Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rabindranat and South India (contd-5)

In the night of 9th Feb Rabindranath and his team reached Salem of Madras. Many important persons gathered on the platform to welcome them. In the morning of 9th Feb,1919, many leaders of the locality came to meet him and discussed with him about the then politics and literature informally. Rabindranath commented on Rowlat Bill as not-a-la at all. and read the English version of the of "Gandharir Abedan" to enunciate his idea of politics.(The Rowlatt Act was a law passed by the British in colonial India in March 1919, indefinitely extending "emergency measures" (of the Defence of India Regulations Act) enacted during the First World War in order to control public unrest and root out conspiracy. Passed on the recommendations of the Rowlatt Committee, named for its president, British judge Sir Sidney Rowlatt, this act effectively authorized the government to imprison for a maximum period of two years, without trial, any person suspected of terrorism living in the Raj. The Rowlatt Act gave British imperial authorities power to deal with revolutionary activities.
Mohandas Gandhi, among other Indian leaders, was extremely critical of the Act and argued that not everyone should be punished in response to isolated political crimes. The Act led to indignation from Indian leaders and the public, which caused the government to implement repressive measures. Gandhi and others found that constitutional opposition to the measure was fruitless, so on April 6, a "hartal" was organized where Indians would suspend all business and fast as a sign of their hatred for the legislation. This event is known as the Rowlatt satyagraha
In he afternoon at 4 pm he was greeted by the residents of Salem at the local Electric Theatre. The meeting was presided by Mr. Narasimha Rao and organized by the members of the Sahitya Samity and the students who read a written felicitation paper written on a silver sheet with artistic design and offered it to Rabindranath Tagore.The vice-President of the Board of Dharampuri Taluk SreeKrishna Chettier presented a statue of Sreekrishna made of Brass. After that Rabindranath read the essay " The Centre of Indian Culture". At the end of the ceremony Rabindranath visited the Sahitya Samity and read the um-published work of English version of " Karna Kuntir Sangbad". In the night the members bade farewell to him at the station.

Rabindranath and South India (contd - 4)

Rabindranath was accorded a warm welcome after coming to Coimbatore from Ootacamund on 5th Feb. The description of his welcome ceremony was published in News papers as;
"Dr. Sir Rabindranath Tagore accompanied by Mr. C.F.Andrews, and  son-in-law Mr. Ganguli reached Palghat Yesterday [ 7 feb] morning by mail from Coimbatore. The members of the reception Committee, led by Messrs. I.A.Subbaramiar, High Court Vikil amd mr. K. Kunhikattan Thampan and others received the distinguished party at the Olavakot Junction and escorted them to Palghat. On alighting from the train Sir Rabindranath was given a great ovation amidst cries of Vande Mataram. The National Indian Boysscouts under Dr. A. Govinda Menon, the president of the Palghat troop, presented a Guard of Honour."
In the afternoon on that day he was greeted by Pentland Gardens at 5.30 pm. Entry fees were charged a@ Rs. 3,2 & 1 to enter the hall. Still the hall was completely filled up.Sree Subhramanier offered him a written felicitation, written on green silken and printed by Calicut Vidyalasam Press which was within a box made up of Sandel Wood with ivory fitting by the art School of Tribandram. After short welcome address, rabindranath 'gave a most thrilling address on " The Message of the Forest". and kept the large audience spell-bound for nearly half an hour. On behalf of the residents Rs.1008/- was gifted to Rabindranath for Santiniketan.
On the next day 8th Feb in the morning Andrews fetched Rabindranath to the Banol Mission Hall to receive the greetings of the students of Palghat. The paper New India   wrote in its editorial in reply to the address of Rabindranath Tagore;
" He addresses public bodies in his mother tongue generally and not least in the English language...It was difficult to get mastery of a foreign language. He was not in the habit of standing and speaking because that
was not natural with them. It was natural to sit down and not really to think while standing. His message, they would find out in almost in all his writings. He had great love for students always and wished to be among themselves in the same level with them, and  not seated on a platform. That was their fault. Had they given him  a seat among them he would have spoken all that  was best in him and all that he had in his hearts. But in that situation he felt separated from them and that was more than an excuse with him for not saying much.However, he would express his gratitude in a formal manner and as they were waiting for another lecture, he would not take much of their time and therefore resume his seat."
Andrews delivered a lecture on the development of history of Santiniketan and its speciality.
Rabindranath then went to visit the Sanskrit Girl School at Kalpathi.Kalpathi or Kalpathy also known as Dakshin Kasi or the 'Varanasi of the South is an early Tamil Brahmin settlement (agraharam) in the Palakkad District of Kerala state, south India. Kalpathi is very famous for Kalpathi Ratholsavam, Temple car festival held annually at the Sri Visalakshi Sametha Sri Viswanatha Swamy temple where the deity is Lord Siva (Lord Viswanatha). Kalpathy is located 3 km from Palakkad town and consists of Old Kalpathy and New Kalpathy )         

Rabindranath and South India (contd-3)

Ootacamund (Tamil: ஊடகாமுந்த்) About this sound listen (officially, Udhagamandalam Tamil: உதகமண்டலம் sometimes abbreviated to Udhagai Tamil: உதகை or Ooty About this sound listen ), is a town, a municipality and the district capital of the Nilgiris district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Ootacamund is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills. Originally occupied by the Todas, the area came under the rule of the East India Company at the end of the 18th century. Today the town's economy is based on tourism and agriculture, with manufacturing of medicines and photographic film also present. The town is connected to the rest of India by road and rail, and its historic sites and natural beauty attract tourists.
Rabindranath went to Ooty Hill station after passing for ten days in Bangalore and Mysore. He stayed there about a fortnight (21st Jan - 5th Feb).  Andrews accompanied him at Ootacamond.  New India wrote on 14th Mar after quoting an information that Rabindranath has established Tagore's Renaissance Society ;
" A society after the name of Sir Rabindranath Tagore was formed here recently by a few young Theosophists, with the object of creating and developing an interest and taste in Eastern literature and Art. The inaugural address was delivered by Mr. C.F.Andrews , M.A., when he accompanies the poet to the hills early last month.  

Rabindranath and South India (contd-2)

