Amartya Sen, Gulzar on Rabindranath Tagore (Video)

AMARTYA SEN at the Nobel website: Rabindranath Tagore, who died in 1941 at the age of eighty, is a towering figure in the millennium-old literature of Bengal. Anyone who becomes familiar with this large and flourishing tradition will be impressed by the power of Tagore’s presence in Bangladesh and in India. His poetry as well as his novels, short stories, and essays are very widely read, and the songs he composed reverberate around the eastern part of India (Bengal) and throughout Bangladesh.

In contrast, in the rest of the world, specially in Europe and America, the excitement that Tagore’s writings created in the early years of the twentieth century has largely vanished. The enthusiasm with which his work was once greeted was quite remarkable. Gitanjali, a selection of his poetry for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913, was published in English translation in London in March of that year, and had been reprinted ten times by November, when the award was announced. But he is not much read now in the West, and already by 1937, Graham Greene was able to say: “As for Rabindranath Tagore, I cannot believe that anyone but Mr. Yeats can still take his poems very seriously.” More here.

Tagore’s most famous Bengali poems translated into Hindi and put together as songs, Gulzar in conversation with Tagore album comprises Tagore’s most famous Bengali poems translated into Urdu and Hindi. 7 songs bring out the romantic side of Tagore, an attempt to contemporize his poetry by giving it a musical flavor that the young in South Asia identifies with. With Shantanu Moitra’s music brilliance, the compositions are a new age take on Rabindra Sangeet fused with a galore of modern acoustics like Guitar, Grand Piano, Mandolin etc.