The poetry and music of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and Bangladesh’s national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam resonated the Indian embassy here as fans and followers of the renowned poets celebrated their works at a joint get-together organised by the missions of both the countries.
A large number of people attended the “Rabindra-Nazrul Jayanti” event organised on Saturday to celebrate the 161st birth anniversary of Tagore and 123rd birth anniversary of Nazrul, the two most versatile and great Bengali poets who left their mark on the national and international arena with their poetry and music.
Diplomats, members of the diaspora of both the countries as well as Chinese admirers of Tagore recited the inspirational poetry of Tagore and Nazrul, while accomplished Kathak and Bharatanatyam dancers made specially choreographed presentations.
“The bonds between India and Bangladesh are rich and suffused with history. There is very little that divides us. There is much that unites us,” India’s Ambassador to China, Pradeep Kumar Rawat said, addressing the gathering.
The links between the two countries extend to every aspect of human life, be it social, economic, cultural, intellectual, political and spiritual. The excellent bilateral ties reflect an all-encompassing partnership based on equality, trust and understanding that goes far beyond a strategic partnership, he said.
India and Bangladesh share a cultural heritage based on civilisational commonalities and history, Rawat said.
“Bengal’s cultural history presents a synthesis of several ways of life. This culturally fertile and intellectually stimulating region has produced great men of letters and accomplishments,” he said.
“Today, I pay my humble respects to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, who are shining examples of the shared rich common heritage of India and Bangladesh,” he said.
“Gurudev Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam are among the ‘Panchokobi’, the five greats in Bengali literature, who have played a very influential role not only in shaping Bangla literature and culture, but also our national identities. This is best reflected in the simplest fact that Gurudev Tagore penned the national anthems (Jana Gana Mana and Amar Shonar Bangla) for our two countries,” he said.
“Tagore’s life and teachings speak of his thirst for innovations, perseverance and endeavour. He broke the barrier of time and region and displayed brilliance and pragmatism, which continues to be of relevance even today,” Rawat said.
“He taught us to be proud of our nation, culture and ethos and enlightened the globe with his immortal speeches and poems. He emphasised on education, learning and social empowerment. His vision inspires both our nations and many countries across the globe to work towards achieving these goals,” he said.
“On the other hand, ‘BidrohiKobi’ Kazi Nazrul Islam was a remarkable literary genius and a true rebel (Bidrohi), who on his quest for self-expression and freedom of thought, preached unforgettable lessons on pluralism, secularism and the importance of an egalitarian society,” he said
“Nazrul’s writings were a perfect amalgamation of varying traditions. He is said to have introduced the concept of ghazals to the modern Bengali imagination—setting a clear example of art transcending boundaries,” he said.
In his address, Bangladesh’s Ambassador to China, Mahbub Uz Zaman said the joint event by the embassies highlighted the friendship and close ties between the two neighbouring countries.
“We are bonded by the glorious Bangladesh war of independence in 1971,” he said.
“Despite the 38-year gap between Tagore and Nazrul, they endured a close relationship blended with respect and love. Their literary works depict a common thread of social justice, non-communalism and humanity,” he said.
Tagore, who wrote the national anthems of India and Bangladesh, was also the inspiration behind Sri Lanka’s national anthem too as Ananda Smarakoon, who wrote the song studied in India’s Viswabharati University in Santiniketan, he said.
Tagore and Nazrul had mutual respect, admiration and affection. Nazrul, who was deeply inspired by Tagore’s writings since his childhood, also wrote several poems about Tagore, he said.
In 1913, when Tagore won the Nobel Prize, Nazrul was only 14 years old. He was influenced by Tagore like other young people of his generation. Tagore’s influence on Nazrul was boundless, Zaman said.
Nazrul, whose productive life was just 11 years as he suffered from ill-health, has emerged as a poet, journalist, politician and novelist, displaying unparalleled versatility and fought for the independence of India and the realisation of the rights of the marginalised communities, he said.
“In this short span of productive life, Nazrul created songs of depth and magnitude. He was a true genius,” Zaman said.