Rabindranath reached Bangalore via Madras on 11 Jan, 1919 in the evening. Mysore Patriot wrote on 21 Jan;
" greeted him at the Cantonment Station on Saturday evening where a crowd awaited him. Every station between Madras and Bangalore must have presented similar spectacle and he was evidently tired."
12th Jan was fixed for the inauguration of Art Exhibition. On the day before the ceremony Rabindranath met a gathering in a homely get to gathering the house of B.D.Subba Rao at 159 Sultan Pete. Among many Mr. and Mrs Kajins were also present.  Andrews also had come to Bangalore  at the same time. When Andrews and Rabindranath entered the hall, they were greeted with Vedic hymn and  rains of yellow rice."
In the evening Rabindranath inaugurated the Art Exhibition of Bangalore Natyaniketan. Rabindranath was offered a a written felicitation in a silver plated sheet. He read an essay on " The message of the forest".
He read three essays in this tour of South India of which this was one of them.
On 14th July Rabindranath was greeted by the students of different schools and colleges of Karnatak. In reply to their welcome he delivered a lecture containing fun and jokes. He said, " There are men who are old ,old not in the tenth century after Christ or tenth century before Christ, but in the 20th I mean ; and some who are 57 like myself , but in reality not older than "27"  
On 19th Jan, in the evening, Rabindranath delivered a lecture on "Education in General" in the Rangacharlu Memorial Hall at Mysore presided over by Sarder Lakshmikanta rahursh.
On 20th Jan, he was greeted by the students Maharaja College and other local Colleges and offered Rs. 500/- as a token gift to Santiniketan.Rabindranath recited the poetry "Gandharir Abedan". In the evening he visited Maharani college and recited the poem "Lakshmir Pariksha" ( The Mother's Prayer).
Mysore culture was a mixed one of national and European and Rabindranath liked it but he was not satisfied with the performance of the University of Mysore. He wrote;
" There is nothing that can  be claimed as ours. Everything here is nothing but imitation. For that I conclude that India has completely lost its own lesson. We are afraid of giving a place of our own method of education in the University. As if there is nothing in the world outside Europe in education. And that is why India is crippled in all the affairs of construction of building, chair-tables, books and manuscripts, of the University. The want of confidence of Indian attitude towards education, the want of honour of Indian system has damaged our self-reliance completely for good that we have lost the sense of understanding the whole thing. I hope that since Mysore has taken the western line of thinking, one day will came when she  will find the value of the Eastern education and Culture and will assimilate the whole thing keeping its own seat at the top."  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rabindranath and South India (contd-1)

Gnan Saran Chakravarti wrote to Rabindranath;
" It is necessary for us to know how long you may stay in Mysore, we shall prepare a timetable when, where and how long you will stay, if we make arrangement for your stay in Mysore as per the following routine, will it be acceptable to you;
10th Jan-Friday-Reaching Bangalore, rest and sight seeing,
11th Jan-Saturday-get together with local litterateur, and Musicians,/ Evening lecture
12 Jan- Sunday- in the evening Play to be staged by Dramatic association,
13th Jan- Mon- Opening of At Exhibition/ conference in the afternoon,
14th Jan- Tuesday- To see Mysore and other important places.
You have informed us that you will not meet with General public or any  open meeting. We shall try our level best to fulfill  your feeling.
But we are not in a position  to obstruct all the approaches of the general people. But we shall surely look to the matter that you are not bored or it will hurt your feeling.
Moreover, arrangements had been made to provide him lodging with his company  in the building " Gnanalay". But the above  programme  was changed to some extent.
Having circulated the news of the visit of Rabindranath Tagore, invitation also came from Mysore.
Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the then Professor of Mysore Maharaja College. In Nov 1918, he published one of his research work " The Philosophy of Rabindanath Tagore" which had its second edition in 1919' He dedicated the in the name of Rabindranath Tagore and asked him to write the introduction of the book (2nd Edition). On receiving this Rabindranath wrote on 28th Dec, 1918,
" Your book has reached me and delighted me.When you sent me your proofs I felt greatly reluctant in going over them and I asked Mr. Andrews to do it for me. I cannot presume to have any definite opinion about the philosophy of my own writings, and even if I do, it is not unlikely be wrong. Therefore, I tried to keep, as much as was possible for me, a mood of detachment from the subject matter of your book and I read it as it dealt with another person than myself. And though my criticism of a book that concerns me may not be seriously accepted, I can say that it has surpassed my expectations. The earnestness of you endeavour and your penetration have amazed me in this book; and I am thankful to you for the literary grace of its language which is so beautifully free from all technical jargon and a mere display of scholarship."
Dr. radhakrishnan requested Rabindranath Tagore to deliver a lecture to the students of Maharajas College of Mysore.    
(Dr Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Telugu: సర్వేపల్లి రాధాకృష్ణ, Hindi: सर्वेप्पल्ली राधाकृष्णन; 5 September 1888, Tiruttani, Tamil Nadu – 17 April 1975) was an Indian philosopher and statesman. He was the first Vice President of India (1952–1962) and subsequently the second President of India (1962–1967).
One of India's most influential scholars of comparative religion and philosophy) 

Rabindranath and South India

The Bengal Civil Service gradation list available to search here comes from an original document belonging to Valmay S Young. On her site, there is a page which sorts the civil servants in the gradation list alphabetically by surname and then, within that, by rank (not alphabetically by initials). At the time of this gradation list India was divided into three provinces; Bengal, Bombay and Madras.
During autumn Rabindranath came back from Madras (Pithapuram) keeping his tour programme unfinished, but his invitation remained as it was. He wrote to James H. Cousins on 24th Dec. 1918;
" Certainly this time I shall never fail to  see you at Madanapalle (is a town and a Municipality located in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh state, India.)
.   But my Heart quakes to imagine what is awaiting me at your Presidency, and I hope I shall be able to keep up my courage up to the last moment and take the final desperate step towards the south. Death's door is called the southern door in Bengal and I won't claim me as a duly consecrated victim sacrificed to the myriad-tongued divinity of the public meeting. However, it ill not be possible for me to be present at your art Exhibition and I shall not be free to move  before the last week of January.But should I not warn you not to put too implicit a faith upon my promises? Chanakya advices never to trust women and kings, but I think poet should top the list of all  unreliable."
He wrote Ranu in the first week of January ;
" I will be going to Mysore, Madras, Madurai, and Madanpalle on the day after tomorrow, on 3rd Jan., 1919 and shall come back after Jan. , may be in Feb. " But he came back in the month of March. " As south India is known to him, Nagendranath accompanied him. It may be that he took the advantage of becoming close with Rabindranath for his promotion in his career. The Artist Surendra Nath Kar too was with Rabindranath. The background of his visit to South India was explained by Rathindranath;
" After he came back [from South] there were pressing invitation from many places in the South, specially Bangalore,Mysore, and Madura, which  father could not very well refuse. In Bangalore Mr.[Gnan Saran] Chakravarti had arranged to open an Art Exhibition, and he wanted father to open it. Then the Maharaja of Mysore, and afterwards the Principal of the American College at Madurai, requested hi  to give a course of three lectures, at his College, in consideration of which he would pay all travelling expenses as well as contribute a decent sum of money to the funds of the Santiniketan  School. All these made him decide going down to South after the Pous Utsab was over."
Rabindranath, too, explained the reason of his tour programme in the essay ' Maisur Katha";
" There is an Association in Bangalore, named Bangalore Dramatic Association.The competent secretary of
the king of Mysore Sree Gnan Saran Chakravarti was its President. I got an invitation in its half yearly meeting in the last year. The reasons are, 1.I had a desire to visit Mysore for many days, 2. it is the high time to discuss with different persons about the Education, I want to implement, and I thought that Mysore is one of the desired place." Gnan Saran Chakravarti made a communication through letters with Rabindranathin the last X-mas vacation. The date was not finalized which will be settled in consultation with Rabindranath.'

