Nazrul’s patriotic songs and poems were also great sources of inspiration for the freedom fighters, during the Liberation War in 1971.
President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and leader of opposition, Khaleda Zia, issued separate messages, highlighting the poet’s contributions to Bengali language and literature.
-With The Independent input