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Alapini set for stage comeback
- All-women organisation set up by Tagore’s family to enact play after five decades

Santiniketan, Oct. 4: Come tomorrow, Visva-Bharati will for the first time in over 50 years witness Alapini Mahila Samiti perform on stage.

The varsity has decided to revive the all-women organisation, which was founded in 1916 by family members of Rabindranath Tagore under the poet’s guidance.

Alapini — comprising 52 members all of whom are around 60 — is gearing up for Tagore’s Chirakumar Sabha at Natyaghar auditorium tomorrow.

The group had last performed in the late 1950s, old-timers at the varsity said. Alapini had been only bringing out an annual magazine, Shreyashi, since then.

Sources said the decision to revive the group was prompted by vice-chancellor Sushanta Duttagupta’s initiative to bring the students “closer to tradition”.

According to officials, Sharadotsav was the perfect time for the group’s revived role.“The Visva-Bharati has decided to revive Alapini, the women’s organisation that was formed following encouragement from Gurudev. It was virtually dormant for about 50 years. But the varsity authorities decided to involve the organisation again. What could be better than Sharadotsav?” said Sougata Samanta, general secretary of Visva-Bharati’s Karmi Mandali.

The members were visibly happy that the organisation was being revived. “After about 50 years, we are getting involved in a Visva-Bharati programme. We are overjoyed at the opportunity given to us,” said Aparna Chowdhury, 75, who is taking part in tomorrow’s play.

Members of Alapini said that in the 1920s and 1930s, it was a forum where ashramites interacted with each other. “Thus came the organisation’s name, from ‘Alap’ (to meet),” Chowdhury added.

Some of the younger members said the group would again involve in social work in the varsity. “The members of Alapini looked after the health of pregnant women in Santiniketan and also took care of the children in schools. Now we hope to involve ourselves in such social work again,” said Sabita Dey, the president of Alapini.