151th of Tagore! A Life Celebration

  Bangladesh and India jointly organised a two-day celebration on the occasion of the closing of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore and the inaugural of his 151st birth anniversary. The function kicked off on May 6 and ended yesterday. The programme featured an art exhibition and live performances.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith inaugurated the painting exhibition as chief guest at National Art Gallery, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). Artist Hashem Khan was present as special guest. Mizanur Rahman, director of Fine Arts Department, BSA delivered the welcome speech. Liaquat Ali Lucky, director general of BSA, presided over the programme.
The exhibition features reproductions of 150 paintings by Tagore and artworks based on the bard's stories, poems and songs by 150 Bangladeshi artists. The artists, representing different generations, demonstrate their individual views on Tagore and his creative world.
Featured artists include Aminul Islam, Murtaja Baseer, Qayyum Chowdhury, Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, Hashem Khan, Rafiqun Nabi, Monirul Islam, Shahid Kabir, Monsurul Karim, Shahabuddin Ahmed, Shahid Kabir, Biren Shome, Monsurul Karim, Farida Zaman, Shishir Bhattacharya, Rokeya Sultana, Ranjit Das, Kanak Chanpa Chakma, Samiran Chowdhury, Mohammad Iqbal and Tarikat Islam.
Among the paintings are portraits of Rabindranath Tagore in various styles. Most of the paintings have a distinct touch of realism, semi-realism, and focus on every detail of the poet's visage. Most of the artworks highlight compositions and the character's dynamism.
Paintings of veteran artists -- Murtaja Baseer, Quayyum Chowdhury, Hashem Khan, Rafiqun Nabi, Monirul Islam, Shahabuddin Ahmed, Mohammad Iqbal and Ranjit Das -- bear their personal traits, techniques and approaches.
Hashem Khan said, “Tagore dreamt of a world without conflict. Individualism and humanity are recurring subjects in his writings. We should keep in mind that besides being a true patriot, Tagore was also a global personality. He is a major source of inspiration for the people of Bengal”.
Liaquat Ali Lucky said, “Tagore had united the people of India and Bangladesh. With this cultural performance, the closeness will be further strengthened.”
In the evening, the cultural programme featured poetry recitation, musical soiree, dance performance and more. The programme was held at National Theatre Hall, BSA.
The musical soiree featured solo and choral renditions by artistes of Bangladesh Rabindra Sangeet Shilpi Sangstha, Dhaka Sangskritik Dal and Jatiyo Rabindra Sangeet Sammelan Parishad.
Artistes of Jatiyo Rabindra Sangeet Sammelan Parishad started the soiree with a group rendition of “Jani Jani Kon”. The singers also presented several other choruses, including “Kobey Ami Bahir Holem”, “Tumi Kemon Kore Gaan Koro Hey”, and “Alo Amar Alo”.
Veteran Indian actress Sharmila Tagore delighted the audience as she recited the poem “Bashiwala” accompanied by Gazi Abdul Hakim on the flute. Tagore singers Semanti Manjuri, Sutapa Saha, Abdul Wadud, Shreyoshi Roy, Bulbul Islam and others performed solo. Noted elocutionists Bhaswar Banerjee and Kankan Das recited poems at the programme. Poet Belal Chowdhury and Rabiul Hussain recited poems on Tagore. Indian singer Agnibha Bandyopadhyay rendered a number of Tagore songs at the programme.
Rabindrasangeet was played at traffic intersections, in schools and colleges, events were held across the state and television channels competed with one another to air his songs, poems and dances as West Bengal on Tuesday marked the end of the yearlong 150 th birth anniversary celebrations of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore with great cultural fervour.
From north Kolkata's Jorasanko, where the poet-philosopher was born, to the districts and small towns, people thronged in hundreds to pay their homage to the literary genius, whose appeal has remained largely undiminished even 71 years after his death.

People from all walks of life queued up at Jorasanko Thakurbari in north Kolkata - Tagore's sprawling ancestral home - since dawn to see the room where he was born and watch a cultural programme, where well-known singers, elocutionists and dancers participated.The main official function organised by the state government began in the afternoon on a makeshift stage on Cathedral Road, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was present.Cultural programmes, film festivals, and book fairs have been arranged to kick off a fortnight long celebration. With Tagore songs, as on other days, played at traffic signals, people savoured a holiday declared by the state government.From the morning, there was a frenzy of activities across the state, with Tagore's compositions rendered in many localities and schools and colleges.
Born on this day Vaisakha 25 according to Bengali calendar (May 7, 1861 according to English calendar), Tagore in 1913 became the first Asian Nobel laureate and the first non European to win the Nobel Prize for literature.He also holds the distinction of having authored the national anthems of two sovereign nations -- India and Bangladesh.
The political "parivartan" in West Bengal left its imprint on Rabindranath Tagore's 151st birthday celebration Tuesday, with the Mamata Banerjee government changing the traditional venue and timing of the official function.For decades, the state government-organised official function had been held at the crack of dawn on the bard's birthday under an open space in the Rabindra Sadan premises.All leading artists and elocutionists used to participate in the programme to play homage to the Nobel laureate poet.
However, following instructions from Mamata Banerjee, the programme this time was deferred to the afternoon, with the venue shifted to Cathedral Road near Rabindra Sadan.This took many singers by surprise, though they were unwilling to come out in the open with their criticism."It was a tradition to pay homage to Tagore early in the morning. I don't know what prompted the new government to change the place and time," said a Rabindra Sangeet exponent, on condition of anonymity.The government has, however, claimed the decision was taken for the convenience of the Tagore-loving public, who would have had to wake up in the wee hours.But leader of opposition and Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Surjya Kanta Mishra was at his sarcastic best.In an obvious reference to Banerjee, known as a late riser, he said: "There are some people who are not early risers. But there are auspicious days when one should try to wake up early."


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