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Foundation Stone of Viswa Bharati was laid

Rabindranth wanted to establish an institution suitable, in the true sense of the term, where there would be introduced a system of education to teach Economics, Agriculture, Medical Science and all the laboratory based subjects applicable for India.He established Sreeniketan with that purpose. After a few days wrote Seymour a letter from Shilong on 17 April 1919,
" Lats year was a busy one for us at the school. Ideas for its expansion in different directions have developed very rapidly. It was merely a school upto this time -  it is going to be a much bigger thing in the future.Bigger not in buildings, gymnasiums, and playgrounds -  but bigger as a centre of higher education and culture. The school will be a only part of a more comprehensive scheme of education covering all the activities of our life, in fact a true University - not exactly in European sense  - but more like what we had in ancient Nalanda, an educational colony which will be in direct touch with all the requirements of the modern man.Here we are going to have colonies of teachers and students from every provonce of India and though each will retain their own individuality and learn to respect each other's individual differences, they will all be brough upto an atmosphere where the ideal of life would be held far above any feeling of the sect, community or narrow nationality. Here the intellectual life of the community will run parallel with the social and the material."
He explained the economic plan of his father in this letter;
" the economic activities will be just as much a means of education as the lectures in the classrooms. Music and art will have an important place in the programme. the method of education woill be quite different from that followed in our present day universities , specially in India. In every important branch of learning there will be one or two teachers who by the merit of their own research or work attract students to live with them and while learning help in carrying out the work they are engaged in. Whave already got chairs in Buddhists and Jaina Philosophy, in Sanskrit, in he modern languages of India. Nanda lal bose is coming from the next sesion to start the nucleus of a national school of Art . A  technical dept. has been opened with mechanical and electrical workshops, a printing house and as weaving school. Land is being acquired to start a farm . A co-operative store has been organised and soon a co-operative Rice mill and oil mill will follow."
Past experience taught them to go slow; " We want he thing to grow and develop slowly, so that it will always be possible to go back or try a new experiment whenever a mistake has been made3.'
Though the Foundation stone was laid in 23 Dec 1918, it took some time to function as an university.  

Founadation Stone of Viswabharati was laid.

Tagore despised rote classroom schooling: in "The Parrot's Training", a bird is caged and force-fed textbook pages—to death. Tagore, visiting Santa Barbara in 1917, conceived a new type of university: he sought to "make Santiniketan the connecting thread between India and the world [and] a world center for the study of humanity somewhere beyond the limits of nation and geography. The school, which he named Visva-Bharati, had its foundation stone laid on 24 December 1918 and was inaugurated precisely three years later.Tagore employed a brahmacharya system: gurus gave pupils personal guidance—emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Teaching was often done under trees. He staffed the school, he contributed his Nobel Prize monies, and his duties as steward-mentor at Santiniketan kept him busy: mornings he taught classes; afternoons and evenings he wrote the students' textbooks. He fundraised widely for the school in Europe and the United States between 1919 and 1921
Established by Rabindranath Thakur.Foundation stone laid on 8th Paush, 1325 (on 23rd Dec, 1918).Visva Bharati Society inaugurated on 23rd Dec 1921, presided by philosopher Brajendranath Sil.Tagore tried his level best to collect money for the university.After his death(7th Aug 1941) Govt. of India took over it on 14th May 1951 as Visva Bharati Central University.
 On 8th Pauh, 1325 (23rd Dec, 1918), 19th Annual Meeting of Brahmacharyasram was held under the chairmanship of Rabindranath Tagore. He delivered a small  lecture on " The Ideal Education Ststem in India". At the end of the meegting he laid down the foundation stone of Viswa Bharati on the back side of the Children's Dept. Many Vedic rituals were held. A hole was prepared for laying the foundation of Viswa Bharati. Sacred hymns were uttered by Rabindranath, unboiled rice, water, Kush flower, etc were thrown in that hole.The males and females arrived there from the different parts of the world had thrown earth in that hole A Danish lady Miss Fering was also present. Rathindranath wrote in his diary;
"At the Paus Utsab this year many people from the other provinces of India had come. On 8th Paus the foundation stone of the Viswa Bharati University was laid before his assembly after father had explained in a short lecture the aims and purposes of this institution. This lecture has been printed in a  pamphlet form for distribution. About ten thousand rupees of of donation was promised on the spot. The lecture delivered by Rabindranath was;
" The fire works of Knowledge has been lit in human society.If every nation can kindle the light in its own way, then the sacrificial rite will be fulfilled. It was proved that India has thought of the different problems of the world in her own ways and tried to solve them.. That teaching in our country will be the best teaching which can express its own truth . It  must be unique. Repetition of any one is not the true teaching , that is a mechanical one."        

Rabindranath and Sarat Chandra

The 28th Foundation day of Santiniketan was celebrated on 7th Paus,1325 (22nd Dec, 1918). Sita Devi wrote;   "In the morning. Rabindranath inaugurated the ceremony by singing a song which was followed by 2/3 chorus songs sung by the students. The poet did the role of Acharya. "
The prayer song in the evening was very nice and the poet as an Acharya was looking bright as a flame of fire. Jaladhar Sen, the editor of "Bharatbarsha", in Magh 1325( Bangabda) issue published in Samayeeki a description of Paush Mela. He wrote in the description of evening prayer; " Sir Rabindranath Tagore was in meditation. . It is useless to say that his meditation and prayer was touching.the students of Brahmacharyasram to sing three songs of Rabindranath and added glamour and joy to the occasion  ". He then narrated the songs to make everybody understand. " He also added, " My companion the famous litterateur and Novelist Sreeman Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay ( this was the first occasion when we both saw each other in Santiniketan) having noticed everything said, 'everything I have seen  but where is the School.'  Rathindra Babu said showing some trees, " the school sat everyday under these trees." The visit of Sarat Chandra bears testimony of his first visit and he stayed in the guest house for the night before leaving for Calcutta.
Jaladhar Sen was a man of Kumarkhali village of Nadia district.( At present Bangladesh). This Kumarkhali Village was also within the jurisdiction of the estate of Tagore family and Jaladhar Sen was one of the tenants of Rabindranath. Jaladhar Babu could not pay his rent for some years. He had come to Rabindranath for remission of some amount of his rent. He fetched Sarat Chandra along with him. He asked Rabindranath for remission of some amount of his rent. But Rabindranath wrote off all his debt.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Rabindranath and Juan Ramon Jimenez ( 1881-1954), Spanish Poet

