Letter to Nargis
Original : Kazi Nazrul Islam
Introduction and Translation: Subrata Kumar Das
[Nargis Asar Khanam or Sayada Khatun was the first wife of Kazi Nazrul Islam, though they did not experience that marriage-life at all. Nargis was a niece to Ali Akbar Khan - a friend to veteran Communist Muzaffar Ahmad and well wisher of Kazi Nazrul. With Ali Akbar Khan Nazrul went to Daulatpur in Comilla and stayed there for about two months and a half. There he fell in love with Nargis, a beauty. Their marriage was settled. The date of marriage was Ashar 3,1328 B.S or middle of June, 1921. About their marriage Karunamaya Goswami says,
Some of the biographers of Nazrul Islam have doubted whether at all the marriage was solemnized. But it appears from various sources including some letters of Kazi Nazrul Islam that the wedding between Kazi Nazrul Islam and Sayda Khatun might have been solemnized, but unfortunately their wedded relations did not last long. For some reasons, not yet very clearly known, Nazrul is said to have left Sayade Khatun and Daulatpur in the very night of the day of marriage and never accepted Sayada as his wife.
(Kazi Nazrul Islam : A Biography, Nazrul Institute, Dhaka, 1996, P-30 )
Nargis waited for Nazrul for long seventeen years. But after the following letter she understood that there were no hopes at all. In the language of Nargis. On 4 November 1937 with the help of my uncle's friend Prof. Helaluddin of Mymensing I met Nazrul for the last time at Shialdah Hotel in Calcutta with my cousin Nowajesh Mohammad Khan and Wazed Ali. Seeing me Nazrul became unprepared. At first none of us could speak. Coming out of torpidity Nazrul told, You do go, I'm coming to Dhaka immediately and will make a solution; Nazrul told about his familial future-distresses. He told, Promila [Nazrul's wife] or her mother won't tolerate you. So you do stay in Dhaka. Thus he asked us to leave. But his immediately never came again.
After some years of her marriage affairs Nargis took admission into Kamrunnessa Girls College, Dhaka. She had some literary attempts also. She wrote three novels Tahmina, Dhumketu and Pathik Haowa along with some textbooks.
About Nargis love for Nazrul what Azharuddin Khan, a noted Nazrul-researcher in his book Bangla Sahitye Nazrul ( Nazrul in Bangla Literature ) wrote may be quoted:
In all her three novels Nargis had only one target that is Nazrul. Her novel Tahmina is about the story of Sohorab Rustam. Rustam's wife was Tahmina. There is a great similarity between the lives of Nargis and Tahmina. As Rustam the hero left Tahmina and went for battle, Nazrul also left Nargis. Both of their lives are sorrowful since their birth bereft of love. The eagerness that Tahmina expresses in every line of the novel is nothing but the agony of Nargis herself. (First Supreme Edition, Calcutta, 1997, P-79)
Later on Nargis was married to poet Azizul Hakim. Nargis died in 1985 at the age of 81 in Manchester of USA. ]
106 Upper Chitpur Road
Gramophone Rehearsal Room
I received your letter in a fresh and wet morning of the new rains. On the day heavy showers spread all around from the cloudy sky. Possibly you can remember such a Ashar2 day of fifteen years ago which was also very rainy. I greet the new clouds of Ashar. In the era of Kalidasha3 the cloud-messenger carried the language of the heart of the solitary Joksho4 to his ladylove on the river of Reba, in the country Malabika. This blessing of the clouds revives the collection of extreme pains in my life. This cloud has shoved me up against the flowing agony from the heaven of imagination. Well let me answer the admonition and complaints against me.
Believe me, what I'm writing is true. If you make a picture of me of the comments from people, then you'll misunderstand me and that'll be false.
