Perhaps Kabuliwala, Rabindranath Tagore’s touching tale of friendship between a fruit-seller from Kabul and five-year-old chatterbox Mini, which was turned into a reel classic in 1957 by director Tapan Sinha was an apt choice.
The Tagore Society, Jamshedpur, however chose the more challenging story. Atithi, Tagore’s story on a boy wanderer Tarapada, also made into a film by Sinha in 1965, was shown to children at Rabindra Charcha (Discussions on Tagore), a two-day youth camp on its Sakchi campus.
The camp, on February 1 and 2, tried to reach Tagore to 300 Bengali-speaking children between 11 and 15 years and make him relevant to the Harry Potter and Angry Birds generation.
Atithi was screened on Day One.
Lectures, workshops and films based on the multi-faceted Nobel laureate apart, there were fun sessions on “Rabi”, his boyhood and his huge corpus of writing for children.
For example, the session Jana Ajana Katha (known and unknown bits) discussed events from Tagore’s life that shaped his creativity. Shishuder Rabindranath (Rabindranath for Children) was a lively interface on stories that Tagore penned for children.
“Tagore’s stories and poems for children can make one laugh and cry. They are truly engrossing. That’s why we organised this camp with resource persons from Santiniketan. Today’s children know writers from the West but are unaware about the treasure trove in India. And yes, this is also a step to motivate children to read more,” said Ashis Choudhury, secretary, The Tagore Society.