YEARS OF TAGORE
Rabindranath Tagore was not
just a modern Asian, but was accepted and adored equally by the West,
writes Ashok Vajpeyi
a young student who
was intellectually and aesthetically being groomed by a schoolteacher.
He gifted me for my 'Upanayan' ceremony a set of books, which
contained three books of Agyeya and one of Rabindranath Tagore. It was
the English version of Gitanjali, with an introduction of W. B.
Yeats, whose greatness I was completely unaware of. I read it at one
go and felt strangely dissatisfied. At the age of 14, I was hardly
able to grasp the depth, the spiritual dimension of the poetry. But I
did write a prose-poem under its impact.
beyond the known
Tagore and the Bengali identity are synonymous. Each and every
intellectual Bengali (and often others, too!) prides himself on being
inspired by Tagore and his work. In fact, this versatile creative
genius is vital to Bengalis and "Bengaliana". Ask any
average Bengali what Kabiguru, as Rabindranath is fondly
remembered, means to them and he will tell you all about the
accomplishments and achievements of this Renaissance man.
echoes in Punjab
Gurudev wielded great
influence on letters and arts in Punjab. Many modelled themselves
after this great figure of Bengal's renaissance, writes Nirupama
and Punjab, so far away, are yet so near in many a significant
moment in history. One could play on a limerick and say that the sons
of Punjab are very good fighters, whilst the sons of Bengal are mostly
writers! Major socio-political movements that started in Bengal, found
their echoes in Punjab, be it the national struggle for Independence
from the British regime, or the revolutionary ripples of the Naxalite
movement of the late 1960s.
Although it is difficult to
fathom the depth of Rabindranath Tagore’s prophetic vision, his
sound ecological wisdom is as relevant to our times as it has been in
the past, writes Mina Surjit Singh
years between 1913, the year Gitanjali won for
Rabindranath Tagore the Nobel Prize for Literature, through George
Orwell’s negative utopia in 1984, and Roland Emmerich’s
2009 cinematic representation of the big-bang end of the world in his
film 2012, are still fresh in our national and global psyche. A
history which has been one of hitherto unparalleled technological
development and progress in all areas of knowledge, it has also
witnessed an accelerated journey of violence and degradation of our
natural rhythms and ecosystems.
hallmark of his women
Tagore's women come across as
strong and independent even when they seem trapped in conventional
roles, says Shoma A. Chatterji
Tagore created, redefined, reinvented, deconstructed and
presented the woman of tomorrow. Images of Tagore's women come across
as strong and independent even when they seem trapped in conventional
roles. Women everywhere will find a close friend in Tagore. Positive
or negative, central or marginal, young or old, normal or psychotic,
rural or urban, married, single or widow, traditional or modern, his
fictional women are strong with personality traits rarely found in
Bengali literature of the time in so many different ways, so
frequently and spread out over a hundred years of literature and
Biswas recaptures the festive spirit of Basant utsav at
Santiniketan. Gurudev, inspired by the concept of joy and brotherhood
of Holi, had decided to celebrate it as the festival of spring
has brushed the trees with red now. Drinking in the vibrant
beauty a flame- coloured palash and Krishnachura, my
mind meanders to Santiniketan where gulal and red flowers merge
into a riot of colour during the Holi festival. Rabindranath
Tagore was so inspired by the concept of joy and brotherhood of Holi
that he decided to introduce it as Basant utsav, festival of
spring, in Santiniketan, his abode of peace.
Rajan goes on a pilgrimage to Thakurbari where Tagore was born
is a bit of struggle to spot Thakurbari, the birthplace and
ancestral abode of Rabindranath Tagore, in the narrow bylanes of
Jorasanko. Though it seems in a state of neglect, the palatial house
is a quite place, away from the maddening crowd of the historic city.
of Rabindra Sangeet
Shoma A. Chatterji
Tagore’s name is linked to his literary creations.
Internationally, Tagore, as a lyricist and composer of songs, is a
lesser-known creative genius. Bengalis born during World War II till
the early 1960s, were brought up on Rabindra Sangeet. These songs were
sung by old masters like Bechu Dutta, Santideb Ghosh, Pankaj Mullick,
Santosh Sengupta, Rajlakshmi Dutta, Jaganmoy Mitra and so on.
Tagore’s impact on cinema
as a medium goes beyond just the stories and songs that have over the
years enriched Indian films, writes Saibal
unlikeliest film in which Rabindranath Tagore ever registered
his timeless presence was Island, a bewitching and powerful
narrative that Dutch-born Australian auteur Paul Cox crafted in 1989.
The film was set in a small, somnolent Aegean isle and revolved around
three disparate women played by Irene Papas of Greece, Eva Sitta of
Australia and Anoja Weerasinghe of Sri Lanka.