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Thread: Rabindranath Tagore

  1. #1
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    India Rabindranath Tagore

    Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861?7 August 1941), also known by the sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali poet, Brahmo religionist, visual artist, playwright, novelist, and composer whose works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He became Asia's first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature.

    A Pirali Brahmin (a ".. supposed stigma", ".. formed a party for degrading them", ".. orthodox kind relying on hearsay for their facts") from Calcutta, Bengal, Tagore first wrote poems at the age of eight. At the age of sixteen, he published his first substantial poetry under the pseudonym Bhanushingho ("Sun Lion") and wrote his first short stories and dramas in 1877. In later life Tagore protested strongly against the British Raj and gave his support to the Indian Independence Movement. Tagore's life work endures, in the form of his poetry and the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University.

    Tagore wrote novels, short stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays on political and personal topics. Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are among his best-known works. His verse, short stories, and novels, which often exhibited rhythmic lyricism, colloquial language, meditative naturalism, and philosophical contemplation, received worldwide acclaim. Tagore was also a cultural reformer and polymath who modernised Bengali art by rejecting strictures binding it to classical Indian forms. Two songs from his canon are now the national anthems of Bangladesh and India: the Amar Shonar Bangla and the Jana Gana Mana respectively.


    BIBLIOGRAPHY (in English)

    • Gitanjali: Song Offerings (1912)
    • The Crescent Moon (1913)
    • Sadhana: The Realisation of Life (1913)
    • The Gardener (1913)
    • Chitra (1914)
    • Songs of Kabir (1915)
    • The Hungry Stones and other stories (1916)
    • Stray Birds (1916)
    • The Fugitive (1921)
    • Fruit Gathering (1916)
    • Creative Unity (1922)
    • My Boyhood Days (1943)
    • The Home and the World (1985)
    • Selected Short Stories (1991)
    • I Won't Let you Go: Selected Poems (1991)
    • Glimpses of Bengal (1991)
    • Nationalism (1991)
    • My Reminiscences (1991)
    • Selected Poems (1994)
    • The Post Office (1996)
    • Selected Letters (1997)

    RELATED LINKS


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    A biography recommended to me that I can recommend in turn, as I did a couple months ago at da blog:

    Krishna Dutta & Andrew Robinson, Rabindranath Tagore: The Myriad-Minded Man (about to be reissued with a new preface by Anita Desai): Having read Gora, I wanted to find out more about Tagore: this is the book (thx Indranil!). His life resists summary, his talents (and accomplishments, though some efforts came to little) many, but his influence remains diffuse. This biography seeks to go beyond the arts & letters, though with a fair sample of poetry in translation; some things just don't translate. Among his many associations outside India, the most surprising to me was that with Victoria Ocampo (as she was becoming central to Argentine arts & letters), and with romantic overtones at that.

    To which I'll add: his legacy is complicated; less honored at home than abroad in his lifetime and beyond, he's credited with not merely modernizing but revitalizing Bengali language, literature and especially song (which is much less accessible to us outsiders). Politically, he was marginalized first by his Kolkata compatriots, then by Gandhi's mass movement, despite their common aim to wrest autonomy from the British; religiocultural divisiveness proved inimical to his project, and continues to undermine Indian society, which keeps Tagore relevant even now, even though he remains more honored in word than deed.

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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    "Stray birds of summer come to my window to sing and fly away.

    And yellow leaves of autumn, which have no songs, flutter and fall there with a sigh"

    "I sit at my window this morning where the world like a passer-by stops for a moment, nods to me and goes."

    I can still recall these lines in Stray Bird. Rabindranath Tagore, to me, he is a poet sitting in the morning sunshine, pondering over the world with a birdview and writing down the words which are playing on his heart at that moment.
    Life is many days, day after day.

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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    Ian Jack of the Guardian, usually very well-informed and not short of an opinion or three, can't make up his mind about Tagore. Is it possible for anyone in the West to appreciate just how he managed to acquire such god-like status among Bengalis? The lack of adequate translations of his poetry forces Western commentators to fall back on applauding his achievements in other spheres.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...ed?INTCMP=SRCH

    I've owned a big fat biography of him for many years, but still haven't got into it.

    Harry

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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    Bit of a coincidence, this invitation I've just received, as I only posted about Tagore the other day. Bashabi Fraser is a Bengal-born academic whose research focuses on Indian-Scottish links.

    Dear All,
    As you know, we are in the process of establishing the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies (ScoTs) at Edinburgh Napier University. This year is Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian Nobel Laureate's 150th birth anniversary, which is being celebrated internationally by several institutions.
    I am enclosing an invitation to you for two events on 12 and 13 May which Edinburgh Napier University is hosting, to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. We hope many Scottish PEN members will be able to attend.
    With best regards,
    Bashabi

    Dr Bashabi Fraser
    Lecturer in English and Creative Writing
    School of Arts & Creative Industries
    Craighouse, Room: NC 521
    Edinburgh Napier University
    Edinburgh, EH10 5LG
    Scotland, UK

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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    There was a short article in the Swedish publication "Författaren" (Writer / Author) about Tagore, written by the Bangladeshi author Anisur Rahman who is the so called Refugee Author of Uppsala for the past two years. Rahman points out that Tagore was the first non-European to win the Nobel, but says that there have not been enough translations into many other languages. He notes that the British aministration arrested a number of those who assembled back in 1941 to celebrate his 80th birthday in Jamalpur on account of Tagore's nationalism. Later on, the Pakistani authorities prohibited his work. Ironic somehow.