I don't have any desire to take any revenge upon you - from my whole heart I say this. My Omnipresent knows what a wound I carry for you in my heart, what a torment. I myself have suffered from the fire of this wound -I never wanted you burn with that fire. If you did not give me the touch of your fire, I could not play the veena of fire - I could not appear with the surprise of a comet. I carry the favouring attitude that I experienced in my early youth, which is till now as green as then. The inner fire of mind could not touch the outer garland of flowers.
Don't forget that I'm a poet. If I strike, I strike with flowers. My adoration is not for non-beauty or ugliness. My stroke is not as cruel as that of a coward. The Almighty knows (I don't know what you have known or heard) I don't have any admonition, complaint, or demand against you.
I never sent any messenger to you. Not even God, let alone any human, can be the bridge over the unfathomable difference that has been created between we two. Believe me, I didn't believe those mean people. If I did, I could not answer you. I don't have any disrespect to you, neither any right - I repeat. Though I served the trade-mark-dog of gramophone, I did not let any dog loose on anyone. The dogs of your Dhaka bit me once in my less cared situation. I had the power to take revenge, but I didn't.
I laugh that you've mentioned my lack of courage of going to Dhaka for fear of those dogs. You know how much the boys (youths) love me. On my request my fans pardoned them. Otherwise they didn't have any trace on the earth. You haven't got much opportunity to know me, and so you've written so... well, you're good looking, virtuous and rich, so you'll get many flatterers. If you take a husband on your own accord, I won't mind. On what right shall I stop you or order you? The cruelest fate's fred me from all rights.
I don'know what's your mentality now. I know only you of your early youth days whom I placed as a goddess in my heart's altar with my eternal love and respect. You didn't receive that altar on that day. Like a stone-goddess you chose the altar of pains. ... Where throughout my life I have been continuing my worship. The you of today is a falsity and failure to me, so I don't want to get that. May be I'll be deprived and get much more pain seeing that state of you - so I'm denying you.
To meet you? What matters if that's not done in this earth? The flower of love fades and dries in the dusty ground. If you really love and want me, you'll get me there. Laily5 didn't get Mojnu, even then no pair got each other more than they got. Killing oneself is a great sin - it's an old wise-word but it's a great truth. Soul is imperishable-none can kill soul. Who's more fortunate than you if you get the golden touch of love? With the bright touch of it everything of you will shine. Sorrow doesn't perish if you go from one home to another with sorrow. If man wants, he can turn the wrongs into flowers by his labour and practice. If you've committed any wrong, you must correct it in this life-time and only then you'll get pleasure and meet salvation. Only then all your sufferings'll end. Try to enrich yourself. God Himself will be at your side. I'm living with family-bonds, but I've crossed all the bars of family and gone to a higher world - where every incompleteness and wrong are seen from sympathetic point of view in a charming state.
All on a sudden that incident of fifteen years back flashed in me. You were suffering from fever, after much efforts my thirsty hands could touch your white and beautiful forehead. Till now I can feel the touch of your warm forehead. Did you look at me? I'd tears in my eyes, earnest desire to attend you by my own hands, and deep prayer to the feet of God for your recovery. It seems as an incident of yesterday. Eternity couldn't remove that imprint. What a strong dissatisfaction and a flow of uncontrollable love it was. I couldn't sleep for a moment for days and nights.
Well, today I'm going with the tide of the ending age. You don't have the power to bring me back. Don't try to do that any more. Let this be the first and the last letter to you from me. Believe me, wherever I'll stay my blessing will be with you. May you be happy, may you get peace. I'm not that much bad as you think - this is my last explanation. Yours
Have you read the poems of my Chokrovak (The Flamingo) ? You will get answers of many of your complaints. There were bitter reproaches about me in some of your books.
1 Kolyaniashu : Form of addressing to junior dear-ones
2 Ashar: The third month of Bengali year
3 Kalidasha: Most famous Sanskrit playwright of the 5th century
4 Joksho: The hero of the poetry Meghadut by Kalidasha. Exiled Jaksha would send message by the clouds to his lady-love
5 Laily: Heroine of a famous Bengali mediaeval poetry where Mojnu is the hero