Mamata pays tribute to Tagore, virtual b'day celebrations held
Darjeeling: In 1940, Rabindranath Tagore penned Jonmodin, a series of poems, enthralled with the participation of Hill-men with the gift of flowers on his birthday commemorations at Mungpoo.
80 years hence, COVID-19 could not stop the residents of this picturesque hamlet from paying floral tributes to the bard. Shishir Rahut, the caretaker of the Rabindra Museum, stated: "It was a humble but heartfelt tribute Mungpoo paid to Kabiguru. There were no instructions from the district administration or any department owing to the ongoing pandemic. But how could we forget his birthday? We did not forget social distancing too, owing to COVID-19."
Rahut's grandfather Bhimlal, a worker at the quinine factory at Mungpoo, used to carry Tagore on a palanquin-chair at Mungpoo. Rahut has been rendering his service as a caretaker even before the bungalow was converted into a museum, that too without any remuneration.
Mungpoo, 33 km from Darjeeling, was a favourite destination of the bard. Tagore visited Mungpoo in 1938 on May 21 and stayed till June. In 1939, he stayed here from May 14 till June 17 to return on September 12 to stay till the first week of November. In 1940, he arrived on April 21 and his birthday was also celebrated in Mungpoo, that year. This was his last visit as he fell ill and had to return to Kolkata.
He had written many memorable works during his stay at Mungpoo, including
Chelebela, Nobojatok, Sesh Kotha, Bangla Bhashar Porichoy, Mongpu, Giribas, Sanai, Akash Prodip and Jonmodin.
In Mungpoo, Tagore used to stay in the house of Manmohan Sen (husband of Maitreyi Devi) who was the chief chemist of the cinchona plantation. In 1944, this house was converted into "Rabindra Smriti Bhavan." Later in 2009, the building was renovated and converted into Rabindra Museum.
The students of Loreto Convent School, Darjeeling, staged an e-programme with recitation, songs, dance and commentary on social media. "Every year we commemorate the bard's birthday. The students decided to do their respective acts at their homes and we compiled the whole programme and uploaded it. Students from Class 3 to 10 took part in this," stated Moumita Biswas, teacher, Loreto Convent.