Thursday, May 6, 2010

Let us get past ‘Gitanjali’

How should Tagore live on? As the 150th birth anniversary celebrations begin, author Sunil Gangopadhyay revisits the legacy

In the 1950s, when some of us were aspiring to be poets and writers in Bengal, we were “Rabindra-birodhi“ (Rabindranath-resisting) and even made disparaging remarks about him. Tagore died in 1941 and our intention in opposing him has mostly been unexplained. More than wanting to attack Tagore, our target were the Rabindrik people (the Rabindranath-fixated), his chelas, who thought literature ended with Tagore and whoever would write after him would merely clone Tagore.

We staked our claim and maintained that Bengali literature couldn’t stop at Tagore. While publicly we opposed, at home and with friends we would ceaselessly sing Rabindra sangeet (Tagore’s songs).

I don’t call myself Rabindra-birodhi any longer. I have since studied Tagore well and have discovered him anew. It is also pointless to oppose him since post-Tagore modern Bengali literature is now well-established, Tagore too has moved to the classical realm and one can’t revolt against what is classic.

Full report here Mint

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