Juan Ramón Jiménez Mantecón (23 December 1881 – 29 May 1958) was a Spanish poet, a prolific writer who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956. One of Jiménez's most important contributions to modern poetry was his advocacy of the French concept of "pure poetry."
The poet of Spain , Juan Ramon Jimenez and his would-be-wife Zenobia Camprubi (1887-1956) first translated Rabindranath's book, The crscent Moon , in Spanish, La Luna Nueva in 1915. They extended their work in other books of Rabinranath and gradually translated The Gardener ( El Jardinero), The Post office (El cartero del Rey, Stray Birds ( Pajaros Perdidos), Fruit Gathering (La Cosecha), Sannyasi (El Asceta), The King and the Queen (El Rey y la Reina ), Gitanjali (Malni, Ofrenda lirica), The Cycle of Spring ( ciclo de la Primaveral) and Hungry Stones (Las Piedras Hambrientas, 2-vols). The last seven books were published in 1918.
In the mean time Juan and Zenobia got married in 1916 and Rabindranath became, without his knowledge , the match -maker between them.
Himenez's translation got popularity in Spain and they earned a lot of money from the publications.
Having come to learn that some Muzzio Saenz-Pena had taken permission from Rabindranath himself and began to publish books of Rabindranath after translating in Madrid and Argentina, Zenobia strongly protested to Macmillan on 14th June. But the information was not correct, Rabindranath did not give permission to any body. Zenobia wrote a long letter to Rabindranath on 13th Aug;
"For so long i have been writing to you in imagination & the letters I have written are so many, that now I actually sit down to write as a fact, I cannot quite realize that this is going to rach you, & I know that it will say nothing at all of all the things I have thought in four years. My husband has always said to me " Do not write,. Dont you see that Rabindranath Tagore does not know us. What will a letter tell him? Wait till the war is over and then we shall go to see him in England, if he is there, if not, in India, to his school, which would be much better." But India is fa away, and time passes and what if we never met and I had lost forever the joy of one direct communication with you? When one thinks of all the wonderful souls thought the ages and wishes that one might have had the blessing of sitting for one moment in their presence , the idea that there is such a soul in the world at present and that one is letting time pass without hastening to touch the hemof his garments is miserable."
Zenobia wrote that she did not inform anything about this letterto his husband - because he will be socked  if he did not get any reply.She lived in the same place as father Perarender does and concluded the letter saying that she will be waiting for a reply like Amal did in Dakghar. Due to war she got the reply little late otherwise Rabindranath replied in time;
' I amdeeply touched to know from your delighful letter that i have readers in your country who truly appreciate my writings I believe there is something in the atmosphere and in the physical aspects of your motherland somewhat similar to those in ours which bring my lyrics close to your hearts. And this inspires in me a strong desire to visit your cou try if I am ever able to come to Europe when the war is over."
Rabindranath could not go to Spain though he had completed all the preparation to go there."       

Rabindranath to Pithapuram

Rabindranath's journey to Pithapuram was not a happiest one. He described his  miserable condition in this journey to Ranu on 19th Oct,1918; " It was only a station left to reach Pithapuram, all on a sudden the wheels of thrain stopped revolving. It appeared to me as if an invisible messenger from the assembly of stars came with a summon down to the engine and instanteneously the rotational movement of the wheels stopped, the sound of the flute vanished, ring of smoke wiped out and  its banquet of stone-coal finished. The train does not move from the station even after five minutes, after ten minutes, after one hour . The scheduled time to reach Pithapuram was half past five but time rolled on to half past six, half pats seven still the train does not move.Everything remained stand still. It becomes unbelievable that train can move. All on a sudden another engine with slow speed arrived to rescue us. At about half past eight we reached Pithapuram and when we reached the palace my mental and physical condition were completely  ot of order like the engine."
Surendranath Kar was accompanying Rabindranath for the first time.He informed that the king of Pithapuram was Brahmma and Rabindranath was his most favourite. His repeated request induced Rabindranath to think for staying there for 3/4 days Surendranath recollected the days they had passed there.
" A small two storied building covered with garden on all sides was fixed for lodging of Gurudev. There were pamelo and other kinds of lemon trees on all sides of the house.The secretary of the King came and noted down about he dinner of Gurudev. Knowing that Gurudev had no restriction in veg or non-veg meal, he became carefree. Anyway the arrangements were not so good. Gurudev said unhesitatingly , " Look, Suren, we are not habituated with  thier type of food and so could not tolerate for a number of days - so, we had to depart as early as possible.".
There was only one attraction for Gurudev- a famous Vina-player Sangameswar Sashtri stays there. Latre on Gurudev fetched him to Santiniketan for a few days. His playing of Vina appealed him much so that he decided to stay there for some time forgetting his previous tinking in spite of many obstacles. He played Vina every day aftet dinner for hours together and Gurudev listened the tune attentively upto dead of night

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Santiniketan, a National Institution

After a few days from Puja vacation Rabindranath came to Calcutta along with all the members of his family on 9th Oct, 1918. Rathindranath wrote in his diary a very important information;
"We arrive at Calcutta this afternoon from Bolpur, where we spent the whole of the school term, father busy teaching boys & writing text books in English . Just before coming down while talking with me & Mr.Andrews father got quiet excited over the idea of making the Bolpur Institution a truly representative Indian Educational colony, where boys from all the provinces of India would come together to get an education & a culture that is national & at the same time modern. The different colonies of boys would keep to their own peculiar customs & manners where they do not conflict with our national ideals & they would thus get a training from their childhood to respect each other in spite of outward differences. In India, unity cannot mean unification ; we must get used to this from the beginning. Bolpur institution should not be sectarian,or provincial."
It is to be noted here, that Rabindranath was thinking Bolpur as an International Institution rather he thought it to become an inter-provincial institution where the students of each province will keep their own identity in respect of their own social and provincial customs.But when he was in America, once  he wrote to Rathindranath [Oct 1916] ;
" The institution in Santiniketan is to be made a link between India and the World --it should be made a center of interchange of all human cultures of all nations of the world. This is the end of era of national narrowness -- this will  be the  center for international union of all countries of the world of which  Bolpur will be the first center of sacrificial rite for this movement."
He was nominated as the Chancellor of the National University founded by Annie Basant and he started very soon for Madras. Rathindranath wrote on 9th Oct, 1918,
" Many Gujrati and Marwari gentlemen  -- many of those who have sent5 their boys to Santiniketan - came to our house to confer with father. Father explained them his ideas regarding the future of the school, which appealed to them & they grew quite enthusiastic. They promised to help as best as they could . Rs. 500/- was handed over by Mr. Keshabjee for the technical dept. shortly to be opened.""
Since long, the idea of opening a technical section in Santiniketan was prevailing.A small arrangements were there since beginning . A Persian Gentleman, Bomanjee,  extended his hand in this respect and contributed Rs. 5000/- for this purpose. His agreement was if others come forward in this line, his name can be publicized. Rabindranath wrote him on 16th Sept,1918,
" Rathi informs me of your generous offer to help my Institution in carrying on its technical department. In spit of all my difficulties  I have ventured to start it, struggling on with it against obstacles. Your  timely offer of aid comes to me as a great relief."
Bamonjee promised to contribute this amount each year.This offer was utilised in setting 10'feet long a Red Cross Windmill to be brought from America and $ 150 was sent to George Brett for this purpose. These windmills   were used to raise water from deep well. But this instrument could not attract the students for developing their inquisitiveness. He expressed it in an essay ' Ashramer Shiksha ".
After a few days Santiniketan got the benefit of Electricity.

