Kazi Nazrul Islam on "Gonobani" & Muzaffar Ahmad

[The following letter was written to Sri Gopal Lal Shannyal, the (then) editor of Atto-shokti, the weekly publication of Deshbondhu Chittoronjon Das' Swaraj Party. Under a "book-review", in the issue of August 20, 1926, Sri Taranath Roy, under the pseudonym Tara-Ra, criticized Gonobani, the mouthpiece of Bongio Krishak-Shramik Dal. This letter was written in response to that.]

Srijukto "Atto-shokti" Shompadok,

... Then, the death-nail question of Tara-Ra: "Who are the labors, without sufficient cloth, food, and shelter, that are in charge of this organization?" I humbly submit my plea to Mr. Tara-Ra to be kind enough to visit 37 Harrison Road, the office of Gonobani. If you do bless us with your visit, you will see the foot-dust of many hapless chaps has piled up much higher than the stacks of "Gonobani." There is more floor than carpets. Chairs are luxury. ... My eyes become full of tears when I see the CEO of Gonobani, Muzaffar Ahmed. ... The condition of his body is deplorable. He is a walking symbol of protesting humanity. I swear if, seeing Muzaffar, one's dry eyes don't become wet. Such as selfless, unassuming, quiet worker, such a wonderful heart, such a saintly vision, a shining talent - above all, such a big, colossal heart and mind - one wonders how was he born in Noakhali, the domain of fanatic maulavis, or in Bengal, this country of mullah-maulavis. He is like a flame of fire, you can't control by beating. He is like a flower, eaten by insects, but still emitting fragrance. Tuberculosis has had the best of him - I don't know how will he live. Many Muslim leaders have cashed in during this fad of communal environment, many of whom don't deserve even to be disciple at his feet; only Muzaffar is virtually starving to death. I know that two full days he had to go without food to help bring out this Gonobani. Even Tom-Dick-Harry (Budhdhu Mian) is a leader, while Muzaffar is dying from vomiting blood. Yet, I have not seen a soul to love this Bharat-borsho, this nation, so wholeheartedly - let alone any Muslim leader, not even Hindu leaders. If some people have their head straight during this turbulent period of communalism, you can easily find out by reading Muzaffar's "Langol" and "Gonobani." ...

The very soul of the Musalman Shahitto-Shomiti is due to Muzaffar, but he always kept his name and contribution secret. When the same Shomiti was reinstituted, its new members did not even mention or recognize Muzaffar because he was in the bad book of the government (while most members themselves are in the good book). At this utter ingratitude, Muzaffar did not even utter a word. He was like the oil that lights the lamp. No one saw him. They only saw flame that burns by drawing on the oil. It's not just Muzaffar, almost everyone of this organization is in the same situation. Haleem, Nalini - all the same. Everyone needs attention and care. Some has appendicitis, some cancer; others have malaria, ulcer or arthritis. Let's not mention their skeleton like condition or their malnutrition. Almost all of them are waiting for the ferry-ride to the other side of the life. They don't have any waist pack full of money, and it seems that bombs are being made inside the tummy - that's their condition due to hunger. They are sagged all the time, like the bladder without any air inside a football. ... I extend an invitation to the author to descend, using the elevator, from his tri-story office that is usually cooled by electric fans and lit by electric lamps, decorated by tables-drawers-desks, attended by guards and then drive in his office-provided automobile to see our "Gonobani" office and its "directors". These thirsty ones might be able to enjoy a cup of tea at his expense. Of course, he would be offered a cup too. I myself would have taken Srijukto Tara-Ra, but I am constrained too. For several days now, I need to go to Kolkata, but unable because I can't afford the train fare. The rats are busy in BOXING games inside our pots and pans. The capitalists are even shrewder than I am. They say, "If you want to massage, try the body, not head - you might earn some pocket money. But that (boxing) is not to be, even if Muzaffar dies like a dried fish (shutki)."

Then, in regard to writings in "Gonobani", "they" have mentioned, "The farmers and labors of Bengal would be able to understand those better if, in addition to learning read, they read a few theories. I could not understand either their point or the sarcasm. However, I did realize how far is his understanding about the subject of his writing. Does he not know that hardly any labor of any country would understand Das Capital of Karl Marx. Those who would read and understand such works would not be farmers/labors, rather people like Lenin or Lansbury (spelling?). Even if the labor class in general does not understand, the theories of Karl Marx have done good, continues to do so and will do in future. His ideology has bred a group of people that wants to transform the whole world. The mass will never understand the theories or ideologies, but those theories or ideologies will breed people who will help the mass understand the essence of those theories. The driver will take care of the engine, the mass will ride. Gonobani is not for the farmers or labors either. It is for those who will educate the farmers and labors. The mouthpiece of Krishak-Shramik Dal: it means that Gonobani is the voice of the silent, suffering hearts - Gonobani will try to give their unbearable pains expression in words.(excerpts only)

(draft translation by Mohammad Omar Farooq)

[Source: Nazrul Rochonaboli, Vol. 4, 1996, pp. 51-55]