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Dwindling of Glory —The Throttled King



June 2013
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Story telling is an art which is getting jeopardized day by day as the listeners are getting engaged in other activities. During our childhood we used to get fascinated listening stories from our elders, especially from grandma(s) and grandpa(s). Today I am going to play the role of a story teller and my story is about a king and his realm and he is none other than the legend Rabindranath Tagore.

We all know about this prodigy and his life but still let’s have a glance at it. The Almighty’s silent wish to award His followers with another jewel became the realty on 7th May, 1861, when Smt. Sarada Devi and Sir Debendranath Tagore’s youngest son was born. He was named as “Rabi” means Sun, a boy who started writing poems at the age of eight. As time rolled on, Rabi started taking interest on Kirtans, Baul songs. There began his journey to the ocean of knowledge about music. He learnt Indian as well as western classical music and made an extensive research on music. The time came when he started making his own creation. He adopted various musical forms and norms to articulate his music and created all master pieces and made a symphonic harmony of Indian classical music and western classical music. His music became the music of harmony during 1905. His music is a melody that covers all aspects of human emotions, a symphony and love for life. He made Bengali culture colorful and represented it to the world. He was honored with Nobel Prize for his ever green creation “Gitanjali” in 1913. Though not teacher but came out as a teacher to be oneness with the nature and his zeal found it’s realization in Shatiniketan. He was an obscuring individual who came to be known as Nobel Laureate. This great prodigy left all his humanely possessions on 7th Aug, 1941.

Readers must be wondering that I am blowing the usual trumpet and thereby this should be the end of the story. I beg your pardon but we are on the brink of the climax of the story. Here we begin with that.

The time of distortion in the king’s realm came. The span of Copyright of Tagore’s songs ended on 30th Dec’01 and that led a catastrophe in the Bengali conservative culture. A conflict came into the picture in the meantime called “KOBI TUMI KAAR?” (Means “Oh great poet, where do you belong to”?). Two head mistresses (one from west Bengal and other from Bangladesh) of Rabindrabharati University, Swagata Laxmi Dasgupta & Rezwana Choudhuri Bannya namely, resigned due to this issue. Dark time came in the king’s kingdom and his precious creations started getting imitated and became the source of revenue for music companies and inspirations to remix for latest music Directors. Nil Dutta was the one who became the pioneer in this pride and came out with such a weird innovation of the track “Pagla Hawar Badol Din e” (a Track by The Tagore), mixing it with Latin American Salsa music and making it “Uhh la la” in the movie “Bong connection” in the year 2004, when the Nobel Prize got stolen. As the creation of Tagore seemed to be as a chest filled with gems and jewels, other Bengali singers and music directors followed the path. A famous Bengali Singer Lopamudra Mitra re-sang the song “Mamo chitte, niti nrittye” and gave it a new dimension with contemporary music. And now in last seven years there are many Bengali movies which have used Tagore’s tracks, by distorting it. Yet movies like “Aalo”, “Chand er Bari”, “Abohomaan”, “Ballygunj Court” etc are exceptions. A great instance is “Mayabono Biharini Horini”, sang by Somlata Acharyaa Choudhury in the rock style, in the movie “Bedroom”. A great musician Bickram Ghosh came out with an album where there are eight songs and great learned of present time Mr. Rashid Khan also contributed in Alaap portions of the songs which should have increased the value of those tracks. But Alas! Few of those tracks reveal the feel as if you are doing some suspicious things in restricted alleys. This is not the end by the way. These songs are used in the fashion shows of some renowned fashion designers where their girls do catwalk on ramp, wearing their body hugging outfits and that coveys the latest trends. What a shame! A year or two ago a daily soap named “Gaan er Opaare” came which depicted a love story of two young opposite minds. The theme of the serial was centralised with Tagore but in a distorted manner. Songs like “Baandh Bhenge dao” was re-composed with trumpet and drum in the fashion imitating the music of those songs which are played in the “Baraat” of weddings.

Is it betterment in culture or the destruction? We celebrated Tagore’s 152nd birthday everywhere forgetting the real essence of his creation. But are we doing justice to his creations? What are we exactly doing, that is the big question here. Only playing Tagore’s songs at the five points square of Esplanade doesn’t maintain the dignity and the seriousness of his music. We need to re-create the conservativeness of our culture by protecting his creations and hence protecting our cultural heritage otherwise our forth coming generation will be mercy less to us as we will be having nothing to give them, imbibe in them as our own pure culture. Think about it.


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