Rabindranath and Ranu (contd-5)

Rabindranath remained in Santiniketan for about four months from Summer Vacation and engaged himself in teaching the students of Brahmacharyasram. The principal Sushil Kumar Rudra started for Delhi 13th Sept, 1918, after staying in Santiniketan for one month. Rabindranth wrote to Ranu on 15th Sept;
" So long, Rudra Saheb, Principal of St. Stephen College, Delhi was in Santiniketan. He used to sit in a bench with the students in my class. He was very enthusiastic. He was for about one month.Day before yesterday he had gone." He wrote in that letter that the class of Bidhushekhar Sashtri had been shifted to the 1st floor in his bed room from the corridor in front of the Library for he was feeling disturbed due to the noise created by the students of the next class.But the class had to be shifted again due to the increase of the number students in his class. He described the new place where it  was shifted; " There was a big banyan tree in the west side of the residence of Jagadananda Babu -- a thatched room was constructed in that place - the marvel seat of mine had been transferred from the l;ibrary to that place - now it provides sitting facilities of more than one hundred students. The place now looked very beautiful. I asked the students to prepare path for their communication and made it beautiful by drafting different trees of flowers and shrubs.:"
Rabindranath used to made arrangements for reading poetry of Shelley on the roof of the Dehali for Pratima Devi, daughter-in-law, Sita Devi, Santa Devi and others. One day Rabindranath delivered a lecture on Co-operative before the students to make them conversant with the idea. The elderly one listened to the lecture attentively but the youngers fell asleep.
Rabindranath wanted to change the name from Rabidada to be called by Ranu and proposed her the name Bhanu Dada, he wrote to Ranu on 23rd Sept;
" You have asked me whether you can call me by a separate name other than Rabidada. The name 'Bhanu' though not pleasant to listen, yet this name was adopted by me. Moreover it had a separate advantage -- it had got poetic appeal with 'Ranu'. Ek je chila Ranu / Tar dada chila Bhanu." The proposal was liked by Ranu, she wrote in reply;
" I imagined your name as Kabidada to be replaced for Rabidada. Still Bhanu is also good. Though a little fatty. But I like it very much. Moreover, there is none who calls you Bhanu Dada and it has  rhythmic appel with Ranu. For this I like it much."
Ranu made the name Bhanudada as her monopoly and she addressed in the next letter , " Adarer Bhanudada".               

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rabindranath as a teacher and Ranu (contd-4)

                       Rabindranath remained in Santiniketan for about four months upto Puja vacation. He passed his time by teaching students,  preparing  lessons for them and writing letters to Ranu, filled with stories of Santiniketan. The collection of letters he  termed , later on, as Bhanusingher Patrabali . In the introduction of Bhanusingher Patrabali, he called her, " Live broadcast of the life of Santiniketan". Having received  the printed books at a long distance Copenhagen containing the letters written to Ranu Adhikari on 8th Aug, 1930, he wrote to Rani Mahalanabis;
" Those letters are full of the waters of rainy season and also with the Sunshine of the autumn of Santiniketan. This is revealed to him after coming in a country at a  long distance,  I forgot for a moment , where I am.... Probably, you know that I have to teach three classes in the morning and then I shall go to bath. I wrote letters when it becomes imminent. And before the bell goes of the afternoon tiff in  I had to prepare lesson  plan for the next day -- in the evening I sit down at the corner of the roof ,calm and quiet -- sometimes the students come to listen poetry from me ...I am fond of doing work for the students because they  do not know that the work I do for them has got some utility. As they take very easily the brightness of the sun so too they take service."
Another picture was revealed in the letter written on 24th July,1918;
" The students of the 5th standard came to me in the noon and asked me to give them a treat. ...Samaresh [Sinha] was their monitor. He came and placed the demand. I said well.  We came at the veranda at the south and had their feast. Their demand was for Luchi.Luchi, dal chatni was being finished instantaneously , one couldn't imagine. They had mango, Rasagolla at the end. I love these open hearted children. Do you know, how they shout in the class. The whole Santiniketan becomes a market. They take my class as their favourite game - not a lesson - as if I am their game teacher.Really I want to remain like that. My mind does not grow older - as if less than 27 . I know that you want to me to be of that age, you want me to put on my shirt, comb my hair and make me fit for you."   

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ranu Adhikari and Rabindranath (contd-3)

Rabindranath, too, replied in a long letter to Ranu Adhikari on 14th July, 1918, " I was full of sorrow when I read the letter written by you from the departing  train. Don't think me that I could not feel your sufferings. When your car was going away on  Wednesday and  I was sitting silently in the corner  of the  roof of my house in the evening , your  sufferings echoed  in me. I was wishing  you in my mind  that the divine sunshine be fallen on your tears-full-soft heart so that the lustre of beauty spreads throughout your life from one end to the other as the rainbow spreads over the rainy sky ." He added, " He, whom I have sacrificed myself , informs me  by  sending you as his messenger  to come to me  and the love and affection I have shown to you are nothing but the gesture shown, time to time, that He has accepted me. This is  my gift and with this I  work with double the inspiration I have, my tiredness subsides and my mind becomes illuminated.      
Formerly, Rabindranath wrote letters to Ranu as his girl pen-friend.whom he did not see- in those letters, he expressed his affection  and it was full of wit and fun -- he signed those letters as " Your  well-wisher, Sree Rabindranath Thakur". But after being acquainted personally, his letter was mixed with tune of sobriety , wit and fun and also wish for welfare and   attempt for charactreisation. And he changed the style of signature,  he replaced it to  , " Yours Rabidada" and then  changed to "Bhanudada " . 
Ranu in her first letter addressed him as " Dear Rabi Babu". Rabindranath objected to it by saying, " Whar do you want ? I hope you want that I donot address you by Sreemati Ranu -- but if you write me letters addressing  me as "Dear Rabi Babu", I shall not leave you scot free and address you as " Sreemati Ranu Devi". I shall not complain if you call me "Rabidada".
Ranu wrote in reply to this letter addressing him as "My Dear Rabidada",  explaining;
" Do you know, why I have written you "MY". The previous letter you have written to me ended with " Tomar Rabidada". Thus you became 'mine' that's why I have written "My". She also explained the use of the word "Dear", 
" When I first wrote you letter, you were "dear' to me but, might be, you were "Rabi Bau". Still I loved   you. Now, I love you much more than I do earlier. I wrote you 'dear' not as a courtesey word like English people. I used the word 'dear' as it is used in Bengali. I don't write 'dear' to any body else. You write dear many times in your poetry, is it a fault if I write 'dear'. It was unknown to me that 'dear' (priyo) is a courtesy woird used in letter-writing in Bengali. I write you 'dear', because your 'dear' to me. As you call your god 'dear', I use it in that style."
Rabindranath was vanquished by the inclusive evidence.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ranu Adhikari and Rabindranath (contd-2)

In the month of July,1918, the maternal uncle of Ranu, Kaliprasanna Chattopadhyay came to Santiniketan for a week. His son Biswanath was a student of Santiniketan. At the request of Rabindranasth he delivered a lecture to the teachers and students of Santiniketan in Hindi and Bengali (mixed) on the subject " Ko Bang cho chang" [komar bandho chok chao]. Having returned to Kashi, he wrote to his sister Sabitri Devi in Aligarh on 10th july;
" Once the health of Phanibhushan (Prof. Phanibhusan Adhikari) had broken down too much. Rabindramnath Tagore fetched Phanibhusan from Calcutta to Bolpur. He  behaved with Phanibhusan, as one of his own brother. He offered him the residence of Maharshi to stay in and sat by his bedside for the whole day...Rabibabu ( he was also a good doctor in homeopathy) and other doctors told him to take rest for at least 6 months. But due to his service, he could not stay."
They left Santiniketan on 10th July. Ranu  wrote a long letter to Rabindranath  describing the journey in the train;
" I am weepping and weepping. My mind is too much depressed  for you  My mind is full of sorrow for you. Probably, you have taken your bath, but who is there for combing your hair. I am not feeling easy. I shall not feel easy in the evening and  I think, you too will not. I shall not be coming in the evening any more and I hope you be attending your meeting in the evening. When you will be sitting on the roof, you too will feel sorry.  You will keep quiet alone"
All these words express the relation between Rabindranath and the family of Prof.Phanibhusan Adhikari.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rabindranath as a Teacher and Ranu (contd-1)

