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"Karar oi Louho Kapat" and some related thoughts

Hafiz Rahman
16 Nov 2023 13:52:17 | Update: 16 Nov 2023 13:53:23
— Courtesy Photo

Facebook-YouTube and other social media are in storm, recently, because of the alteration and distortion of the tune in famous song of 'Karar Oi Louho Kapat' composed by national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. There! Remonstration is everywhere! Educated and semi-educated, specialist, semi-specialist, singer, artist, vocalist, tunist, instrumentalist, educationist, and everyone is protesting. Everyone is agitated in protest and resistance. Because what has been happened is not supposed to be happened.

A historic song `karar oi louho kapat’ had encouraged and prepared the Indian subcontinental independence for the combat against British regime of extortion as well as gave immense energy, courage-encouragement, and enthusiasm to our great liberation war of Bangladesh. This song has the unbendable power to break through the sickles of subjugation of brutal ruling and still now this is vivacious as the rare most inspiration for the subservient nation. The song is known as  'Bhangar Gan' as it is completely capable of disrupting the chains of slavery and subjugation. The mission of this song is a strong desire to protect the subcontinent from the tyranny-domination, torture-suppression, oppression-extortion, misrule, and injustice of the ruling British dynasty.

Background and theme

'Banglar Katha', A weekly newspaper was published in 1921 by the Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das. During this period, 'Satyagraha', the anti-British movement was going on all over India under the direct leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. When journalist and editor Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, was arrested, he handed over the charge of publishing paper to his wife Basanti Devi.

Later, Sukumar Ranjan Das, the family member of Basanti Devi, was sent to Kazi Nazrul Islam for a poem for the publication in `Banglar Katha’. Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad has stated this history in his book 'Kazi Nazrul Islam: Smritikatha' in this way - "Sri Sukumarranjan Das of the Das family came before me to ask for a poem for 'Banglar Katha'.  Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das was in jail and Sreejukta Basanti Devi sent sukumarranjan for a poem. Immediately, Nazrul turned back and started writing something. Sukumarranjan and I started whispering so that Nazrul did not get disturbed. After some time, Nazrul turned to us and started reciting the poem he had written at that moment.’

This poem was first published in 'Banglar Katha’ weekly paper in January 20, 1922, under the title 'Bhangar Gan'. Later Nazrul composed the tune to this lyrical poem and 'Girin Chakraborty' was the first singer. The song was recorded by HMV (N.31152) in January 1950 in vocal of Girin Chakraborty.

The song is well-preserved as marching song to the tune of 'Military March' and the rhythm of 'Dadra'. This song was first telecast on 27 November 1949 in the film 'chottogram astragar lunthon'. Besides this, the late filmmaker Khan Ataur Rahman used this song in the movie 'Jiban Thekhe Neoa' made in the context of the Liberation war of Bangladesh. The scene of foot-dancing with chains instead of jingling anklet bears the allegorical meaning in musical episode of the movie.

The theme, tune, rhythm, and aesthetics of `Karar oi Louho Kapat’ touches the heart of any listener profoundly. Even in that age, when information and communication technology was not so widespread, this song was covered in people's love, excitement, emotions and became viral by word from mouth to mouth. It did agitate all classes of people in India and terrify the British misrule, eventually the British dominant government banned the song as soon as possible. If the song is propagated, recreated, or even sung, will be under trial and thrown to jail. It is remarkable that Nazrul had to be imprisoned for this kind of writing.

Even today, some people are dissecting the song without consideration the background of it. British ruler banned this song in that era and the independent nation of this era is devaluating this creation committed undeniable offence unmannerly.

Distortion of tune and degree of crime

Those who do not have the minimum sense of Nazrul songs are altering the tune and committing excessive offence by disregarding the rhythm, meter, tune, and the theme of his songs. The first tune was made by Nazrul-Rabindranath or Lalon Fakir or any lyricist, should be confined. If any change is necessary in music composition, it may be done with the consent of the lyricist and tunist. If the poet is alive, it can be done with his permission and in case of not living, permission must be taken from the specialists of respective sectors.

Many have composed Nazrul songs in his era and this era also. But no one has any right to change his lyrics and/or tunes. Because the tune he composed is the most beautiful, appropriate, and up to date. So, the original tunes of Nazrul Sangeet do not need any change, because all his tunes are universally beautiful, appropriate, contemporary, modern, and befitting. One has covered his whole body properly with a beautiful sheet, pulling it on is not only awkward, but visually and aurally distressing and heartrending as well.

The stream of tune and melody of 'Karar Oi Louho Kapat' has the supreme power to wake up the sleeping people, make the sub-conscious to conscious and inspire the suppressed nation to fight for the liberation. The sum of two and two is four. Now someone said, I will write three or five. Then this is madness!! Where is the opportunity for such madness in Nazrul songeet?

Because Nazrul is not only a lyricist but also a musician and music researcher. Those who do not have the proper qualification or merit or are not to be his disciple, pupil of pupil, they have taken an aerobic right desperately to recreate and made fusion of his music. What a melancholy! What a fate for Nazrul!,

But it is memorable that Nazrul is the national asset of Bengali literature and Bangladesh. No one can change him at one’s will of ignorance. Many have raised the question - if those who are involved in distorting the tune of Nazrul's song 'Karar Oi Louho Kapat' have taken the permission of the poet's family, will it be a crime?

First of all, it has huge causes of thinking that the poet's family must not allow him to sing by changing the tune of this song. Furthermore, if the tune is allowed to change – this could not be supportable, and, poet’s family cannot do that. Because Kazi Nazrul Islam is the national poet of Bangladesh. There is a government institution, namely, Nazrul Institute. Only his family cannot decide about Nazrul alone without the consent of govt. institution.

There should be an expert committee, from which prior permission should be taken to use songs and poems of Nazrul, Rabindranath and Lalon or anyone famous literary person, so that no one can take any anti-national step in the name of fusion, modernization, or parody etc. The royalties will be given to the poet's family. But if they are not experts, then they cannot give their opinion to use songs or poems for just because they are relatives of the poet.

If we do not take strict action in this matter now, otherwise, one day the national anthem and war song will be distorted in no time of this nation.