Friday, July 16, 2010

Rabindranath as a poet (Bhanu Singha)-(contd-1)

(Help was taken from the essay written by Sushil Roy in Jiban Smriti). In 1874, he completed a long poem in the Maithili style pioneered by Vidyapati. Published pseudonymously, experts accepted them as the lost works of Bhanusingha, a newly discovered 17th century Vaisnava poet. It had already been said that Rabindranath had a keen interest in old Vaishnava poems which were being collected and published by Babu Akshay Sarker and Sarada Mitter. The language, largely mixed with Maithili, was difficult to understand, but for that very reason Rabindranath took more pains to get at their meaning. His feeling towards the poems were as if they were ungerminated sprout within  the seed, or an undiscovered mystery under the dust covering of the earth. Buoyed with the hope of bringing to light some unknown poetical gems, he went deeper and deeper into the unexplored darkness of he treasure-house. Then he came upon the idea of writing in the same styile--  in such a wrapping of mystery.  As he heard from Akshoy Choudhury the story of the English  boy-poet Chatterton. Though he had no idea about the writings nor had Akshoy Babu given any details about the poet,  the unknown and untold story didn't lose its hidden charm. The melodramatic element in it which fired his imagination was sufficient.           
One noon in a cloudy weather lying prone on his bed in his inner room he wrote in maithili,   "Gahana kusuma kunja majhe"and became delighted to be able to write such a line. One day he mentioned to one of his friend: "A tattered old manuscript has been discovered while rummaging in the ADI BRAHMA SAMAJ library and from this he has coppied some poems by an old Vaishnava poet named Bhanu Singha". The friend was excited and  said that  " these could not have been written even by Vidyapati or Chandidas" . Then Rabindranath showed him his manuscript and said these could not have been written by Vidyapati or Chandidas because he himself had written these.When these poems in the name of Bhanu Singha was gradually coming out in Bharati, Dr. Nishikanta Chatterjee was in Germany. He wrote a Thesis on the lyric of our country comparing with that of Europe. Bhanu Singha was given a place of honour as one of the old poets such as no  modern writer could have aspired to. This was the thesis on which Nishikanta got his Ph.D.
It was at that time a matter of discussion  amongst the elites about this Bhanu Singha and his period of existence. In the opinion of Panchkari Babu, Bhanu Singh might have been born before 451 BC, Nitai Charan Babu said he was born some times in between 1104 AD to 1799 AD, Kalachand De said thatBhanu Singha was born either before 819 BC or after 1639. Ultimately Rabindranath pointed out the mistakes of every one that Bhanu Singh was born in 1861 because he himself took the name of Bhanu Singha.