(Prayer hall, Santiniketan) The School at Santiniketan opened after summer vacation. Sita Devi wrote; " Rabindranath began to teach the boys in Santiniketan regularly." The classes were open to others who are not the students of the class in which he was teaching. Sita Devi added that the classes were being filled with those who are not students. Even Andrews whio was not well in Bengali attended the class more often. It was a marvellous scene that the boys of 10/12 years old were reading poems of Shelley, Keats, Browning . He took classes in other subjects also. Rabindranath was not in favour of thinking the younger as too much young to understand and could not keep himself aloof from making them informed about the beautiful things of the world."
Ranu Adhikari aged about 12 had free access to everywhere in Santiniketan. She happened to go the writing table of Rabin dranath, in the classes under the tree,or in the prayer hall. She had no restriction to go to any place. Letters written subsequently to Ranu reveals many pictures of Santiniketan with proper description.
After a few days (on 10th July) Rabindranath wrote a letter  to Pramatha Choudhury. 
" After coming over here, I could not write a single line. My mind is tired. Now I am a school teacher. If it does not produce any good output, it keeps my  mind well. When I could not utilise my excess energy, for different reasons,  in some creative work my mind becomes restless. I don't feel inspiration for   writing always but my mind is always working for creative work. If it does not find any way out, it will do some harm. For this reason, leaving all my work at the age of 57+ in undetermined, irregular, and untimely, I engaged myself in teaching profession."
Thus he was passing his days in this profession. Sita Devi wrote, "On 13th July, Rabindranath read out some old poems on the roof  of Deholi, his residence in Santiniketan. He explaind some of them, e.g. "Swarga Hate Biday" and "Sindhur prati" and we listened to him."
Wile staying at Santiniketan Ranu wrote about such a get together, " Will you read today 
"Gandharir Abedan ? In which place will you read it ?
I shall be pleased if you read this world famous poetry . I shall read the poem "Abhisar". Shanti too will 
read ." Sita Devi wrote, " Rabindranath kept himself busy too much this time. By constructing songs, taking classes, teaching how to sing, and reading from his own writings for others to listen- these were the works he was doing to keep himself busy. We could not see when he was taking rest... In the afternoon he took his seat on the roof of his  small house and persons coming from all sides sat surrounding him and thus it took the shape of a meeting."        

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hindu-Muslim riot and Rabindranath

Rabindranath was writing an  essay in English  to read   in the Congress Session. He also determined to write an essay on Hindu-Muslim riot. In this context he informed Ramananda Chattopadhyay on 28th Oct,1917,
" The days of autumn in Santiniketan created the hymn in my mind which made me understand firmly that I am a poet. The only problem of this conception  is  to remain aloof from any work is not unloyal to me   becomes deep rooted in my mind. "
But he could not help keeping himself idly. He added to Ramananda in the previous letter,
" The most draw back of Rabindranath is that he is like a date-palm tree. Juice will not come out without being poked.He wrote a long essay titled "Choto O Baro" on the subject of the conflict Hindu and Muslim. He started writing the essay with the riots of Hindu and Muslims occurred during the incident of  immolation of cows ceremony in Bihar, a few days ago. He discussed many things . He identified the roots of the problems of conflict of Hindu and Muslim that indicates his deep insight ;
" One must believe that there is a severe conflict between the Hindus and Muslims of our country. If there is a deviation from the path of truth, there lies the crime and if there is a crime,there is a punishment. If the religion becomes a doctrine of treatise inspite  of being a feeling of heart, which makes rituals as the main object, it becomes the cause of displeasure. Nothing can super cedes it."
There were some causes and we thought that partition is the solution.But it was found that the problems remained even  we got our divided  freedom. It prevailed because of politicization of communalism. Rabindranath's method of solving the solution was not accepted at that time.
There were other things also in this essay.          

Sister Nivedita and Rabindranath

Sister Nivedita (About this sound Sister Niːbediiːt̪a ); (Bengali: সিস্টার নিবেদিতা); (1867–1911), born as Margaret Elizabeth Noble, was a Scots-Irish social worker, author, teacher and disciple of Swami Vivekananda. She met Vivekananda in 1895 in London and travelled to Calcutta, India (present-day Kolkata) in 1898. Swami Vivekananda gave her the name Nivedita (meaning "Dedicated to God") when he initiated her into the vow of Brahmacharya on March 25, 1898. She had close associations with the newly established Ramakrishna Mission. However because of her active contribution in the field of Indian Nationalism, she had to publicly dissociate herself from the activities of the Ramakrishna Mission under the then president Swami Brahmananda. She was very intimate with Sarada Devi, the spiritual consort of Sri Ramakrishna and one of the major influences behind Ramakrishna Mission and also with all brother disciples of Swami Vivekananda. Her epitaph aptly reads, Here reposes Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India.
Rabindranath wrote the introduction of the book titled " The Web of Indian Life " written by Sister Nivedita  on 21 Oct, 1917.. The book was first published in 1904. While writing its long introduction he analysed the Western  mentality specially  the ruling British Government and the recent political perspective of India;
" For some time past a spirit of retaliation has taken possession of our literature and our social world. We have furiously begun to judge our judges, and the judgement comes from hearts sorely stricken with hopeless humiliation. And because our thoughts have an origin whose sound does not reach outside our country, or even the year of our governors within its boundaries, their expression is growing in vehemence. The prejudice cultivated on the side of the powerful is no doubt dangerous for the weak, but it cannot be wise on the part of the strong to ignore that thorny crop grown on the opposite field. Th upsetting of truth in the relationship of the ruler and the ruled can never be compensated by the power that lies in the grip of the mailed fist."
In this perspective he fixed up the position of Sister Nivedita with great honour;
" And this was the reason which made us deeply grateful to Sister Nivedita, that great-hearted Western-woman, when she gave utterance to her criticism of Indian life. She had won her access to the inmost heart of our sciety by her supreme gift of sympathy. She did not come to us with the impertinent curiosity of a visitor, nor did she elevate herself on a special high prch with the idea that a bird's eye view is truer than the human view because of its superior aloofness. She lived our life and came to know us by becoming one of ourselves."
The relation of Nivedita with Rabindranth  was sweet but caustic, they had differences in their ideas of  religion  -- but the analysis of Indian society of Nivedita did bears her heartiest sincerity which Rabindranath recognized with great honor..               

