Father and son

The spiritual quest in Debendranath Tagore found sublime poetic fulfilment in Rabindranath's notable artistic expression. Together, these formed the heart of a recent presentation at the Satyajit Ray Auditorium at the ICCR, entitled Pita Putro. Through a script that dwelt upon the relationship between father and son - both at the domestic and the spiritual level - the event attempted to trace the genealogy and development of the poetry of both. Presented on the occasion of the 200th birth anniversary of Debendranath, Rina Dolon Bandyopadhyay's script displayed much research into the scholarship on this famous father and son duo.

By Kathakali Jana
  • Published 1.07.17
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The spiritual quest in Debendranath Tagore found sublime poetic fulfilment in Rabindranath's notable artistic expression. Together, these formed the heart of a recent presentation at the Satyajit Ray Auditorium at the ICCR, entitled Pita Putro. Through a script that dwelt upon the relationship between father and son - both at the domestic and the spiritual level - the event attempted to trace the genealogy and development of the poetry of both. Presented on the occasion of the 200th birth anniversary of Debendranath, Rina Dolon Bandyopadhyay's script displayed much research into the scholarship on this famous father and son duo.

Interesting anecdotes that delineated Debendranath's role in Rabindranath's formative years established familiar pictures of home life hitherto unknown to most. Read by Aniruddha Rakshit, the script also brought to life the history of how Santiniketan came into being, starting from ' chhatimtola' where Debendranath had his first spiritual awakening, as it were, and gradually transforming into the humongous institution of which Rabindranath was a successful architect. Debendranath's deep engagement with the Brahmo faith and its influence on Rabindranath's philosophy enriched the narrative that explored the creative processes of both the thinkers.

A framework of songs composed by the father and son, sung by Prabuddha Raha, Rina Dolon Bandyopadhyay, Suman Majumdar and Pradip Dutta, supported the script. Beginning with Debendranath's meditative " Paripurnam anandam" and moving towards "Tumi bina ke prabhu sankat nibare", it was a journey into a world of not-so-familiar songs.

The evening reached its culmination in some of Rabindranath's puja songs that resonate with the spiritual ecstasy in Debendranath's songs. In "Antare jagichho antarajami" or in " Noyon tomare payna dekhite", a note of profound reverence was struck. The men, both forerunners of the socio-religious awakening of Bengal in the 19th and 20th centuries, were celebrated in the evocative "Kon alote praner pradip jwaliye tumi dhoray asho".