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Title: “Young martyr of young blood!”: Cosmopolitan Style and War against Empire in Nazrul’s Kāmāl Pāshā
Authors: Mohanta, Subhasnata
Ray, Subhadeep
Keywords: modernist poetry
East- West relation
Issue Date: 27-Feb-2022
Publisher: Registrar, Vidyasagar University, Midnapore.
Series/Report no.: Journal of the Department of English. Vol. 15 2022;
Abstract: With an unprecedented revolutionary zeal for liberation and experimentations with the poetic genres meant for creating shock among readers/listeners, Kazi Nazrul Islam’s collection of poems, Agnibinā, published in 1922, marks a paradigm shift from the lyric oriented Bengali Poetry. Openly declared political engagement, accompanied by a militant rhythm that sways between pathos and vigour, of Nazul’s poems can be seen to anticipate even Tagore’s anti-imperialist later poems, like “Africa”, 1936. While the epoch-making “Bidrohi” reaches out to the indomitable spirit of mankind from the rooted myths and sensibilities, a series of poems in Agnibinā reviews the history of East-West relations by re-telling the anti-European heroics of Islamic fighters of Constantinople and Turkey –the meeting point of the two halves of the world. This paper focuses particularly on how “Kāmāl Pāshā”, a saga on Pāshā’s victory over the Greek army and sacrifice of numerous young Turkish soldiers, extends modernist cosmopolitanism to reconstitute a horizon of free humanity beyond any brooding over ‘waste land’, and, on the other hand, establish intimacy between victims of Empire across spatiotemporal distances. T.S. Eliot in his brief introduction to David Jones’ war poem “In Parenthesis”, 1937, draws attention to allusions and footnotes of English modernist poetry, but “Kāmāl Pāshā” shares same features to a radically different purpose. The homeward march in Nazrul’s song – intersected by prose narratives of historical setting and military instructions in a generic interplay – thus employs modernist aesthetics of motion and dissonance, but its positive relation to past provides a humanist alternative to the ‘heaps of broken images’ in Eurocentric modernism.
ISSN: 0973-3671
Appears in Collections:Journal of the Department of English - Vol 15 [2022]

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