National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam left a diverse musical legacy. His outpouring of spiritual passion was evident in the composition of timeless devotional genres: be it Hamd, Naat and Islamic songs or Shyama Sangeet, Kirtan and Bhajan is evocative of surrender to the Almighty. Nazrul sang the songs of the human spiritual quest irrespective of religion, caste and creed.
Nazrul’s song “O Mon Ramzaner Oi Rojar Sheshe” always invokes the Holy Eid-ul-fitr spirit in Bangalee life, while “Masjideri Pashe Amar Kabor Diyo Bhai” speaks of the poets desire to listen to Azaan (the call for prayers ) even from his grave.
His composition of Hamd, Naat and Islamic songs are many. “Ami Jodi Arab Hotam”, “Bishwa Dulali Nabi Nandini” “Bokkhe Amar Kaba’r Chhobi”, “E Kon Modhur Sharab Dile”, “Hey Modinabashi Premik”, “Hey Priyo Nabi Rasul Amar”, “Khodari Premer Sharab Piye”, “Mohammad Mor Noyonmoni”, “Mohammad Nam Jotoi Jopi” “Moru Shahara Aji Matoara”, “Naam Mohammad Bol Re”, “Taufiq Dao Khoda Islam-e” are such examples.
Noted Nazrul sangeet artistes MA Mannan and Yasmin Mushtari recently shared their thoughts on Nazrul’s devotional lyrics with The Daily Star. Excerpts:
It is really astounding to fathom how Kazi Nazrul Islam composed such a wide variety of devotional songs that equally moved people of both Muslim and Hindu communities. The hymns that state the accolades of the Almighty are Hamd while the numbers that eulogise Prophet Muhammad SM (PBUH) are Naat-e-Rasul. The genres are generally rendered without the accompaniment of any instrument.
The numbers — “Allah Amar Probhu”, “Ei Shundor Phul Shundor Phol” are Hamd while the compositions “Tribhuboner Priyo Mohammad”, “Tauhid-er-i Murshid Amar Mohammad-er Naam”, and “Tora Dekhe Ja Amina Mayer Kol-e” are Naat-e-Rasul. Nazrul’s creation of Islamic songs always stirs our spiritual passion, in a sense that his composition of Shyama Sangeet, Bhajan and Kirtan evokes devotional passion among Hindu believers.
Nazrul is a symbol of humanity, a great human soul. It’s a wonder that he enriched almost every aspect of Bangla music. The lyrics and tune of Nazrul’s songs — “Saharate Phutlo Re Phul”, “Mohammad Naam Jopechhili Bulbuli Tui Agey” and “Amina Dulal Nache Halimar Kol-e” — have a soothing effect that moves everyone. Many mistakenly incorporate Nazrul’s ghazal compositions with his devotional songs. A ghazal rather represents all the forms of higher love, either human or spiritual.
Nazrul sang for mankind. He sang of their desire for embracing eternity or the Ultimate (creator). Our nation consists of people of different religions, castes and clans and Nazrul tried to unite all through his songs. His songs impartially appease souls of both Muslim and Hindu communities. Here Nazrul’s uniqueness of sublime thoughts reigns supreme like that of a super human. His creation teaches us how to love and respect all human beings. This is wonderful because it makes us think of shaking off the paths of hostility, aggression, violence and bloodshed. The use of similes and metaphors in Nazrul’s songs is subtle. Say for example, “Ami Dekhbo Kokhon Amar Eid-er Chand Mustafa Ke” metaphorically represents Prophet Muhammad (SM) as the moon. Again, there are many such examples in the songs “Mohammad-er Naam Jopechhi” like “Mor Nabirey Lukiye Dekhe, Taar Peshanir Jyoti Mekhe, Ore Chand Rangli Ki Tui Gabhir Anuraag-e”.
The essence of Nazrul’s lyrics strikes me and brings tears to my eyes. Eid-e Miladunnabi is both the birth and death anniversary of our beloved Prophet. So, the day brings both happiness and sadness. Nazrul was a poet of humanity who called for harmony instead of religious extremism. Nazrul is a treasure trove, he is our hero. May his soul rest in eternal peace.