Students sung ‘Baitalik’ (prayer songs) and scores of people visited ‘Gurudev’ Rabindranath Tagore’s ancestral home to pay rich tributes on his 155th birth anniversary on Sunday. A special prayer was also held at Udayan, the house where Tagore had celebrated his last birthday in 1941.
At Visva Bharati university in Santiniketan, set up by the bard, the day began early with students singing the ‘Baitalik’ (prayer songs).
According to the English calendar, Tagore was born on May 7 but Bengalis celebrate the occasion according to the Bengali calendar - 25th day of ‘Baisakh’ month which was on Sunday. At Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata and at other places all over the city, Gurudev’s birthday was celebrated with songs, poems and recitals from his repertoire.
In Kolkata, hundreds paid a visit to Tagore’s ancestral home Jorasanko Thakurbari where cultural programmes were held to mark the occasion. The West Bengal government also organised a programme in Rabindra Sadan to pay obeisance to the Nobel laureate.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who was here to launch a jewellery showroom, recalled that he had sung the national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ written by Tagore in ‘Thakurbari’.
“I pay my tribute to him on this day and seek his blessings,” the 73-year-old actor, who was accompanied by actress-wife Jaya Bachchan said. Tagore continues to inspire filmmakers and on the 155th birth anniversary of the poet, two films are released in theatres.
Director Nitish Mukherjee’s “Char Adhyay”, based on Tagore’s celebrated eponymous novel, was released on May 6, two days before the poet’s birthday.
The film, which has a relatively fresh cast, was screened in the Kolkata International Film Festival in 2015. Mukherjee said he had tried to retain the spirit of Tagore’s original work, published in 1933, while making the dialogue simpler for the audience to understand.
One of Tagore’s immortal short stories “Post Master” is also slated to be released this month. All two stories had been turned into films before, with Satyajit Ray directing “Post Master” which formed one of the three films in the classic “Teen Kanya”, the other two being “Manihara” and “Samapti”.
“Teen Kanya” deals with woman characters of Tagore. “Post Master”, directed by debutant filmmaker Srijon Bardhon, was screened in the last Delhi International Film Festival.
Rabindranath Tagore’s ideas can guide Sino-Indian relations: Chinese Consul
Predicting that there will soon be more readers of Rabindranath Tagore in China than in India, Chinese Consul General Ma Zhanwu has said values of the bard can show the path to the new relationship between the two neighbouring countries.
“Tagore’s idea on China-India relationship could serve as useful guide as we work to deepen mutual trust, enhance friendship and develop bilateral exchanges and cooperation,” Zhanwu said. He said Tagore believed in Asian resurgence at a time when the West was dominant and Asians were looked down upon.
“Tagore was the first Asian to be awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913. He gave us the courage that our message could also be useful and valid for the rest of the world,” the diplomat said. It was for the first time yesterday that the Chinese consulate had celebrated Tagore’s 155th birth anniversary in a big way with a conference on the bard’s relationship with China where he had gone in 1924.