By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: The yearlong Sesquicentenary Birth Anniversary celebration of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore concluded on Tuesday with dances, songs and speeches paying rich tribute to the poet.
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the State Department of Arts & Culture in association with Tagore Sesquicentenary Birth Celebration Committee (TSBCC) organized a musical ensemble which was presented by a group of 150 Rabindra Sangeet singers from all over the state across, cutting across caste and creed, at the picturesque Brookside Mansion compound on Tuesday morning.
Deputy Chief Minister BM Lanong, who was the chief guest at the morning session, promised that Shillong would have a Rabindra Bhawan in the near future.
Later in the evening, Sangam, a presentation of three classical dances of India — Manipuri, Mohiniyattam and Odissi — was organized at the same venue on an open stage specially erected for the purpose.
The evening session was attended by special guests from Syria, Iran, Iraq and Africa who are ICCR research scholars besides Governor RS Mooshahary, General Narula, GOC 101, local legislator Manas Chaudhuri, among others.
Recalling that great personalities like Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose all had visited Shillong, the Governor said, “Tagore was a passionate patriot. Though he returned the Knighthood he was universally a humanist and viewed the entire world as ‘one humanity’ irrespective of caste or creed.
“He was man who could express himself in many ways through his poems, dance forms as he is known more as a mystic in the West than a philosopher,” Mooshahary added.
He also said that the Nobel Laureate carried the aura of a mystic with his dignified look as he had the appearance of an Indian sage. “I have not come across a personality with so many qualities,” said the Governor drawing parallel with the likes of great English poets. “His talent makes him a super human personality. We have to be good human being first with compassion and kindness across the cultural milieu,” he said.
Speaking about the programme, Mooshahary said that the ensemble of cultural artists from Kerala, Manipur, Odisha and Kolkata is in line with Tagore’s universal concept of humanity.
Lanong confessed that he has come to know more about the works, philosophy and Tagore’s way of life in the last one year after the start of the TSBCC’s year-long celebration.
“I regret it took many of us to know him after 150 years. But I would like to propose that let us not erase many good things we know about him, we will gain more and our life will be better if we follow what he has left behind for us and how he wanted the world to be,” said Lanong, adding that Tagore’s submissiveness to the almighty appeals him more.
He also appreciated the morning ensemble of 150 Rabindra Sangeet singers from all community of the society who sang the chorus scores of Tagore in Bengali.
A research scholar from Syria, Hassan Hassan, said that Tagore did not belong to any particular community, state, country, religion but he was a great human being.
“His relation with the Arab world started in 1926 when he visited Egypt and thereafter he was invited and accepted everywhere,” he said. While reading a prose praising the Nobel Laureate in Arabic, he recalled the 1988 Nobel Prize Winner (Literature), Naguib Mahfouz, an Egyptian writer who had said, “We must smell and read the poem of Tagore every morning like we smell the flowers of our garden,” amidst applause from the packed open arena.
“We will not let you down, as India is proud of you and so also in Syria we are proud of you. We will follow your values, poems and all your works as they resemble peace, beauty and future,” said Hassan, as the crowd was glued to his speech.
Chaudhuri informed that SS Sawain has translated Tagore’s Geetanjali supported by the Department of Arts & Culture.
“Tagore has a great deal of influence and brought nations together. Tagore’s concept of universal communism can root out most issues that are plaguing the world today,” he said. He also said that it was Mahatma Gandhi who first used the word Gurudev.
Jaya Prabha Menon enthralled the evening audience with her rendition on Mohiniyattam. Kolkata based Abhijit Deb presented Odissi dance and Jagoi Marup and Group presented Manipuri dance.
A recitation of Tagore’s Sesher Kobita and Bidaai were presented by M Bisharadh and Falguni Chakraborty in a combination of Hindi and Bengali.