When Kazi Nazrul Islam was writing his magnum opus titled “Bidrohi” (The Rebel) one December night in 1921, he certainly was in a deep trance, but was he also so broke that he had become restless?
His biographers and literary pundits, almost a hundred years later, still cannot agree. Some say, at that time, being unemployed and in a secret romantic relationship, he didn’t have a penny in his pocket. Others claim Nazrul was having a brief period of financial comfort because of the sale of three manuscripts.
The incidents of his first marriage also remain murky. Did he actually marry a country widow or did he quit at the last moment? What led him to leave the marriage ceremony at the dead of night and run away almost barefoot?
Biographers have contradictory tales to tell.
This is what quintessential Nazrul Islam was – enigmatic and always shrouded in mystery. Despite being a man of the twentieth century, many events in the life of Nazrul, our national poet, strangely manage to remain in the domain of myth and hearsay.
Kazi Nazrul Islam is the most undocumented poet we ever had.
In a seminal biography Bidrohi Ranaklanto (The Battle Weary Rebel) published last year, Golam Murshid, a renowned researcher and cultural historian, said, the biggest unsolved mystery about the bard of Bengal is how this unlikely genius almost magically rose to prominence in the literary world, despite coming from a forlorn part of the colonial countryside.
At the turn of the previous century, Kazi Nazrul Islam was born at the outer fringes of Bengal, at a place that is geographically so close to Bihar that he was saved by a whisker from being called a Bihari. The upbringing and cultural environment that he enjoyed there didn’t offer any clues to his future literary destiny.
One of his biographers, Arunkumar Basu, in his book Nazrul Jeeboni (The Life of Nazrul), explains, it is sheer genius that led this peripheral, untrained young man gain such an acumen in literary techniques. In poetry his preference of the ‘stressed meter’ and use of phonemic wordswas inspired by his senior Satyadranath Dutta. Later, in a roundabout way, heinfluenced Jibanananda Das in his early career.
Nazrul’s ancestry and family members remain unchronicled. What he actually went through during his childhood and teen years is an undocumentedchapter contradicted byoral and written memoirs.
Even in the later part of his life, when he became one of the most prominent literary stars, biographers fail to define the nature of his ailment that left him in total amnesia.
Today is the death anniversary of this great poet and musician. The day will be observed by several literary organizations and, of course, Nazrul aficionados.