A cover for Bagan

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 1.08.10
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One hundred years ago, when centre-forward Abhilash Ghosh netted the ball past the East Yorkshire Regiment goalie, it not only gave the bare-foot Mohun Bagan team the IFA Shield of 1911, but also instilled in Indians the belief that they could better the Brits. And it gave Mohun Bagan, now declared the national club of India, an occasion every year.

This year, the centenary was celebrated at the club tent with the release of a special cover and cancellation — not a stamp as wrongly referred to by the announcer on stage — by governor M.K. Narayanan on Thursday .

A cancellation is the postmark on a stamp. For a special cover, which is an envelope approved for the occasion by the postal department, the cancellation is specially designed too. A special cover will come with any Rs 5 stamp, the minimum current postage value.

Long queues were seen leading to the two counters selling the special cover. “Dada, line katben na bolchhi (Don't jump the queue),” a young gun threatened an elderly man. “Do you know how long I have been with the club?” the veteran snarled.

But the fans were mostly clueless as to what was on sale. “What are they selling?” one asked. “Books, I think,” another replied. Many were puzzled by the envelope carrying a stamp featuring Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln. “Did they support Mohun Bagan?” one wondered.

“The occasion deserves a commemorative stamp, not just a special cover,” said the chief postmaster general, Calcutta, S.K. Chakraborty.

The first of Kunti’s sons

To celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore, the Apeejay Group brought together two exponents of “Tagoreana”: one, an “outsider”, Mohiniattam exponent Mandakini Trivedi, a teacher and researcher from Maharashtra, and the other, Mamata Shankar, who had not hesitated to experiment with Tagore even during the days of stringent copyright control exercised by Visva-Bharati over Tagore’s works.

Trivedi will present Prathama Kaunteya, an adaptation of Tagore’s Karna-Kunti Samvad in Hindi by Sahitya Akademi awardee Vandana Alase. Though a classical dancer, Trivedi has choreographed Prathama Kaunteya “not strictly in the classical tradition but rather by being influenced by it”. Shankar will put up Kal Mrigaya, Tagore’s dance drama in the “Uday Shankar gharana”. Both the productions will be staged in the first week of August at GD Birla Sabhagar.

On Wednesday evening at Oxford Bookstore, one got a fleeting glimpse of what was in store in the programme “Tagoreana, Shabda, Artha, Roopa, Rasa”. Moderating the evening’s talk, Alase got both Trivedi and Shankar to hold forth on their creative processes and experiences. She will be playing the part of a narrator in the three-character play Prathama Kaunteya and rendered a song from the drama.