The Rebel Poet died in this month of August close to thirty years ago. If you remember, an equal number of years in his life were lost to the malady that affected his health. There is, therefore, little question of the vast region of literature and music he would have covered if his life had been normal. Even so, when you go into a study of Kazi Nazrul Islam's life and achievements, you cannot but be amazed at the creativity, indeed the sheer energy he brought into his aesthetics.
What are the songs that we remember from Nazrul? He was, like so many of us, an incorrigible romantic. Which is why it makes sense to dwell somewhat on the romance that came through his music. There is mora aar jonome hongsho mithun chhilam. Listen to Firoza Begum sing it, in a way that no one else has. And there is Sadya Afreen Mallick, in whose silken voice come keno mono boney maloti bollori doley and aajo kaande kanone koyelia. What draws you to Nazrul is the variety he brings into his music, based as it is on the necessarily classical.
Remember Nilofer Yasmin? If you have heard her sing ke bideshi bono udashi, you feel that certain bohemian flutter in the soul. She died too early, but in that brief period of time she has left us a richness of Nazrul to remember. Manobendra's tryst with Nazrul was of an absolutely unique sort and so was Shatinath's. In Bangladesh today, there are artistes of repute who have kept Nazrul going through their dedication to his music. In Khairul Anam Shakil, Fatema Tuz Zohra and Nashid Kamal, Nazrul remains a throbbing affair.
Yes, it is the songs that we recall all these years after the poet's death. Think of mor priya hobe esho raani or chumki chumki bhiru bhiru paaye. And, in Jaganmoy's inimitable voice, gobhir nishithe ghuum bhenge jaaye? It is a song you are tempted to sing in the depths of the night, to feel its richness all over again. Manna De's rendition of shaono rate jodi shorone aashe morey is something that no has equalled in intensity and depth.
There is amaaye nohe go bhalo basho mor gaan. And then there is amar aponar cheye apon je jon khunji tare aami aponaye. Quiet passion is at work in tomar amar ei je biroho. In shukno patar nupur paaye, it is nature that comes encompassed in romance.
Let the afternoon decline into twilight. Across the horizon you hear Fatema Tuz Zohra sing momo mayamoy shopone. The heart brims over with ancient love.
The writer is Executive Editor, The Daily Star