A multi-faceted genius who brought eastern philosophies to the West, is how Governor Syed Ahmed chose to pay tribute to bard Rabindranath Tagore during the inaugural session of an international seminar that kicked off at Ranchi University’s Aryabhatt auditorium on Thursday.
The two-day seminar, which is being sponsored by the University Grants Commission, would focus on the life works and contributions of Tagore to the society, who many believe helped in reshaping the literature and music of his region during his time.
Though dubbed as an international seminar, the event has close to 20 speakers, most from Bangladesh, participating in it and is more of an Indo-Bangla affair.
The speakers had varied views on the subject of the seminar Contemporariness of Tagore, with professor emeritus of Dhaka University Anisujjaman even opining that Tagore’s works were classics and classics did not ever age and hence the bard’s works continues to remain modern.
“Tagore faced challenges from the younger modernists. But he countered those challenges effectively to produce works such as Shesher Kabita,” Anisujjaman said.
Taking a different track, vice chancellor of Ranchi University L.N. Bhagat said that said Tagore had foreseen the decline of human values as time passed. “He hence then (more than a century ago) created works that still infuse human values in our society,” he claimed.
Later, , former vice chancellor of Calcutta’s Rabindra Bharati University Pabitra Sarkar said that Tagore taught one to take both life and death calmly. He said that his work’s often reflected the extension of one’s self (of singularity) to plurality of the society and taught the meaningful existence of life.
Quoting an example, Sarkar recalled how the inmates of a concentration camp in Poland during the Second World War staged Tagore’s play Dakghar and finally embraced their death with a smile at the end of it.
Later on, Shruti Banerjee — a New Delhi-based dancer — spoke on the Manipuri influence of Tagore’s works and went on to recite some poems from Bhanusingher Padabali and Narir Puja.
Day One of the seminar rounded up with Manoj Mitra — an eminent theatre personality — talking about the theatrical aspects of Tagore’s works and staging a play. A cultural dance drama programme by students of Rabindra Bharati University and a Manipuri dance by Shruti Banerjee were also held during the event.