Two American Nazrul scholars were honoured with special honorary award for their contributions to Nazrul research at an international conference on Sunday at Sufia Kamal Auditorium of Bangladesh National Museum.
Nazrul Institute organised the conference titled ‘Conference on Nazrul Studies in America’ to felicitate the two American scholars- professor Winston Langley, former vice president of University of Massachusetts, and professor Dr. Rachel McDermott of Columbia University.
The conference also featured presentation of two papers by the American professors. Besides, local researcher Kazi Belal and Kazi Gulshan Ara spoke on Nazrul Studies in America.
The programme was also attended by Nazrul singer-researcher Nashid Kamal, Bangla Academy director general Habibullah Siraji, poet Muhammad Nurul Huda and Khilkhil Kazi, granddaughter of poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.
Nazrul Institute chairman professor emeritus Rafiqul Islam presided over the conference.
In her paper titled, ‘Translating the epicurean Omar Khayam: The surprising Bengali lives of the iconic English rendition by Edward Fitzgerald’, Rachel McDermott pointed out Nazrul’s translations went much closer to the spirit and style of Khayam.
‘Since Nazrul was well-versed in Persian and knew the poetic style of Khayam, his translations are more direct and precise than other translations available in Bengali,’ said Rachel McDermott, who has translated about 250 Nazrul songs and poems.
Winston Langley, in his paper titled ‘The significance of the universal declaration of human rights’, evaluated Kazi Nazrul Islam as ‘one of the most vocal humanitarian poet whose poems have spoken against social anomalies and injustices’.
There is a growing interest in Kazi Nazrul Islam in America, added Langley.
Bangladeshi researchers Kazi Gulshan Ara and Kazi Belal, who have been researching on Nazrul, also spoke about the scope and length of Nazrul studies and research in America.
‘Significant works on Kazi Nazrul Islam are being done in the USA by American and Bangladeshi scholars. We have ways to go still, especially in translating Nazrul’s works and presenting them before the world,’ said Kazi Belal.
Poet Muhammad Nurul Huda praised the efforts of the American scholars from America. ‘As a poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam stands tall for his anti-communal and humanitarian outlook. We need more quality translations of Nazrul’s works to present him across the world,’ said Huda.
The conference ended with a short cultural show where renowned artistes Nashid Kamal,Salauddin Ahmed, Chhanda Chakrabarty and Maidul Islam rendered Nazrul songs. Dancer Warda Rihab and her team presented a colourful recital too.
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