Vol. 5 Num 710 Sun. May 28, 2006  

Greater endeavour needed in preserving Nazrul's work
National Poet's 107th Birth Anniversary celebrated

To celebrate our National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam's 107th birth anniversary, Nazrul Institute is holding a book fair, discussions, cultural programmes and more at the Institute premises. The celebrations began on May 26.

At the discussion on the first day, the speakers were executive director of Nazrul Institute, Abdul Hye Sikdar; secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, ATM Ataur Rahman; noted Nazrul exponent Asadul Haque; member of the institute's trustee board, Professor Md Abdul Quayyum and eminent Nazrul singer Rawshan Ara Mustafiz.

Comparing the changing trends of Nazrul song renditions, Rawshan Ara said, "Nazrul artistes of my generation and the generations before that would agree that there have been significant changes in rendering Nazrul songs. The gayakee (style of rendition) of Nazrul songs has a distinction; back in the day Nazrul artistes used to highlight those certain nuances.

"For instance when one heard the song Nayan bhora jol go tomar anchal bhora phool, one noticed the emphasis on the word jol with a certain lilt. Same goes for the song Ei shikol porar chhal moder...with a stress on the word chhal. These little nuances and more give Nazrul songs an unmistakable appeal. I listen to artistes of this generation performing Nazrul songs, and in most cases that certain charm is missing. Aspiring singers should study Nazrul songs and renditions by seasoned artistes more to get an idea of the nuances in Nazrul songs."

Asadul Haque said, "For Tagore enthusiasts and individuals interested in doing research on the poet, all the essential documents, scripts and more are available at Rabindra Sadan in Shantiniketan. Vishwabharati has been preserving Tagore's songs with utmost care and it has the copyrights to all the songs, thus restricting distortion.

"It is unfortunate for us that no similar effort has been initiated to preserve the mammoth collection of works by our National Poet. In just two decades (22 years) Nazrul had created over 3000 songs, astounding as it may sound. However, so many of his hand-written scripts and lyrics are missing. One major problem is the dispersion of his works in two countries -- Bangladesh an India. During the peak of his creativity, Nazrul was in Kolkata. Naturally majority of the records of his songs were there.

"I remember during a visit to Kolkata, while walking on the streets, I stumbled upon a hand-written script in trash which looked familiar to me. To my surprise, I discovered about 120 pages of Nazrul's writing in that heap of trash. All India Radio sold many of Nazrul's songs and documents. Many of the original tunes of his songs were modified through the course of time. To initiate collecting the works and records would require a generous fund and collaboration between West Bengal and Bangladesh."

The discussion was followed by a cultural programme featuring artistes performing Nazrul songs and dance.

The celebrations at Nazrul institute will end today.

Dancers performing at the event