‘He Nutan Dekha Dik Aar Baar Jonmer Subhokhon…Chironutoner Dilo Daak Pochise Boisakh
’. The passage quoted above roughly translates into looking out for something new and alive which is promising and offers hope to the youth. The beautiful passage is one of the many lyrical melodies created by Rabindranath Tagore, the world famous lyricist poet, author of great novels like Gitanjali and short story collections, endless musical songs.
This song is widely recognized with his birth anniversary which falls on the 25th day of Boisakh, (first month of Bengali calendar) either May 8th or 9th (according to Gregorian calendar) that is celebrated across Bengal and Bangladesh. Rabindra Jayanti or Tagore’s birth anniversary is a state declared holiday in Bengal in India and Bangladesh for whom Tagore has written the national anthem of the two countries.
Rabindranath Tagore is widely regarded as Gurudev in all of Bengal, Bangladesh and by his followers worldwide. Tagore who was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 as the first Non European person fills the heart of Bengalis with pride and joy. His birth anniversary is a day of offering praises and prayers to the great poet/composer a day of festivity in his ancestral home in Jorasanko Thakurbari at Dwarkanath Tagore Lane in North Kolkata
(presently Rabindra Bharati University Campus), Shantiniketan in Bolpur town of West Bengal which he established in 1901 (Vishwa Bharati University Campus), Rabindra Sadan (a cultural arena in Kolkata), Rabindra Teertha (newly opened auditorium in Kolkata fringes), north eastern states and Bangladesh.
The auspicious summer day on Tagore’s birth anniversary begins with Probhat Pheris (morning processions) in Bengal and Bangladesh as well as a few north eastern states which celebrate with songs, cultural dances, drama, theatrical performances, skits and continues through the day.
At Shantiniketan in West Bengal
where Tagore founded his open school or institution, of blending students with nature and the environment; preparations begin beforehand as school and college students, professors and tourists crowd the present day Vishwa Bharati University campus with a huge audience who come from faraway places and all corners of the country and abroad.
They sit on the floor under canopy of trees (Tagore’s famous Chatimtala) and observe or take part in the festivities like cultural dance, poetry and songs (Rabindra Sangeet) which are organized on the campus premises. Later in the evening the students enact a skit or theatrical play from Tagore’s enormous literary works. The celebrations continue at least for a day or two all across Bengal where schools, colleges, cultural institutes and clubs in localities organize cultural performances from a selection of Tagore’s songs, dance, poetry, dance dramas and plays. Rabindra Sangeet veterans make it a point to visit the premises of Jorasanko and Shantiniketan to sing songs and recite poetry from Tagore’s priceless collection of songs, literature and dance dramas.
Bengalis all across the globe and in Bangladesh consider it a day to worship the renowned poet, lyricist and novelist who is regarded as God to many disciples, a great scholar who wrote the beautiful national anthem of India ‘Jana Gana Mana’
and also the national anthem of Bangladesh ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’
uniting the two countries speaking Bengali with a musical thread.
It is a custom for Tagore’s disciples and his followers to wear traditional costumes-Dhoti/Pajama, Punjabi and saree with flowers in their heads and visit Jorasanko or Shantiniketan every year on this bright day and offer their prayers and regards to the scholar whose artistic and cultural creations still remains so fresh in their minds even 74 years after his demise.