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Coming to Campus

- August 28, 2006

Coming to Campus is a section announcing visiting speakers of note.

Those who wish to submit items for this section should send a brief description (maximum 300 words) of the event, including the date, time, and place, and giving the name, title, outstanding accomplishments and, if available, a color photo of the speaker to: Visiting Speaker, Advance, 1266 Storrs Road, Storrs, CT 06269-4144 or by e-mail: advance@uconn.edu, with Visiting Speaker in the subject line.

The information must be received by 4 p.m. on Monday, a minimum of two weeks prior to the event.

Publication will depend on space available, and preference will be given to events of interest to a cross-section of the University community.

Symposium to celebrate,examine vision and artistry of Bangladesh's national poet

A day-long symposium to celebrate and examine the vision and artistry of Kazi Nazrul Islam, the national poet of Bangladesh, will take place Sept. 9, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Student Union Theatre.

Nazrul, who died in 1976, is also known for his contributions to modern Bengali music.

The symposium will feature an academic seminar, and include poetry readings, a photo exhibit, song and dance performances, and a film documentary. It is co-sponsored by the Asian American Studies Institute and the Asian American Cultural Center, and community members of Bengali origins.

Nazrul was born in poverty in 1899, in what was then British-ruled India.

He became a freedom fighter who advocated for liberation from colonialism, sectarianism, religious fanaticism, gender oppression, social injustice, and human degradation.

Known as the "Rebel Poet" and eventually named National Poet of Bangladesh, he also was a master musician who wrote and composed a world record number of lyrics.

A universalist and bridge builder, he wrote and composed not only modern songs, but also Islamic and Hindu devotional ones.

He wrote a popular poetic translation of parts of the Qur'an.

His works include 21 books of poems, nine plays, six novels, and more than 3,000 songs.

Nazrul's vision was for a just and humane world filled with beauty, love, and dynamism. He not only fought for his vision at the level of ideas, he was also a soldier in the field.

He described himself as holding the "tender flute" in one hand (representing everything good and wholesome) and the "war bugle" in the other (standing for everything ugly and unjust).

Speakers during the symposium include Winston E. Langley, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs, University of Massachusetts; June McDaniel, professor of religious studies, College of Charleston; M. Omar Farooq, associate professor of economics and finance, Upper Iowa University; Phyllis Herman, associate professor of religious studies, Cal State, Northridge; Gulshan Ara Kazi, creative director of Taranga U.S.A., Nazrul Endowment Research Study Group; and Neela Bhattacharya Saxena, assistant professor of English, Nassau Community College.

His Excellency Shamsher M. Chowdhury, BB (Bir Bikram), the ambassador of Bangladesh to the United States, will also address the audience.

The symposium is open to the public, but registration is required. For information and to register, call 860-486-4751 or 860-486-0830.  

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