Bengal high on Tagore legacy

Bengal high on Tagore legacy

There seemed to be Tagore everywhere on Kolkata streets as the bard’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations kicked off across the state.

No wonder Tagore is called a viaduct between India and the rest of the world for his message of universalism, something unique in world literature. The 1861-born Tagore was the first Asian to win the Nobel prize in 1913 for his book of poems, Gitanjali.
“Rabindranath is a way of life,” said actor, Sabyasachi Chakroborty.

Since dawn, admirers of Gurudev queued to Jorasanko Thakurbari—the poet’s ancestral home in north Kolkata—to pay homage to him, whose popular appeal hasn’t waned even 69 years after his death.

“His genius, timelessness and universality is all encompassing and lies in his ability to help others cope with trying situations in life—be it philosophical, social, political or personal,” says popular poet, Shankha Ghosh. “He has dealt with almost every experience one can possibly undergo in life, which is why he has a global audience,” he said.

Tableaux containing portraits of the poet and placards carrying excerpts from his compositions against war were also on display. Tagore museum, a part of the Rabindra Bharati University, also drew a large crowd.

Tagore's publishers have done brisk business despite the current wave of shopping malls, reel life and reality shows. His works continue to sell like hotcakes, especially his songs, whose multidimensional expressions make him contemporary even now.

“Through year-long commemorative programmes, we will take Tagore's works to one and all,” said a young fan of Tagore at his ancestral house.

Northeast had a special place in Tagore's heart. He penned some of his famous dance-dramas, songs and novels during visits to his favourite haunts in the region, especially in Agartala and Shillong.

“Tagore took skilled weavers from Assam to Bengal to develop and popularise weaving. He introduced Manipuri dance teachers in Shantiniketan. He also sought the help of erstwhile Tripura kings for scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose,” said researcher, Pannalal Roy.

It was during one such visit that he penned his famous drama ‘Yakshapuri’ (later published as ‘Raktakarabi’) and poem ‘Shillong-er Chithi’ (Letters from Shillong).

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