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Tagore tribute: a ‘rare’ Gitanjali

- Visva edition on 100 years of poet’s nobel

Santiniketan, Nov. 25: Visva-Bharati will bring out a special edition of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali with rare photographs and manuscripts next month to celebrate 100 years of the poet’s winning the Nobel.

President Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Visitor to the varsity, will release the book on December 19. Tagore won the Nobel in 1913 for his Gitanjali.

Visva-Bharati officials said it was the first time that a Gitanjali edition with such “rare” content was coming out.

“At the end of the book, there will be several rare photographs of Tagore. The book will also have the comments that were carried in newspapers and periodicals all over the world after he was awarded the Nobel,” an official said.

The book, to be brought out by Rabindra Bhavan, will also have pictures of Tagore’s original manuscripts in Bengali, said Tapati Mukherjee, the director of Rabindra Bhavan, which preserves the poet’s memorabilia.

The original Gitanjali was published in 1910 and had 157 poems in Bengali. Tagore translated 103 of those poems in English and they were brought out in The Song Offerings. The new edition will have those 103 poems in English.

“The book will have 103 poems, the manuscripts of which are in Rabindra Bhavan,” a varsity official said.

The book launch, the official added, will be part of a seminar that will be presided by Pranab Mukherjee.

“The President will arrive at Uttarayan complex on December 19 and inaugurate a seminar on 100 years of Tagore’s Nobel. He will also release the book,” the official said.

Asked the price of the special edition, Rabindra Bhavan officials said they were yet to decide on it.

“A private publishing house in New Delhi had earlier brought out a book in collaboration with Visva-Bharati with pictures of some of Tagore’s manuscripts. But I think this initiative will be something special,” said Amitrasudan Bhattacharya, a researcher on Tagore.

According to a varsity official, “The preface of the special edition of Gitanjali will be written by vice-chancellor Sushanta Duttagupta. There will also be a write-up on Gitanjali explaining the background that led to the publication of the songs.”

He added that the book would be printed at the varsity’s press in Santiniketan. “We hope the books will be available in the market from early next year,” he said.