My favourite poet (author) is Kazi Nazrul Islam. His poetry and songs have been tested by time and trusted by generations. His birth centenary was observed in 1999.
The British rule in India invited many blows from many walks of life and it was Nazrul who raised his head with poetry in his hand. He is much like the poet Shelley in English poetry. He tried to avoid the philosophical poetry of Rabindranath Tagore and practised his hand in revolutionary writing in Bengali. He took up the fiery lyre and tuned its strings in consonance with the drumbeats of the youths of the country.
Kazi Nazrul Islam was born in May 1899. He was the child of Kazi Fakir Ahmed and Jaheda Khatun. He had very little school education and had to face a very hard life when he was in adolescence. His father died untimely and he had to pass a very humble life since then. While at Class X he joined the army in the post of a Havildar in 1917 and served up to 1919. The genius in him began to manifest from this time. Back from the army, Nazrul took to writing regularly and up to the year 1941, he continued to write poetry and songs in volumes. In 1921 ‘Moslem Bharat’ published his ‘Bidrohi’ (The Revolutionary) which was applauded with ceaseless appreciation. His noteworthy books of poems are ‘Agnibina’, ‘Dolonchampa’, ‘Bisher Banshi’, ‘Sarbahara’, Phanimansa’. He was once arrested by the British police and sent behind the bars for anti-government writing. In jail, he protested against inhuman treatment of the prisoners and begun ‘Hunger-strike’. Rabindranath then sent his message by telegraph: ‘Give up hunger-strike. Our literature claims you’. As a composer of music, he had an outstanding genius. He experimented with Bengali songs in various ways and the number of songs he wrote is about three thousand.
However, in 1942, Nazrul was affected by a neurological problem in his brain. He lost his speech and, to a great extent, his senses. He was taken to Dhaka and breathed his last there on the 29th of August in 1976. If we evaluate his poems today, we can see that emotional outburst, the exuberance of expression and undaunted spirit are the essential features of his writings. But what keeps him imprinted in our hearts still brighter is his liberal outlook in respect of communal harmony and his zeal for unity Hindus and Muslims in Indian society.