Vol. 5 Num 94 Fri. August 27, 2004  

28th Death Anniversary: Tribute to our National Poet
Prevent distortions of Nazrul Sangeet--Khalid Husain

Khalid Husain, an eminent Nazrul singer, recently talked about different aspects of Nazrul Sangeet. On the occasion of the death anniversary of the poet, he talks about its popularity, importance of its promotion as well as the negligence of this genre.

Khalid is of the opinion that the practice of Nazrul songs has undoubtedly increased during the last 20 years. Yet, problems regarding controversy on the original tune and maintaining the originality of these songs still persist. To quote Khalid, 'Among the 4000 songs, of which Nazrul composed, not all the songs were recorded before he fell ill. Which is why very few original records are available in the market.'

Collectors of these rare songs like Ershadul Haque and Abdus Sattar owned these and later on handed them over to the Nazrul Institute.

The Nazrul Institute sorted out some of the notations and released them in the market. But Khalid Husain points out that these notations are unusable for laymen whose aim is to listen to the songs. He adds, 'For the listeners the original records or the undistorted remake versions by the modern day artistes should be in the market. But the record companies or the artistes are not really keen in releasing such records. That's why it has not been easy to generate wide spread popularity. An easy way would be to release Nazrul songs on a mass scale and in a manner which is comprehensible to the general listeners.'

Khalid Husain regrets that the Nazrul Institute has done very little to promote Nazrul songs because of their limitations while putting in an effort to further his other creative works. As a government organisation, he says, the Institute has difficulties and limitations in promoting Nazrul Sangeet.

The media is also indifferent towards Nazrul songs. The radio and television media have earmarked a tiny spot for Nazrul songs and that is also not in the prime time. Expressing his regret at this phenomenon, Khalid says, 'It is very unfortunate that the television channels have chosen to ignore Nazrul Sangeet. Likewise, artistes who feel that they will be more popular in the country are getting uninterested about Nazrul songs. Similarly, the artistes feel that they will be more popular by singing modern or contemporary songs rather than Nazrul songs.'

Because of the non-availability of the original tunes, some scheming artistes of our neighbouring country are releasing Nazrul songs with distorted tunes. As Khalid says, 'They have a lame excuse that the new generation listeners are interested in a new style and they have to do accordingly. However, the classic songs of Nazrul, DL Roy, Rajanikanto, Tagore and Atul Prashad should not be distorted even if people are not appreciative of the original form. It is our responsibility to preserve the songs of Nazrul as he is our National Poet.'

According to Khalid, there is very little effort to protect the original Nazrul songs from any kind of distortion. To quote him, 'I don't find any valid reason for this negligence in promoting Nazrul songs. Cheap entertainment has no relevance to Nazrul songs. Nazrul songs should be practised with respect.' Khalid complains that our National Poet is not focused duly even in the government organised tours.

Khalid strongly believes that the appeal of Nazrul songs is everlasting. As he maintains, 'While Bengal was overwhelmed by the songs of Tagore, DL Roy, Rajanikano and Atul Prashad, Nazrul brought a new dimension in music with his diverse appeal. He wrote about 35 varieties of songs like folk, ghazal patriotic songs and much more. And he wrote 4,000 to 4,500 songs from 1921 to 1942 while he also created 20 new ragas and six new taals.'

To quote Khalid, 'To promote Nazrul songs effective and innovative measures like music videos and CDs should be released. The onus lies on the audience as well. Nazrul Institute, the most suitable institute for research and preserving Nazrul songs, does only one tenth of what it should do to further Nazrul songs.'

In a fitting tribute to Nazrul, Khalid quotes the late poet: 'Music is the realisation of my heart. Whatever you say about my other works, don't say anything about my music.'

On his death anniversary on August 27, music lovers should take a pledge to prevent the distortion of Nazrul's songs.

Khalid Husain