Monday, May 09, 2011

The Man of Many Talents

Only yesterday I had tweeted something along the lines of "Weird how both Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Chetan Bhagat are authors." Now just in case, someone says that mentioning Chetan Bhagat and Dostoyevsky in the same sentence is equivalent to blaspheming, let me tell you that you're damn right. But then again it's quite impossible to conceal your disgust at the steadily degrading quality of published works in today's fast-paced, materialistic world. More so at a time when you're reading something like "Crime and Punishment", one of the finest specimens of Russian literature and a timeless classic.

Whenever I go through the immaculately wonderful experience of reading the works of many of the stalwarts
in the sphere of world literature like Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Louisa May Alcott or even Jules Verne, I feel lost in the depths of an alternate universe where only excellence prevails. All these brilliant thinkers and their philosophies on surrealism, life, death, prejudices, romance, feminism, humor and the society in general, remind you of your woefully ignorant self. How little you know of the world you reside in!

And as you get seized by the desire of devouring as many classic creations of writers who had graced the shores of some foreign land with their mere presence, you promptly forget the fact that back at home there was a man who had started writing at the tender age of 8 and had the capacity to leave the world spell-bound with his unfathomable artistic brilliance.

It's shameful in a way that I'm reminded of Kobiguru only on his birth anniversary. It's even more embarrassing to realize that none of his creations have ever been on my "to-be-read" list. Of course I've read some of his choicest works like short stories from the renowned "Galpoguchho" (collection of stories, when translated in English), extracts from plays like "Achalayatan" (The Immovable), and dance dramas like "Chitrangada", novels like "Chokher Bali", "Ghare Baire" and a few of his best poetic specimens. 
But none of them of my own free will. They were all a part of my syllabi in school. And somewhere in the mad rush of learning "questions and answers" by heart, I could not fully appreciate the profundity of his imagination or the depth of his thoughts.

Rabindranath Tagore was a poet, a dramatist, a satirist, a painter, a composer, a musician, a fiction-writer, a novelist, a philosopher and possibly one of the greatest free thinkers of all times. His poetry has most skilfully yet delicately captured every human emotion ever felt, ever known. His sharp criticism of the contemporary education system (articles from "Shikkha"), subtle outrage over the brutishness of the dowry system ( short stories like "Dena Paona" , "Hoimonti"), rejection of ridiculous superstitions ("Achalayatan") and feelings about Divinity and beyond ("Gitanjali") have all proven beyond doubt, his ability to foray into diverse genres/themes and consequently established his creative genius in all.

"আজই হতে শত বর্ষ পরে 
কে তুমি পড়িছ বসি আমার কবিতাখানি-
কৌতহল ভরে
আজি হতে শত বর্ষ পরে"

("Aaj-i hote shoto borsho pore
Ke tumi porichho boshi amar kobitakhani...
Koutohol bhore
Aaj-i hote shoto borsho pore")

The Poet Laureate probably knew that even when he would cease to exist and a hundred years would have gone by, readers all over the world would continue to be enraptured by his words...precious words which have been immortalized forever. (meaning of above lines)

That's why it is time for me to ditch the Nietzsches, Keroucs and Orwells in favour of a certain man whose greatness can never be measured in terms of a Nobel prize.
___


P.S: Pardon the quoted lines in Bangla, this is the best I can I do given the kind of options Blogger offers me. However I'll try to edit the part with proper spellings when I get my hands on a decent software. 

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15 comments:

Vamsi said...

I have never got a chance to read his works. But one day I surely will :) BTW I didn't know even one of the other authors you were talking about apart from Rabindra Nath Tagore :P

Anish said...

very very well written.One line I whole-heartedly agree with.Reading those works really make you feel ignorant!It enriches you culturally.

And yes Tagore has captured every human emotion ever felt.A legend.

inquisitive-life said...

@Samadrita: I am a Charles Dickens & Jane Austen fan... And you mentioned it apt about their work... I can easily get myself lost in their creations.

As far as Tagore's creations I have read the songs ans couple of short stories only.

Your post has brought a moment in which I can actually realize how much they are close to me.

So Thank You..

Great Post...

Purba said...

A wonder tribute to Modern India's greatest writer.

Robindro Shongeet, Jana Gana Mana, his many poems and stories, Shantiniketan, Vishwa Bharati....who can match up to him?

vineet said...

very well written, good to see that still tagore is alive withn u n probably withn us bt still i feel sumwer we knw he is dyin as well, hope ur writing do rejuvenates the spirit in many

d said...

nice post..its a fact that Rabindranath's writings are read less by our generation,even those residing in W.B.,a place where he was born, in comparison to foreign authors. Its related to our education system too, where the majority are all sent to english medium schools.Since childhood english language is given more importance; reading,writing and speaking in english,obviously one gets comfortable with it. And hence comes the inclination of literary likings!
Although least to mention that He has and will always have a never ending fan following!

Lakshmi Rajan said...

Sometimes I do feel guilty that when we have legendary writers in our own backyard, I ignore them and fancy the writings of others from elsewhere...

Never read a single story of Tagore but as we say miles to go (read) before I sleep ... miles to (go) read before I sleep ...

Prateek said...

A wonderful tribute Sammy.
Though I am not much into poetry but as they say he was one of a kind.
If i am not wrong along with writing he was a theater, music and art devotee too. With above 2000 music compositions and majority of them were an integral part of Bengali culture he was an unmatched talent.

Giribala said...

Nice!! I am connected to Tagore as well: http://wikilivres.info/wiki/Giribala

Alka Gurha said...

Great tribute to a legendary writer. Unfortunately havent read much of Tagore. My loss.

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

Though these words were once said for Rafi, but let the words not diminish what was intended...
Dil ka soona sa taraana dhoondega...mujhko mere baad zamaana dhoondega!

Gurudev was a thinker way beyond his time, and age.

Cheers,
Blasphemous Aesthete

Nethra said...

Even I haven't read any of Tagore's works willingly; everything that I have read was back at school. I suppose that I should them too.

♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ said...

i actually dont know him and his works..shame on me T_T

i just read a few classics..like twain's tom sawyer and huckleberry finn, a few short stories of edgar allan poe, sherlock holmes, romeo and juliet (just because of my fascination towards romeo x juliet) and first love..i fogot the author..maybe sergevey..or something like that..maybe i should start reading classics.. after i finished fallen..

sm said...

well written

Perception said...

It certainly is true, we tend to forget the greats at home for the greats abroad and not just literature but for almost all things.

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