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Nazrul academy shifts out of Salt Lake into Action Area 1

Salt Lake’s loss will be New Town’s gain. Nazrul Tirtha, which was supposed to come up at Indira Bhavan, has now been shifted to Action Area 1 of New Town.

The chosen plot is adjacent to DLF Building. It would house an educational and research centre on Kazi Nazrul Islam. “One would get every kind of information here about the rebel poet. The academy would house an archive, an audio-visual arena, a library, a reading room and a research centre,” said Debasish Sen, chairman of Hidco.

“Other than one in Churulia, Nazrul’s birthplace in Burdwan, nowhere in Bengal can research take place on Nazrul. We plan to gather everything written by him and on him under a single roof,” said poet Joy Goswami, secretary of Paschimbanga Kazi Nazrul Islam Academy which is spearheading the project.

Advice and books will be sought from Nazrul Institute in Bangladesh where he is recognised as the national poet. Existing translated works will also find place to help with further translation projects.

There are also plans of a music library. “If a song has been sung by multiple singers, and each follows different notations, we will archive all of them. A researcher should be able to access all the versions at the click of a mouse.” For that, the collection has be digitised. Goswami admitted that the lack of recorded notations was a problem with Nazrulgeeti, leading to singers introducing variations in recitals. “We will have to prepare notations of all the existing versions.”

Once Nazrul Tirtha is ready, a search would be launched for manuscripts and letters as well as articles of personal use of Nazrul. “We have received letters from people wanting to give away long-playing vinyl records or letters in their collection. All this will take time,”Goswami said.

The artist’s impression that is put up on the urban development department’s website for Nazrul Tirtha shows a modern structure incorporating Islamic architectural elements like latticework and arches. An element of communal harmony has been woven in by incorporating lotus petals. The entire outer encasing might be made of metal and be rust-free to withstand the elements, said Sen.

“The building would be constructed in such a way that each level would provide new information about the poet. The poet’s work would be on display for everyone. The ground floor of the building would be dedicated to casual visitors including children. The next floor would be an audio-visual room containing projectors and other necessary equipment catering to the needs of researchers. The main block would house administrative offices and guestrooms,” said Sen. Goswami says he also wants an auditorium.

The change of address was announced on May 25 when the state government celebrated Nazrul Jayanti. “We wanted Nazrul Bhavan to come up at Jyoti Basu’s residence. It is just a guesthouse and was not named after anybody. But some people have been protesting. I won’t allow any controversy over anything related to icons,” chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said, referring to protests by the state Congress against the proposed change of name of Indira Bhavan.

Now the shift in venue might force some change in plans. “The plot where Indira Bhavan is located is only 54 cottahs but the present plot is 120 cottahs,” said Sen.