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Readers' Opinion

They Like us Sing their Song but don't like to Hear our Cries!- debate among Bangladeshi elites on Tagor's "Amer Sonar Bangla..."

Tuesday April 25 2006 17:36:03 PM BDT

Abid Bahar , Canada

There have been a growing debate among Bangladeshi elites on Tagor's "Amer Sonar Bangla..." song as Bangladesh's national anthem. The song was composed by Tagore during the anti partition movement of 1911 in which the West Bengali elites including Tagore himself took a leading role.

The contemporary debates among Bangladeshis is that eversince the partition movement, even Tagore changed his alliegiance from Bengal to India and he personally recommended that Bankim's "Bande Materem..." song should be adopted as India's national anthem. It is however true that Tagore's song is a beautiful expression of Bengal. However, in reality it remains only an illusion.

The reality is that since the time of Tagore many things have changed. West Bengal joined with India, and East Bengal with Pakistan. Again during the liberatin war of Bangladesh in 1971, India with our West Bengali brothers secretely built the Farakka dam to deprive the Bangladeshis of the needed water, drying up our "sonar bangla". There is no sign of West Bengal joinining with Bangladesh.

Despite our cries, there has been no protest from West Bengali brothers against India in the destruction of "sonar Bangla". It seems that they Like us sing their song but don't like to hear our cries! And our singing of Tagore's song morning and evenings, every day doesn't change their mind to stop building further dams. Our waters have been taken away for ever.

From our brother, the West Bengali Premier Buddha Dev's one favourate word for Bangladesh, is "a terrorist state;" the same message one would find is parroted through Al's advisors in Dhaka. This is despite the fact that West Bengal is terrorized by its home grown terrorists we are only bomberded with humiliation. To put down Bangladesh internationally it kept Taslima to work for BJP and write for Ananda Bazar Patrika. This is the brotherly gresture we get even when we sing our brother Tagore's song on a daily basis.

The debate in favour of changing our present national anthem was also made strong by new information that Tagore himself was known to have protested agaist the establishment of Dhaka university. Nabab Salimullah and Nawab Abdul Latif, were behind the establishment of the university, both were generally despiced by the West Bengali communal elites for their initiatives. If Tagore is found to be one of them, it will be a wise idea that Bangladeshis change their anthem because historically Dhaka University worked as the central institution in the renaissance of our modern Bangladesh spirit.

Secondly, if Tagore's song was proven to be chosen not by Mujib in 1971 but in his absence by an Indian agent working inside Bangladesh, it also questions its credibility as something not of the people's choice.

Undoubtedly, Tagore's expresion in the song " Amar Sonar..." about Bengal is beautiful. But the pro West Bengali/ pro-India Bangladeshis should understand that Tagore's Bengal is not there anymore. It is shattered into pieces.

Today West Bengalis aren't against Bangladesh's death trap Farakka and other 51 dams are drying up Tagore's "sonar Bangla." The fense built by India dividing Bengal permantly is not opposed by West Bengal, but protected by its Bengali joans and killing the East Bengali joans on a daily basis.

Fourthly, Tagore as a poet is indeed Bisha Kobi. But it doesn't reflect the reality of what he once upon a time said for a united Bengal. In addition to this, as a national anthem, there is no doubt that it is dull, and spiritless. More importantly, it is about Bengal of the past, not of the future.

Finally, as we begin our present journey for a future and modern Bangladesh, we should consciously choose things good for us as a nation. Then, could it be that Nazrul's "Chol, Chol, Chol, Uldhe Gogona Baje Madal, ..., Chol, Chol..." is an appropriate choice for our national anthem.

If the BJP, (the communal party) government of India can change even Muslim names of places like Ahamadabad, Mujafarabad and British named Bombay, the later into "Mumbai" the name of a Hindu godess, Bangladesh should be able to make a conscious choice in its national anthem.

This undoubtedly will displease Gaffor Chowdhury, Suranjit Sen and many other communal Indians like Dada Niranjen or Biswas dr or some Bangladeshi India-lovers. But surely, they don't represent Bangladesh or its spirit. So as to make sure that it is going to be a people's choice, there should be a national referendum on this. Because if progress means change in a desirable direction, Bangladeshis's desirable direction would be for "Chol Chol, Chol, Urdhe..."

If Bangladeshis chose Nazrul's more upbeat, lively song, "Chol, Chol, Chol..." appropriate for our national anthem, only to please our West Bengali brothers we should also keep Tagore's beautiful song" Sonar..." as Bangladesh Al's exclusive party anthem.

Abid Bahar


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