The social and political background of the poem, “Kandari Hushiar (Beware My Captain) 


“Kandari Hushiar” meaning Beware My Captain, is one of the most inspiring patriotic songs composed by Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976), the rebel poet of Bengal and the national poet of Bangladesh. The poet wrote the poem based on the Hindu-Muslim riots in India around 1926.  In the poem, the poet urges the Indians specially the younger generation to rise above the question of race, creed, or color by understanding the high values of humanism. 

Criticizes communal violence:

In the mid-1920s, the political environment of Bengal changed dramatically. The Hindu-Muslim riot started. The explosion of communal violence spread across Kolkata. It even affects remote rural areas. Moreover, Nazrul points out that some religious leaders and priests are actively responsible for communal hatred between Hindus and Muslim disorder. In the poem Captain be aware, Nazrul strongly criticizes the person who led their own community to the wrong side. 

The occasion of the song: 

Seeing the oppression, suppression, and cruelty of man due to social injustice Nazrul hurt deeply. He thinks he has to do something for his countrymen. from this thinking he composed the poem “Kandari Hushiar” (Beware My Captain) known as a patriotic song. In the poem, he calls upon the young generation to save the nation from danger forgetting the Hindu-Muslim. 

Fought against the evil of communal violence:  

Nazrul composed this song against the background of Hindu-Muslim disorder in different places in India. He sang it on the occasion of the annual session of the Indian National Congress, the common platform of anti-colonial struggle, held in Krishnanagar. He tells through the language of the song; “The night is dark, Be on your guard/ You, soldiers of the country” and again he says, “The helpless nation is going underwater/ It does not know how to swim”.  Here Nazrul recalls his patriotism and love for the people of the country and tells the captain with great emotion, who are drowning or dying day by day They are neither Hindu nor Muslim. They are the children of Mother India. Through his song, expressed his patriotism and wanted to tell everyone to work together to save the children of India. 

Nazrul’s farsightedness:  

Nazrul possessed of far looking. He felt that it is impossible to be free from British rule without solving Hindu-Muslim communal hostility. So, he called all the people and native leaders of India to work together to regain their previous prestige and freedom.  He declared that the Indian nation would sink if Congress, the leading political force in India’s freedom struggle, failed to stem the tide of communalism. When Nazrul sang this song in 1926, the incidents of communal violence were merely local sparks. But these sparks turned into a communal fire at the time of division in 1947 when millions of Muslims and Hindus perished. when Nazrul Islam was writing “Kandari Hushiar”, He felt the upcoming danger of the nation. 

Inspiration for a united struggle:   

Nazrul through the song the captain be aware calls for a united struggle including all classes of people, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians for national independence. He remembers the field of Plassey where India lost her independence to Clive. The poet remembers the brave sons of India who laid down their lives for the motherland in the past and he expresses his hope that the nation would victory in this great ordeal. Thus, through the song ”captain be aware” Nazrul tries to increase political knowledge among the Indian people including social problems. 


From the light of the above discussion, it is clear that the poem “Kandari Hushiar” is a vivid picture of the social and political background of that contemporary society. Here Nazrul urged the Congress leaders to work with greater determination for Hindu-Muslim unity and to fight against British imperial rule.

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Mottaleb Hossain
Mottaleb Hossain

This is Motaleb Hossain, working on studying, a researcher on English literature and Theology.

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