Observing today the 158th Birth Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

The Bengali community of Navi Mumbai  will be observing the 158th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore on Saturday i.e. 11th May 2019.Though  Rabindra Jayanti is observed on May 7, the community has planned a musical tribute to celebrate the birthdays of Gurudev and four other contemporary poets of Bengal: Rajanikanto Sen, Atul Prasad Sen, D.L. Roy and Kazi Nazrul Islam.

Renowned Rabindra Sangeet exponents and poets from across the country are expected to perform at Sahitya Mandir, Vashi. Nritya natikas, or dance performances based on poems of the Nobel laureate and icon of Bengali literature, will also be performed by children who have been trained by the association.

“Our community has been celebrating Guru Rabindranath’s birthday for around 37 years now. We are expecting over 550 people for the celebration this year. Every year around 500 people turn up for the event,” said Partha Sarathi Basu, General Secretary of Navi Mumbai’s Bengali Association.

Mr. Basu said Gurudev’s literary work goes beyond all boundaries the world over. “His songs and poems touch the deepest emotions of every Tagore lover. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages all over the world. Tagore’s songs talk about women’s empowerment, freedom of thought and mind, love and passion for life. One can rise with his songs and reach spiritual heights,” Mr. Basu said.

According to him, the primary objective of the event is to take the audience back to different eras of Bengal’s history through the works of some of its finest literary minds. Saturday evening’s programme has been named ‘Pancho Kobir Swarne,’ a celebration of five key Bengali poets.

Gurudev Tagore is credited with re-shaping the Bengali language and literature in the 19th and 20th centuries through his works in almost all genres. He also left a profound mark on music and the performing arts. He wrote over 1,000 poems, eight volumes of short stories, almost two dozen plays and playlets, eight novels, and many books and essays on philosophy, religion, education and social issues.

Gurudev also composed over 2,000 songs and set them to music. Two of them became the national anthems of India and Bangladesh. He was the first non-European poet to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He won the prize in 1913 for Song Offerings, the English version of his collection of poems, Gitanjali.

In 1915, he was knighted by King George V, but he renounced the knighthood in 1919 following the Jallianwala Baug massacre. He also started Visva Bharati University at Shantiniketan in 1921, which drew scholars from all over the world. He died on August 7, 1941, at the age of 80.

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