On the evening of Friday, November 10, 2023, the Embassy of Bangladesh in The Hague will welcome admirers of Kazi Nazrul Islam, the National Poet of Bangladesh, to a concert that celebrates the poet’s profound legacy. This enchanting event, organized by the embassy, will be held at the Humanity House and feature the remarkable Dr. Nira Rahman, a renowned Nazrul Song singer-researcher, and academic at Arts Teaching Innovation, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne. The evening will unfold with captivating melodies and thought-provoking insights, highlighting the enduring significance of Nazrul’s work.
Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976) remains an iconic figure in Bengali literature and culture, celebrated for his versatility as a poet, writer, and musician. His life story is one of resilience and commitment, as he fearlessly advocated for the rights of the marginalized and oppressed. Even in his youth, Nazrul ventured onto the battlefield, symbolizing his unwavering dedication to the causes of humanism and liberty. Nazrul’s legacy is further marked by his strong belief in secularism and pluralism, transcending religious boundaries, and promoting unity among all people. His songs, steeped in themes of love and rebellion, continue to resonate with audiences worldwide.
Dr. Nira Rahman, a dedicated vocalist and musician, brought Nazrul’s compositions to life with her exceptional performance. Her musical journey is deeply rooted in the principles of the Agra Gharana, and she is renowned for her semi-classical renditions and interpretations of traditional Bangla songs, particularly those composed by the “Ponchokobi” (the five poets). Dr. Rahman’s music is a fusion of her passion for literature and culture, influenced by her illustrious gurus, Dipali Nag and Wahidul Haque.
For Dr. Rahman, music is not just a performance; it is a form of prayer that allows her to express her innermost feelings and connect her physical and spiritual worlds. Her music is a celebration of her Bengali heritage, intertwined with the rich musical traditions of Indian classical music. She attributes the uniqueness of her music to the profound influence of her mentors and her academic work, which explores themes of language, culture, and identity representation.
In her role as an academic specializing in Educational Design and Student Engagement at the University of Melbourne, Dr. Rahman is committed to enhancing the inclusivity, applicability, and internationalization of arts and humanities education. Her work transcends the boundaries of the classroom, reflecting her dedication to fostering discussions on diverse and intersectional identities within the community and promoting inclusivity.
Dr. Nira Rahman’s contributions extend beyond the stage and the lecture hall. She is a published author in the Bangla language and a regular contributor to international media outlets, where she shares her insights on culture, language, and identity in both English and Bangla. Her multifaceted career is a testament to her commitment to bridging the gap between academia, music, and community engagement.
As His Excellency Riaz Hamidullah, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Netherlands, expressed, “This concert is a testament to the enduring spirit of Nazrul’s work and the power of music to transcend borders and promoting unity.”