Inter-religious Harmony in Nazrul’s thoughts and writings
Dr. Mohammad Abdul Hye
Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976) was born in a society that was rent by class division, religious separatism and communal hostility of British India. And yet he was indisputably a voice of communal harmony in Bengali literature. He evolved himself through a long trek of differing thoughts and ideologies and when he reflected, as an enlightened person, upon the backwardness and obscurantism of society, he felt embittered and mortified. Nazrul Islam came to the realisation that for the true emancipation of India and fulfilment of humanistic ideals communalism must be ended and amity between Hindus and Muslims established. Animated by this ideal he sang the song of Hindu-Muslim unity till the last day of his normal life. He waged a war against communalism and always remained an ardent and vocal campaigner in pursuit of his ideals. His non-communal and humanistic consciousness was a moving force in his literary activity from the beginning. This non-communalism Nazrul Islam consciously upheld throughout his life, in words and deeds. For a good reason artistes sing– ‘Rabindranath in everyone’s heart, in consciousness Nazrul’.
In his quest for truth he gave more importance to humanistic values than to visits to mosques and temples. Nazrul believed that unless man could be uplifted by the higher ideals of humanism mere visits to shrines and worshipping there would be of no avail. ‘Man is above everything, nothing is above man’– this universal humanism of the medieval poet Chandidas found a stronger expression in Nazrul’s works. The picture of society steeped in selfish and outmoded customs powerfully was depicted in Nazrul’s writings.
Nazrul’s essay ‘Mondir O Mosjid’ (Temples and Mosques) opens with these words: “Annihilate the jobons (An insulting word used by fanatic Hindus to address Muslims), Annihilate the Kafers (an insulting word used by Muslims while referring to Hindus). Again the Hindu-Muslims problem was created– first quarrels, then battles. Those who were shouting loudly to save the prestige of mother Kali (A Hindu Goddess of power) or Allah earlier did not remember them when they were in danger. Both the Hindus and the Muslims were groaning in the same language ‘Oh mother, Oh father’– as two motherless children crying for the mother.