Tagore’s monumental works to go up on internet

May 9th, 2011 - 11:28 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) The works of Rabindranath Tagore will soon be uploaded on the internet in an online electronic variorum by a group of scholars from Kolkata’s Jadavpur University.

The digital library project led by former Jadavpur University professors of translation studies and literature, Swapan Majumdar and Sukanta Chaudhuri, is overseen by noted scholar and writer Sankha Ghosh.

Work has begun on Tagore’s collection of poems “Manasi”, his first anthology of poetry and essays published in 1890. It marks the beginning of his journey into literary maturity. “Manasi” contains some of his best poems, including many in verse forms new to Bengali literature, as well as some innovative satires.

The manuscripts, mostly in Bengali, will first be digitised and then uploaded on the internet in a special archive with the help of a new software.

“The project is being implemented by the School of Cultural Texts, which comprises a group of scholars, noted Bengali writers and students of the university from the humanities, science and engineering departments of Jadavpur University.

“The students of the engineering department have devised the software to upload the manuscripts,” Swapna Mazumdar, former professor of Jadavpur University, one of the founders of the Tagore project, told IANS.

“We have just started work on Tagore’s ‘Manasi’. The texts will be uploaded in Bengali. We will subsequently digitise ‘Gitanjali’ late next year,” Mazumdar said. “The digital archive is primarily for scholarly and referral use,” he added.
Tagore got the Nobel Prize for literature for Gitanjali in 1913 for Gitanjali, the first Asian to do so.

According to project advisor Sankha Ghosh, “Visva Bharati is also helping the Jadavpur University scholars by allowing them access to rare manuscripts”.

The School for Cultural Texts has tie-ups with Visva Bharati and Rabindra Bharati Universities in Shantiniketan and Kolkata respectively.

Ghosh is personally working on a new collection of the complete works of Rabindranath Tagore for Visva Bharati University by incorporating several works which did not feature in its earlier anthologies.

“The anthology and archiving projects will preserve his literature and essays for posterity,” he said.

“Most of the new essays in the revised edition of the Visva Bharati collection that I am working on are about Tagore’s ideas on education, environment and universalism,” Ghosh told IANS.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had lauded the project, saying he was “particularly glad to learn about the creation of the online electronic variorum”.

The School of Cultural Texts set up in 2003 has archived works and papers of noted Bengali poets like Vishnu Dey, Shakti Chattopadhyay, Sudhindranath Dutta and Buddhadev Bose, publisher Ravi Dayal and social commentators like Saibal Dasgupta and playwright-director Badal Sircar.

It has special reference archives on the partition of 1947, texts, literature and scripts from Sylhet, music and the street theatre movement.

The school also has literary partnerships with several universities and cultural centres in India and Europe.

It has pioneered a bilingual database Software “sarbanam”, which allows data storage, sorting and search using Bengali as well as Roman alphabets. The software allows comprehensive researches across several or all databases, using common fields or keywords.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at madhu.c@ians.in)

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