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Michael Sadler (1861-1943) and Rabindranath

The dissatisfaction about the functioning of Calcutta University was gradually growing in different ways  to the ruling authorities.To submit proposals for rectfication and development a Calcutta University Commission under the  chairman Michael Sadler , Vice-Chanellor, Leeds University. Sadler was a friend of Rothenstein. He brought an introductory letter from him for meeting Rabindranath.The learned section of Calcutta got excited with this Commission. Rabindranath, too, ould not keep himself out of this discussion. 
Mukul Dey determined to publish an album for sale containing sketches of twelve important persons in the ensuing Congress Session.He wrote in his diary on 9th Oct that when he approached Ashutosh Mukherjee, he said, " Our University is going to open some new departments. It would be better if Rabi Babu, Gagan Babu try their utmost to open here a department of fine arts and apply for it, this will help us."
In the afternoon I told this to Gurudev, he said, " there are some fake tells in that Tiger. Once we tried for a music conference but that was spoilt by him. The dialogue came from his mouth not from his heart."
         The context reminded me a letter written to the Education Director W.W. Hornell about the music education Institution. It was true that Ashutosh could not do anything in that respect, but his eagerness about fine art was not unsubstantial. After some year [1921] he created a post of professor of fine Art and offered the post to Abanindranath.
His another attempt was to open a system of examination in postgraduate in Bengali which was a matter of discussion also. Kalidas Nag wrote in his diary on 17th Oct, " We have come to the house of Pramatha Choudhury. There was a discussion about the introduction of Bengali in University Reform Scheme and the discussion was held."      

Last days of Madurilata (25 Oct1886 - 13 May 1918)

The symptoms of TB were visible in the body of Madhurilata was first known from the letter of Rabindranath written to Kadambini Dutta on 24th Jun 1917. Madhurilata had cut off all connection from her father's family due to some family trouble leading to the damage of her self-respect causing a mental separation with her father from the very beginning of 1913. Inspite of her father's best attempts the relation could not be re-established. But the infection of the awfully bad disease in her lovely body could not keep her father aloof from her on learning of her disease. He passed his valuable time with her daughter during day time when he happened to come to Calcutta. He wrote Kadambini on 3rd July the same thing, " During day time I pass my time in my daughter's residence." Moitreyee Devi quoted the same thing to Hemlata Devi ; " Bela was his most dearest daughter, so he had to neglect all the disregards shown to him and stay at the bedside of his deceased daughter.  Sarat, his son-in-law, was seen  smoking cigarette keeping both his legs on the table just to dishonour  his father-in-law and did not put his legs down the table. Keeping the insult in the deepest portion of his heart, he sat by the side his daughter when she too turned her head to the other side. The activities of his son-in-law were needless to comment but his daughter's behavior was un-pardonable.Rabindranath had to bear anxiety in his heart. Times without number, he had to come to Clacutta from Shantiniketan learning seriousness of his daughter's illness and spend money for her in different ways including her medical expenses from 24th June,
1917 to 16 May, 1918, the day when she died.    
Rabindranath had five children - two sons and three daughters. Three of his children - one son and two daughters died in his life time.
1 Renuka 1891-1903 (married on 1901)
2. Shamindranath (1896-1907)
3.Madhurilata- 1886-1918(married on 1901)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

(video) "Sangeeter Mukti" - Rabindranath (Je kandone hiya kandiche : by Shama Rahman)(contd-21)

Rabindranath read the essay in Vichitra on 5th Sept and in Rammohan Library, organized by Sangeet Sangha founded by Pratima Devi, on 7th Sept. The later meeting was presided by Ashutosh Choudhury.
Before writing this essay Rabindranath wrote Amiya Chakraborty on 16th Aug ;
" I am in favour of Freedom of every affairs, even in Music.The thing which can move is alive.This is Freedom of Music. The gist of this essay. Some days ago I wrote and read an article :"Kartar Ichchay Karma", there are some reflection of this essay  -- the same conclusion can also be drawn there too. "Bureaucrat".... One can remember the former portion of one's designation " Rajkarmachari" but he cannot keep in his memory the 2nd portion of the designation. For this reason if there is no power within the tenants, in that case bureaucracy  can not possess highest form of power." According Rabindranath, the supremacy of the skill in Indian Music is equivalent with the bureaucracy -- ' the honour of the music teacher supercedes the music itself'.
In this essay, Rabindtranath spoke in favour of Freedom : " We cannot put in chians in the hands of Saraswati (goddess of learning), if it is made by the strings of her Bina ( music instrument). Mentioning his own method of utilising freedom in constructing Kabya and Music he said;
" Yet, how much tyrannize I do, I cannot cross the boundary of different nodes. I came to learn that I can avoid their frame of binding but their nucleus remains as it is.I believe this system will persist." Still he tried to cite with the help of example to open the line of diversity. He constructed two new musical times - :Ekadashi and Nabatal  and constructed new songs to explain those beats;
Kanpicho dehalata tharathara
Byakula bakuler Phoole
Je Kandane Hiya Kandiche
Duar mama Pathapashe
( All the songs are in Balaka)
But he could not avoid criticism.        

Vichitra and Rabindranath (contd-20)

(Rabindranath Tagore with his children-(from left)daughter Mira, son Rathindranath, daughter-in-law Pratima, daughter Bela)
Sita Devi wrote , " Rabindranath couldnot stay in Shantiniketan because of a sudden information of deterioration of the condition of his elder daughter Bela suffering from TB. He came  to Calcutta on 30th Aug,1918. Rathindranth wrote a long letter to Mrs. Seymour 0n 28th Aug about  the multifarious activities of Bichitra;
" Father with the help of an editorial board, is editing a series of books in Bengali somewhat in the line of the Home University series. I have been asked to write one and am reading up the literature on the subject... Amongst our own family members there were many private collections of books that were scattered in different places and of not much use to anybody. I have succeeding in inducing them to keep their books in one place and thus form the nucleus of a co-operative library... this library is a new addition in the varied activities of Vichitra, the whole ground floor of the building has been devoted to it. Our collection already is over 7000 and this is not a small number considering that all books that were common have been weeded out and sent to the Bolpur Library. We have kept two librarians  - who are now cataloging the books on the card index system. The membership is open to the public and from the lats week we have staryed regular weekly meeti gs in which papers will be read and discussed."
Pravat Kumar Mukhopadhyay resigning from Brahmacharyasram had joined City College of Calcutta. Amongst the two librarians he was one of them and his knowledge in card index system of cataloging the books in a library gave him the opportunity to be appointed in Viswabharati University.
The weekly meeting arranged in Vichitra was inaugurated by Abanindranath on 6th Aug at 6 PM by reading the essay "History of Indian Art". On 5th Sept Rabindtanath read the essay "Saangeeter Mukti" . Kalidas  Nag wrote, " The poet read an essay on music . There were songs also.
Rabindranath was not well and he was under the treatmnt of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy.       

