Activities in Bangladesh

National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam’s works translated in Portuguese, Spanish

Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com Published: 2016-02-19 01:31:24.0 BdST Updated: 2016-02-19 01:31:24.0 BdST

Some selected works of Bangladesh’s national poet have been translated in Portuguese and Spanish for new audiences in Europe and South America.

Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam unveiled two books at Nazrul Institute in Dhaka on Thursday. Deputy Head of Mission of Spanish embassy Patrick Sandoval Nicholas and Deputy Chief of Mission, Brazil embassy Julio Cesar Silva were also present, along with the translators. Maria Helena Barrera Agarwal, a famous poet and translator of Equador, has published a book in Spanish containing 150 selected prose and songs of Nazrul Islam Anna Rita Baptista Rodrigues Jacinta, a freelance translator of Lisbon, has translated his 78 poems, songs and essays in Portuguese. Earlier, Nazrul’s works have been translated in 10 foreign languages including English, Urdu, Turkish, Russian, German, Italian, French, Japanese, and Chinese.

State Minister Alam said Nazrul's “impassioned activism for political and social justice earned him the title of The Rebel Poet. He is a poet of rare versatility, a musician, a lover, a warrior.”

2014: A privately sponsored Nazrul Research Center called “International Center of Nazrul (ICN)” was established in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The center is expected to work in collaboration with the University of Connecticut, CT., USA, California State University, Northridge, CA, USA, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA, University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC., USA, and the Nazrul-Burns Center at Glasgow University, Scotland.

2011: International Nazrul Conference was organized and hosted by the Nazrul Institute of Dhaka, Bangladesh, under the leadership of Prof. Rafiqul Islam, Chairman, Board of Trustees of Nazrul Institute and Mr. Rashid Haider, the Executive Director of Nazrul Institute. Prof. Winston E. Langley, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA, was the keynote speakers and Prof. Rachel F. McDermott of Columbia University, New York, NY, USA was an invited speaker. Furthermore, participants came from India, China, Netherlands, Scotland and Bangladesh.

2012: International Centre of Nazrul (ICNAZRUL) held its soft launch on May 19 at Radius Centre, Bay's Galleria in Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Commemorating the historic 90th anniversary of Nazrul's poem “Bidrohi”, the event announced the formation of ICNAZRUL, an initiative of AKK Foundation, dedicated to generate interest in the life and works of the National Poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam, both nationally and internationally. The soft launch brought together a select group of guests and representatives from USA, Turkey, Japan and the local community.

ICNAZRUL's objectives are to:

Promote Nazrul's literary and musical works nationally and internationally; Further his philosophy of universal humanism, social justice, human dignity and religious tolerance;

Facilitate youth engagement with Nazrul's works, emphasizing his relevance to the contemporary world;

Establish partnerships with international academic and research institutions to promote Nazrul's literature and music;

The soft launch featured an eclectic array of poetry, music and dance performances, including bilingual recitations of “Bidrohi”; several Nazrul songs rendered by eminent singers Salauddin Ahmed and Yasmin Mustari; a dance and Nazrul poetry rendition choreographed by cultural organization Shadhona.

The event ended with a vote of thanks from Salahuddin Khan, trustee and secretary of AKK Foundation.

ICNAZRUL's establishment has been undertaken through a collaborative, cross- sectional partnership between AKKHAN Foundation and eminent Nazrul scholar, Dr. Rafiqul Islam; Dr. Gulshan Ara and Kazi Belal in the US; Dr. Leena Taposhi, Music Professor, Dhaka University; Dr. Zasheem Ahmed of the Nazrul-Burns Centre, Glasgow University, Scotland. Dr. Manzoor Ahmed, Senior Adviser to BRAC Institute of Educational Development; Khilkhil Kazi, granddaughter of Kazi Nazrul Islam and a host of other professionals.

2011: To celebrate the 90th anniversary of the publication of Nazrul's "Bidrohi", Nazrul Institute organized a two-day (June 24-25, 2011) international conference on Nazrul in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The conference, held at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, brought together scholars and delegations from USA, Netherlands, China, India and Bangladesh. Professor Winston E. Langley, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA; Professor Rachael S McDermott, Bernard College, Columbia University, New York; Dr. Peter Custers, writer and journalist from the Netherlands; Young Weing Ming, editor and presenter, China Radio International; Professor Pabitra Sarkar, former Vice Chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, India; the late National Professor of Bangladesh Kabir Chowdhury; Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Chowdhury; executive director of Nazrul Institute Rashid Haider; poet Mohammad Nurul Huda; Professor Mohit Ul Alam and I gave in-depth presentations on Nazrul at the conference.

Poet Mohammad Nurul Huda presented his keynote paper titled "Universalization of the Rebel". In his keynote paper, enriched with apt quotations, allusions and references, Huda drew attention to the different layers of meaning in Nazrul's "Bidrohi".

In his brilliant bilingual speech (Bengali and English), Dr. Peter Custers focused on various concepts popularized by Nazrul like "National Awakening", "The Muslim Renaissance", "Firm Opposition to Communalism", “Tolerance and Equality", "Mysticism and Syncretism" and "The legacy of Religious Tolerance". His paper was titled, "Kazi Nazrul Islam: Bengal's Prophet of Tolerance". In her presentation, (in Bangla) titled "Banglar Nazrul: China-r Nazrul", Young Weing Ming said, "My Nazrul studies started with the recitation of 'Bidrohi'. After reading the poem, this certain sensation took over my senses that I can only compare to a volcanic eruption or tsunami."