Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was a great patriot as well as an excellent human being, a doyen of Indian literature and man of versatile qualities as in any field of Indian literature, song, drama including dance drama, painting, music, playwright, etc., without mentioning him discussion would be incomplete. According to him, “the highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” – Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941). It is evident from here that on 7 August 1941Tagore left for heavenly abode.
Let me first highlight his date of birth issue. The poet wanted his birthday to be celebrated as per Indian calendar and accordingly 25 Baisakh is taken into account not any Gregorian calendar. Born on 7 May, Tuesday 1861(as per Bengali/Indian calendar 25 Baisakh, 1268) in then Calcutta, now Kolkata, he was fourteenth child of Devendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi. As desired by Tagore 7 May is not considered for celebration but 25 Baisakh so as per Gregorian calendar it falls on 7May or 8 May or 9 May. This is a noteworthy point of his patriotism.
From childhood Rabindranath was a genius and at the age of eight years he made his first attempt in his versification. His father Devendranath Tagore who was like a sage had a vision and arranged Rabindranath’s school-teaching at home under private tutors. While studying at home at the age of 13 years, he wrote a verse based on Macbeth and at the age of 14 years he recited a poem in public gatherings which later on was published in the local newspaper. Tagore’s patriotic fervour was also clearly reflected when he returned the Knighthood, awarded by the then Imperialist British Government, as a protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.The British initiated the policy to divide Bengal in 1905 based on religious line and used the words ‘Hindu Bengal and Muslim Bengal’. Like many other stalwarts irrespective of religion, Gurudev also came forward and opposed the partition of Bengal. He ventilated his anguish by writing a poem ‘Amar Sonar Bangla……’ (My golden/beloved Bengal…) and subsequently the same has been adopted as the National Anthem of Bangladesh after liberation of East Pakistan in 1971. Regarding our National Anthem “Jana Gana Mana………..” I wish to mention that the British falsely propagated that Jana Gana Mana……, was written to praise King George V and Queen Mary on their visit to India in 1911 which Tagore did not accept and vehemently protested. Another point, for the benefit of readers in general and north-east in particular I wish to highlight that only the first of five stanzas has been adopted as National Anthem but in the last stanza poet has mentioned sun rises from the extreme hills of the east of India (that is present north-east).
The poet was a great person and wanted to see a united India as he passed away on 7 August 1941 so did not see partition of India. In his ‘Bharattirtha’ (Holy India) poem, he has stated India is for all – Hindus ,Muslims, Christians, Dalits, Aryans, non-Aryans and others. Even in this poem he specifically highlighted ‘do not bother about caste, have an open mind’.
In the context of present West Bengal, I feel had Tagore been alive today; he would have been upset to observe WB Situation as ‘Bhadralokbabus’ have shown the level of poll violence and their cruelty. As a result death, assault took place etc., and many fled from WB to Assam. The Calcutta High court has to intervene for the safety of human beings. My simple view is that in democracy citizens have the right to do politics but the Party in power should save them from the criminals whether criminals are ‘Bhadraloks’ or ‘non Bhadraloks’. Another issue, a couple of days back Result of the third session of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main 2021 has been announced. In the third session, according to the National Testing Agency (NTA) 17 students have scored 100 percentile, eight are from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (2 Telugu speaking states). Anyway not a single student is from West Bengal. Maybe now students of WB are more interested in politics than study. Third point, as many as 100 engineers, 500 postgraduates and 2,200 graduates have applied for six lab assistant posts also called ‘dom’ to handle corpses at a state-run hospital in Kolkata, indicating high unemployment in the state. In addition, many types of scams took place in the State of ‘Bhadralokbabus’. Only a few I am highlighting, the Saradha Group financial scandal, Narada sting operation, the Rose Valley financial scam, ‘fake vaccination’ scam, etc. It has to be admitted that many stalwarts and highly intellectuals were born once upon a time in the state.
I extend my Pronam to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore on this day of his death anniversary.