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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    The leading Magazine Frontline, runs a cover story on Rabindranath Tagore, commemorating the 150th birth Annivesary of the Only Nobel Literature Laureate from India..

    http://www.frontlineonnet.com/
    Tagore.jpg

    Link to Articles ( which also contain some of the rare photos )

    Timeless Tagore

    Language Barrier ( on translations )

    Poet of the Padma

    the other Tagore

    Unique Landlord

    Man of Science
    Jayan



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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    Of the various articles, I of course home in on one about translation. It would be interesting to know, by way of close analysis by someone who knows Bangla and English really well, whether English translations fare better or worse than ones into German, French, Spanish, etc. Surely the ambience of a poem is a vital constituent part. All meaning and no art is as bad as all flowers and no content.

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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    Eric,

    I would not have the right answer... But here is a link ( google reader ) which has some interesting information. I am reproducing some here..

    "It is well known that with the publication of the English Gitanjali in 1912 Tagore became famous overnight, and received Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Tagore's fame as a great poet spread like fire, and his Song-Offering ( Gitanjali) came to be translated into almost all European and Asian Languages by eminent poets and litterateurs. Among his translators were Ven Eden, Gide, Jimenez who were great names in their respective countries. Father Pierre fallon had pointed out that the English Gitanjali has been the most successful of all Tagore Translations, read in all European languages; the French translation alone passed through some 35 editions."
    http://books.google.co.in/books?id=P...lation&f=false


    Some thoughts :

    a) Tagore himself was the translator to English. I guess the others, like Gide , would have relied on the English translation to other languages.
    b) As I understand, Gitanjali in Bengali had a 'song quality' which I understand was lost in English. I do not read Bengali, but can decipher the language to an extend ( when some one speak).
    c) I've read Gitanjali in English and Malayalam and personally think, translation to the Indian Languages manages to keep some of the original qualities of the Bengali original ( I could be biased)

    Here is another link that might be of interest http://www.jstor.org/pss/40126293
    Jayan



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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    I read Song Offerings, and I don't see what's so amazing about him. I've read that I read a poor translation and that there is a better one in English available. I won't be in a hurry to get it, though.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    Oh, Tagor great poet

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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    I originally posted this somewhere else, but what the hay.

    When I was very young and had just returned from a ‘spiritual exercises retreat’ at a Jesuit congregation I had a dream about Tagore. If I recall it right, at the retreat location there was a poster pasted to a wall with a poem by Tagore (something about God being like a father to us) and that must have triggered my dream. At the end of the dream Tagore gave me a poem to remember our meeting:
    ”Since the beginning, I’ve loved your light,
    it has been my guide in the stormy seas of life,
    but if one night you extinguish your lamp,
    I’ll learn to love your silence”.

    A couple of decades later I came upon the source of the poem from my dream while reading through a collection of Tagore’s verse:

    ”Put out the lamp when thou wishest,
    I shall know thy darkness, and shall love it”.
    To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations, such is a pleasure beyond compare.
    Yoshida Kenko

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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    Quote Originally Posted by fseo1 View Post
    Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
    Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
    Punjab-Sindh-Gujarat-Maratha
    Dravida-Utkala-Banga
    Vindhya-Himachala-Yamuna-Ganga
    Uchchala-Jaladhi-taranga.
    Tava shubha name jage,
    Tava shubha asisa mage,
    Gahe tava jaya gatha,
    Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he
    Bharata-bhagya-vidhata.
    Jaya he, jaya he, jaya he,
    Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!
    And don't forget this other beautiful song:

    Amar sonar Bangla
    Ami tomay bhalobashi
    Chirodin tomar akash,
    Tomar batash,
    Amar prane bajae bãshi.
    O ma,
    Phagune tor amer bone
    Ghrane pagol kôre,
    Mori hay, hay re,
    O ma,
    Ôghrane tor bhôra khete
    Ami ki dekhechhi modhur hashi.
    Ki shobha, ki chhaya go,
    Ki sneho, ki maea go,
    Ki ãchol bichhaeechho
    Bôţer mule,
    Nodir kule kule.
    Ma, tor mukher bani
    Amar kane lage
    Sudhar moto-
    Ma tor bodonkhani molin hole
    ami noyon
    o may ami noyonjole bhashi
    sonar bangla,
    ami tomay bhalobasi!

    I have the good luck of having Bengal-speaking coworkers who were kind enough to sing those two beautiful Tagore anthems. One of my coworkers made a joke about how it was fortunate for India that Tagore wrote the national anthem and not a Punjabi songwriter or it would have been quite a bit less majestic and serene .
    To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations, such is a pleasure beyond compare.
    Yoshida Kenko

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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleanthess View Post
    One of my coworkers made a joke about how it was fortunate for India that Tagore wrote the national anthem and not a Punjabi songwriter or it would have been quite a bit less majestic and serene .
    That's the 'Bangla pride' speaking. The other languages ( even Punjabi for that matter) is by no means lower by the parameter of being 'majestic'. I know it is meant to be a joke, but we often hear these kinda statements often here. In south India, Telugu ( after Sanskrit, of course) was considered the language of the literati. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the poets/composers of the 'Carnatic Classical Music' continue to do their works in Telugu ( they are indeed good) . Some movements to get the Tamil or Kannada compositions popularized did not go without few frowning faces.
    Jayan



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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    Hey, I haven't read him yet and have no idea where to start and what to read next. What do you recommend? If possible, besides his poetry, cite a relevant piece of prose of his (either novels or short stories or both)

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    Default Re: Rabindranath Tagore

    The Home and the World is his best known novel and remains in publication in English by Penguin.

    It's an analysis of Bengal's place in the world (politically) at the turn of the century.

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