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Universalization of the Rebel

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25th-May-2018       
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What is beyond the ability of any translator is an exact reproduction of the unique rythm of the Bangla text. However, a few characteristics of the original Bangla text may be summed up as follows: (a) it is one of the most moving poems produced by the intercation of highest kind of auditory and visual imagination of a creative self; (b) it is musically a most forceful poem metaphorizing the mighty forces of nature such as typhoon, cyclone, whirlwind etc; (c) it his uneven lines, each of which is metrically arranged, highly figurative, alliterative, end-rhymed and full of assonance; (d) it offers hyperbolic presentation of human glory and makes it believable to its readers; (e) most of its words are sanskritized, high-sounding and bombastic, producing immense force and might; (f). Notoraj or Shiva has been developed as the central instrument of destroying and creating again; (g) the ultimate aim of the poet is the attainment of a kind of idealized 'Supreme Beauty' which would never decay. A few references to evaluatory comments on this poem by the literary critics at home and abroad may be given in this connection. The first comment is by Professor Serajul Islam Choudhury as under:
In his poems of revolt he shows, not unlike Shelley, a particular love for the mobile and changing aspects of nature. In them Nazrul Islam found symbols for his own state of mind .... He has to his credit poems on Marxism as well as on spiritualism. But through all these varying moods and apparent contradictions there runs an underlying and abiding unity provided by a love for strength and power. He compared himself with great heroes as well as villains in history, because in both he saw mainfestation of the principle of strength and vigour.
Next let us quote from Professor Momtazuddin Ahmed as follows:
In fact, there is hardly any difference between the diverse 'Ami' (I) in Nazrul's Vidrohi and the search for his 'Supreme Beauty' in the following nineteen years (till 1941, when Nazrul spoke of this 'Supreme Beauty in one of his latest speeches) The tide of an animation drove him towards the ocean of realization.
His personal life, his time and a benign world of 'Supreme Beauty' that he dreamt all his life were not affected at all by his continuous search for this Beauty. His 'self' is that self which is at once furious and beautiful. His dedicated endeavour, rather his worship, was directed towards discovering God's ferocitv and beauty. He did not bother whether he got recognition or vilification for that, and no great poet is, ideed, bound by the limits of insignificant considerations.
Momtazudddin's analysis relates to the theme of the poem, but Azfar Hussain presents a penetrating analysis about what he calls 'the politics of its (Vidroili) language',
In his attempts to break the barriers between, and forge the unity of the colonized, Nazrul's language becomes accommodative of both the Hindu and Muslim Myths which, held together, shape an aesthetic and political force hitherto unknown in Bengali poetry. His unmistakable flair for mythopoesis is indeed nothing but an anti-colonial political stratagem deployed to assert his own cultural identity against the imperialist project of effacement.
It is also worthwhile to notice that Nazrul's language evinces a continuous interplay between the prosaic and the poetic, between the indigenous and the foreign. One con not miss the creative mix of varied lexical resources including the Arabic and Persian and Urdu words, local idioms chosen form the familiar rural ambiance, and Sanskritized words accompanied by an insistent conversational tone, tune and text, and also by play-full allusions. Moreover, there is also an interplay between, and a chemistry, of varous metrical, syntactic and rhythmic patterns in Vidrohi; though, at the same time, one finds a certain amount of syntactic and metrical repetitions which, in fact, go on to constitute a specially occupied space of assertions for the colonized. With repetitions and varieties, this kind of language used by Nazrul in his poem Vidrohi does not prove to be only powerful, but also loving and appealing weapon for a Hegelian hero like Nazrul Islam who is more than a politician as well as more than a poet.
Indeed, the poetics and Nazrul's Vidrohi can be rewardingly read and reread for changing languagerelations through a linguistic struggle in which all of us are involved in varying degrees.
Now let us listen to Professor W. E. Langly about the unique voice of poetry produced by Nazrul:
Invoking images of typhoons, the roar of the oceans, the rush of hurricanes, as well as the blindness of cyclones and the blood lust of warlords to invite the "spirit of rebellion" would not, by themselves, have ... been enough to mobilize the people of Bengal, however. The voice of poetry must evoke and compose self and other in all their complexity ....
Hence, in the midst of images of fire, hell, and cyclones, we find the rebel as the "bitter tears of the widow's heart", the "pain and sorrow of all homeless sufferers", and the consciousness of the "insane" who has suddenly come to know her/himself, after the crumbling of false barriers Nazrul Islam, like the fifth century be Chinese sage, Motzu who focused on the universal person, espoused the human need for unity unity on a global scale. Hence his carrying the message of revolt to the earth and the sky"  against all divisions and socio cultural marginalisation of humans and as a sign of humankind's glorious victory, escorting the "flag of triumph at the world". With that trumph, he could sing not only the equality of human beings, but with "all impediments and differences removed between Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, and Christian", the flute of Orpheus could play for all. He also understood that it is the universal character of things which at once emphasizes and gives excitement and significance to individual and particular expressions.
After the above self-explanatory comments from some representative critics, we would conclude this write-up with the words of Kyoka Niwa from Japan. She has made an intensive investigation into the text of The Rebel and its contribution in setting the trends of modern Bengali poetry. Dr. Niwa says,
Nazrul's 'I', who stands alone in the whole universe, grasped people's mind. That 'I' was an existence which surpassed completely the 'You', which used to be enjoying a stable relationship with the 'I'. The personality of Nazrul first made it possible to declare loudly the 'I' itself, but at the same time, this was a stream of matter of course.
If we consider the meaning of 'modern' as something universal and necessary, the true T of Nazrul's expression indicates a point of modern in a true sense of the word.
Echoing the voice of Niwa, we may humbly submit that since anything universal and necessary is destined to hold good for any generation to come, Nazrul's Vidrohi would definitely survive the turmoil of time and it shall keep on being retranslated, reread and reinterpreted by human beings over and over again in the centuries to come. The aesthetics of The Rebel is indeed destined to withstand the wear and tear of time remarkably well since Nazrul could perceive the gloss of novelty of his works by harmonizing what is best in the tradition he inherited as an artist. This is what T. S. Eliot has interpreted as the relation between tradition and individual talent. Nazrul was much aware of his innovations as well as their bridging up with the past and the future by dint of his intuitive sense of aesthetic community. In one of his shorter poems called 'For the Poets of Days to Come', he voices his sense of tradition as follows:
Bright and hibiscus-red, like the morning sun
you are rising, you the poets of days to come.
The glowing morning for which we awake
You are waking in flocks, O birds, for that sake
I sing the hymn in the hope that you will come
And rise in the blue sky that I make.
I leave behind the memory of my salutation
please play on my lute your new-day song.
                (Translated by the present author) All best works of arts are innovations in some way or other, not excluding Vidrohi -- a text that would be reinterpreted and reorganized into newer texts by the extra-ordinary talents of the coming generations with a view to catering to their needs. Thus Nazrul would be reborn in each of them, which is another expression of an artist of highest order belonging to any bend of Time Eternal.
-Nazrul's aesthetics and other aspects

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