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Digital archive on poet opens in Nazrul Tirtha

A room in Nazrul Tirtha where the resources can be accessed

A digital archive on Kazi Nazrul Islam was inaugurated at Nazrul Tirtha on Wednesday.

“This is a one-of-its kind initiative in the country. Nazrul Tirtha now is finally true to its name. Researchers can work at the archive and those from out of station can put up (at the four guest rooms) here,” said Hidco chief Debashis Sen.

“Not enough research has been done on Nazrul in our country,” said urban development minister Firhad Hakim who inaugurated the facility in presence of members of the poet's family and researchers.

The archive has books by and on Nazrul, facsimiles of magazines Dhumketu, Langol and Gonobani edited by him, letters to and from him as well as songs and notations. “There are over 500 songs and 25,000 documents on hard discs,” said an official.

The minister takes a tour after the inauguration. (Mayukh Sengupta)

The archive has been put together by Arindam Saha Sardar. “Many researchers had perpetuated incorrect information. Resources are needed to know Nazrul better,” he said.

The archive has the first recorded Nazrulgeeti, Jater Namey Bojjati,  by Harendranath Dutta released in 1925. It also has Nazrul’s recitation of his poem Nari, released in 1928.

There are his handwritings in multiple languages — Urdu, Hindi and English, other than Bengali. Among his letters is his last one to Tagore.

Saha Sardar has also gathered booklets of the 13 films Nazrul had worked for like Sapurey, Patalpuri and Groher Pher. “These film booklets contained the cast, plot, lyrics of songs and sometimes the notations. Between 1931 and 1950, he worked in various capacities in films like Bidyapoti which was based on his play.” Clips of the film Dhruba for which he was the director, actor, music composer and lyricist, are also there. He was  also the composer for Gora (1935) based on Tagore’s story.

Stress was given on accessing pre-1942 recordings of Nazrulgeeti when he was fit. “These can be taken to be the authentic tunes. Later notations of many songs like Mora eki brintey duti kusum were tampered with.”

Familes of researcher Brahmamohan Thakur, brothers Jagat and Nitai Ghatak who had originally jotted down Nazrul’s notations, and Nazrul’s student Pratibha Som (Basu) helped Saha Sardar put the material together.

The archive is open Tuesday to Sunday, 1pm to 7pm. The material will also be available online.

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