When they boast that, great inventions are by-products of wars, they forget to mention that, great artworks are by-products of anger against injustices and cruelties. Picasso’s “Guernica” was powerful because he was deeply moved by the atrocities of Spanish fascism. Vijay Tendulkar became one of the most acclaimed playwrights of India because he dared to attack the petty chauvinism of Shiv Sena.
Our film-makers have time and again shown courage in attacking social injustices. Himansurai tackled untouchability in Acchut Kanya, and K. Subramaniam exposed the ill-treatment of widows in Balayogini, as early as 1936. Recently, as a quick response to terrorist attacks in Mumbai, films like Mumbai Meri Jaan and A Wednesday were made which openly and sensitively examined the problem and took us by shock.
Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899- 1976), the great revolutionary poet from Bengal, often referred to as Bidrohi Kobi (Rebel Poet), is a great example of how supreme form of art comes out of injustice and cruelties. Nazrul’s poetic works espouse intense spiritual rebellion against British fascism and oppression. Nazrul’s writings explore themes such as love, freedom, and revolution. It is believed that the British, afraid of his revolutionary writings, slow poisoned him, which caused Nazrul’s health to decline steadily and forced him to live in isolation for many years. For 34 years, he suffered from an unknown disease, losing his voice and memory, and eventually passed away.
Kazi Nazrul Islam is the supreme example of how great injustice leads to great art, and great art leads to great sacrifice.