Kazi Nazrul Islam is our National Poet, but, in addition to writing poetry and composing songs, he also wrote fiction. In fact, Nazrul’s first publication was not poetry, but the short story “Baundeler Atmakahini” (The Autobiography of a Vagabond), published in Saogat in May 1919.
Roquiah Sakhawat Hossein was born in 1880, Kazi Nazrul Islam in 1899. Apart from their difference in gender, there could not have been more differences in the circumstances of their class and upbringing.
Perhaps the starkest image of the Partition, which created the two independent states of India and Pakistan in 1947, is that of the train massacres.
One late December night in 1921, Kazi Nazrul Islam wrote what would be his most iconoclastic poem, the poem that would give rise to his soubriquet, “Bidrohi Kabi,” the Rebel Poet. Inspired by a complex of emotions, Nazrul’s ideas were flowing too fast for his pen to keep pace.
Nazrul’s iconic poem uses both Islamic lore as well as Hindu myths to rebel against all that dehumanises and discriminates against human beings.
In her memoir, translated into English as An Unknown Woman (2016), Jowshan Ara Rahman describes how the first poem on February 21, 1952
My first meeting with Mohiuddin Ahmed was in 1956, at a dinner in his brother's house. His brother, Kabir Ahmed, was what in Bangla we call the "bhaira bhai" of SAM Khan, my father's colleague in the civil service, and the friendship of the two families extended to include him.