Rabindranath the name invokes a feeling of awe and respect in every heart who has had the opportunity to explore his works. Remembered mostly for his songs (he wrote about 2500 of them) this man’s talents knew no bounds. A second standard dropout, composed his first poem at the age of thirteen, Rabindranath was a connoisseur of words. He promulgated range of new spellings for Bengali words, doing away with a system which was more confusing for users of the Bengali language. Since early childhood, the little boy was brought up by the “servants” of the royal Thakur family of Jorasanko, probably the reason why he loved Nature. Breaking away the shackles of a “royal” life, he escaped into the soothing company of trees, caress of the clouds, reticence of the rain.
Tagore is well known for his songs and poems. But what sets him apart from his contemporaries are his short stories and paintings. An artist par excellence, his creativity is well defined in the fact that whenever he sat down to compose a poem or a song, if he did not find some words satisfactory, he would strike them out and form a pattern out of those words.
Abstract does not define his work, yet his subtle statements drive life into the surreal. From the romantic Bolai to effeminate Ginni, from Chhuti to Kshudhito Pashan, life finds a new meaning in each of Tagore’s short stories. The classic irony of social life and stigma is summed up in the lines
Kadambini moriya promaan korilo se more naayi
(Kadambini’s death proved that she was alive)
On this occasion of the Bard’s 150th birth anniversary, i wish to introduce a different Rabindranath to people. The painter Rabindranath.
[My heartfelt gratitude to the Minister in charge of Railways, Government of India, for her innovative project Sanskriti Express, which gave me access to Rabindranath’s paintings and family photographs]