Gandhiji in the eyes of famous Bengali rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam

A similar theme was picked up by Nazrul in Dhumketu editorials three issues later. In Mora sabai swadhin sabai raja (We are all free, we are all kings) “, Nazrul gave his own interpretation of the term” Swaraj “, suggesting that only complete independence should be demanded, that all were free and sovereign and therefore , one should not be subordinated to any other power. In this article, Nazrul did not directly mention Gandhi, but an interpretation can be drawn from it, especially when Nazrul says that all authorities should be challenged. Nazrul urged the reader to refuse to comply with all authorities, be it his own countryman or a foreigner. As we can see, there was a sudden change in Nazrul’s perception of Gandhi. Disappointed with Gandhi, he now tried to “Liberating” people to follow Gandhi’s path and seek alternatives. However, this does not mean that he became anti-Gandhi as the songs he wrote in 1924 show.

In April-May 1924 Gandhi visited Hoogly in Bengal. The poet warmly welcomed Gandhi with his composition titled Banglay Mahatma (The Mahatma in Bengal); this poem underlined the incredible response Gandhi’s stay received throughout Bengal. Here again, Nazrul made a point of acknowledging Gandhi’s attempt to suppress untouchability. He also wrote a long song about Charkhar Gaan (Song of the Spinning Wheel) which symbolized Gandhi’s principles of peace and self-reliance. The song recognized the charkha as a tool against imperialist power, a magnificent way to stir the people and once again a practical link between the two Hindu and Muslim communities. To praise the charkha, Nazrul wrote these few lines:

“Ghurcho, Ghurcho tumi Charkha,

Tor ghorar shabdo bhai, shunte sadai

jeno pai,

Oi khullo Swaraj-shinghoduar,

Ar bilamba nai, ar bilamba nai,

Shurjo udoy holo Bharot er dike,

Bhagya elo ebar amader dike,

ar bilamba nai ”.

(“Spin, oh spin, my dear spinning wheel! There I hear in the sound of your wheels, can I still hear them, It seems we all hear in your whirling sound, the door of the Lion of Swaraj open Don’t delay. The sun, which is India’s destiny, has receded, the painful night is over ”).

Like many in the country during the National Movement, Nazrul, while disagreeing with Gandhi’s decision to withdraw the Non-Cooperation Movement, could simultaneously appreciate Gandhi’s enormous contribution to the creation of an anti- united imperialist and alleviation of the condition of the poor and oppressed.

Ann G. Starbuck