How much of an influence the national poet of Bangladesh exerts on the young generation? To find out, New Age talked to a number of university students. We asked them a few basic questions about Kazi Nazrul Islam, who is also known as the rebel poet.
The answers were not at all satisfying. Young women and men have very little interest and knowledge about Bengali literature and the poets and writers who contributed to its development. They don’t know much about the versatile Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam whose language and thoughts enriched our culture in different ways. Most of them prefer to read the works of contemporary writers. Though few students mentioned that they were into cultural practices involving singing and reciting Nazrul’s songs and poems, their numbers were only few and far between.
Lamia Islam Prity, a 2nd year student of psychology department of the University of Dhaka, said that she likes to read Rabindranath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay.
‘He is our national poet who has made outstanding contributions to our literature, songs, poems and others’, said Lamia when asked what she knows about our national poet.
‘Nazrul Islam joined the music troupe Leto Gaaner Dal in his childhood. He was a revolutionary poet. He left home at an early age and struggled a lot as a poet. I didn’t read Nazrul but I am learning nazrul songs in Chhayanaut,’ Lamia added.
Mahmud Newaz Joy, a 2nd year student of mass communication and journalism department of DU, said that he likes to read Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Humayn Ahmed along with Indian Bengali poet Sunil Gangopadhyay as well as some foreign writers in translation.
‘As Nazrul is considered a revolutionary poet, I think he is a humanist poet. I like his poems as I am learning poetry recitation at Muktadhara Sangskriti Charcha Kendra,’ said Mahmud.
Sharmin Nahar Bhuyan, a master’s student of Persian Language of the University of Dhaka, said that she liked to read Rabindranath Tagore, Humayun Ahmed, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Zafar Iqbal and others.
When asked about whether she read anything by Nazrul Islam, she replied in the negative and added, ‘I have not read much of Nazrul’s works as Nazrul has written more on Persian language. Most of the students like to read Humayan Ahmed and Zafar Iqbal,’ she said.
When New Age approached Dhaka University Bangla department chairman Bismadeb Chowdhury for his comment on the issue he shunned the issue.
Kashfia Jhilik, a 3rd year student of the department of Journalism and Media Studies at Stamford University Bangladesh, while sharing about her interest in Bengali literature said, ‘I am involved in cultural practice like recitation and singing. Few of the poems of our national poet inspires me a lot and I love to recite them on stage. Besides, quite a few songs by Nazrul had an influence over me.’
Nishan Abdullah, a 2nd year student in the BBA department of Stamford University Bangladesh, said he was not interested in literature.
‘I memorised the general knowledge about the national poet during childhood as it was included in syllabus but later forgot almost everything as he was not in practice. But I can remember the song “Tri bhubaner priyo Muhammad.” It was my favorite song during my childhood and I used to sing this often,’ Nishan said.
Nabila Akter, a Journalism graduate from University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, mostly likes to read the novels and stories by Humayun Ahmed.
‘I am not a big fan of poetry. But I have read few poems of Kazi Nazrul Islam. I think that the poet could express strong social-political message and his words has the power to motivate the young generation,’ Nabia said.
‘But I think it’s a matter of shame that I wasn’t confident enough about the national poet. I’ll try to learn more about him.’ said Nabila when asked how her generation feels about not knowing much about the rebel poet.
Shakila Shormi, a third year student of Eden Mohila College, studies in the department of Finance & Banking. She is a campus ambassador at Youth Empowerment Forum. She doesn’t read books much but she recalled the basics of the national poet.
‘I know that Kazi Nazrul Islam was born in Churuliya village of West Bengal. I know when his anniversary of death is. I heard members of cultural organisations were talking about it in our common room,’ Shakila said.
Hasin Riduana, who is about to complete her master’s in English literature from Eden Mohila College, confessed ‘I used to read novels by Humayun Ahmed often. Besides I had to read books of foreign writers as I am a student of English literature. I didn’t read any book by Kazi Nazrul Islam yet. But I have the desire to read them.’
‘Yes! I know his other name was Dukhu mia. He started his struggle at a very young age. I was outspoken,’ she said while asked what else she could remember about our national poet.
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