Original in Bangla by: Kazi Nazrul Islam
Translated by: Subrata Kumar Das
[‘Protivashon’ (Acknowledgement Speech) is the response-speech
that Nazrul made to the welcome address by S. Wazed Ali (1890-1951) , President of the Nazrul Reception Committee. On December
15,1929,Nazrul was accorded a reception on behalf of both Hindu
and Muslim people of Bengal. Organized at Calcutta Albert Hall,
the reception meeting was presided over by the noted scientist
Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray (1861-1944). After the speech of
Nazrul the revolutionary freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose
(1897-1945?) told in his speech:
There is a clear relation between literature and life in a
free country. This does not exist in our land. As the
country is not independent, people cannot collect
components from all the happenings of life. Nazrul is an
exception. He has collected components from various
happenings of life. I shall particularly mention one thing.
Nazrul has written poems on matters of war. He went to the
battlefield with gun on the shoulder. So he could write out
of his own experiences. Such things rarely happen in our
country. But in an independent country such things happen
very largely. It appears from all these that Nazrul is a
Many of us are put into jail. But little influence of jaillife is found in our literature. It so happens because we
fail to feel sharply. Many of Nazrul’s writings prove that
he was put behind the bars. This also testifies that he
is a living being.
The influence of his writings is extraordinary. As I read
his songs when I was in jail an unmusical man like me felt
like singing. We do not feel so keenly and so we cannot
write such lively poems.
Nazrul is truly a rebel poet. That he is a rebel at heart
is well understood. When we shall go to the battlefield, we
shall sing Nazrul songs on battles. We shall also sing his
songs when we shall be put into jail. …
The dream of poet Nazrul is not purely the dream of his
own, it is the dream of the entire Nation.
(Translation: Karunamaya Goswami, Kazi Nazrul Islam: A Biography, Nazrul Institute, Dhaka, 1996, P-109)
Every details of the reception ceremony were published in the
monthly Saogatin its Pous issue, 1336 B.S. In the Nazrul
Rochonavoli(Works of Nazrul) Vol-4 published by the Bangla
Academy, Dhaka, ‘Protivashon’ has been included in the part
titled ‘Abhibhashon’ (Speeches).]
I place on my head the gift that you have given on my hand. All my body and mind
and soul are ringing like a veenatoday. The only melody is singing there. ‘ I am blessed,
I am blessed.’
Maybe I am not in dearth of enough hair to receive all the flowers of a forest, but how
can I receive so much love from so many people? My heart is full tothe brim today. The
water of the river has lost its rhythm being captured in the pot of solemn rituals. If I fail
to say anything today, you please pardon my inability. You will go to that riverside on
whose river I am the water-flow, you will hearmy language and songs before asking for
Today is the day of yours,not mine. Moreover among the plenty of love, I do not
believe, I can lose myself. Today my language is shy and robed as a newly married bride.
If she were a dancer, even then please do not request her to dance today.
Today I have been greeted in a real sense.I am not telling onlyto those who have
brought gifts of flowers today. I am telling about those greater friends of behind the
stage, who cannot forget me though they have not come here and possibly they are
remembering me more. They get more pleasure in piercing than blooming flowers.
From that point of view my goddess of fate is more satisfied. Those, who are my
friends, love me with their whole heart, those who are not, oppose me joyously. I enjoy it
very much. Sharp enmity is better than dull friendship. Great friendship and sharp enmity
need much closeness. He must be an intimate relative of me who stays so near my heart.
On this day I pay my respect for them from my heart.
On one balance of the scale my friends have heaped the flowers of acclaims on the
other the non-friends have gathered the mud of defame and due to the equal balance of
both the groups I can stay well with out any imbalance.
You greeted me that day on which you liked my writing. My only duty in this
occasion is to express that ‘likeness’. Thatis to smilingly pay my humble homage. You
take only that from me and make me free. Do not make me a victim of high words. In
fear of being a victim on the stage I have been hiding from it and from people around. If
you decide to punish as I was hiding, thenyou have fulfilled your intention, you have
embarrassed a spotted moon bringing him to a smiling one.
They, who know me not only through writing but, personally, know that I am a good
man. I have not come to create anything abominable. There was a necessity of knocking
where I have knocked. It is not an offence of an employee of the corporation−authority
who crushes a collapsing building, rather the offence is his who perpetuates it and
manages death for some ten people.
Some are creating fear in the minds of people calling me Vidrohi(a rebel). I do not
possess the desire to scratch, bite or drive the nation. Those who have driven me, are
being driven for long by death. I have only helped with my little power.
I do not hesitate to admit that I have not exceeded the attraction of power, the beauty
and grace, the beauty. Like the thoughtful childof beauty my motto is also “Beauty is
truth, truth is beauty.”
I do not know whom and how much I have gratified with whatever I have provided.
But I know well, I have not been able to provide myself completely, my desire to provide
is not yet satisfied. Let me not dishonour the highness of the peak of mountain, in whose
fall, to be united with the ocean, was my existence.
I have been born in the possibility of impossibility of twentieth century. I am one of
the trumpeters of its adventurous army. I know the existence of heinous snakes and
dangerous tigers in every turn of this journey. The marks of their attack are on my person.
Even then it is my own way, my motive and my polestar.
Do not curse the black cloud of the northeast seeing its snowy calmness and
indifference. When the flute of storm will blow, that mad one will come forward with its
previous identity. We have to wait for the new spring during the whole winter.
I request them, who blame me for my not becoming like them, to consider the birds of
the sky, flowers of the gardenand poets of songs as everyone’s. I am not only of this
country and society due to my birth here. I am of every man, of every country.
Meditation for beauty and worship for Him ismy religion. It is a mishap for me in
whatever family, society and religion I am born. I am a poet because I have come out of
that. The forest does not complain because the birds sing from above their nests. No one
will support the change of a cuckoo into a crowas the crow chases the cuckoo thinking it
ungrateful. Please accept what I can give you. If you beat a mango−tree, punish it on an open street, it will not be ableto produce jackfruit. Rather due to the punishment it will
lose its power to produce mangoes.
They do not know I am one of the pilgrimages that is proceeding to unrobe death at
the light of youthfulness. Though not as a torch but as a fearless song of the voice. I also
want to say them who have got vexed not seeing me in the market of flowers on the New
Year’s day that the contemplative−state of me as a future Tajmahal is not yet exposed.
When it will be exposed, I myself will come there as a Khurram with dreams of a Taj in
I have seen not only the veenain the hands of beauty or lotus on its feet, but also tears
in His eyes. I have seen Him in the formof poverty on the ways to cremation or
graveyard. Seen Him in the battlefield, in the black holes of prison or on the scaffold for
hanging. My song is to get that beauty in multifarious forms.
Some call my language as of Muslim, some call it Kafer(Infidel). I say, none of those
two. I have only arranged a handshake between Hindus and Muslims and change their
fight into friendship. If that handshake is worse that fight, they will be separated
spontaneously, it will need no extra effort. Because one of them has a stick and the other
a knife in his sleeves. …
There are so much dust, and so many snakes and sounds in literature that if I go with
a candle, it will blow out and I myself will die.
If this is the venom of the upsurge in the seas, then all the responsibilities of upsurge
should not go to the demons, half of it goes to the gods also. Without their participation
this upsurge should not have beenpossible. In spite of that I want to say that this upsurge
is not the only truth, please do not get impatient ⎯ proceed gradually, the Amrito
(ambrosia) is waiting.
I pay my deep respect and love for you again. I have not come tomake you satisfied;
rather I have come to be. Many thanks to you all.
To email Subrata Kumar Das: firstname.lastname@example.org