Monday, 9 May 2016

90's kid's Rabindra Jayanti memories

Yesterday we celebrated 154th birth anniversary of World renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore. He was the first non-white, non-europian to be awarded Nobel prize. It's a real honour to be his countryman and being able to read his soul touching poems in original Bengali version. Though he is famous as a poet, his talent was multifaceted. Poem, song, short story, Novels, he wrote them all. Apart from his literary ventures, he was a great painter, social reformer and educationist too.

Rabindra Jayanti 2016
Rabindra jayanti 2016
What I have written above about Kaviguru, the master poet is how the world knows him. Now let me tell you how I came to know him. In the year 1997, my family shifted to Agartala. The cultural movement was at it's peak by then. On 25th Baisakh, the birth date of Rabindranath Tagore according to Bengali calander Rabindra Jayanti programmes were organised in every nook and corners of the city. Children used to resuscitated poems, sang Rabindra sangeet, danced on the beats of Rabindrasangeet on stage. Through Rabindra jayanti the first encounter of each and every child happened with stage. It helped the 90's kids of Agartala a lot to overcome stage anxiety.

I was perhaps in the 4th grade then, on The morning of Rabindra jayanti, I declared I'll participate in Rabindra jayanti this evening. My mom was very happy. She quickly skipped through the Rabindranath's poem collection and book marked two poems. The first was Nirjharer swapnabhanga (The rousing of the waterfall) a soulful poem and her personal favourite and Another was prashna (The question) equally good. I choose Prashna as it was easier to remember then Nirjharer swapnavanga.

The poem Prashna had 3 stanzas as I was quite young and could never by hard all the three stanzas in just a day, I was told to master the first stanza at least. I did that and went to the programme. When my name was announced on sound system, I walked on to the stage confidently as I could easily memorise the whole poem. But as I climbed on the stage and noticed around a thousand pair of eyes judging me, I was like "shit"!

My legs were trembling, my mouth was all dry and the forehead was covered with sweat beads. As I was stagnant for a few minutes, the crowd started murmuring. I realized, I need to do it or within minutes I'll be a laughing stock. I somehow managed ti walk up to the microphone, clinched it and started the ressuscitation. That day I forgot to address the audience and give introduction about the poem as taught by my mom. I completed the poem and hurriedly left the stage. My mom downstairs received me and congratulated me. I was a bit relieved that the resuscitating must be at least ok, later I received a Rotomac pen as consolation prize. I was a bit confident while receiving the prize as it was my second time on stage.

Next year I resuscitated the same stanza but was a bit more confident then. It was on the third year I was able to resuscitate the whole poem confidently, though I got nothing more then the consolation prize. As I grew older, I left the resuscitation competition for my younger siblings and started participating in quiz competitions etc.

I somehow escaped the embarrassment on stage, but not all were that lucky! One of my elder brothers while resuscitating a popular poem by Raindranath Tagore (বৃষ্টি পড়ে টাপুর টুপুর) did a blunder. A line said "another wife being fed up went to her maternal house" (আরেক কণে গোষা করে বাপের বাড়ি যায়). Being very much nervous he uttered "another wife being fed up went to Nandi House" (আরেক কণে গোষা করে নন্দীবাড়ি যায়). Our maternal home was known as Nandi House. Each and every one who heard this resuscitation, laughed their heart out :). Though the next year he acted in a short play and was highly appreciated for his acting skills.

My initial introduction with Rabindranath was through this poems only. Later in life I read a few short stories and novels by him. Specially Rajarshi, the novel written about the Kings of Tripura is a hot favourite of mine. In 10th standard I read about his social reforms in history books. As time passed, Love happened to me. That time Rabindra Sangeet was the music I loved. As my girlfriend is a Rabindra freak, we could easily express our love though Rabindra sangeet. Some of our favourites are "Amaro parano jaha chay", "Mone ki didha rekhe gele chole", "Krishna koli ami tare boli" and many many more.

15-20 years later now, we are not having Rabindra Jayantis at such a mass scale. Some cultural societies that nurtured Rabindranath are dead, some are struggling, some new organizations have come up, but they choose to have different dates for their programmes. A central cultural programme on 25th Baisakh is still celebrated, but I miss the small Rabindra Jayantis that used to be organised in localities. In those small programmes, Rabindranath used to share dias with Najrul and Sukanta too. Now these are sweet memories of 90's kids not to be lived but to be cherished.

Here I am sharing some of my favourite Rabindra Sangeet and poems:

You can read the works by Rabindranath Tagore here. I would suggest you to read Rajarshi. You'll know more about Tripura.

Also consider visiting Visva Bharati website. It was the educational institute established by Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan. They have thoughtfully preserved the Rabindranath tradition.

If you liked my post, please do share and give constructive suggestion. Thank you for your time. Please keep visiting.

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