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ranu-Vichitra and Rabindranath (contd-19)

(Ranu Adhikari daughter of Phani Bhsan Adhikari professor of philosophy of the Banaras Hindu University. Ranu, later Lady Ranu (1907- 2000) was married to Sir Biren Mukherjee and was one of the exquisite beauties of her time, one of Rabindranath Tagore's closest associates since her childhood days and later became a great connoissure of art and culture. )
Prof. Phani Bhusan Adhikari was acquainted with Rabindranath Tagore in 1910 while he stopped for a few hours in Shantiniketan enroute his working place at Benaras Hindu University after Summer Vacation. He wrote an eulogium titled "Bolpur Vidyalaya" [ Prabasi, Agrahayan issue, 1317]. He and his wife Sarajubala had deep liking in works of Rabindranath which influenced their children.Their third daughter Ranu [ good name Priti] had read all the short stories of Rabindranath in her childhood and wrote a letter to Rabindranath addressing;
Dear Rabi Babu,
I have read all the stories in your "Galpaguchcha" and have understood most of them . i could not follow "Kshudita Pashan" [Hungry Stone]. Well, the old man wanted to tell the story of the maid-servant of Iran, why didn't he complete the story.I like to hear that story. Do you let me inform the story. Moreover, in the story ' Joy Parajoy" did Shekhar marry the princess. Yes, or no.My elder sisters say he died. You please write that he remained alive and married the princess. Please ? If, actually, shekhar would die, I would be very sorry.I am very  much [khuuuuuuuub as she wrote in Bengali ] impassioned to see . Make sure to visit to our place. Please don't forget. If you don't come, I shall terminate friendship with you. If you come, we shall offer you our bed room r your rest. We shall show you our dolls,...
Rabindranath didnot neglect the letter written by a girl, rather, gave a long reply on 19th Aug 1917, and wrote on the envelope " Ranu / 235 Ashanta Kundu / ...,
"Your name, Ranu, is very sweet - I had a daughter whom I called Ranu, but she is no more. This short name is ok for your home but a bit misfit to post  a letter. If I have  done anything  wrong by writing your name "Ranu" on the envelope, I should not be held responsible.  There is a difference in the pet name and a good name. If you write further , you should give your full name.  "
This was published in Vichitra, [ Shraban 1334] and later in "Bhanusingher Patrabali".

Vichitra and Rabindranath (contd-18)

Kampo Arai was teaching drawing in Vichitra Club by Japanese method and doing his own work.He wrote on 3rd July in his diary; "I have drawn a picture in the combined canvas. At the top of the canvas I have completed drawing the summit of the Himalayas and after completing my drawing I gifted it to Rabindranath Tagore". He added that Rabindranath, Abanindranath, Gaganendranath and others had seen my sketches drawn at the Darjeeing. They also saw my
picture " Andher Suryabandana" of Kanjan Simomura.
Rabindranath was greeted in the Manda Club founded by Sukumar Roy.Kalidas Nag wrote; "The poet was called for today in the club. We discussed many topics - "Payla nambar" -- this was continued till 1 A.M..
Kampo Arai wrote in his diary on 7th July; " Gurudev Rabindtanath went to Bolpur."

Pramatha Choudhuri and Home University Library

(Pramathanath Chaudhuri (Bengali: প্রমথনাথ চৌধুরী) (7 August 1868 – 2 September 1946), known as Pramatha Chaudhuri, alias Birbal, is an exceptionally illuminating persona in modern Bengali literature. It is astounding how he kept hold of his uniqueness in all-pervasive era of Rabindranath Tagore. As the editor of Sabuj Patra ("Green Leaves",1914) and the mentor of the group that gathered around this journal, Chaudhuri left a lasting legacy to the literature of Bengal)
The plan of publishing a series of "Viswa vidya Sangraha" for clear understanding of different branches of science comprehensive  to all in the line of the series of Home University Library was informed to Rabindranath by Pramatha Chouduri. Rabindranth wrote him on 19th April, 1917, " Don't forget the plan of the proposal of Home Library of Bengali, you have said to me ? This is urgent. We have discussed it further in Tindharia and Darjeeling"Having returned to Calcutta, he called for Kalidas Nag on 26th jun;
" Tomorrow Wednesday in the evening at about 6.30 P.M. Brajendra Babu, Jadu Sarkar and others will meet at the Vichitra meeting hall to discuss about the rules of publishing Viswavidya series. Therefore, You, please, come to meet them leaving all your present occupation." He also invited Ramananda Chattopadhyay on the same date
Kalidas Nag wrote on 27th Jun in his diary;
" I picked up Jadu Babu and came to the poet and discussed about the publication of Viswavidya Granthabali upto 9 P.M."
Jadu nath Sarkar described in details about "Viswa-vidya-Sangraha" in an article published in Prabasi Shraban issue as a Secretary of which Rabindranath was the executive and he himself the Secretary. The following persons were nominated as secretary in different branches;
"1. Philosophy - Brajendranath Sil, Narandranath Sengupta
2. Science - Ramendrasundar Tribedi, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanabis
3. History, Geography and Economics - Jadunath Sarkar
4. Sahitya, Sahityer Itihas O Bhasa - Pramatha Choudhuri
5. Humanities - Ardhendu Kumar Ganguly, Surendranath Tagore
6. Educational Science - Transient Secretary Rabindranath Tagore
Having learnt that Jadunath discussed the matter with Haridas Chattopadhyay, proprietor of Gurudas Chattopadhyay & Sons, Rabindranath wrote him;
" I am agreeable to the line of rules of Haridas Babu in which he wanted to publish Viswa Grantha. I shall fix up the issue when I go to Calcutta this time."
A printing machine was gifted to Brahmacharyasram by Lincoln City of USA. Rabindranath proposed to see that whether it was possible  to get "Viswavidyasangraha" printed with the help of that machine. But due to lack of initiative of the Secretary the plan was postponed at present'
After the death of Rabindranath by the initiative of Charuchandra Bhattacharya, Principal of printing Department of Viswabharati, the first volume of Viswavidyasangraha was published on 1st Bishakh, 1350 Bangabda. It is to be noeted that Rabindranath started publishing " Lokosiksha Granthamala" in 1346 with the same ideal.    

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Madhurilata and Rabindranath

Bela or Madhurilata and her husband got strained relation with Rabindranath. But they had normal relations with other members of Tagore family.
Jyotirindranath wrote in his diary on 23 Oct,1915, " Sarat [Kumar Chakraborty], Bela, Beni, suddenly arrived at Calcutta, from Hazaribagh by motor today in the morning."
Rabindranath had come to Calcutta on 18th Jun and stayed for the rest of the month. The main reason for his detention was the illness of Bela.Sarat Chandra Chakraborty leaving his residence at Jorasanko due to some family trouble, began to live in  a rented house at Entally The relation with her father could not be re-establish due to her vanity in spite of the best wishes of her father. They kept up good relation including communication with other members of the Tagore family. They had cut off all the relation with Rabindranath. But learning the daughter's sufferings from TB he could not keep himself aloof. In spite of his open disregard  of his son-in-law, he had gone regularly to her daughter's sick-bed, had taken the burden of her treatment, and give her solace  by singing songs and reciting poems.
He wrote a letter to Kadambini Dutta,
" My elder daughter Madhurilata  had been attacked with TB. I was worried for that. She might be shifted to Calcutta or somewhere else for change of weather." and added on 3rd July, " Usually, I stay in my daughter's residence in the day time. I have free time in the evening."
The letter he wrote to Mira Devi on 27th Jun was somewhat hopeful,
"Bela is better now a days, the fever has come down. I may go to Bolpur when she will improve to some extent.Kaviraj Gananath Sen told me need not be disheartened." Even in this anxiety , he was doing his normal duty. From a letter written to an unknown it was understood that Rabindranath thought he would be going to Calcutta on 14th July but as his daughter's disease worsened, he started for Calcutta on 13 July and stayed there for about a monh.