Baishak is here and it’s not only the time to celebrate the Bengali New Year but also it’s time to commemorate the birth anniversary of our beloved Rabindranath Tagore. Keeping this occassion in mind, Niyogi Books brings forth six wonderful translations of Tagore to celebrate the legacy of this literary genius. Niyogi Books launched six beautiful works of Rabindranath Tagore to celebrate the 157th birth anniversary of the Nobel Laureate at Oxford Bookstores today. Eminent poet, scholar and critic Shankha Ghosh was also present at the occasion.
Tagore is an emotion that runs in every household in Bengal. His writings have touched the masses beyond age and cultural barriers. Similarly, each of these six translated creations is unique. These books are witness to Tagore’s unmatched literary legacy.
The book Gleanings of the Road translated by Prof. Somdatta Mandal, talks about his journeys and experiences.
Travels formed an integral part of the personae and creative artist that was Rabindranath Tagore. During his travels to England and the USA (1912-13 and 1920) Tagore wrote essays for publication in various Bengali journals. In 1939, Tagore selected fourteen of these essays and an appendix containing seven letters he had written to some of the teachers in the Shantiniketan ashram while he was on these trips, for publication as a volume. Tagore rewrote the original essays then using the colloquial instead of the formal language; he also revised the texts substantially. The travelogue provides an insight into Tagore’s perception of the different facets of western life and the diverse philosophical issues that cross his mind as he journeys from one continent to another. Translated from Bengali for the first time, Pather Sanchoy would be of interest to all those who enjoy exploring unknown territories geographically and psychologically.
Sadhana: The Realisation of Life is another gem from collection. It is a concise introduction to the spiritual heritage of ancient India by Rabindranath Tagore. With chapters on Soul Consciousness, the Problems of Evil and the self and Realisation in Love, Action, Beauty and the Infinite, it contains the essence of the texts of Indian philosophy. Another gem from the collection is ReReading Tagore, translated by Prof. Amiya Dev, this is a reader’s book. It looks at Tagore through his texts. It reads his novels Gora and Jogajog in depth, and Char Adhyay as a crucible of our time. His plays Dakghar and Muktadhara are taken up briefly but succinctly.The other translated books launched at the occasion are Tagore’s Post Office, My Reminiscences and Rereading Tagore.
The Post Office represents a young boy who has received the call of the open road. He seeks freedom from the comfortable enclosure of habits sanctioned by the prudent and from walls of rigid opinion built for him by the respectable. On the other hand, My Reminiscences has etched in words many of his primary experiences about his future poetry, plays and novels. A surging passion for being one with Nature, a sense of imagination-filled solitariness even in the midst of a crowd, a consciousness of the concrete and yet non-recognition of its weight—all these aspects of the book inform his later creations. In that sense, My Reminiscences can be called an introduction to the entire Tagorean canon.
Rereading Tagore is a reader’s book. It looks at Tagore through his texts. It reads his novels Gora and Jogajog in depth, and Char Adhyay as a crucible of our time. His plays Dakghar and Muktadhara are taken up briefly but succinctly. That he is above all a poet is amply illustrated, not by his poems alone but songs—a principal thrust in these pages. His love of Nanak along with other medieval Sants is part of his vision of India.
Another highlight of the collection has to be Glimpses of Bengal. It is a delightful and must-read collection of letters written in the 1890s, by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, as he traveled across Bengal to manage his family’s far-flung agricultural estates. Traveling in his houseboat, up and down the Padma River and its many tributaries, Tagore vividly captures the breathtaking imagery of the Bengali countryside and the reticent grace of the day-to-day village life.
Speaking on the occasion, Trisha Niyogi of Niyogi Books looked thrilled. She thanked the panelists Shri Sankha Ghosh, Shri Amiya Dev, Shri Sourin Bhattacharya and Smt Somdatta Mandal for enlightening the audience and also to the wonderful crowd for attending the book launch.