Tagore’s birth anniversary celebrated across Bengal

May 8th, 2012 - 6:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, May 8 (IANS) Rabindrasangeet was played at traffic intersections, in schools and colleges, events were held across the state and television channels competed with one another to air his songs, poems and dances as West Bengal Tuesday marked the end of the yearlong 150 th birth anniversary celebrations of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore with great cultural fervour.

From north Kolkata’s Jorasanko, where the poet-philosopher was born, to the districts and small towns, people thronged in hundreds to pay their homage to the literary genius, whose appeal has remained largely undiminished even 71 years after his death.

People from all walks of life queued up at Jorasanko Thakurbari in north Kolkata - Tagore’s sprawling ancestral home - since dawn to see the room where he was born and watch a cultural programme, where well-known singers, elocutionists and dancers participated.

The main official function organised by the state government began in the afternoon on a makeshift stage on Cathedral Road, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was present.

Cultural programmes, film festivals, and book fairs have been arranged to kick off a fortnight long celebration. With Tagore songs, as on other days, played at traffic signals, people savoured a holiday declared by the state government.

From the morning, there was a frenzy of activities across the state, with Tagore’s compositions rendered in many localities and schools and colleges.

Born on this day Vaisakha 25 according to Bengali calendar (May 7, 1861 according to English calendar), Tagore in 1913 became the first Asian Nobel laureate and the first non European to win the Nobel Prize for literature.

He also holds the distinction of having authored the national anthems of two sovereign nations — India and Bangladesh.

The political “parivartan” in West Bengal left its imprint on Rabindranath Tagore’s 151st birthday celebration Tuesday, with the Mamata Banerjee government changing the traditional venue and timing of the official function.

For decades, the state government-organised official function had been held at the crack of dawn on the bard’s birthday under an open space in the Rabindra Sadan premises.

All leading artists and elocutionists used to participate in the programme to play homage to the Nobel laureate poet.

However, following instructions from Mamata Banerjee, the programme this time was deferred to the afternoon, with the venue shifted to Cathedral Road near Rabindra Sadan.

This took many singers by surprise, though they were unwilling to come out in the open with their criticism.

“It was a tradition to pay homage to Tagore early in the morning. I don’t know what prompted the new government to change the place and time,” said a Rabindra Sangeet exponent, on condition of anonymity.

The government has, however, claimed the decision was taken for the convenience of the Tagore-loving public, who would have had to wake up in the wee hours.

But leader of opposition and Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Surjya Kanta Mishra was at his sarcastic best.

In an obvious reference to Banerjee, known as a late riser, he said: “There are some people who are not early risers. But there are auspicious days when one should try to wake up early.”

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